There are several ways to the top in Strictly Come Dancing.
First up, there are those with professional dance training. Viewers may say it’s an unfair advantage, but it certainly makes for some amazing routines.
Then there are those who just get stuck in and work their socks off.
This year, we’ve heard about Mollie King and professional dance partner AJ Pritchard’s 12 hour training sessions. Yikes!
However, one of this year’s most successful stars has a different approach and it certainly seems to be working.
Read more: Strictly Mollie: I don’t fancy AJ
Debbie McGee and her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice danced the Salsa last night to I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You by Boys Town Gang.
The impressive routine, including a daring one- handed lift, brought 35 points and plenty of praise from the judges including Bruno Tonioli, who said:
“What a saucy scrumpet you were out there. It was the essence of Salsa. It must be Giovanni’s effect.”
Debbie would be inclined to agree, and she says that her partner is the secret to her success.
“I don’t have any rituals when we dance,” she said. “I just look into Giovanni’s eyes and that is it. I don’t think about anything else except the dance.”
So there you have it. It’s not the training or the hours that make the difference, it’s all about Giovanni Pernice’s eyes.
Not that Giovanni’s soothing stares can solve everything though, and Debbie says she has been struggling to sleep as she gets further and further in the competition.
“I am not sleeping that well if I am honest,” she said. “The last few nights I have had five or six hours.”
Still, the kind words of the judges have helped, and Debbie says she still finds it all a little surreal.
“You can’t believe your ears,” she said. “Shirley Ballas has said some amazing things. You can’t believe it is happening to you.”
Some viewers can certainly believe it though, and while the judges may love Debbie, there is a bit of a backlash over her professional training.
Of course there were plenty of fans too, and one even described the pair’s performance as ‘Christmas come early’.
Just keep on looking into Giovanni’s eyes, Debbie, and who knows where you’ll end up!