Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani talk to HELLO! about their Strictly partnership

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Jay McGuiness may be favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing in December, but he insists it is all thanks to his dance partner Aliona Vilani. Speaking to HELLO! magazine, the former star of The Wanted said he is "loving every second" of his time on the dancing show.

Read the full interview in this week's HELLO! magazine, on sale now in all good newsagents and available to download on iPad, android, kindle fire and more formats. Or subscribe today to make sure you don't miss an issue!

"I'm loving every second and wake up every morning thinking, 'I can't wait to start rehearsing'," Jay told HELLO!, of his gruelling schedule that sees him rehearsing for nine hours a day.

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Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani are favourites to win Strictly in 2015

He added: "I have some basic advantages, because as a kid, I did some dancing. I'd do tap and ballet after school – really cool at that age – and then at 16, I did three years of musical theatre.

"But that was ten years ago and now I'm learning styles I've never done before. Believe me, without Aliona, it would be car-crash."

The 25-year-old also spoke about his transformation on the show, which included chopping off his long curly locks. "I have to say, what with the hair cut and the training, I feel three pounds lighter," Jay said. "Although a slicked-back ponytail might have been a good look for the tango."

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Read the full interview in the latest issue of HELLO!

Jay and Aliona were talking to HELLO! while supporting London Poppy Day in Covent Garden, a cause they were both keen to back along with some of their Strictly co-stars.

"Poppy Day is one of the most important days of the year – to honour those who sacrificed their lives so that we have the lives we have now," Aliona explained.

To read more of the interview with Jay and Aliona, pick up the latest copy of HELLO! Magazine.