Its like speed dating Strictly star Simon Webbe says pros request their dance partner

Strictly: Simon Webbe performs Argentine Tango in 2014

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Simon Webbe, 45, competed on Strictly Come Dancing show back in 2014, where he reached the finals along with his professional partner Kristina Rihanoff, alongside Frankie Bridge, Mark Wright, and Caroline Flack. The Blue star has now lifted the lid on what goes on behind-the-scenes and how the partners get matched up, claiming the professional dancers get to request who they’d like to be paired with.

He told Closer magazine: “In the early stages of the competition when the stars aren’t yet partnered up and there are just rehearsals, all of the pros are watching.

“They then take their pick and request who they want to the producers – it’s like speed dating! Then when the competition starts, they all throw their all into it to try and take home the Glitterball.”

Simon impressed the judges while he was on the show and regularly received high scores, however, he also was in the bottom two three times.

He admitted that his favourite to win this year is EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who is also the show’s first-ever deaf contestant.

The singer also believes that sign language should become part of the school curriculum.

Simon said: “I’m a big fan of Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice. I read the other day that Google searches for ‘learning sign language’ had risen by 488% since Rose has starred on the show, as she is Strictly’s first deaf contestant.

“I think that’s so brilliant – sign language should be taught in schools. I think it’s great Giovanni has been learning it too.”

He added: “I learnt Turkish for my wife, Ayshen Kemal, who is from Turkey, so I can kind of relate!”

Rose has gone from strength to strength since she started on the programme, as she and Giovanni scored the first 40 out of 40 of the series last week, which also broke the record for the earliest perfect score awarded in Strictly history.

The pair performed a Tango to Shivers by Ed Sheeran where Rose took on the role of an ice queen, which certainly impressed judges and viewers.

Giovanni has been named the “King of Halloween” as he always comes top of the leader board each year on Halloween.

However, Simon admitted that training for the show can be draining, as it can go on for as long as nine hours a day.

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The celebs often document their training on their Instagram Stories to give viewers an insight into what goes on.

Simon said: “I was on Strictly in 2014, and made it to the final. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had but it was tough! 

“You’re training for nine hours a day and it gets more full-on as the competition progresses.

“What’s really funny is that the viewers don’t see, behind the scenes, how competitive the dancers are.

“It’s a tight-knit family and everyone encourages each other, but at the same time everyone is so desperate to win!”

On Sunday, viewers said goodbye to yet another Strictly star as the competition got that much tighter. 

The results of the week’s elimination show saw the exit of Loose Women star Judi Love and her partner Graziano di Prima as well as a shift in the bookie’s odds.

The pair were booted off the BBC hit show after they found themselves in the dance-off against Olympian Adam Peaty and Katya Jones.

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