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I TALK TO Joe McFadden & Katya Jones

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 Joe and Katya 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...

Joe: It really does feel like a dream come true and a dream that I never would have dared to have dreamt all those months ago when it was the Summer and we were all in shorts and t-shirts! I would never have dared to dream that I’d still be here after all this time and it’s an amazing beautiful thing to be here with these amazing women.

I just don’t want it to end. It’s mad to think that very soon it’s going to be over and I’m going to go back to my life... whatever that is!

Katya: He’s the last guy standing so I’m really proud. I did see a lot of potential and even now, I know it’s the final but I’m sitting here thinking we still need to fix this, or the frame isn’t quite right there - we still have to deliver a good performance on Saturday so my mind is not quite over it yet. We have to keep working hard.

On realising the potential in Joe...

Katya: I really have to give thanks to the producers for making perfect pairings and it’s my pleasure really to find their strengths. I was given someone who has never done it before and it’s my job to make him look the best and perform on Saturday to the best of his ability.

You can see that they’re just perfect pairings because we bring the best out of each other. From day one I thought “Right, what can I do with him?” I just wanted him to be the best every Saturday night. Not better than someone else, but better than himself.

On inspiring others...

Joe: I’m just an actor. If I were to inspire people, it’d be that if you want to do something, just put the work in, get your head down, and get on with it. Don’t take the easy way out. I hope that’s the thing that people will look at me and see. If you apply yourself and you have a fantastic Russian partner you can do pretty much anything!

When you’re in the middle of it you don’t really come into contact with that many people. It was great going up to Glasgow and back to my old school and seeing that it means so much to them that they see someone like themselves on there. That’s the great thing about the show this year, everyone is represented in that line-up. Everyone relates to someone.

On the public support...

Joe: It’s such a loved show. I’ve been on shows before where people have been into it, and enjoyed it, but with this, people always want to know what Aljaž is like. And is Anton just as nice as he seems? It’s lovely to be a part of a show that is so loved and it’s been brilliant seeing it put together.

It looks so effortless when you watch it. It just happens in front of you, but seeing the care and attention that goes into it and how much production love the show is amazing. If there’s anything we need, they look after us and I’ve never felt so supported in a job that I’ve done before. And a job that doesn’t really feel like a job because it’s so enjoyable.

On their favourite dance by another finalist...

Joe: Debbie’s Charleston with the Frankenstein thing and the little black bob was iconic. That was my favourite. It was brilliant.

On their show dance...

Katya: From the comments we’ve received from the judges, we’re good at storytelling and taking on characters so that’s what we’ve done. It’s very Christmassy, we’ve gone with a big story and there’s slow dancing, fast dancing, he’s got a solo... and lots of surprises!

On backstage rituals...

Joe: At least one, if not two or three naps before every live show. As long as I get 15 minutes I’m good.

On life after Strictly...

Joe: Go to sleep for a month. Find out what my life’s like. Pay some bills. Do some laundry. That’s the exciting thing. I’ve just come out of another TV show recently so it’s a completely clean slate.

I’m hoping to use some of the skills that this one (Katya) has drummed into my head in the last few months.

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

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