Kristina Rihanoff Kristina Rihanoff

Wishing you and your families from all my heart a very happy festive season

The show is very, very strong this year! It was always going to be hard to call who was safe and who was going. For me I always thought Georgia, Jay and Helen would be in the final so it was very surprising not to see Helen go further than the quarter finals, because I thought she was one of the strongest. But the show is what it is and we lose some strong candidates and now we have the final four couples!

It is exciting to see Anton in the final – there was a lot of talk about whether Anton should be there after the dance-off against Anita, but it is what it is and I’m rooting for him because he’s a good friend. From one pro to another I have all the respect for him and it’s great that he’s finally made it into a final! It’s a great chance for him to shine and to experience it.

What Anton and Katie were doing was very recognisable ballroom steps. Obviously Len, being a traditionalist, he was always going to take that on board and he loves seeing traditional dancing. The judges look at different things. For Darcy it’s the posture, for Craig it’s the musicality and for Bruno it’s about telling a story.

I do admire Gleb for putting something completely different out there, sticking to his guns, choosing a very new song… but sometimes it can cost you. The judges don’t always like new songs. But Anita for me had the best story – she started with zero dancing experience and went all the way to the semi finals. The things she produced were mind-blowing. The pro girls said we would die to do that routine; it was so full on, there were great lifts and she was so courageous. You can see how much trust she had in Gleb. It was a bit like a show dance rather than a salsa. If it were my choice all five of them would be in the final!


Couple of the week

In my view personally the second half of the show was much stronger, maybe because people were less nervous. The only couple who delivered two equally good dances were Kellie and Kevin. They thoroughly deserve a place in the final. I was mind blown how Kellie handled the whole situation with the dance off. They had a great attitude – they just went in there and said whatever happens I’m happy because I’m in the semi finals. They didn’t put pressure on themselves. It worked in their favour. Her rumba was exceptionally good technically – there was a little wobble but she was fantastic. You can see how much they truly enjoy dancing together.

Kevin is such a great choreographer. He’s been in the final three times in a row because he never over choreographs, he always gives the best choreography to suit his celebrity partner, he isn’t concerned about putting himself in the spotlight, it’s all about the lady he’s dancing with.


Jay was exceptional – he looked right at home

Another dance I absolutely loved was Jay and Aliona’s Charleston. It was absolutely fantastic and really suits Jay’s background in contemporary dancing. He really felt at home and relaxed and he let himself go. It was absolutely incredible. There was a little mistake where he dropped Aliona but it can happen because your adrenaline is so high and you misjudge the power you put into the lift. It shows how great he is because he picked her up, recovered and it was as if nothing had ever happened!

Georgia was poorly all week

Another couple who really stood out for me was Georgia and Giovanni’s Viennese waltz. That girl was so poorly you have no idea. People don’t really care at that point but she was sick for three days, she couldn’t get out of bed, she missed Monday and Tuesday training. She had two dances to prepare for. Thursday was when she really started rehearsing all day. She did a really good job with the cha cha cha. She creates magic when she dances with Giovanni, they’re stunning! The waltz was also so beautiful and she was shaking before she went on stage, she was on all sorts of medication but she was incredible. What a lovely dance they produced. I always thought she’d be in the final!


I adore Kylie!

Last week we also had Kylie Minogue on the show and she performed her Christmas song. I absolutely adore her! I remember when I danced with Jason Donovan on the show four years ago she sent us a little good luck message. It was very sweet and the following year I met her at Wembley. She’s always takes the time to say hello to everyone, take photos. She’s a lovely, beautiful person inside and out. We girls were very jealous we couldn’t dance with her – she only needed boys for the routine and they were in heaven dancing with her!

I was reunited with Daniel

The rest of my week was quite eventful. I went to Dublin to be reunited with my lovely Daniel O’Donnell! He was filming a Christmas show which airs in Ireland on Boxing Day and he wanted me to perform with him one more time. We did the foxtrot, the last dance we did on Strictly. I was slightly worried as we haven’t danced for a while but he remembered everything and we filmed the dance in one take. It was so nice to see him and Majella. I love going to Ireland, the people are so, so nice and the setting was gorgeous. It was fantastic to see him. I do know that I’ve made a friend for life. That’s the best thing you take from Strictly – you meet exceptional people and make great friends every year, it’s very special.


This week we all got together to rehearse the group dance to perform on Saturday night. It’ll be a bittersweet moment because it’s nice to see everyone but we understand that this is the last time we’ll all be together. The cast of 2015 has been extremely special. They’re all genuinely very nice people and they all have their own Whatsapp group. They all support each other and stand up for each other. Like every year with Strictly there are tabloid stories about girls having catfights etc but this year all the women stood up for each other. I do think they’ll remain friends for a long time after the show and most of them are going on tour. It’s very nice to see those friendships blossom.


My apology

Now I also just want to add something else. I want to say sorry for something I did when I was very upset and stressed this year. It was wrong when I tweeted about Sara McCarthy (@sarasquirt) on 25 of July 2015. She has not at any time either personally or professionally approached or sold stories to any members of the press about me. I apologise for any distress I have caused her.

Questions of the week

Thank you for your questions! These are the last two I’ll be answering in my blog…

What are you most excited about for the Strictly Christmas special?

Seeing my lovely Robin Windsor take to the Strictly floor! We’ve worked together a lot, we’re like brother and sister and always stand up for each other. It’s just great that he’s returning. He was so busy with Puttin’ on the Ritz, his panto but he’s taken the time to do the Strictly special so I’m so excited to see him again.

How will you celebrate Christmas and New Year?

For me it’s always about family. My mum’s had a really tough year and unfortunately there were more complications and health issues. It’s very hard and worrying and you just want to do anything and everything for your loved ones. It’s very difficult that we live in different countries but we constantly try to visit and I look after her. But my Christmas wish is for her to be happy and healthy. It’ll be a family affair and for us to be reunited and spend quality time together.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to all my readers for reading my blog this year! I’m thankful for all the questions you’ve sent and all the comments, and it’s been a real pleasure to work with HELLO!

I hope you enjoy the finals this weekend and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

All my love,

Kristina x

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