Each week, award-winning Strictly Come Dancing professional Kristina Rihanoff brings iVillagers all the latest news on her training with Colin Salmon, her progress in the show and the odd piece of backstage gossip from this year's series. Don't miss the weekly instalments as Kristina reveals what it's really like behind the showbiz spotlight
Kimberley dance-off was insane
Last week’s biggest shock in my mind was Kimberley Walsh being in the dance-off after such a wonderful and fantastic dance. It was absolutely insane and she really didn’t deserve to be there. Thankfully on Strictly Come Dancing we have a system where the judges can save the best couple in the dance-off. If Kimberley had been eliminated, I think it would have been awful for Strictly as she is one of the best dancers in the show who should go all the way to the final.
I went to see Strictly on Saturday night to support Lisa and my professional dance partner Robin, and was watching it from the stairs just where Tess and Claudia were by the dancers. I was there just two weeks ago and I know it’s the most petrifying moment because you’re about to go on stage. As an outsider you can really see the horror on everybody’s face, it was a really odd experience! Louis didn’t really show that he was nervous though… I think because he is a gymnast he is always prepared to give his best every time and that’s how he is trained. He definitely has the right frame of mind for the competition.
This week has been very intense as we’ve been spending every day in training because we are performing at Wembley this Saturday. I think it’s going to be the most fantastic show that we’ve ever had on Strictly because there is so much going on this week. We have some fantastic group numbers and we’re all really, really looking forward to it.
Performing at Wembley arena is totally different to the studio. Strictly’s dance floor is actually very small and everybody who comes is amazed because it looks much bigger when watching at home on TV. Wembley is obviously a massive place, and we have a stage there which resembles the one we’re used to, which is where the couples will dance. But for the group numbers we will be dancing all around, and enjoying the fantastic venue which Wembley is.
The professional dancers are comfortable performing at Wembley because we perform there every year on the Strictly tour for a few nights, but it is very intimidating for the celebrities. Some of them will strive on it whilst some may crumble, but hopefully not many will have that stage fright. It’s a massive floor, and when you see seven thousand people around you it is an amazing feeling.
I think that once a celebrity has been on Strictly Come Dancing, public perception really changes, one hundred per cent. It lets the public get to know them in a different light. My boyfriend Joe Calzaghe is testament to this when we were together in the competition. He says that it’s funny because when he goes to something like a sports dinner, there will always be questions about Strictly, although people knew him as a boxer for eleven years. That’s what the show does… it opens a lot of doors and exposes you to a variety of people who watch the show, which is great for everyone.
I’ve been really happy having Darcey on the judging panel this year. She’s an outstanding ballerina and a very respectable woman in her field, who is very constructive and positive about things but tells you how it is! It’s a better way for the celebrities to get criticism, than negativity or being made fun of. We both attended the Daily Mail Inspirational Woman of the Year Awards this week, which was a very special event. It puts so much of your life into perspective, and these women are so selfless and giving to everybody around them.
This is an insane week for me, as we’re also starting preparation for the Christmas special and many other group dances, so there is a lot going on. At Strictly we scored our highest viewer ratings for a Sunday night last week, so we are all so proud here. It’s not about beating any other shows, it’s about making ours the best on TV.
Please enter my competition for your chance to win a signed MeMeMe make-up box.
I also have my own shop where you can buy my 2013 calendar.
Take care, Kristina xx