BBC Strictly’s Zara McDermott pays tribute to ‘rock’ Graziano after ‘scary’ performance

Strictly Come Dancing star Zara McDermott has paid tribute to her professional dancer partner Graziano Di Prima, after the pair survived the dreaded dance off for the second time this series during week five’s live show.

Appearing on Strictly: It Takes Two, Zara told show host Fleur East that Graziano had been her “absolute rock” throughout the past week, as he helped her to battle her nerves before taking to the dance floor for a second time in a dance off against Eddie Kadi.

Opening up about just how scared she had been, Zara explained: “Dance offs don’t get any easier, the more you do – but it’s one of those things that I just thought: “What do I have to lose at this point?””

Zara continued: “I need to take on the judges comments and just be more confident in myself. Realistically I think that’s what let me down on Saturday night. The nerves got the better of me.”

The star outlined exactly how she had felt as she told viewers: “This is scary. It can be scary at times. It’s really daunting no matter how much you rehearse. Going out there and hearing “Performing duh, duh, duh,” It’s scary!”

It was after explaining just how scared she had been, that Zara paid tribute to her dance partner as she told Fleur: “I’m just so grateful for this man right here. Literally my absolute rock.”

“In those moments that could be so low and so tough, he’s just there giving me all the energy, all the positivity and I’m just so grateful to still be here and have Halloween week!”

During the poignant interview, Graziano was also quick to weigh in on the situation, as he confessed Zara’s biggest obstacle was her own mind, as she struggled to believe in her own impressive skills.

He said: “For the second time, you’ve proven to me, your enemy is in here,” before touching his forehead.

Graziano continued: “So whenever you know you have a chance to prove to everyone that you can do this – you did it again!”

Instead of dwelling on their past performance, the dance duo instead looked towards the future and in particular Halloween week, which Zara herself admitted was the “best week”.

The couple are due to perform a lively Charleston to Jeepers Creepers by Al Donahue and his Orchestra, with the couple teasing that it will be performance fans at home won’t want to miss.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 28 October at 6:40pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

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