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Giovanni Pernice talks Strictly, Michelle Visage and his new show

Posted 9th March 2020

The Strictly dancer reveals (almost) all ahead of his April show.

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This is your fourth year of touring with your own show, how does it compare to being on Strictly Come Dancing?
: I absolutely love being on Strictly, it’s the best show on TV and I feel so lucky to be part of it. Without Strictly, I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do my own tour. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to do something I really love as a job. On the show it’s all about your partner, teaching them to dance and making them look amazing. Letting them shine and hopefully going far in the competition. On the tour it is all about me darling, ha ha! This Is Me is about the audiences getting to know me a little better.

You’ve been on Strictly for five years now, and three times in the final
G: It’s good, you know. As I said before I feel so so lucky to be on the show for five years and to have had such great partners! I just can’t seem to win the glitter ball!

Is that your priority when in the competition, to win the trophy?
G: I dream about that trophy every night, you know, it’s what it means to you! I would love to sleep next to that trophy for the rest of my life! But seriously, the priority of the competition is to get to the end, obviously that’s what we all want, to teach your celebrity a new dance every week and hopefully, to do a good job, so that they go far. Then we know our job is complete. But you know, it’s down to the public if they want to vote for us.

We loved your partnership with Michelle Visage on the last series.
G: I loved every single second with Michelle! She is such a determined person and she put in a lot of hard work because she wanted to be amazing. She is a partner I will remember forever. Friends for life!

Did you expect to go out when you did?
G: We knew it was going to be a tricky one to win the public votes because obviously, when you compare it with what the other couples were doing, like the Paso, the Salsa, it was very different. Something that a lot of people haven’t seen before and especially not on Strictly.

We knew doing the Vogue routine was a risk, but I think it worked. It was about the message we wanted to send out to the community and it’s something Michelle is very proud of and passionate about. We loved performing it!

You said you and Michelle are friends for life. Will we get to see #teamvisagio perform together again?
G: Oh, definitely, definitely! Michelle is going to be my special guest at the show. You don’t want to miss it, trust me!

What can we expect from the show? This is your fourth tour, so how do you keep the audiences coming back for more?
G: Well, you know, I’m in it for a start, so..! Seriously though, I just want to try and do something different. Something that you haven’t seen before. I want to challenge myself and show off my hidden talents!

Can you tell us what these talents might be?
I can’t, it’s a surprise. You’ll have to come and watch the show! But I can tell you that I’ll be wearing a tail suit, which I haven’t done before in any of my other shows. I’ve also got a set and my biggest ever cast, it’s going to be my biggest and best tour yet! I’m so excited!

Where do you get your inspiration from?
For me I love Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, all the legends of the past, you know, even Anton Du Beke. Well, he’s not quite from the past, but he is a legend.

One of my biggest idols is Freddie Mercury. He could do everything and he had such a power and incredible energy on stage. Unfortunately, I never got to see him live, but I watch all of the clips of him on YouTube and everything and he is just incredible, honestly. Just an unbelievable energy.

Is that what you are going to try to bring to your show, an extra level of energy?
I always try to give more than 100%, people are coming to see me, so you want them to enjoy the show and have a good night out. That’s what it is all about. But it’s the audience who give you that energy. When there are a thousand people every night cheering for you and they appreciate what you are doing, it’s a feeling you can’t describe. I feel incredibly blessed to be in this position and I’m lucky, really lucky.

How do you come up with the idea for the show and the choreography?
I meet with my producer and the choreographers, Trent and Gordana. They’re my good friends and have worked on Strictly, and they are fantastic. We work together, talk through ideas and combine everything and create a show! Gordana also makes the costumes, so it’s a good team.

And your cast, who have you got joining you this year?
Giulia Dotta will be taking the role on as my leading lady for This Is Me. We’ve performed together before and she was my partner for Here Come the Boys. We’ve known each other for a long time and she really is an incredible dancer. I also have a lot of other Italian dancers this year, so we’re going to have a lot of fun, I’ve known them for a long time as well! And also, Oksana from Strictly and her husband Jonathan. They do some crazy lifts and tricks.

It’s going to be a really, really good show and I can’t wait for everyone to watch it!

This is Me is coming to Her Majesty’s Theatre on Sun 12 April. Get tickets to the show here.