Judge Rinder: I finally overcame my nerves in final Strictly performance

Judge Rinder has said he finally shed his nerves during his last Strictly performance, after discovering the song he was dancing to was loved by a friend who had passed away.

The TV star battled stage fright during his time on the BBC competition, saying that he was so “terrified” before every routine that he struggled to even step onto the dancefloor.

But speaking on BBC2 spin-off show It Takes Two, he said hearing that his late friend loved Defying Gravity, from Wicked, changed “the alchemy” and he thoroughly enjoyed his last performance.

Holding back tears, he said: “It was the first week that before we went out that I wasn’t nervous at all.

“There was somebody I really love in my life who passed away, and earlier in the day I got a text message saying this was her favourite song. Genuinely.

“And there was something that happened, and the alchemy changed, and the moment the music came on I just had the most fun I possibly could.”

Rinder became the 11th contestant to leave the show alongside his professional partner Oksana Platero, with the judges voting unanimously to save Ore Oduba and his partner Joanne Clifton after the dance-off.

The barrister praised Oksana for being a wonderful teacher.

“When somebody teaches you to love something, you never forget that,” he said.

He said of his Strictly journey: “I have loved being here.

“I watch this show, I’m a fan of it and you have no idea what goes into it to make every single person have such passion and love for it and boy can you feel it.

“It is such a joy.”

Rinder said it was difficult to explain the thrill of finishing a routine that had gone well.

He said: “It is this sort of joy that… honestly, it renders me inarticulate… it could power the world.

“It was heavenly.”

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