After ending up in the bottom two during week 4, Karen Hauer and her celeb partner Mark Wright came back fighting last weekend.
The couple performed the Samba and wowed the judges placing third on the leaderboard. On the back of that performance they sailed through to week 6 aka Halloween Week.
We caught up with Karen to talk about last weekend’s emotional rollercoaster, find out about this week’s Jive and talk about what we can expect from Halloween week.
We have to start off by talking about your incredible Samba from last weekend. How did you feel about that performance?
It was unbelievable actually! I seriously didn’t know what to expect. I knew we had a really fun dance but it turned out to be one of the best performances we’ve done and one of Mark’s best dances. Usually the Samba is really hard for celebs, especially the males, but it came really natural to Mark. He keeps surprising me every week and I just love the fact that he’s improving every week. There’s a lot more work to do but he showed that he really wants to stay in the competition and he fought back.
Our favourite thing about Saturday night’s show was your face when you found out what the scores were. You really weren’t expecting those high scores were you?
I did not expect the scores at all. I didn’t even know what to expect but I definitely didn’t expect a 9 or even 8s. I was taken surprise. Even though I didn’t show it I was really happy. I was stunned and so proud of Mark. He did fantastic and he definitely deserved those scores.
In the results show they cruelly left you until the very end to find out if you were safe. Did you think you might be in the bottom two again?
So many things were running through my mind when we were one of the last two left especially against Simon because he’s a great dancer. It was very, very scary. We thought it was going to be us since they left us to the end. I was just waiting for that red light to go on. When they actually called Simon’s name out we were actually stunned. It was a very surprising day for everybody. This series is a rollercoaster and you don’t really know what’s going to happen next. The competition is really tight. When we were standing there…Mark broke down and I was just in shock. Sunday was just a big shocker (laughs)
It was surprising for the us to see Mark in tears and lost for words during the results show. He really thought he was going home didn’t he?
He cares so much about the competition and he’s really gotten into it. He’s working really hard for it and really cares about. I think that’s what happens when you go into Strictly. At first you don’t think you’re going to get that involved but then it takes you in and you’re in the Strictly bubble. I was so proud of him and his family is so proud of him. He wants to stay in as along as possible. What I really loved about it is he just went out and gave it his all. He really did fight back to stay in the competition.
This weekend it’s Halloween Week in the Strictly ballroom. You’re going to be doing the Jive. What can we expect?
Yes! We’re doing the Jive to Little Shop of Horrors. The dance is very energetic and kicky. It’s almost like you’re doing an aerobics class and I feel like we’ve been in an aerobics class for five days already. It’s just going to be energy, lots of smiles and lots of fun and it’s going to be spooky so we’ll see. Hopefully it won’t turn into the little dance of horrors (laughs).
Our expectations are high for Mark this weekend. It seems like the high-energy dances are when he really comes out of himself…
He’s a performer at heart and that’s what I like to see in Mark. He has great energy and charisma. I try to use that as much as possible and he shines through. We’ve not done that many ballroom dances but I think now he’s getting more experienced he’s learning how to control himself and his energy. I think every dance is going to be a surprise for the viewers.
The Jive is all about energy and stamina. We know Mark has the energy but does he have the stamina?
He’s been working ridiculously hard. He’s been sweating so much! I’ve never seen anybody sweat so much. He’s dripping with sweat coming off his face and he has to change his shirt every 5 minutes. It’s a really full on routine but I know he can handle it so that’s why I’m challenging him every week.
Halloween Week is always full of big productions and pretty spectacular. What else can we expect this weekend?
There’s going to be a lot of flying, a lot of spookiness and a little bit of everything. My favourite thing about Halloween Week is how they set up the Strictly set. You really feel like you’re in a horror movie! They decorate it magnificently and I can’t wait to see how they’re going to decorate it this year. It really gets you in the Halloween mood.
Strictly Come Dancing 2014 continues at 6.30pm tomorrow on BBC One. Watch Karen and Mark’s show-stopping Samba from week 5: