Kristina Rihanoff Kristina Rihanoff

Only the best dancers remain in Strictly


Strictly is a TV show so it is produced and scripted

So this week there was a lot of speculation in the press about Strictly being a fix. Everyone has their own opinion and thoughts on how the show works. Of course we have to understand that it is a TV show so there is a script and a lot of things are produced. But when it comes to dancing, you can’t fault it. Whether you’re educated in ballroom dancing or Latin, I think you can still see whether couples are good or not so good. When I watch I can see if a couple really deserves to be in the dance-off or not and I think the public can too. Strictly has been around for 12 years so viewers know! I think last week showed quite clearly that the show is all about dancing – the best dancers go through.


Georgia and Giovanni were undermarked, but that’s my opinion…

We’re approaching the quarter finals now and you can really see how incredible the contestants are, especially someone like Georgia who was alright when she started. She wasn’t the frontrunner, she’s really developed. Her pasodoble was fantastic! I really didn’t think the dance would suit her because by nature she’s such a sweet girl but actually quite quiet. I was a little worried but then she came out all guns blazing. I think she understands now that if you dance bad, you’re out! She had more pressure as she was closing the show, but she rose to the occasion.

To me, Georgia was slightly undermarked. I think she deserved more nines than eights. But what I want to emphasise is that the marking is a matter of opinion. Ballroom dancing is so difficult to judge. It’s not matter-of-fact. It’s not like running and coming first and you can’t argue with that. It’s much more subjective and there’s so much to judge – the technical side, the emotional side etc. This is why Ballroom dancing never made it to the Olympics! I can watch the same dance as the judges and see it differently. I look for the couple’s emotional connection, how they tell the story and how they dance in unison. When I say Georgia and Giovanni were undermarked by the judges, that’s my opinion. That’s how we have to understand the judging on the show. It’s not that black and white!


Couple of the week

Speaking of emotional dances, Helen and Aljaz’s dance touched me so much – I actually had tears in my eyes! They danced as one perfectly. Their Viennese waltz was so dreamy, so, so beautiful and so, so perfect. I’m so proud of Helen because she’s had some not so great dances in the past and a bit of a rough time with the press saying horrible, untrue things about her! I’m so glad that that perfect moment happened for her. She’s a clear contender for the final for me! Aljaz is also an incredible teacher. He knows how to take his celebrities, like Abbey Clancy who was a novice, and make them shine and take them to the finals. Well done Aljaz and Helen!

I was really surprised to see Kellie in the dance-off

I don’t know why people aren’t voting for Kellie! Maybe it’s because she opened the show and after that we had so many fantastic dances, that hers was slightly forgotten by the end. But for me Kellie is so consistent, she’s always good and amazing in her technique. The competition is so tough now. Anyone can be in the dance-off. It also depends on what dance you’re given each week. Kellie is also busy with EastEnders at the same time as rehearsing. She works crazy hours! She’s on set during the day and then starts dancing at 7pm until midnight – I don’t know how she copes, she’s incredible and goes on to deliver amazing dances! She deserves more.


I think the Strictly rumours got to Peter…

Facing Kellie in the dance-off were Peter and Janette, who got eliminated of course. I think the whole week of gossip about the show being a fix or not affected Peter. I think he got caught up in the crazy “fix” storm which he didn’t deserve and I think it got to him. Maybe if they had a different dance they would have done better, like the salsa – Janette is the queen of salsa! I feel she should have stayed on a bit longer to really blossom on the show alongside Peter. But it is what it is…

I think everyone kind of turned on Peter and Janette this week. It’s a very, very hard job for the professionals and I’m going to say it again – we don’t deserve the trolling or the negative comments. But as Peter said himself, it was his time to go and there is no shame in leaving. He got so far in the competition. They were a wonderful couple on Strictly and I think they’ll genuinely remain good friends for life.


Sexism in the industry

I just wanted to talk about another issue this week… Since Bruce left, we’ve had two presenters on the show, Claudia and Tess. At first I remember how vicious the press were about Tess, saying she won’t be able to present, and why are two women presenting? After the first series without Bruce, Claudia and Tess showed just how successful Strictly still was, so no one could deny that they’re doing an incredible job together. I think it just shows that there’s sexism in the industry. Why is there no problem with Ant and Dec? They’re two guys presenting and they’re absolutely fantastic. The same goes for Tess and Claudia. They have a fantastic rapport and Strictly is at its most successful! They deserve more credit. You can’t say that two men presenting works and not two women. I’m standing up for women and gonna say it’s a sexist remark! Zoe Ball as well is fantastic. I don’t see how anyone else can do that job – she’s a natural.


I finally got the apology I was waiting for…

Now a few months ago I released my book. There was a very unpleasant headline in one tabloid which was obviously picked up by other papers. The headline on the front page was that I didn’t submit my book to the BBC and so the BBC bosses were fuming and furious with me etc etc. It led to a lot of uncomfortable press coverage which hurt me very deeply because I’ve worked for the BBC for eight years. I’m proud of the way I conduct myself on the show. All of the celebrities and professionals I’ve worked with have never had a problem with me. No matter what was happening in my life I gave my best to the show. I value my job and my relationship with the BBC and so I found the tabloid stories very derogatory, very disgusting and very damaging for my character. It made me really upset and stressed, so my agent worked tirelessly for months to get an apology.

They finally published it – a tiny paragraph that you can’t even see, compared to their massive headline on the front. It’s quite sad because people are only going to remember the negative headline and not the apology… It was three long months of talking and they’ve finally apologised but it’s very sad when this is still allowed in the press these days. They didn’t have full knowledge of the story and didn’t take into consideration what their front page did to me.


Questions of the week

Thank you again for your questions! Please keep them coming on Twitter using #HELLOKristina and I’ll try to answer them.

Who would your dream partner for next year be?

That’s a difficult one! You know anyone really. It’s not like I have to have someone old or young, it’s more important that we click. John Sergeant and I were an unusual pairing, as were Daniel O’Donnell and I this year. I truly enjoyed working with Daniel. It’s about having a great rapport with your dance partner and then you’ll have a great series on Strictly. I’ve been in the final twice – I feel like I’ve proved myself as a choreographer but it’s about working with someone you like and not about being in the final and being miserable. September to December is a long run, working eight hours a day together so you have to get along! To me it’s about having someone who is kind, has a great personality, loves dancing and wants to learn!

What song would you get up and dance to at a party?

Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez is always going to get me on the dance floor! Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Happy by Pharrell, Gangnam Style too! Fun upbeat songs get me dancing! I also really like old school songs like disco, 80s, Burn Baby Burn is another classic. It depends on the mood but any great dance anthems from any era will do for me!

Well, we’re almost there now. In two weeks we’re going to crown the champion of Strictly! And we’re all going to have a lovely Christmas and talk about it lots ha ha! Hope you enjoy the musical week this weekend!

And last thing, don’t forget to check out my beauty blog here!

All my love,
Kristina x

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“Only the best dancers remain in Strictly”

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