Ore and Joanne feel like Gene Kelly gave their Strictly routine his blessing


Ore Oduba has said that getting the thumbs up from Gene Kelly's widow for his Strictly Come Dancing routine was as close as it comes to a blessing from the late star himself.

The BBC sports presenter and his professional partner on the show Joanne Clifton performed an American smooth take on the Kelly classic Singin' In The Rain for movie week on Saturday night. It won rave reviews from judges and the audience - but none of the compliments meant more to them than Patricia Ward's.

Strictly Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton

Patricia, who was married to Gene from 1990 until his death in 1996, had said of the Strictly routine: "I thought it was a beautiful tribute to Gene. He never wanted people to imitate his work, he wanted to take it and create something new. Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton did this with grace and style."

Talking about what she'd said on BBC Two spin-off show Strictly - It Takes Two this evening, Ore said: "It's the closest that you would get to a blessing from Gene Kelly himself and that's just unfathomable. And she's said she wants to meet us."

Both Ore and Joanne admitted that the dance had made them emotional and Ore added: "I haven't watched that since and not started welling up. In fact I haven't cried that much since my wedding day."

Gene Kelly and Shirley MacLaine

Meanwhile, Judge Rinder and his partner Oksana Platero told show host Zoe Ball that a few slip ups in training had distracted them into making mistakes during their routine on the live show.

The pair danced a Flintstones-themed Charleston and Judge Rinder said: "We'd had a few crash and wallops before we did the final run.

"After that first trick when I caught (Oksana) there was a moment where I thought, 'You're alive!' and I was so relieved I forgot the step."

Strictly Oksana Platero and Judge Rinder

Talking about Judge Rinder fumbling a lift in training, Oksana added: "I was never dropped before in my life."

Judges on Saturday night were impressed by a lift in which Judge Rinder turned Oksana upside down and pretended to play the bongos on her bottom, and he said of the move: "The bum bongos hopefully will live in Strictly legend."

But talking about his Flintstones costume, which included a dark wig, he said: "I think I look like a mildly frightened Edwina Currie.