Blue's Lee Ryan was unveiled as one of the new, fresh-faced Strictly Come Dancing celebrity contestants, and it sounds like he is already have a great time making friends with his fellow dancers. His bandmate and former Strictly contestant, Simon Webbe, spoke to HELLO! about Lee's involvement in the show, telling us that Lee has become good friends with Aljaž Škorjanec during their first rehearsal. Simon – who participated in the show in 2014 – also got on well with the pro dancer, and told Lee to take note of his dance moves, advising: "You just watch Alijaz, he is the man you watch."
Simon Webbe has given advice to Lee Ryan ahead of Strictly
Having both gone through the Strictly experience and knowing Lee as well as he does, Simon is the perfect person when it comes to giving Lee top tips ahead of the opening show. "For Lee, when he takes the mickey out of himself he looks amazing. I think for his mindset, he needs to do that for the show," he said. "We are not from ballroom – where it is high class. We were not born with a silver spoon in our mouths, but if you pretend you have and create an architype, I think that is the best way. When you are on the dance floor, you are not Lee Ryan. You are not being yourself."
MORE: Strictly Come Dancing stars seen with professional dancers for first time
Strictly rehearsals started on Tuesday
Simon added: "Lee was branded the stupid one from 17 years old, so he plays up to it. So I think with this, he just has to enjoy it." Reflecting on his own time on the show, Simon admitted that he was "too competitive" wanting to make sure he gave it everything, but he certainly had the best of times, and has formed strong friendships as a result. "I still speak to Alijaz, I speak to my dance partner Kristina Rihanoff now and then! I did a Panto and she came along to watch. We keep in contact."
Lee is already friends with pro dancer Aljaž Škorjanec
READ: The complete 2018 line-up
The newly-wed said that he plans to go back to the Strictly studios to watch Lee as much as he can. "I would love to go to the rehearsals too," he added. And while Simon and Lee are very close, he didn’t know about his Strictly gig until everyone else did. "With these things you have to have respect for the process. I knew he was going to the BBC and that has Strictly in it, so we had a feeling. But he didn’t tell us until it was released," he said.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.