Ed Balls's wife spills the beans on him making Strictly's Blackpool special

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Qualifying for Strictly Come Dancing's Blackpool special is Ed Balls's cup final, the former shadow chancellor's wife, Yvette Cooper, has said.

His pelvic thrusting and pony dancing on Saturday night to internet hit Gangnam Style by Psy secured him a place on the annual journey to Blackpool's Tower Ballroom.

Ed Balls (Guy Levy/BBC Press Association Images)
Ed Balls (Guy Levy/BBC Press Association Images)

Balls's performance was called the "best worst dance ever" by judge Bruno Tonioli, while head judge Len Goodman said: "I don't think there's words in the dictionary to describe that."

Labour MP Cooper told BBC's Daily Politics: "It's just wild, isn't it?

"He's enjoying it,. we're all enjoying watching. It is just bringing joy to everyone in the most bizarre and surreal way."

Asked if she thought Balls and professional partner Katya Jones could win the competition, Cooper said: "We always thought if you got him to Blackpool, that would be his triumph.

"Blackpool is like his Wembley so I think getting to Blackpool itself is a triumph."

Strictly Ed Balls
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During Sunday night's show, presenter Claudia Winkleman hinted that Balls and Jones would be dancing to Great Balls Of Fire in the Blackpool special on Saturday.

The trip to Blackpool is a Strictly tradition and often marks a turning point in the competition, as the contestants show off their improvement since the beginning of the series.

Cooper also revealed her husband had initially been training at home but had to stop after the moves became more complicated.

"He's training between four and eight hours a day," she said.

"The first couple of weeks he would practice some of the steps in the kitchen but now as he has got a bit better, but also the moves have become considerably more demonstrative, he just bangs into the kitchen surface so it doesn't quite work like that."

Quizzed on whether she had let him practise any lifts on her at home, Cooper said: "Katya is very brave and considerably lighter than I am as well. It's fantastic that Katya is doing that but not for me."

The odds of Balls winning the BBC competition have been cut considerably since he and Jones first took to the dance floor, with Ladbrokes shortening them to 20/1 from 150/1 since week one.