Strictly Come Dancing’s Jamelia: I felt like I’d won when I wasn’t in the dance off

The singer talks dreaded dance offs, latin numbers, impressing her kids and this weekend's 80s Prom-inspired Samba

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Forget Craig Revel Horwood, at the beginning of the competition, Jamelia’s toughest critics were her daughters, who initially thought the idea of their mum doing Strictly Come Dancing was hilarious. 

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“They think I’m really good now. They actually think I’m a dancer,” Jamelia says. “I had to prove myself to them, prove that I can actually do this.”

And now she has, it’s actually working in her advantage, she tells us: “I think one of the lessons that they’ve learned is that if you try, if you practice, you’re capable of anything. I’ve put my all into it and I’m getting results. It’s good when I’m trying to encourage them to do their homework!” 

Homework aside, some parts of parenting have inevitably fallen by the way side since Strictly started: “At first I thought I’d be super mum, as I’ve always been, and then about two or three weeks in I realised something’s got to give. I haven’t cooked for about three weeks… I will just point out the children have eaten! Just takeaways and stuff.

“You have to learn to juggle and you have to learn to prioritise and at the moment Strictly is high on my priority list.”

We might be more than half way to the final, but Jamelia’s not feeling competitive – “I was never here to compete I wanted to take part. I feel like a winner anyway, the fact that I’m still here in week eight”.

She is quick to admit she was pleased when she avoided the dreaded dance off, though. She’d been in the bottom two for three consecutive weeks before being saved by the public vote last weekend. 

“I felt like I’d won Strictly Come Dancing! Last week was probably the week I actually expected to be in the dance off and to know that I’d been voted through by the public was an amazing feeling. And one that I hope happens again this week!” 

The series, she says, has been “a million times harder” than she thought it would be. But she’s still loving every minute. Especially when she’s dancing Latin, which luckily she is this week. Her and professional dancer Tristan are set to perform a Samba this Saturday. 

“I think this one has been my favourite. I feel more confident approaching the Latin numbers,” she says. “We’ve got a really fun theme: Prom Queen and a geek. The song we are dancing to is by Erasure. It’s an 80s classic so it’s kind of fun and cheesy.” 

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Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6:50pm on BBC1