Alex dancing on Strictly gives us all something to focus on, instead of thinking about Mum and crying
SINGING star Alexandra Burke already feels like a winner on Strictly Come Dancing – because appearing on the show has brought her family together.
Still reeling from the death of their mum six weeks ago, Alex and her four siblings are finding the dance contest is helping them begin to put years of strife behind them.
In recent times they have been rocked by allegations of drug dealing and violence – and even saw Alex’s younger brother charged with assaulting mum Melissa.
But as they rally to support the former X Factor winner, the singer’s older half-brother Travoir has told how the whole family has been given a lift by her courage.
Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, Travoir, 37, said of his family: “They have something to look forward to and not be worried, not think about Mum and start crying again.
“If she wins it will be good. They can say, ‘Mum was watching over her’. She’s happy about going on the show and wants to show the world she can do it – so she’ll do it.”
Mum Melissa Bell, 53, former lead singer of Soul II Soul, died of kidney failure on August 28 – three days after Alex’s 29th birthday and just weeks before her Strictly debut.
Security guard Travoir said: “I know her mum would have wanted her to go on and do it. You can’t just lock yourself away in a closet.
“You need something to focus on and get over what happened.”
In a heartfelt post online, Alexandra wrote: “Mummy has always been my biggest supporter and was over the moon I was doing Strictly.
“It was a dream of hers that I would one day be part of the show and I know she would have wanted me to carry on.”
In her first show she wept as she danced a waltz to Melissa’s favourite song, Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
Travoir says he and siblings David, Sheniece, 32, and Aaron, 24, are all rooting for the singer to lift the coveted Glitterball Trophy.
And he revealed dad David, 59, will be cheering his daughter on at the live shows. Travoir, of Sutton, Surrey, said: “They’ll all be there. I work all the time so can’t get there.
“But I’ll be voting. I won’t be running up a huge bill, but I’ll definitely put one or two votes in.”
The 2008 Xfactor champ has already wowed judges and viewers alongside partner Gorka Marquez, topping the leaderboard last week with their sizzling paso doble.
And new head judge Shirley Ballas has tipped Alex as “a front
runner” in the competition. Bad Boys singer Alexandra has previously told how winning The X Factor put a strain on her family – particularly her youngest brother, Aaron.
A year after her win she described him as “off the rails”. In March 2011, then aged 18, Aaron was caught on
camera apparently selling 1.5 grams of cocaine in Islington. No police action was taken.
Later that year the family was rocked again when Aaron was charged with two counts of assault over an alleged attack at the family’s home in Holloway, North London. He was said to have pushed Melissa, who was already battling kidney failure, and to have hit Sheniece in the face. The case was dropped when Sheniece decided not to give evidence. But Travoir claims the family hold no grudges against Aaron, saying: “That’s gone. Aaron is just Aaron. He’s the youngest brother so we all look out for him. “You can’t help what happened, it was long ago. He’s changed – working, doing his thing, he’s a good boy.” He said Aaron had also taken his mother’s death hard, explaining: “His mum died and he’s the youngest one, he’s a bit up and down. But he’s all good. I think him and Alex are reconciled. “They were all at the funeral, everyone was there together. “When you’ve got a death you put things behind you because it’s right. You can’t dwell on it.” Now, Alexandra’s Strictly journey has given the grieving family a new focus. On last night’s movie-themed show the singer – who has also starred in stage versions of Sister Act and The Bodyguard – danced the American Smooth to Wouldn’t It Be Loverly from the musical My Fair Lady. Travoir smiled: “When I first heard she was going on the show I thought, ‘She’s going to win, because that’s what she does’ – she likes winning stuff. “When she does it she does it with all her heart and passion – that’s really all I can say.”
If you have a death you put things behind you – you can’t dwell on it
TRAVOIR BURKE ON ALEX’S FAMILY STRIFE
BLOOMIN LOVERLY Alexandra and Gorka dance to My Fair Lady Alex’s mum Melissa and dad David with Travoir and Sheniece. Below, Alex aged 17 with Aaron