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I TALK TO Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice

After 13 amazing weeks of glitter, excitement and sensational dances, 15 celebrities have become four and just one will be able to lift that glitterball trophy in tonight’s Strictly final. I caught up with Debbie and Giovanni just days before the final.

Each couple will battle it out in the ballroom for the very last time as they perform three dances in a bid to impress the judges and the audience at home. Although the judges scores will be for guidance only though as the winner will be decided entirely by the viewer’s votes.

This week, I was invited along to the Strictly Final press conference at the BBC, hosted by last year’s champion Ore Oduba, to hear what the finalists have made of their Strictly journey as they look ahead to the final.

On making the final...

Debbie: From day one, we just got on. We’ve both got the same sense of humour, same work ethics and it’s just been a really really special time.

Giovanni: It’s been the best time of my life. I’ve only been on the show for three series but it’s been great because it’s not just about dancing. It’s when you spend the time in the training room with someone that you really get on with. It makes the experience even better.

Everybody knows and is in love with Debbie McGee, but for me it’s more than that. It’s the fact that she comes in to the training room every day with a smile on her face and as gorgeous as she is.

On realising the potential in Debbie...

Giovanni: In the launch show, when we were paired together, my reaction was everything. You can see in my face, I was completely shocked. But the reason why, is because we did a little bit of dancing together in the group number and I saw that some potential was there. So I was super happy to be dancing with Debbie McGee.

The first week when we did the paso doble I said “Can you do the splits?” - “I think I can” - “Let me see...” - she did a kick and I was like “WOW. This is going to be amazing.” I was like “Thank you so much for flexi McGee, I’m going to have the best time of my life with you!” I looked at the others and thought “Yeah, pretty. But I’ve got flexi McGee!"

On inspiring others...

Debbie: I can’t believe the reaction I’ve had from all age groups saying how inspiring I am in lots of different ways. I get stopped all the time, every day and it’s a fantastic feeling that because someone has watched me on Strictly I’ve made their life happier. I’ve made them want to do more for themselves - go to the gym or start dancing. For me, it’s been an incredible experience, and to think that I’ve inspired so many people, I wasn’t expecting that.

On the affect of negative comments...

Debbie: Strictly is a family and we all support each other. Giovanni has always been there if I’m worried about something. The thing about Strictly is that the negative side of it is like not even 1%. Everything else is so positive that it really doesn’t affect you much. Everything about Strictly is a happy experience.

I always listen to everything, and if it’s constructive I will take it on board. But if it’s anything that’s just negative for the sake of criticising I’ve always just completely shut it out of my mind. If it’s not constructive it’s not worth wasting  a minute thinking about it.

On their favourite dance by another finalist...

Debbie: I liked Joe’s Charleston as the toy soldier. It was just so different and really good fun and the choreography was sensational as always from Katya. It just had everything. It was so entertaining.

On their show dance...

Giovanni: We are going to do something more elegant and classy. We’re going to tell a story and the song is really beautiful and there’ll be more lifts, because we didn’t do a lot in the series. Some more splits, why not? Then a kick, absolutely. It’s basically going to be more elegant and storytelling.

Debbie: Every week when he’s shown me lifts and things I’m going to do I’ve thought he was joking. And then I realise he’s not. I’ve not been very well this week so some of the lifts we’ve only done a couple of times but what’s so beautiful about this dance is that when we did Memories from Cats, it as quite emotive.

That’s the reaction we’ve got from the public and this dance is along that. It’s very elegant but it’s also very emotional so as a last dance, it’s a very nice swan song shall I say.

On life after Strictly...

Debbie: From week one, all the celebs and all the pros clicked. I really do think it has been a very special year. None of us have felt the competitiveness. We’ve all rooted for each other so I will miss every single one of them.

I’m going to be doing panto and then I just want to make the most of every opportunity. I’ve been so lucky to be on Strictly, it opens doors and I just want to make the most of that because that’s what being in our business is about.

Strictly Come Dancing: Grand Final airs Saturday night at 6:30pm on BBC One


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