JLS star Aston Merrygold dropped in on childhood pal Louis Smith to watch his 'Strictly Come Dancing' semi-final rehearsals – and revealed they used to have “dance-offs” as youngsters.
The chart star predicted his old chum would triumph in the BBC1 contest, adding: “He’s going to top the pile.”
Merrygold dropped into the training studio to see Smith hard at work practising with partner Flavia Cacace as they perfected this weekend’s jive and foxtrot routines.
He said: “I have always seen Louis compete. The competitive side is something we have seen before, but ballroom is world’s apart.
“We used to have dance-offs as kids, but ’street’ and ’breaking’, into ballroom, is like chalk and cheese. He’s having to learn some new grooves.”
Smith – the only male contestant left in the show – added: “We used to have dancing battles when we were younger.”
The Olympic gymnast is up against Lisa Riley, Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Dani Harmer as they compete for a place in the final, with each star expected to perform two dances on Saturday’s heat.
Merrygold – a judge of Sky 1 dance show 'Got To Dance' – said of his friend: “To get to the semi-final of a competition of this stature is huge. We’ve seen some absolutely amazing contestants in this year’s competition.
“He’s not a shabby dancer and when it comes to him being the only guy dancer left it kind of says it all, and I reckon he’s going to top the pile.
“I didn’t think I’d see him this nervous, he’s performed on world stages, competed at the highest standard in the world, and you put him on the Strictly stage the nerves start to show a little bit. You’re out of your comfort zone, it just goes to show even Olympic athletes get nervous.
“I think for the time I’ve known Louis, seeing him now turn into this star on Strictly, this dancing sensation, I cannot be any more proud of him. From winning Olympic medals to hopefully taking the Strictly crown, come on Louis.”
Smith said he would feel more comfortable if he were able to slip into his gym kit for perform on the show.
“I’d feel good if I was in a leotard to be honest, that’s when I’d feel at home,”