Belfast Telegraph

Daniel O'Donnell's relief that Strictly stint is now over

By Joanne Sweeney

He's been a star performer on stage for more than 30 years but Daniel O'Donnell could not shake off the curse of Strictly Come Dancing nerves.

Yesterday the Donegal crooner told of his relief after being voted off the top BBC1 show.

Even with his dashing pilot's uniform, Daniel failed to impress the judges with his dance-off foxtrot with Kristina Rihanoff to classic song Fly Me To The Moon on Sunday night.

He made too many mistakes compared to Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallagher and her partner Brendan Cole and was unanimously voted off the show.

While he described his few weeks as "such a happy experience", he admitted "maybe I was quite happy to go, to tell the truth".

"The stage thing was something I had not anticipated being so nervous about.

"I never anticipated having had that nervous feeling but I had. The night I was doing Danny Zuko (the Grease character) I was standing three steps up and all I thought was 'how am I going to get down these steps?' and all I had to do was to walk.

"If I didn't have to do the dance every Saturday night, I would have stayed on forever," the 53-year-old told the Nolan Show.

However, before he left he gave Kristina the Daniel O'Donnell public seal of approval.

The professional dancer (38) was branded as a marriage wrecker due to her relationship with former contestant Ben Cohen.

But Daniel kindly told the millions watching: "If people knew what this girl is really like", to which the professional dancer teared up on hearing.

The admiration was mutual as Kristina tweeted back on Sunday night: 'Can't find words to express my appreciation for your kind words for Daniel & I. So glad I got an opportunity to get to know a great person'.

Daniel revealed that tough judge Craig Revel Horwood is an "absolute gent" behind the scenes and "so funny".

Even with his crumbling dance confidence on the show, Daniel managed to miss the other SCD curse - that of his relationship breaking down in favour of a dancer.

He and wife Majella start a new TV series visiting B&B guesthouses throughout Ireland on UTV Ireland on October 26.

And Daniel will be putting away his dancing shoes and clearing his throat to get back to the day job when he promotes his new album, The Hank Williams Songbook.

Belfast Telegraph


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