debbie-mcgee-and-giovanni

Why Strictly's Debbie McGee could miss Blackpool this weekend

The Strictly favourite is due to perform the Samba with dance partner Giovanni

Ainhoa Barcelona

There are fears that Strictly Come Dancing's Debbie McGee may miss Blackpool this weekend. The TV star has injured herself, having pulled a muscle during rehearsals. Debbie, 59, has had to strap hot water bottles to her back in the hope that she will recover in time for the coveted Strictly special. Her sister Donna told the Mirror: "She's twisted a muscle so she's struggling. It's a real shame. She has been suffering – she had a hot water bottle on her back all week. It's really been playing up."

Debbie and her dance partner Giovanni Pernice, 27, are due to perform the Samba to a Spice Girls medley of Wannabe and Who Do You Think You Are. The popular couple have enjoyed major success on the show so far and are hotly tipped to be this year's winners. They became the first pair to score a perfect 40 for their tango two weeks ago.

debbie-mcgee-and-giovanni-pernice-on-strictly2VIEW GALLERY

Debbie has pulled a muscle during rehearsals

Fans have fallen in love with Debbie and Giovanni, and their sizzling chemistry on the dancefloor has got the nation talking of a possible romance. Debbie, the widow of magician Paul Daniels, has always denied the reports, saying: "We have a great working dance partnership and we really love each other as human beings, so I can see why people want to say there is something going on." She added to Bella: "We have great chemistry and love dancing together. But there's nothing going on."

Italian star Giovanni has also praised his dance partner, telling the Mirror: "I've got the winning partner, not just in this competition, but for the rest of my life. Debbie has to be the best person I've met in this country so far. She is just amazing."

debbie-mcgee-and-giovanni-pernice-on-strictlyVIEW GALLERY

The couple are hotly tipped to win this year's Strictly

However, it appears that Giovanni has been secretly dating choreographer Luba Mushtuk, although he has yet to speak openly about their relationship. Luba danced with Giovanni on his previous tour and the pair have been close for a number of years. A source told The Sun: "Luba and Giovanni are together, but she doesn't like Debbie because of their bond – she feels how much Gio cares for her. It's also upsetting as she would like their romance to be out in the open. Luba is very keen to be on the show one day. She assists with choreography. But that means she has to spend a lot of time watching Giovanni rehearse with Debbie, which can be uncomfortable for her."

More on: