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Strictly's Ashley Roberts details 'emotional strain' of being unpopular with the viewers

Is Ashley a worthy winner?

Sharnaz Shahid

Strictly Come Dancing finalist Ashley Roberts miraculously survived her third straight week in the bottom two during last week's semi-final thanks to impressing the judging panel with her moves. And speaking at the Strictly final press conference, the Pussycat Dolls star opened up about her struggle of dealing with the backlash from viewers and how it has been an "emotional rollercoaster ride" when she faced the dreaded-dance off week after week. "It is such a process throughout the week - you doubt yourself as you think about how is this all going to come together on Saturday," she explained. "I thought it would be physically challenging but also the emotional, mental and physical strain is sometimes like, 'woosh'. But it's all worth it when you go out there and look back."

Ashley Roberts has been in the dreaded dance-off three times in a row

Speaking about picking herself back up again, she added: "I think the motivation comes naturally. I remembered when I first got the call to do the show, I was so excited and so grateful to be a part of this amazing show." Ashley and her dancer partner Pasha Kovalev have undeniably been one of this year's strongest couples, having scored the first 40 of the series because of their spectacular jive. "The motivation is there, that's not the issue," confessed Ashley. "The first two times of being in the dance-off was like, 'Ok that's a bit of a bummer.'

MORE: Ashley Roberts posts defiant message after Strictly criticism

Ashley and Pasha scored the first 40 of the series

"But you know when Monday hits, it's a new week, it's a fresh start – you get in there and you get focused. By the third time, I just looked at Pasha and said, 'Shall we just give them a little show? Because we're here.'" About being in the final, the star then remarked: "The amazing thing is that we did have to battle it out to get through to the final but I'm so grateful to be here. I just can't wait to get out there with these fabulous people – and to just enjoy it."

MORE: Everything you need to know about Ashley Roberts

Her dancer partner Pasha, who won Series 12 with Love Island host Caroline Flack, spoke from a professional's perspective about the reports which suggest Ashley has an "unfair advantage" over the other celebrities. "Every year we have celebrities who people talk about having more advantages over some others. From my point of view, it's a completely different ball game," he shared.

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"We used to have to put so much work to master the ballroom and Latin because these two are separate from other dancing." Heaping praise on Ashley, he added: "Looking at Ashley and coming back week after week after being knocked down - I actually have to take my hat off to Ashley – because she's coming back not only motivated but positive, more focused and more reenergised. The show must go on." Strictly Come Dancing concludes on Saturday 15th December at 6.30pm on BBC1.

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