“GRIMSBY must be one of the most talented places in the world!”
Those are the words of Strictly Come Dancing champion Aljaz Skorjanec, after performing at the Grimsby Auditorium as part of An Evening With Karen And Kevin From Grimsby.
Kevin Clifton and his fiancee Karen put on the glittering three-hour bonanza after Flash Mob, a show they were originally planned to star in, was cancelled at the last minute.
So, the Strictly stars stepped in and put together the show, with a little help from parents Keith and Judy Clifton, to a packed audience on Saturday night.
And they were even joined by special guest Susanna Reid, who performed with Kevin on this year’s Strictly, after making their way all the way to the final.
She said: “It was such an honour to come here and perform on Kevin and Karen’s show, I couldn’t believe it when they asked me!
“But I was only too happy to come, and what an amazing response it has been. I just want to thank all those in Grimsby for their support, how could I refuse performing the paso doble in front of them?”
Kevin and Karen performed a number of different dances, drawing standing ovation after standing ovation from the impressed crowd.
Kevin said: “We were feeling pretty nervous beforehand. It’s not every day you have to put together such a massive show as this in just a couple of weeks, so we weren’t sure how we’d do.
“It’s great to finally get to this point, as we never really knew if it would really happen. But it was a great night and everything went smoothly.
“We just need to say a big thank you to all those who came and to all those who made this happen. So many people said we couldn’t pull this off, but we managed to.
“We even managed to keep the secret guest quiet until now!”
His partner and wife-to-be Karen added: “It’s always good to come back here! I now consider myself to be a Grimbarian, so this is like a home show for me.”
Two other Strictly dancers – last year’s winner Aljaz Skorjanec and his girlfriend Janette Manrara, who was paired with designer Julien MacDonald for her first season last year – also performed on the show.
Aljaz said: “It’s great to finally be here in Grimsby. I’ve heard so much about it and I can now finally say I’ve performed here.
“I’m very good friends with Karen and Kevin, so it was an honour to come and perform with them as part of this fantastic show.
“I’ve been very impressed with the talent on show, especially in the competition. Grimsby must be one of the most talented places in the world!”
A new star was also born with the appearance of Kevin’s sister Joanne, who has already signed up to perform in the next series of Strictly.
She retired from professional dancing in December 2013, having being crowned Ballroom Showdance World Champion.
She said: “It was really cool. It was quite weird dancing with Kevin again as the last time we did it was back when I was 13 or 14.
“But I’m 30 now and here I am dancing on the stage of Grimsby Auditorium. It’s great to be back, and the routine was so much fun putting together – we just couldn’t stop ourselves from laughing.
“And now I can’t wait for Strictly to start. It will be something very different and something I’m not really used to, but I’m going to be on TV now! So that’s amazing.”
Three lucky competitors, who won the Grimsby Telegraph’s competition to perform on the show with three Strictly dancers, took part in a mini Strictly-style contest, hosted by special guest Susanna Reid.
The dance novices performed a routine in front of the expectant audience after being paired with Kevin Clifton, Karen Hauer and Joanne Clifton, along with judges Aljaz and Janette.
Roof tiler Steve Courtney, 62, convincingly took home the glitter fish trophy.
There were also performances from contemporary act Alleviate, Irish duo Brosena and young stars from Clifton’s Dance Academy.