Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls finds 'inner Beyonce'

Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls said he has found his "inner Beyonce" after 10 weeks in the BBC contest.

As the final looms, the former shadow chancellor, 49, said he hopes to get far enough into the competition to perform a "steamy" rumba, which he believes would be "something special".

Speaking between rehearsals on Friday, he explained the revelation came to him the moment his partner Katya Jones screamed at him to "give them more" while performing live on the Strictly stage.

He told the Press Association: "If you said to me three months ago I had an inner Beyonce I wouldn't have believed you, but clearly I did. I've been singing Halo in the shower ever since."

He continued: "It's one dance at a time, and we don't feel like stopping, but I would love to get a 7 from Craig (Revel Horwood), or a 30 from all the judges.

"And I really want to do the rumba. I think it might be quite special.

"I think I might be able to deliver romance through dance in a way we've never quite seen before.

"I have this feeling that my rumba could be the thing that finally melts Craig and makes him smile.

"That would be like an Olympic gold medal."

Speaking about this weekend's performance, a tango to (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, he said: "Each week is getting harder and tougher, and the tango is hard.

"I will also be channelling male modelling, leaning towards Zoolander and I've been working on my Blue Steel", before adding that the "only thing I'd be able to model is contact lenses".

But while he assured his fans he would not be delighting them with the release of an Ed Balls calendar this Christmas, his wife Yvette Cooper has praised him for losing a stone and a half since being on the show.

"But she is always pushing me harder," he added.

"She wants to learn all my routines so we can whack one out at the next Labour Party conference disco."

Promising that he would "definitely keep dancing," whether or not he reaches the final, he said: "I was never good, but I started bad and I got better.

"It's clear we have been having a good time and I have been trying really hard.

"If it was just about the skill then I don't think people would have liked it as much, and I would have gone out at the start, but Katya has combined the entertainment and performance into it in a way that has not happened quite that way in Strictly before.

"We have boom moments and slapstick moments interspersed with the proper dancing."

While Balls revealed his favourite dance of the show so far was the Charleston, it was his rendition of Gangnam Style that viewers anticipated the most.

Jones described the moment where he jumped on top of her as "90% brave and 10% reckless" on her part.

Balls added that Jones had helped him to focus on the dancing during stressful moments, particularly when worrying about Brexit.

"She told me the country will still be there afterwards, and that's how I feel about next year and what will happen next for me.

"I scheduled lots of press appointments following the release of my book this year for mid-November because I didn't think we would get this far in the competition. We've been so surprised by the public reaction.

"I have no idea what I will be doing next year - apart from my teaching at Kings and chairing Norwich - and that's absolutely fine. There's not time to worry at the moment.

"The process of Strictly is physically and mentally exhausting and if I can get to the end of tomorrow and not forget the tango, that is a triumph."

:: Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday on BBC One at 7pm