21:04 07 September 2016
The new series of Strictly Come Dancing has begun. Celebrity contestants have taken some time out from rehearsals to talk about their excitement, hopes and fears. They also answered some questions from viewers.
Will Young – The singer has revealed that in order to stay sane, he does not read reviews and has done so for the past 12 years. He also revealed that Strictly Come Dancing is so different from Pop Idol, saying: "This doesn't feel like a competition, it feels like the whole Strictly experience."
Asked if he’s going to be wearing skimpy outfits, he replied: "Oh God, no - look at me. I sweat all the time, it's disgusting. I only want to wear black or white. No one wants to see that, I'm 37."
Louise Redknapp – The former Eternal singer has admitted to struggling in gaining her confidence. She said: "The dancing is going to be really tough. My biggest hurdle is going to be having the confidence.
"When you've had children, you get a little bit cocooned in your own world and getting the confidence to get out there and shimmer with all the other girls is going to be my problem."
She also revealed that her pop career and her stage school experience might not help on Strictly. "Being in a pop band is very different to doing a waltz. For me it's such a long time ago I don't know how I'm going to move any more - I'm 20 years older than I was when I was doing it."
Ed Balls – The former shadow chancellor of the exchequer said that his family has very specific instructions as to what he can wear on the show. He said: "They don't want sequins, they don't want any glitter, any frills, no plunging whatever." He added that his experience on Strictly is “utterly shattering”, “really intense” and much harder than running the London marathon.
Laura Whitmore – The TV presenter said that she found rehearsals to be “mentally exhausting”. She added that she “had been dreaming about the routine” and that all the contestants had all been getting to known each other and had been talking about things such as dancing, vacuum cleaners and anything in between.
Ore Oduba – The BBC Breakfast show is the only one to describe the experience as “bizarre.” He also said that he’s been loving the outfits but had already suffered a wardrobe malfunction. "I split my trousers on day one. I thought to myself - this is a great start. The trousers weren't made for dancing. I thought I wanted to wear something nice for the first day, and then everything was out to see."
Daisy Lowe – The model described the experience as “nerve racking.”
"It feels real now," she said. "We saw the set for the first time. It's also a lot bigger in there than it looks on telly. I'm used to seeing it in a box - and now it's in real life."
Tameka Empson – Described as the joker of the Strictly 2016, Tameka said that it has always been her dream to be part of the show. "So when the opportunity knocked, I answered the door and said 'Welcome, come on in! I've been waiting for you'.
"I think I'm a good mover. I've been to dance classes as a child."
Danny Mac – The former Hollyoaks actor said that he’s having a hard time getting his head around different dances. He added that seeing the professional dancing was “awe-inspiring.”
He added: "What's exciting is that they're going to be teaching us. They get three weeks - it's a pretty good shot, without anyone seeing us."
Naga Munchetty – The BBC Breakfast host admitted that she’s not a good dancer. She said: "I will dance all night and have the best evening. But it doesn't mean I'm a good dancer."
She added that wearing the glitzy outfits might take some time getting used to. When I'm out with my husband or friends, I'm in jeans, trainers and a hoodie, with no make up. So it's a different world for me."
Judge Rinder – Robert Rinder said he’s hopeful that his friend Benedict Cumberbatch would come and support him on the show. When asked how he might handle disparaging comments from Craig Revel Horwood, he said: "He knows about dancing so whilst he's behaving in a judgely way and, like me, being fair, reasonable and brilliant, I can't imagine we'll have any reason to cross swords."
Lesley Joseph – Lesley said that she had been “flung in at the deep end” with the Strictly rehearsals. "We're hitting it out of the ball park, I think that's the phrase.”
She added she’s looking forward losing weight on the show and having her first spray tan, as well as “glitz, glamour, dancing and entertaining people on a Saturday night.”
Greg Rutherfod – The long jumper, who has just returned from the Rio Olympics, said that he’s “not in this to win this.” He said: "I'm in this to learn some form of movement that looks like a dance, and not go out in the first week. If I last a few weeks, I'll have overachieved."
He added that if he has an advantage as an Olympic athlete is that he was in “good enough shape to be able to train a lot.” He added that he’s far more nervous about Strictly than when he went to the Olympics.
Claudia Fragapane – Another Olympian, who is a gymnast, said that she has been told that she could win Strictly but added that she “find it really difficult to be that close to someone else - I keep laughing." She also said that she’s looking forward to all fast dances – “which are very dramatic, and telling a story as well.”
Melvin Odoom – The DJ and presenter said that he’s looking forward to “getting the first show done – and then we can enjoy it.” Asked as to how he’s preparing, he said that he’s been going to the “gym a little bit” because “you know, you’re going to be in skimpy outfits.”
Anastacia – The singer is the only contestant to admit that she’s in it to win it. "One hundred per cent, I'm going in to win. I'm honest - Honestacia," she quipped. After being diagnosed with breast cancer twice, she said that she was at the right time in her life to take part in the show. "Once you've been challenged with the things I've been challenged with, health-wise, you go: 'Bucket list!"