Alexandra Burke has faced one of the most difficult journeys on Strictly Come Dancing this year, but her partner Gorka Marquez has helped her to see that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’
The 29-year-old Strictly finalist lost her mother Melissa Bell on the same day as the BBC show’s red carpet launch, and she’s been cruelly trolled throughout the series.
But the London-born performer says the show has been a ‘distraction’ from the pain and credits her ‘amazing friendship’ with Gorka for helping her through.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s finale, Alexandra says: ‘I was going through so much of course as soon as we started.
‘It was a very hard time for me. And to have this as a distraction has been amazing – something I have been able to focus on and get the most amazing friendship with Gorka.
‘I don’t want this to end. I’m trying my best to be like, “This is not the end [of my Strictly journey], this is not the last time I will see Gorka”. And it isn’t. We’ve arranged to go out next week!
‘I’ve loved every single moment on Strictly and I wouldn’t change it for the world.’
Gorka – who’s rumoured to be dating Gemma Atkinson, who’s also competing in Saturday night’s final – says Alexandra has been ‘amazing’ to work with and she’s made him ‘the proudest man.’
He says: ‘It’s been incredible to work with (Alexandra). I have been loving every day in rehearsals with her.
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‘Last year was my first year [on Strictly] and I was out very soon. This year, the whole experience has been incredible for me and it’s all thanks to her.
‘She comes every day and gives her best. She makes my job so easy and enjoyable and I love it. It’s sad that there [is not long left] for everyone. Thank you to [Alexandra] because she has been the best.
‘She has defied my expectation about how good she could be. I am the proudest man I could be.’
Alexandra also addressed the nasty trolling she’s been receiving throughout this year’s series after some viewers branded her ‘fake’.
She says the negative comments ‘can take their toll’ – especially with the constant notifications on social media sites – but that she concentrates on ‘all the love’.
She says: ‘It would be silly for me to not acknowledge yes, there has been some trolling.
‘But the way that we deal with it is we just get on with it, really. Sometimes it can take its toll, mentally.
‘And that’s my fault for reading [the comments], but you can’t help but read certain things when you’ve got the apps like Twitter and Instagram just there on your phone, and notifications pop up.
‘But at the end of the day there’s so much more love out there. So I concentrate on the love, the positivity, because I’m such a positive person and I don’t care what I’m going through I find a reason to smile at everything, and that’s just the way I’ve been from a little girl.”
‘So the trolls can go away.’
The Strictly Come Dancing airs tonight at 6.30pm on BBC One.
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