Mollie King says she’s coming back “fighting” on Strictly Come Dancing after a “really emotional” weekend that saw her go up against Aston Merrygold in the dance-off.
In an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, Mollie said that landing in the bottom two for the second time in a row “definitely” knocked her confidence.
Mollie and professional partner AJ Pritchard found themselves at the centre of one of the biggest shocks in Strictly history last Sunday when the pair faced Aston and Janette Manrara in the dance-off. Aston, who had been a favourite to win the whole competition, was eliminated after the judges controversially decided to save Mollie and AJ.
“It did definitely feel like a lose-lose situation being up against Aston,” she said. “I’ve known him for nearly ten years and we’re really good friends so it was a really difficult weekend.
“When you’re waiting for the verdict it feels like time has just stood still – it seems like the longest wait ever and undoubtedly Aston has been one of the most amazing dancers that I think has ever been on Strictly. So it was a really unfortunate situation that he was in the dance-off in the first place, and I don’t think he should’ve been there. But you just have to go through with what the results are and just dance your best.”
Meanwhile AJ revealed that the pair practiced and rehearsed their Foxtrot between Saturday night’s programme and the Sunday night results show in the eventuality that they landed in the bottom two for the second time in a row, especially as Mollie had made a small error during the routine.
“As soon as that slight little mistake happened on the Saturday night we made sure we practiced it again and again, so mentally and physically we were ready for that situation if that happened,” he said.
“Everyone was so nervous and didn’t want to be in the dance off against Aston, but for me Mollie danced it the best she’d ever done it. So I was a bit calmer and a bit more relaxed and I was like ‘Mollie, you’re going to go through – you’ve done it, you’re amazing’. But until the judges have made their decision you never know.”
Finding herself in the bottom two for the second week running “definitely” knocked her confidence, Mollie admitted.
“It was emotional and we’ve had to sort of pick ourselves up,” she said. “And AJ’s been so supportive and really helped me get back on my feet, because nobody wants to be in the dance-off two weeks running. So we’ve really pulled together this week and made sure that we’ve come back fighting.
“I think we just have to put a positive spin on it and the fact that we know how much we want this now, we have worked so hard now for this weekend that we’re going to give it absolutely everything,” she added. “Because twice now we’ve been so close to the journey coming to an end.”
The former Saturdays singer revealed that the pair have been “literally putting in every hour possible” this week, doing “intense” rehearsals for 12 hours each day in order to bring their Paso Doble up to scratch.
“We’ve really got to nail this Paso,” she added of their routine to Layla by Derek and the Dominoes.
But despite the pressure, she says the pair are still enjoying themselves.
“It’s so much fun though, it really is,” she said. “It’s getting into character and learning a whole new dance and it’s AJ’s favourite dance. Yeah, we’re loving every minute.”
AJ, too, is pretty excited. “It’s Mollie’s best dance,” he enthused. “She’s putting her character into this one – she’s getting all that passion and energy into it. It’s such a character-driven dance, the Paso, that you can really just go a little bit crazy on the floor and just really show it off.”
So far Mollie’s been vocal about her love of ballroom, but that could all be about to change with the Paso.
“I’ve go a new-found love for the Latin dances now!” she told us. “I’ve got my Latin shoes on this week. I think actually this has been my favourite week of training because I feel like I can really enjoy getting into this character. Obviously it was so emotional last weekend so I can put that emotion into this dance. This is definitely my favourite Latin dance that we’ve done. It could be my favourite dance that we’ve done of the series!”
They both say that they’re not thinking about next Saturday’s Blackpool Week just yet. “At the moment we literally have put everything into this weekend,” said Mollie. “We’re just trying to take it week by week but obviously if we do get through this weekend then it’d be a dream to get to Blackpool, so we’re keeping our fingers and everything crossed.”
Strictly Come Dancing airs Saturdays on BBC1