'Strictly Come Dancing': 13 Things We Learned From Listening To The Finalists In Conversation

The foursome appeared at a special press conference earlier this week.

With the curtain about to come down on another dazzling series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, the four finalists have been slogging it out in the training room in a bid to win the glitterball trophy on Saturday night.

But in a rare break from rehearsals, Ashley Roberts, Faye Tozer, Joe Sugg and Stacey Dooley took the time to chat to the nation’s media at a special press conference held at the BBC’s Regent Street HQ earlier this week.

There were lots of laughs and smiles as the foursome and their professional partners looked back at an incredible 12 weeks of dance in front of a room full of journalists, including HuffPost UK. Here’s what we learned...

The 2018 'Strictly Come Dancing' finalists
The 2018 'Strictly Come Dancing' finalists

Stacey is feeling bizarrely calm ahead of the final

She might be the bookies favourite, but it seems like that extra pressure isn’t getting to her just yet.

“I feel good - I feel calm!” she said. “I was saying to the girls earlier, I feel like I want to go into this final with no real expectations in terms of what might happen next. I want it to feel like a massive party. We’ve had such a brilliant couple of months that I want us to come together and celebrate.”

Sorry but those reports of backstage feuding are rubbish

Following rumours the couples were not getting on in the run up to the final, the group couldn’t say quick enough that claims of any such feuds are simply not true.

Stacey explained: “I know it’s what everyone wants to hear, that we’re tearing chunks out of one another, and panicking about this, that and the other, but it’s just not been an issue - certainly, everyone sat here is genuine pals.”

Faye has suffered the most injuries out of the finalists

Poor Faye has been put through the wringer over the last 12 weeks, and blames her Latin shoes for the majority of her pain.

“They do not like my feet, so lots of cuts and bruises,” she said.

Of her other injuries, she added: “I don’t know whether it is because I’m particularly clumsy or that I bruise like a peach, who knows? I put full commitment in, and because I do that, I just shred my body.”

The finalists appeared at a press conference earlier this week
The finalists appeared at a press conference earlier this week

Ashley is not letting a third dance-off get her down

The Pussycat Doll was all smiles at the event, despite going in to the final as the bookies’ least favourite, following a third consecutive appearance in the dance-off last week. In fact, she claims it has spurred her on.

She said: “I remember when I first got the call to do this show, I was so excited and grateful to be a part of this amazing show. The first two times in the dance-off, I was like, ‘OK, this is a bit of a bummer,’ but Monday hits, it’s a new week and you get focus.

“The third time, I looked at Pasha and went, ‘Honey, shall we give them a little show?’ The amazing thing, and we did have to battle to get to the final, but I just can’t wait to go out with these fabulous people and just enjoy it.”

Pasha will defend Ashley in the ‘previous dance experience’ row to the bitter end

It has been a long old 12 weeks for Ashley and Pasha with all the chatter around whether her previous dance experience with the Pussycat Dolls makes it unfair for her to compete. But with the finishing line in sight, Pasha is still reminding people that ballroom is a very different skill.

He said: “Every year we have people who others think have more of an advantage, but from my point of view, it’s a completely different ball game and you still have to put so much work in to master the ballroom and Latin - it’s different to all other dance styles.

“And Ashley coming back every week after being knocked down, I have to take my hat off to her because she is coming back not only motivated, but more passionate, more focused and re-energised.”

Eyes on the prize: The glitterball trophy
Eyes on the prize: The glitterball trophy

Kevin was surprised to learn what Stacey is really like

“I thought she’d be nice, but I thought she’d be serious because of the way she is on her documentaries,” the professional dancer said of his celebrity partner. “Then it turned out when we got in the training room, she’s hyper all of the time.

“She’s a massive idiot in a lovely way and she’s just as daft as I am. We’ve smiled so much.

“As if I couldn’t love it any more, I’ve sort of fallen in love with dance and Strictly all over again.”

Kevin won’t be gutted to lose out on the glitterball trophy for the fifth time

Kevin has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride when it comes to the ‘Strictly’ final, but as he prepares for his fifth one, he’s quick to insist the show has never been about winning for him - even though it would be nice.

He said: “People come up to us and go ‘I just want to say thank you for the joy you all bring, when there’s loads of stuff going on in the world that isn’t as cool, Strictly is the one thing that we love.’ The bigger picture than that - it’s not the British Championships, it’s not life or death. It’s not the most important thing in the world.

“I am speaking as someone who has been runner up almost every single year. Of course we’d all love to win, but it’s not the most important thing that’s happened in the course of the universe. You have to keep things in perspective. But of course, all of us would really love to win, just once.”

Stacey had a real low moment after week two of the competition

You might think injuring her rib would have been the worst part of the competition for Stacey, but it turns out getting a low mark from Craig Revel Horwood ranks much higher for her.

Speaking of her Cha Cha in week two, she said: “Honestly I promise you, I wanted the floor to open and swallow me whole. Craig gave me a 4, I was mortified. My legs were all over the shop and I felt like an idiot. But what you have to do is take that and say, ‘I don’t want to feel like that next week and I’m going to work really hard’. And then we doubled it and got an 8 the next week.”

The finalists with their professional partners
The finalists with their professional partners

Stacey has turned down plenty of offers for other reality shows

However, the documentary maker has admitted she didn’t really realise what she’d be signing up to when she said yes to ‘Strictly’.

She said: “I’ve been offered loads of different shows but I’ve always said Strictly is the only one I’d do because it’s such a classy show and there’s a lovely feel about Strictly - it’s not cheap.

“I thought I’d be in the UK for a couple of months, dance for six hours a day, but you train 12 hours every day, everything hurts, you’re in bits, you don’t know the routine. It’s a hard gig but it’s so worthwhile.”

Joe has been inspiring a younger generation of boys to dance

The YouTuber’s appearance on the show has had a profound effect on some of his loyal online following, revealing many young men have picked up dance classes after seeing him on the show.

“I’ve had so many lovely messages from the younger audience who have followed me into this, especially younger guys,” he said. “They say, ‘I’d never normally think about doing dance, but watching you on Strictly I can see you’re having so much fun and you’ve made it cool.’

“That for me is one of the best things about doing this show, getting a new generation into dance.”

Stacey is *not* a fan of The Sun

After The Sun published a story last week claiming Stacey had been overmarked and favoured by bosses on the show to give her an advantage in the final, it seems Stacey wasn’t exactly in the mood to be answering any of their questions.

When one of the newspaper’s journalists asked about “misconceptions” about the show - particularly referencing the show’s infamous “curse” - Stacey was heard saying: “Ugh. That’s an obvious question.”

Sighing, she turned to her co-stars and said: “Anyone want to answer The Sun?” Cue one very awkward silence.

Who will win this year's series?
Who will win this year's series?

Joe now wants a performing career when ‘Strictly’ is over

Having won over a whole new audience, the vlogger is hoping to go more mainstream and continue using the skills he has learned on the show when the studio lights go out for the final time on Saturday.

He explained: “I went into this thinking I’ll do it and then go back to YouTube - it’s still what I love and do, but now, this show has improved my confidence in performing, so I’m much more open to doing things performance wise.

“It’s weird how that has changed over the course of the show.”

Meanwhile, Ashley and Faye also revealed they were hoping to do more performing after the show, with Ashley admitting it had “lit a fire in her”.

But Stacey is already eyeing up a job much closer to home

After admitting she is going back to making her documentaries after Christmas, Stacey joked: “But also I have to take into consideration that Strictly are probably going to ask me to be a professional this year, so… So from September to December, I’ll be wrapped up with that.”

‘Strictly Come Dancing: The Final’ airs on Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One.


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