Strictly star Jamie Laing doesn’t know why he wasn’t re-paired with reigning champ Oti Mabuse after returning to the show – but predicts the pro dancer would have ended up ‘hating him.’
Jamie, 31, damaged the tendon in his right foot last year, ruling him out of the competition that was then won by Oti, 30, and his replacement, Kelvin Fletcher, 36.
After being welcomed back, Jamie was paired with Karen Hauer, 38, in a move that he believes was wise by BBC bosses after feeling happier than ever in his current partnership.
Last year: Strictly’s Jamie Laing doesn’t know why he wasn’t re-paired with reigning champ Oti Mabuse after returning to the show – but predicts the dancer would have ended up ‘hating him’
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, Jamie said: ‘It would have been wonderful to be re-paired with Oti but at the same time everything happens for a reason and Karen and I are real buddies.
‘Perhaps Oti may have hated me at some point? Who knows! But with Karen we get on so well and so, it kind of works. I am happy that Karen and I are partnered together without a doubt.
‘After what’s happened this year, I honestly thought that the show wasn’t going to happen but thank God we can actually dance.’
While he loves being trained by Karen, who has been putting him through his paces from the early morning until ten o’clock at night, the Made In Chelsea star can’t help but feel inferior when comparing his physique to the pro dancer’s athletic body.
‘Everything happens for a reason: Jamie damaged the tendon in his right foot last year, ruling him out of the competition that was then won by Oti and his replacement, Kelvin Fletcher
‘We get on so well’: After being welcomed back, Jamie was paired with Karen Hauer in a move he believes was wise by BBC bosses after feeling happier than ever in his current partnership
He said: ‘My wonderful partner Karen has abs everywhere.
‘Her abs are literally out for a fight at the moment, they are all over her body. I am sort of looking… a little bit, not as muscly next to her. But I am losing weight and feeling great and improving my stamina.
‘Karen is 100 per cent keeping me in check without a doubt. She tells me off, she will be like “Get that step! It’s on one Jamie, it’s on one!” And I’m like “Karen, I know it’s on one but I keep forgetting it!”
‘We have funny little arguments together but I am just in such awe of her.’
‘I am not as muscly next to her!’: The Made In Chelsea star can’t help but feel inferior when comparing his physique to pro dancer Karen’s athletic body
‘Karen is keeping me in check’: Jamie said he has been rehearsing with Karen from the early morning until 10pm at night and he’s been losing weight in training, as well as building stamina
On Saturday, Jamie will dance the American Smooth to Frank Sinatra track Night and Day, which he hopes will earn him higher scores on the leaderboard compared to last week’s Cha Cha Cha.
Disappointingly for Jamie, who is determined to win the Glitterball trophy, he currently sits at second from bottom, only achieving one point higher than Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke.
He said: ‘Karen will hate me for saying this but I 100 per cent want to win. I want to win more than anything. The hare never wins the race; it’s always the slow, little tortoise that’s hanging out at the back.
‘Currently on the leaderboard I am second to last. This performance is going to be really old school and classic and hopefully it will look like sweet honey nectar rather than tar!’
In rehearsals: On Saturday, Jamie will dance the American Smooth to Frank Sinatra track Night and Day, which he hopes will earn him high scores on the leaderboard
In action: In MailOnline’s exclusive photos from Jamie’s training this week, the reality star can be seen getting to grips with the routine, which he describes as ‘very emotional’
Jamie hopes his performance this week will not only strike a chord with Strictly viewers but also be the routine that breaks him down.
The reality star, who’s in a relationship with Made In Chelsea’s Sophie Habboo, said the injury he suffered last year caused old memories to resurface from when he lost out on a professional rugby career as a teen after tearing his ACL ligament.
He explained: ‘This weekend if everything goes well and to plan and people like my dance, I might cry. It’s very emotional.
‘When I was 17, I played a lot of rugby and I was captain of my team and I wanted to go professional but I was on tour in Italy and I tore my ACL ligament completely, so I could never play rugby again.
‘I might cry’: Jamie hopes his performance this week will not only strike a chord with Strictly viewers but also be the routine that breaks him down
‘It was so upsetting that it was taken away from me. That happened again last year when I injured my foot so it brought me back to that experience.
‘To come back again this year, it was like that thing that I wasn’t allowed to do when I was younger. It was a real emotional time. I didn’t get that second chance when I was younger.’
As well as being famed for his Chelsea antics, that have included partying and plenty of womanising, Jamie has also found success with confectionary brand Candy Kittens, following in the footsteps of his family’s heritage, who created the McVitie’s digestive biscuit.
Anxious: Jamie, who’s in a relationship with MIC’s Sophie Habboo, said that behind his self-assured exterior, he can be a bag of nerves and that showed on last week’s Strictly
Contrary to the confident and fun-loving star viewers have grown up with on the E4 series, Jamie said that behind his self-assured exterior, he can be a bag of nerves.
He added: ‘I have always been one to get nervous.
‘It’s the pressure of wanting to do well, that’s what makes me nervous. When I do things I always put 100 per cent into it.
‘My old athletics coach sent me a text before the show saying ‘I hope you’re not too nervous’ as he remembers how nervous I used to get before running a race.’
Strictly Come Dancing – Saturday at 7.10pm and Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One
Throwback: Made In Chelsea viewers have watched Jamie grow up on the E4 series, alongside the likes of best pal Spencer Matthews