LISBURN'S dancing daughter, Rebecca Leonard, inched her way closer to
the grand final of BBC's Strictly Dance Fever after a dramatic showdown
last Saturday night.
Rebecca confessed to the Star last week that both she and partner
Adam were struggling with their Foxtrot and they certainly didn't get
the approval of the judges, with harsh criticism being levelled at the
However, despite being placed in the bottom two by the judges,
Rebecca and Adam clearly had the support of the public and lived to
dance another day.
Fighting back the tears on Saturday's show, Rebecca was clearly more
than relieved that her dream still lives on.
The Lisburn girl saw sonic more friendly faces this week when her
grandmother flew over for the show's VE Day celebrations and her
parents made the trip to London for the show itself.
Rebecca's mum, Irene, went to London last weekend together with
Rebecca's dad to watch their daughter compete in what turned out to be a
nail-biting live showdown. "Well, they survived another week," said
Irene. "It was very stressful.
"As predicted the Foxtrot couples all received poor marks and
comments. The judges as usual were very harsh.
"The good news was that Rebecca was allowed home with us on Sunday,
joined also by a camera crew.
"They came to the house and interviewed us all there and followed
Rebecca for a while.
"'This was all very last minute. As we were all in London, I had to
leave any arrangements in the hands of Rebecca's sister, Paula.
"A surprise party was set up for all her family and friends,
including Lisnagarvey Operatic Society, GB officers and her dance
"The owners of the Halo nightclub, part of the Down Royal, have been
brilliant and kindly opened their doors for us to lay on this party.
This is their way of supporting the local girl.
"The camera crew were there of course and a live link was set up
between Adam back at the house and the Halo nightclub. "Some of the
girls got to speak to Adam and ask questions. Jodie Clark asked: "Is
Rebecca nice to you?"
Laura McCallum asked if Rebecca was heavy to lift, and Aaron Lyttle
asked if Rebecca was bossy.
gave a quick lesson to the younger people on the Fosse routine. "It was
a hectic afternoon. There was a really big turnout of people and we all
had a great time, especially Rebecca.
"I had kept all the press coverage for her to see, and she did not
realise the great support everyone has given her over the last four
"It was good for her to see that and it gave her a great boost.
"Rebecca slept in her own bed for the first time in four weeks but
she was up on Monday morning at 4am and picked up by the camera crew at
4.45am to go to the airport and catch the first plane to London.
"She arrived back at the house shortly after 9am and her masterclass
started at 9.30am.
"What a hectic weekend!
Very enjoyable none the less."
Speaking to the Star again this week, Rebecca admitted Saturday had been
a difficult night.
"I can't even describe how awful Saturday was" she said. "I expected
the foxtrot to be hard and we did expect to be near the bottom but the
worst case scenario would be to have been bottom with Natasha and Paul,
which is exactly what happened, because we knew they had great public
support. But then so do we!
"I feel that we are most definitely the underdogs and the judges are
going to try to get rid of us.
"The foxtrot and lambada weren't going to be our best dances but I
think the judges have a thing about us being the wild card.
"It was really nice to be home at the weekend but it made me realise
how much I really love it here and I was wondering what everyone was
doing back at the house.
"My friends, my old ballet teacher, relatives, everybody I have been
friends with over the last few years all came together to say how much
they were supporting me.
"I flew back to London on Monday morning and they made an
announcement about me on the plane so I'm hoping everyone who flew to
London on Easyjet on Monday will be voting for me!
"Last week we had the VE Day celebrations. We danced for the veterans
on HMS Belfast, which was really nice and felt really special because,
even though it's just a namesake, it meant a lot because I'm from
"We also had a surprise VE Day visit from our grandparents.
Everybody's grandparents, including my granny, came over and I really
enjoyed hearing all of their stories.
"This week we are doing the Mambo. It's a Cuban dance and I am happy
enough with it so far.
"This dance is a bit more straightforward than the foxtrot and the
lambada. Every week we are just going to try our best
"I want to thank everyone for the support so far but now that we have
past the half way mark and the countdown has begun we want to go the
rest of the way.
'We definitely rely on the support of the public so keep on voting"
VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE
YOU can vote all week for Adam and Rebecca by calling 0901 1214003 or by
texting `Vote 3' to 63633. Calls cost 25p with at least 12p going to
Comic Relief and texts cost 25p plus standard message rate, l lp goes to
Friends greet Rebecca outside Halo. US19-718SP RIGHT: Jodie Clark
talking to Adam. US19-719SP