They have lit up the Strictly Come Dancing dancefloor with their impeccable chemistry and dazzling routines, so it's no wonder Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice have reached this year's finale! Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Giovanni opened up about how his partner made an excellent first impression. "At the launch show before we were paired, my reaction was everything," shared the 27-year-old dancer. "I was completely shocked. We did a little dancing together - and I immediately saw that something was there, she had potential. So I was super happy to be dancing with Debbie."
Debbie McGee with dance partner Giovanni Pernice
Elaborating further, Giovanni added: "The first week, for the Paso Doble, I asked her if she can do the splits. She said, 'I think I can'. Then I said, 'well let me see it then.' I was like 'wow - this is going to be amazing! This is going to be amazing, thank you so much!' From there I was like, 'happy days!' I then saw the other [moves] and was like, 'yes, Flexy McGee.' It felt like Christmas had come early. It got better when she did a kick."
When Debbie was asked to reflect on her Strictly experience, the TV personality credited her dance partner. "From day one, we just got on," she revealed. "We both have the same sense of humour - same as Aljaz and Gemma - the same work ethics. It's just been a really special time." Complementing the sweet sentiment, Giovanni added: "It's been the best time of my life. I've only been on the show for three seasons now. It's been really great." He continued: "It's not just about the dancing. When you spend so much time in the training room, it makes the experience even better with Debbie."
But it was Debbie's infectious personality which really won him over. "Everybody knows about the lovely Debbie McGee, for me it was more than that," he explained. "She came every day with a smile on her face and she just made the day better. When she comes to the training room with a smile, it's a good feeling and she made me feel much better as a teacher. I just want to say thank you to you, because you have been great."
Meanwhile, Strictly fans will be thrilled to learn that the celebrity dancers and their professional partners for the 2018 Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Tour. The Strictly tour will open at the Arena Birmingham on 19 January 2018 and will then visit some of the biggest entertainment venues across the UK, including a return to Belfast at the SSE Arena. It will also stop off at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena, First Direct Arena Leeds, Manchester Arena, The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena and The SSE Arena Wembley, before culminating at The O2 Arena in London on 11 February.
Strictly Come Dancing's 2017 final will air on 16 December from 6.30pm on BBC One.