Molly Rainford hopes the “excitement” of being in Blackpool for Strictly Come Dancing quashes her “nerves” as she performs at the prestigious Tower Ballroom on Saturday.
The 21-year-old actress, broadcaster and singer almost topped the competition’s leaderboard last week with a total of 37 points for her and partner Carlos Gu’s rumba to All The Man That I Need by Whitney Houston.
Rainford spoke to PA news agency about what hitting the stage in Blackpool will feel like this weekend.
She said: “I think the excitement will take over from the nerves on that particular night because to make it that far is an honour in itself.
“To be able to perform there, you just have to have the best time out there because you only go to Blackpool once.
“We’re lucky enough to be in the Strictly Elstree Studios every week.”
Gu, who joined the cast of Strictly this year, has previously competed at Blackpool outside of the celebrity competition.
The Chinese national champion told PA: “For us (as dancers), Blackpool is a dream place, (it) is a magic place (and) is the place that gathers all the dance (from) around the world.
“I feel like it’s going to be different (for Strictly), but it’s going to be so much fun because you’re not in competing mood, (you’re) more in (an enjoying) mood and to entertain.”
Rainford also said: “I feel like it’d be nice to have extra dancers out there with us and it’s going to feel maybe a bit scarier because it is so big and you’ve got a lot of shoes to fill when you’re in that ballroom.”
Memorable Strictly moments from Blackpool over the years include 2016’s entrance by former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who was lowered from the ceiling playing a piano before taking to the dancefloor to jive with Katya Jones.
Another moment saw Ann Widdecombe do the samba alongside professional partner Anton Du Beke in 2010, both dressed in bright yellow, with the former Tory MP earning the night’s lowest score of 13 out of 40.
The former Britain’s Got Talent finalist also said she is trying to “manifest” being in the final by “visualising” herself there in her mind.
She added: “I’m having the best time. Like everything, you know, learning each dance, having those moments where I’m frustrated…
“I love this journey…I don’t want this time to be up.”
Gu agrees, saying: “We just want to perform more…because reaching the final means you’re in the final but it also means that you’re going to have more performances.”
Rainford, who plays the titular character in the CBBC comedy drama series Nova Jones, said she would like to try musical theatre after Strictly as she now has “confidence” in her dancing ability.
She added: “It’s so amazing, because you start seeing, ‘Oh, my gosh, I actually did that quite well’.
“Or, ‘I actually got what you meant when you said about this technique’.
“And, the things are starting to slowly, you know, sink into the brain, and like not be taboo when you get to it or not be kind of completely new territory.”
Sunday night’s results show saw former England footballer Tony Adams, 56, become the seventh celebrity to leave after he was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Strictly is returning for the first time to Blackpool after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.
The remaining eight couples will take to the dancefloor at Blackpool Tower on Saturday November 19 at 7.45pm, with the results show on Sunday November 20 at 7.20pm on BBC One.