Strictly Come Dancing: Kaye Adams on joining the first out club, taking the positives and who she is hoping will win
“I haven’t seen my family for ages,” she says. “I’ve been very much immersed in the Strictly world for four or five weeks. Even the build up to it was absolutely massive”.
Indeed, it’s just a couple of days since the BBC Strictly Come Dancing bubble burst for Adams. She’s just slowly floating back to earth.
Although she’s in no way the worst dancer on the current series, she was the first to be voted out, after doing the Charleston with professional Kai Widdrington, and going up against Matt Goss and his partner, Nadiya Bychkova (also Widdrington’s partner). She’d already efficiently tangoed her way through Voulez-Vous on the launch show.
It seems that the nerves got to her in the end, and she looked bewildered as she took her final turn.
“I was exhausted physically and mentally, because it was a very nerve-wracking experience,” she says. “My adrenaline just didn’t come back, and so I did just lose my way a bit. I know the steps like the back of my hand. There was no question of not knowing them, but in that moment, I just felt the pressure and the tiredness”.
Thus, she has joined the Strictly First Out Club, which in previous years has included politician Jacqui Smith, James Cracknell OBE and Susannah Constantine (of Trinny and Susannah fame).
“Obviously it wasn’t the outcome I wanted”, says Adams. “You go over and over it in your head but you’ve got to come to the surface and think, okay, what are the positives, and there are lots”.
She’ll be staying in touch with 27-year-old Widdrington, and was impressed by his “focus and determination” and “incredible maturity”. She’s also very excited about being allowed to keep her monogrammed dressing gown and ballroom dancing shoes. However, they haven’t given her the spangly and striped orange and red Charleston two piece that she was practically sewed into - “this may be too much information, but you can’t drink anything before going out there” - for the final dance off.
Should she have been able to stay on until the next show, the next dance for Adams would have been the rumba, which is a notoriously tricky (and sexy) dance, so she’s been spared that. However, there is a massive sense of a come down, after the build up and intensity of the experience. Although she was only part of the show for a short period, it was undoubtedly all-consuming.
“It’s so immersive, you know, with the costumes, make-up, the training and spending time with highly trained professional dancers, which was one of my favourite things”, Adams says. “You walk out on the dance floor for the first time and there’s a band, and an audience that’s in excess of 500 people, with top choreographers advising you. I’ve spent a lifetime in journalism”.
She has also discovered that she’s not as bad a dancer as she thought she was, though she does have a tendency for negative self-talk.
“I’ve told myself for many years that I can’t dance, and if you keep repeating that message in your head, it becomes the truth,” she says. “I didn’t expect to be asked to go on the show as I’ve always been quite open about the fact that I’m a rubbish dancer and it’s not my thing, so I was taken aback when they asked me. My initial reaction was ‘that’s just not me’. Thinking about it now, I wonder if that’s the reality or just what I’m telling myself. How many other things do you tell yourself you can’t do, especially as you get older. Maybe what I’ve been saying all these years wasn’t actually fact, but just a narrative, and I’ve changed that. I’m no Ginger Rogers, but the idea of ‘I can’t dance’ isn’t true. If I put my mind to it, there's no reason why. That’s something I’m going to work on, trying to be a bit kinder to myself”
During Adams’ brief time on Strictly, though she wasn’t very good at being confident in her own ability, she did have the support of friends and family.
Most notably, her daughters, 20-year-old Charley and 15-year-old Bonnie, and her pal and Loose Women co-host Nadia Sawalha, who seemed to constantly be in the audience, clapping enthusiastically.
“She’s my cheerleader,” says Adams. “She would say I’m miserable but I can get very down on myself and can beat myself up about everything I didn’t do. Certainly in the first week’s tangle, I thought, why did I co*k that up? She was literally slapping me about and telling me not to be so stupid”.
For now, this journalist is back to the slightly less glamorous day job. The next big occasion will be turning 60 later this year, and continuing to make the most of what comes her way.
“I think I’m trying to get in a mindset that when opportunities do come up, I go for it, rather than wondering what people will be saying and all that kind of self-defeating stuff”, she says.
Adams will be glued to the television for the rest of the series, to see how the remaining contestants fair. She’s rooting for her new friend Helen Skelton, and thinks that Tyler West is “one to watch”. However, as she adds, “It’s an open playing field”.Strictly Come Dancing, Saturday at 6.30pm and Sunday at 7.20pm, BBC One