Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls is “one of the best characters the show has had” and could even win the competition, his fellow contestant Ore Oduba has said.
The former shadow chancellor performed a salsa to Gangnam Style on Saturday night, two years after he was spotted dancing to the Korean hit at the Labour Party conference.
Ore, who danced the rumba to Ordinary People by John Legend, said he does not mind that Ed is still in the show despite being a weaker dancer than many of the other contestants.
He said: “I’ve watched Strictly for 13 series and Ed is one of the best characters this show has had.
“If I was watching it, this show would be poorer if he wasn’t in it. The show is about development and he is improving.
“People are enjoying watching the show for various reasons, there is not one ounce of resentment.”
The BBC Sports presenter said he thought Balls could even go on to win.
He said: “I do, it could be anyone of the eight, the standard’s that high. You never know who you might see lifting that trophy in December.”
His professional partner Joanne Clifton added: “Why not? At the end of the day he is entertaining and he puts on a good show and is improving.”
Ore, who topped the leaderboard two weeks in a row after performing a jive and an American Smooth, admitted he was surprised that he cried after hearing his score.
He said: “I didn’t expect the emotional attachment, I didn’t expect to be so emotional but dancing with one of your best mates makes you emotional and crying is what feels natural because it is just an emotional rollercoaster.”
He said the public’s reaction to his tears has been “really positive” but added: “Jo and my wife said after the second week that I can’t cry again. Two weeks is acceptable but there can’t be a third. Three strikes and surely you’re out. We had to keep it in check.
“But the response has been lovely because viewers have enjoyed seeing the raw emotion. We are dancing for 10 million people so that is as exposed as you can get.”
Strictly Come Dancing will air tonight at 7.15pm on BBC1.