Strictly Come Dancing 2012 pre-match interviews – the boys

Louis Smith, Nicky Byrne, Michael Vaughan, Colin Salmon, Richard Arnold, Sid Owen and Johnny Ball share their hopes, expectations and tactics...




From Westlife, 33

Why are you doing Strictly? 

My wife and I got addicted to the show about five years ago when we had our first child and stopped going out. Every year she would tell me to do it and I would laugh it off, but this year I thought, ‘Why not?’

What are you dreading?

It hasn’t sunk in that I’ve committed to the show. Even when I was about to step on to the dance floor for the group dance I thought, ‘The emergency exit is just there; I can make a run for it and nobody will notice!’ When the first live show comes around I’m scared it will finally hit me.

How good are your moves?

With Westlife we never took the dancing seriously and were more or less taking the mikey with all of our gyrating and pelvic thrusting. The only thing we perfected was standing up from our stools on the key change. If Karen puts a stool on the stage I might feel more comfortable…

Karen says: 

He has the experience to handle the pressure of going on stage – although I am a bit worried about that now…

Actor, 50

Why are you doing Strictly?

When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer, but Billy Elliot was still 20 years off and ballet wasn’t something boys from Bethnal Green did. I wish I hadn’t cared so much what people would have said because now I don’t. I lead a float at the Notting Hill Carnival every year covered in feathers and sequins!

What are you looking forward to?

I’m 50 years old and that is partly why I’m here. Life begins at 50. I can’t wait to learn to dance and I can’t wait to get into the character of each dance – and I think the part I’m about to play, as Kristina’s partner, is going to be my best role. 

What’s your secret skill?

I have been watching Strictly Ballroom and I am working on my duende – by the first performance I’ll have perfected it.

Kristina says: 

He is the ideal partner – musical, theatrical, charismatic – if only I was a little taller… He is 6ft 4in and I’m 5ft 2in!

Olympic gymnast, 23

Why are you doing strictly? 

I was asked if I wanted to do it and straight away said yes because my mum is a big fan and my nan used to love the show. When I broke it to her she was thrilled – she’ll be in the front row cheering me on every week.

What are you dreading?

The training! I was also worried that it would be awkward dancing so intimately with a girl – but once I’m in the zone it’ll be OK.

Have the Olympics helped?

Performing at the Olympics was the scariest thing I have ever done – I never want that feeling ever again. Obviously all of the training and pressure I put myself through over 19 years were worth it for those 50 seconds of glory, but I’m not sure I want to put myself through that again in four years’ time, so who knows about Rio. But when it comes to Strictly I’m feeling much more relaxed about it than everyone else. 

Did you take a break?

I went on holiday to Marbella for two weeks and did lots of drinking and partying, but now it is back to the strict regime and training. I like that, though – it keeps me on top, it keeps me fit and healthy. Flav owns me for the next couple of months!

Flavia says:

The pressure of having one chance to perform will be something others will struggle with, but Louis will thrive on. 

GMTV presenter, 42

Why are you doing Strictly?

For years I’ve interviewed the stars of the show and finally I am one of them, front row and centre!

Are you prepared?

I like spinning class but I’m not good at group sports. I was always the kid off games, and the colour would drain from boys’ faces when they were lumbered with me on their team – it was such a relief when Erin’s face lit up when she got me!

What are you most looking forward to?

It was the costumes – until they tried to shoehorn me into Robbie Savage’s outfits from last year. He was nothing short of an Adonis, so there was no chance!

What are you dreading?

The serious dances because I have the most horrible face in repose, I look like I’m gurning.

Erin says:

I begged production to put us together. We are going to have so much fun – the public will love him. 

Actor, 40 

Are you a natural dancer?

Not really, in a club I’m the one propping up the bar.

What are you looking forward to?

I can’t wait to get spray tanned! Come December, it would be brilliant to be dark mahogany.

What are you dreading?

Ola’s elbows! She caught James with one during the launch show and he ended up with a black eye and stitches. Better stay on the right side of her…

Who will vote for you?

Well, hopefully Eastenders fans will pick up the phone, and if all goes well and I lose a bit of weight I might get my pecs out and try to appeal to the ladies – or will that put them off?

Ola says:

Don’t give away our tactics!

TV legend, 74

Why are you doing Strictly?

I wanted to show everyone that it can be done at any age. I know I am the oldest ever contestant at 74, but on a good day I feel 21!

What are you looking forward to?

I want to dance – I don’t want to be voted for out of sympathy, or because I am making a fool of myself. Last year I bopped all night long at my son’s wedding with girls in their 20s, so I know I have the moves and the stamina.

What’s your handicap?

When I was at school they were still doing the minuet… Seriously, everything I learn I forget very quickly – remembering the steps will be a challenge, but my wife was a dancer so I can practise with her as well.

Aliona says:

Johnny is a really smart guy and I love his determination. I think we’re going to enjoy the show. 

Ex-Cricketer, 37  

Why are you doing Strictly?

It’s all because of Robbie Savage actually. I have been asked before and always dismissed it but Robbie enjoyed it so much last year it made me reconsider. And Goughy was my mentor going into cricket and has promised to mentor me through this. 

Who will vote for you?

None of my family. My daughter will be voting for Kimberley because she’s a Girls Aloud fan, and my son wants Louis to win.

Natalie says:

He says he has a trick up his sleeve but hasn’t revealed what it is yet…


Now meet the Strictly Come Dancing girls…