Katherine Jenkins: ‘My incredible year’

Opera singer Katherine Jenkins talks to TV Times magazine about her Hollywood-inspired Christmas special and why she loves the festive season…

You have an ITV Christmas special on TV this week, called Steppin’ Out with Katherine Jenkins (ITV1, Sunday). What’s it about?

“I wanted to do something that harked back to the golden era of Hollywood inspired by the likes of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, a proper old-fashioned family entertainment show. It’s a mix of singing and dancing with special guests, an orchestra and the costume department have outdone themselves on this one. I’m such a girly girl that I love trying the frocks on and I have 10 outfits in 75 minutes!

You’re combining singing with dancing in this show after you came second on America’s Dancing With The Stars…

“It’s almost like just to stand there and sing isn’t enough any more! Since doing DWTS, I’ve done some concerts in Utah which they wanted me to dance at too and I’m going to be dancing on Strictly later in the year so I’m looking forward to that. So I’ve really kept the dancing up, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”

We also hear you’ll be performing a tap routine with Strictly 2008 champion Tom Chambers!

“I’ve known Tom for years, I’m friends with him and his wife so as soon as I knew I was doing a tap number, I immediately thought of him because he’s currently starring in Top Hat in the West End.”

What do you think is the most difficult of the dances?

“The Argentine Tango is technically the most difficult of the dances. You need to very strong for it and it’s really exhausting, but I’ve always enjoyed watching other people do this dance, when I watch Strictly that’s the one I always want to see. I hate the training because it makes you really ache, but I think it’s the high point of the show.”

Do you get excited about Christmas every year?

“I love Christmas so I can’t believe I haven’t made a Christmas album before – this is my ninth album! I made it in Malta over the summer so it’s not the obvious choice to make a Christmas album with full on sunshine. But I had the vocal booth decorated like Santa’s grotto and turned the air conditioning up full blast and got myself in the correct frame of mind that way.”

What are your favourite Christmas songs?

“I love the traditional songs like Hark the Herald and Away in a Manager. I wanted to make an album that somebody like my mum could put on and sing along to because there are songs that they know. Santa Baby’s on there – I don’t think people will expect me to do a song like that, but I wanted to have a little comical moment on the album.”

Do you like listening to more cheesy Chirstmas songs, too?

“I do, but my Christmas memories are learning to sing in church and doing carols with the family. So my musical memories of this time of year are quite traditional and I wanted to make an album that summed that up.”

What are your plans for Christmas this year?

“I do the same thing every year so I’ll be back to Wales with my family, just have some time off with them is all I really want for Christmas. My sister and I always go to our local pub on Christmas Eve to catch up with school friends, and then we go to midnight mass with the family. Then on Christmas night we always go to my Aunty Jo’s to play Trivial Pursuit. It’s the same every yearl but I wouldn’t change that for the world.”

What are you hoping to get for Christmas this year?

“I’m rubbish at thinking of presents for myself. I’m quite a house-person so anybody who knows me will probably get me something for the house.”

What have been your highlights from 2012?

“DWTS for sure and being involved in the Jubilee and the Olympics. It’s been a year that has really took me by surprise. It started off at a very low point [Katherine split up with presenter Gethin Jones at the end of last year]. But yet it turned out to be one of my best years ever!”

Any hopes for 2013?

“Honestly, I feel like this year has been so good that I don’t want to ask for anything else, I think that would be greedy, so I’m just happy to see what happens next year…”