Ashley Roberts talks 'mental and emotional strain' of reaching Strictly final

Ashley with her Strictly dancing partner Pasha Kovalev. (PA Images)
Ashley with her Strictly dancing partner Pasha Kovalev. (PA Images)

Former Pussycat Dolls member Ashley Roberts may have reached the Strictly final, but she says it’s been far from an easy ride.

Indeed the 37-year-old singer and performer has consistently earned high scores from the judges, but received overwhelmingly negative backlash from the British public.

Criticising the star for her professional dance experience, many have questioned whether she should be in the show at all.

And at a Strictly Come Dancing press conference ahead of tonight’s grand final, Roberts opened up about the toll of reaching the final four.

Admitting it’s been a ‘rollercoaster ride’ she also spoke of the ‘mental strain.’

“It’s such a process what you go through and you start doubting yourself – ‘how is this all going to come together on Saturday?’ and somehow it does. I thought it would be physically challenging but also the emotional, mental strain that sometimes happens. But it’s all worth it,” Roberts said.

She also directly addressed the ‘bummer’ of being placed in the final two for the last three weeks, only to be saved each time by the Strictly judges.

“The first two times in the dance off I was like ‘OK that’s a bit of a bummer’ but then Monday hits – it’s a new week – it’s a fresh start – then you get in there and get focused.

The singer and performer has been in the bottom two three times (BBC Pictures).
The singer and performer has been in the bottom two three times (BBC Pictures).

“So by the third time I looked at Pasha and was like ‘OK honey, shall we just give them a little show because we’re here!’ We did have to battle to get to the final but I’m so grateful and I just want to go out there any enjoy it,” she confessed.

And her Strictly partner Kovalev also rushed to her defence during the conference, and denied she had an unfair advantage with her dancing background.

“Every year we have people thinking someone has more of an advantage. But from my point of view it’s a completely different ball game and you still have to put so much work in order to master the ballroom and Latin, which are separate from all other dance styles,” Kovalev said.

While Roberts admitted the various challenges of competing on this year’s Strictly, she added that it has reignited her desire to perform professionally.

“The show has lit a fire in me to perform, I forgot how much I love doing it,” she said.

Roberts will compete against fellow final finalists journalist Stacey Dooley, YouTuber Joe Sugg and Steps member Faye Tozer on tonight’s Strictly Come Dancing final on BBC One.

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