Strictly winner will be a ‘question of stamina’, says pro

Strictly: Molly Rainford explains why she chose the rumba dance

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Kristina Rihanoff has spoken about what it takes to be crowned the Strictly Come Dancing champion, saying celebrities need to power through. The star was part of the glittery BBC series from 2008 to 2015 before making the decision to step down and pursue other projects. She is now teaching aspiring children and young dancers to find their feet with her school Bespoke Ballroom.

In an exclusive interview, the 45-year-old star said the hardest week was undoubtedly Blackpool when the show headed back to the home of Ballroom.

Kristina said Blackpool was something of a make-or-break week for the couples and could even show who was most likely to win the competition.

She said: “I think it’s halfway through, week seven or week eight. This is almost like a breakthrough week, like who is going to power through and who has what it takes to get to the final and get the Glitterball because everyone is really tired.

“It’s a long competition, 14 weeks. So you’re drained – not so much physically but mentally to be honest.”

Kristina continued: “This is where you can really see who is up for that race to the Glitterball perhaps.

“That’s why it’s the hardest week, especially with or without Blackpool because it’s that emotional deflation and it’s a little bit difficult.”

She went on to say: “But you can really see how people fight and go all the way.

“By seven, eight week, you can really see how the body is getting that understanding of movement and they produce amazing dances really at that stage.”

She added: “It’s a question of stamina. Like I said, not just your physical stamina but your emotional one too. If you wish, it’s one of those things.”

This year Strictly made a glorious return to the world famous Blackpool Tower after the pandemic.

At the top of the leaderboard was X Factor star Fleur East who was given a perfect 40 score by the judges.

While in second place with 39 points was Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton and just behind in third place with 38 was wildlife host and cameraman Hamza Yassin.

Judging by this, Fleur could be the one to be lifting the highly-coveted trophy come Saturday if the results of Blackpool are anything to go by.

Meanwhile, the bookmakers have put down Hamza as the favourite to win the competition this year with the dance novice proving to be a natural right from the launch show.

He’s been given odds of 1/2 by both SkyBet and bet365, however, he will have competition from Helen who has been given a 7/4 chance from William Hill and Coral.

Interestingly, Fleur is down at the bottom to win the competition with the lowest odds of 50/1 from Betfair and Unibet.

Star Molly Rainford is in third place to win with 33/8 from Boylesports and 25/1 from Ladbrokes.

Nonetheless, Kristina’s words are important to note given all four of the finalists will need both the physical and mental stamina to make a last push in the final.

Their performances will either see them win over the public or flop with the winner determined by the public rather than the judges.

Given it’s the final, this emotional stamina will be pushed to the limit with the contestants having to overcome nerves and simply perform.

The Strictly Come Dancing grand final will air tomorrow on BBC One at 7.05pm

For information about Kristina Rihanoff’s dance school, please visit

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