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Holly prepares for her Strictly rumba with stand-in Brendan

STRICTLY Come Dancing's Holly Valance faces her toughest test yet as she dances a rumba tonight with stand-in partner Brendan Cole.

The former Neighbours star was rescued by Cole after her partner of the last seven weeks, Artem Chigvintsev, was forced to pull out of the show due to a back injury. The duo will be performing to Will Young's Leave Right Now.

Following last weekend's show, it emerged that Chigvintsev (29) performed his routine without realising he had fractured his spine.

The pair's jive scored 34 out of 40, the second highest of the night, despite the pain the dancer was in.

Valance (28) praised her new partner. "He's a really fantastic teacher, he's very enthusiastic very positive," she said.

"I was just getting used to Artem after six, seven weeks, so Brendan and I are winging it for now. And I'm going to try and make it look as seamless as possible.

"But the reality is that it's a little bit tricky and I'm back to square one with the new person but hopefully the skills that I've learnt will help me and strengthen me."

Only last weekend Cole was dancing with Lulu, before she was voted off the show.

But Valance said she did not expect the judges to be any more lenient simply because she had a stand-in.

"I think they will judge me individually on this dance and I think they just need to be fair, they need to be fair to everyone else in this competition as well," she said. She vowed to "hold the fort" until Chigvintsev's return.

Valance's fellow Strictly competitor Russell Grant (60) has admitted his exit from the show was already "overdue".

"I'd love to get to Wembley. It would be a dream but I'm already overdue to be going back home. But for some reason the public aren't letting me," he said.

Grant and Flavia Cacace will be dancing an American Smooth to I Am What I Am.

hnews@herald.ie


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