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7 Questions with… Strictly Come Dancing’s Jamie Laing: 'I feel like my legs or arms could come off now at any point'
We catch up with the Made in Chelsea star as he pushes for a spot in the final stages of Strictly Come Dancing 2020.
From E4’s Made In Chelsea to the BBC’s biggest Saturday night entertainment show, it’s been quite a decade for Jamie Laing.
After being forced to drop out of the 2019 series of Strictly Come Dancing after injuring his foot while rehearsing for the launch show, Laing was determined to come back and make the most of every moment on the dancefloor.
Partnered with Karen Hauer, the reality TV star has been dazzling viewers with his big smile, surprisingly silky moves and even managed to top the leaderboard in week 5 when he bagged two 10s for his street routine to Gonna Make You Sweat (Everbody Dance Now) by C+C Music Factory.
Ahead of his quarter-final jive, we caught up with Laing to find out how he rated his chances in the competition…
1. How have you found the jive?
I’m not sure if you’ve ever danced the jive before, but oh my, your legs hurt. It’s basically trying to kick your legs away from you and they’re like ‘get out of here’ and you have to keep bringing them back again. I just don’t understand it.
I’m so excited I got to do the jive. It’s a really fun cool dance and being able to stay in to do it - I’m over the moon excited. But then again, at the start I really wanted to do a cha cha and that didn’t work out too well. But the jive, I’m delighted to get to do it.
2. Have you noticed changes in your body since doing Strictly?
The body is starting to break down, slowly. Do you remember those Action Men you used to play with when you were kids? And when you played with them a bit too rough the arms or legs would come off. I feel like my legs or arms could come off now at any point.
But look, it’s incredible and amazing the fitness levels you get. I honestly think more people should get out and dance. The gym, you do it solo, it’s really boring, you can’t be bothered to do it, Go to dance classes when we’re finally allowed to. You learn some cool stuff, you can bring it out on the dancefloor, bring it out at weddings and you get fit at the same time. It’s epic.
3. But after all that training, is it deflating to get to rehearsals and see Karen’s abs?
Always deflating. I just think, "Why are you doing that, it’s so unfair". It’s like being on a diet and suddenly having a burger. Don’t get your abs out. You’re more muscly than me, get over it, I get it.
But seriously, there wouldn’t be enough time for me to tell you what I think about Karen. She is so wonderful and great. And fantastic. You don’t want to disappoint her. With Karen you have to earn her respect. She doesn’t just give it you. That’s a really great quality to have.
4. After topping the leaderboard in week 5 has your competitive edge come out?
The competitive edge has been with me from the very beginning. It was furious when I was in the bottom two. I’m one of those people, when I play PlayStation, if I lose, the controller gets thrown. I’m so competitive. It’s not about beating other people, it’s just about knowing whether you’ve delivered all you can.
I don’t mind putting all my effort into something and losing - actually, I do mind that - but it’s more about doing yourself proud. And when you have a partner like Karen you don’t want to let them down either. You’ve got a double whammy.
5. Are you interested in becoming a new face on Saturday night TV?
I keep trying to persuade Karen to open up a dance studio after we finish, but she’s said no, that’s her loss. For me, I love the wonderful world of television. The reason I got into Made In Chelsea at the beginning was because I wanted to be a presenter and a host.
Hopefully after this, people will look at me in that light for presenting and hosting roles. If that’s the onward road I get on, that would be incredible.
6. What has been the biggest surprise about doing Strictly?
The amazing response is surprising, People love Strictly and that is incredible to see. But also just being able to learn the dance in four to five days. When they first showed the cha cha cha, I couldn’t fathom how you would learn it. But you always do and it’s almost as if they judged it perfectly because it just comes together every time on the fourth day. One day earlier and I could never ever dance it.
The biggest challenge is being connected to my body. If you’re a normal muggle and not one of these unbelievable dancers, it’s just so difficult. These dancers are just so in tune with their body. They can move every part in every way. I haven’t connected with my body for years!
7. And what has your mum thought of your performances so far?
Mum is a huge a Strictly fan. It’s like when guys sit down and watch a boxing match, they all think they become boxers. It’s the same with my mum and Strictly. She now thinks she’s a dancer. Do this, do that. Move your legs that way. You’ve never danced in your life mum!
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday and Sunday nights on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.