Strictly Come Dancing professional Amy Dowden has spoken out in defence about her celebrity partner Karim Zeroual's previous dance experience. During a chat on FUBAR Radio on Thursday, the pro dancer revealed that the CBBC presenter has no unfair advantage over the other celebrity contestants. "He did musical theatre as a child but to be honest that doesn't always help you," she explained. "I know some people think, 'ooh he's got dance experience, it helps', but I say it's like languages; if you can speak Spanish it doesn’t mean you can speak Italian."
She added: "If you're ballet trained you can have such turned out feet but in ballroom you need parallel feet so you've actually then got to un-train them and then train them. Sometimes having a blank canvas might help. He's [Karim] got something you can't teach; he's gifted." When quizzed about the pressure of being a frontrunner on the show, Amy replied: "We're not focussing on that. We've got no control over that. All we've got control of is delivering the best performance we can every Saturday night. You don't have time to look at it all."
WATCH: The Countess of Wessex shows off her ballroom dance skills in Blackpool
Last month, Karim confessed that getting the chance to be "Strictlified" was one of the main reasons he agreed to take part in the show. Speaking to HELLO! and other journalists at the 2019 launch, the 25-year-old gushed about the chance to dress-up each week: "That is something I'm well excited for! It's one of the reasons I joined up, I have no inhibitions and love messing about and trying new things. The widest of flares, the Cuban heels, the tan, bring it on! It would be boring if you didn't get a flamboyant costume!"
GALLERY: A look back at former Strictly romances off the dancefloor
Karim has been a CBBC presenter since 2014, presenting directly from the CBBC HQ as well as numerous other titles, including BBC Young Dancer and Wimbledon Live. He starred in a number of TV shows, before turning to television presenting. His most notable work is in the children's series The Sparticle Mystery, where he played Sadiq from 2011 to 2015. Also, he has had small roles in programmes like Da Vinci's Demons, in which he portrayed a thief in 2014. Karim even had a small role in EastEnders in 2006.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.