Strictly HRVY: ‘I’ve got a new fan club – my nan’s friends!’

Strictly's HRVY tells us about his dancing journey so far...

HRVY has wowed us with his jive, stunned with a salsa and delivered a tantalising tango since he started on Strictly. Along with his professional partner, Janette Manrara, we’ve seen him rise to the challenge of the ballroom every single week – but a lot of hard work goes into producing those performances.

We chatted to HRVY about his Strictly experience, and found out that he’s cultivated a whole new fan base…

How would you sum up Strictly so far in five words?

HRVY: “‘I am really, really aching’! ‘It has been really exhausting’ – there you go, my five words! I’ve loved every second of it, but I won’t lie, I am constantly aching – my body’s not used to all this dancing!”

How has it compared to what you thought it would be like?

HRVY: “I knew it was going to be hard, and I thought I wouldn’t enjoy things like the make-up and costume side of things, but I’ve actually loved it – I love coming in on a Friday [for studio rehearsals] and getting dressed up. I got my first spray tan for the salsa – I held off for as long as possible, but I thought, ‘do you know what? I have to do it once!’ I didn’t expect to love it as much as I am, actually.”

HRVY and Janette stand side-by-side performing their Strictly salsa

HRVY sports his first ever spray tan in the salsa (Photo: BBC)

What are Janette’s best qualities as a partner?

HRVY: “She’s very patient, and she doesn’t suck the fun out of anything. Even if it goes wrong or I’m not quite doing it right, it’s not like, ‘no, that was really bad’, it’s ‘come on, you can do better than that’. It’s a lot more encouragement than it is a flat-out ‘that was terrible’! Our energies are great together when we dance, and we just enjoy each other’s company, which is a good thing – especially this year, with the pandemic, we can only really see each other!”

What’s the dynamic like within the cast this year?

HRVY: “Everyone’s been really supportive of each other. We’re all like each other’s number one fans! It’s really nice, especially with no audience this year, we’re watching each other and egging each other on, and cheering. And we deserve to win the award for the most random WhatsApp group chat ever – we’ve got an ex-Home Secretary, news hosts, singers, actors, comedians. It’s a big bunch of so many random people, but I love it!”

How have you found dancing with such a small audience in the studio?

HRVY: “When I’m doing my own singing shows, you feed off the crowd, but this year there isn’t one, so you feed off your own energy, your partner’s energy and the other contestants’. That’s taught me a lot, actually. You have to pretend that you’re in Wembley Stadium, giving it everything, even if there are only 20 people in the studio!”

HRVY and Janette Manrara perform a tango in close hold

HRVY and Janette perform a sizzling tango (Photo: BBC)

Do you and Janette have any pre-show rituals?

HRVY: “We don’t, and I don’t want to start doing any because I might jinx myself! Before we do a show, we put on some music in the room, light a little candle and just relax. We like to listen to Harry Styles and get into a Zen zone!”

How have you found facing the judges’ critiques each week?

HRVY: “You see them backstage, and you might have a little chat with them and think, ‘I feel like we’re becoming good friends’. Then you get out on the dancefloor and you realise they’re here to judge you, they’re not your friends! They are all lovely, but it doesn’t get any easier. Being judged is always not nice, but you need these critiques so you can come back and get better.”

HRVY and Janette Manrara perform their Viennese waltz in week two

HRVY shows off his ballroom skills with a Viennese waltz (Photo: BBC)

Has being on Strictly opened up a whole new fanbase for you?

HRVY: “Apparently my nan’s friends are all up for a bit of me! I’ve got a new little fan club going on, which is cool. I never thought that would happen, but I think it’s starting to!”

You’re tipped as one of this year’s frontrunners – how do you feel about that?

HRVY: “It’s lovely people think that, but who knows? Everyone’s so good this year, everyone’s improving week on week, anyone could win it. I would love to make the final – everyone would! – but just because I want to complete it, I want to do every dance. I say that now, but if I got to the final, I’d be like, ‘I really want to win now!’ But we’ll just take every week as it comes.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1 on Saturday 28 November at 7.15pm.

 

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