Jacqui Smith, one of the celebrities set for Strictly Come Dancing 2020, has revealed the advice former contestant Ed Balls passed on to her.
Don’t worry: Balls – who went down in Strictly history for his Gangnam Style routine – isn’t dishing out technique tips. Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, Smith said that the former Shadow Chancellor counselled her about the mindset needed for the show.
“Ed Balls called me when it was announced I was going to be on the show and gave me what I think was some brilliant advice,” Smith said.
“Nobody can ever compete with Ed’s Gangnam Style, but what he said to me was actually, ‘Embrace it and really go for it and try hard,’ and I promise you that is what I’m going to do.”
The UK’s first female Home Secretary added: “I am very competitive. I will try hard. I will practise around the kitchen or wherever is necessary.”
Smith, who served as a Labour MP from 1997 until 2010, also hinted she isn’t afraid of clashing with the judges.
“I was an MP for 13 years. I was a minister for 10 years. I faced criticism in my time and I hope I will listen and learn. But I also, of course, have argued for a living as well… let’s wait and see what happens,” she said.
While it sounds like her political past could lend itself to some spicy confrontations with Craig Revel Horwood, Smith also thinks her time in Westminster prepares her for an early exit.
Speaking about the possibility of being voted off the show first, Smith said: “I would be very, very gutted. I have lost votes before. The good thing about being a politician is that you know what it’s like to be on the wrong end of democracy.
“But please – there’s a politician in me – please vote for me.”
Smith is the fourth former MP to earn a place in a full Strictly series, following Ed Balls, Ann Widdecombe and Edwina Currie. Balls, who featured in series 14, won over voters with his comedic clumsiness and that Gangnam Style routine with professional partner Katya Jones.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable also competed in a Strictly Christmas Special, picking up an impressive 36 points with his Foxtrot performance.
Additional reporting by Grace Henry.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this month. While you’re waiting, visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.