Alex danc­ing on Strictly gives us all some­thing to fo­cus on, in­stead of think­ing about Mum and cry­ing

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - BY AMY SHARPE and HALINA WATTS

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


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

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