Former pros Ian Waite and Vincent Simone explain why they’re so happy NOT to be on ‘Strictly’

Ian Waite and Vincent Simone
Ex Strictly pro dancers Ian Waite and Vincent Simone (Image credit: BBC)

Former Strictly Come Dancing stars Ian Waite and Vincent Simone have revealed why they’re happy they aren’t among the pros on the latest series – the demands are far harder and the hours longer than their glory days in the Noughties.

Vincent, 42, told BBC Breakfast: “I had to choreograph the Argentinian tangoes for the couples and I actually thought, I’m very happy I’m not involved in the show any more because I remember the long, long days, it was extremely tiring."

Ian, 50, added: “It’s even worse nowadays. I mean, back in the day when we were on, Vincent, we could do four-six hours a day. Now if you don’t do 12 hours a day you’re not working hard enough! 

“It’s just what the pros expect now. The pros are competitive, they know you have to put the work in or else you don’t get the results."

The duo, who are on tour together as The Ballroom Boys in Ian Waite & Vincent Simone: Act Two, say the results of the tough work ethic are evident in the skills the dancers displayed from the first episode of Strictly.

“The first week I was amazed at how good everybody was,” said Ian. “Then AJ [Odudu] came on and just blew everybody away. But I was relieved she only got two 9s and two 8s because that meant she didn’t beat mine and Zoe’s [Ball] record of three 9s and an 8 in the first week.”

It’s clear that Aj and her pro partner Kai Widdrington are strong favourites with the pair. 

Ian said of their week one foxtrot: “She is absolutely phenomenal. She’s elegant and everything you want in a ballroom dancer, lovely long limbs.”

Vincent added: “That’s not an easy dance. Kai has done an amazing job, that’s a really complicated routine.”

AJ and Kai will dance an American Smooth to I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston, from The Bodyguard, in tonight’s Movie Week show and while it would be no surprise to the pair to see them in final, they were undecided about who will lift the Glitterball Trophy.

"Obviously AJ is a favourite,” said Ian. “I love Rhys Stevenson as well, the two boys, John and Johannes, Rose [Ayling-Ellis], Sara Davies now with her ballroom, gorgeous...”

Strictly Come Dancing screens on BBC One at 6.45pm

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.