kevin clifton stacey dooley

Kevin Clifton reveals real reason he wanted Stacey Dooley on Strictly from start

The Strictly star split from his wife Karen Clifton last year

Sharnaz Shahid

This year's Strictly Come Dancing has been another incredible series for Kevin Clifton, who has made the finals once again with current dance partner Stacey Dooley. Last year was a completely different story for Kevin, who had parted ways from his estranged wife Karen Clifton before taking part in their joint nationwide tour together. However, his involvement in the BBC show has helped Kevin fall in love with Strictly and dance all over again. When asked about being in another final at the Strictly press conference, Kevin shared: "I've really enjoyed this year. I was really hoping to get Stacey as my partner at the beginning because I was such a super fan of her documentaries. So when she was announced on the show, I was like 'please please please.'"

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Kevin Clifton has opened up about being in the final with Stacey Dooley

"I've just had a great time, I've smiled so much," he added. "I said it on the results show last week, as if I couldn't love dancing any more, I have kind of fallen in love with Strictly all over again. I really really enjoyed this series." Since his debut on Strictly in 2013, Kevin has become a fan favourite. Both he and Stacey have been tipped to win the show from the very start. Heaping praise on the acclaimed journalist, Kevin revealed: "I thought she would be nice and everything but I also thought she would be quite serious because of the way she is in her documentaries. But then when we got into the training room, she's really hyper – like a lot and all the time. She's just as daft as I am."

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The pair are tipped to win Strictly this year

Some of Kevin's past partners include: Susanna Reid (in 2013), Frankie Bridge (2014), Kellie Bright (2015), Louise Redknapp (2016) and Susan Calman (2017). When asked about wanting to take home the Glitterball this year, Kevin explained: "I think the bigger picture is, it's not the winning. This is not the championships, it's not life or death. The winning is not the most important thing in the world." Expanding further, he elaborated: "Of course I'm speaking as someone who's a runner-up every single time – of course all of us would love to win. It's not the most important thing to ever happen in the history of the universe. You've got to look at things in perspective." Playfully, Kevin then teased: "But of course all of us would just love to win just the once."

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During the competition, Kevin and Stacey hit a roadblock when the broadcaster injured her ribs which forced her to miss two days' worth of training. Reflecting on the incident, Kevin said: "I can't remember what scores we got but I think the week Stacey hurt her ribs, I thought it was going to be a disaster and not perform. I thought what are we going to do as we didn't start training until the Wednesday and I asked her, 'How's your rib? Are you ok?' And she said, 'Boring! Let's just get on with it.'" He added: "She worked and worked and we upped our hours. It proved to me how invested she was in the whole thing and how she wanted to do well."

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Despite the struggle of learning all the new dances week after week, keeping the viewers at home happy with their routines is one of their number one priorities to keep going. "I jokingly once said to her, 'You do such important, eye-opening work whereas I basically shake my bum in a sparkly shirt for a living,'" he confessed. "But then Stacey said to me, 'Why would you even trivialise that – with all the horrible stuff in the news, it's so important to just make people smile once in a while.'" Crediting the BBC show, Kevin concluded: "Just to smile for a couple of hours, that's what we aim to do and that's what we are mostly proud of. And that's what's in our heads as we head into the final. We want it to be the most joyous thing on TV. That's what Strictly does so well and why it has lasted so long." Strictly Come Dancing concludes on Saturday 15th December at 6.30pm on BBC1.

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