Giovanni Pernice, 28
Fourth year on Strictly, runner-up in 2015 and 2017
what a series it’s been for you this year!
It’s been incredible, I’m loving every single second of it. I’m glad I’ve got a good partner in Faye; I’m a very lucky boy! The thing I really love about Faye is her commitment. She’d never done anything like this before, but each week we try lots of different choreography and she always gives everything a go.
did you know much about Faye before the series?
I only knew two Steps songs: 5, 6, 7, 8 and Tragedy. Those are the two we had in Italy. I’m a huge fan now, though: I ask Faye to sing for me. I like to pretend I’m a great singer, too, but it doesn’t really suit me, unfortunately…
Have you started to think about the routines you might do in the final? No, you can’t think ahead! You have to think week by week because the competition is so hard this year. Everybody’s brilliant and each dance is a different story, so you never know what’s going to happen.
But you have a tattoo that says ‘Born to win’ – you must want to lift the glitterball!
I would love to win the show, especially as I’ve already been a runner-up twice before with Georgia [May Foote] and Debbie [Mcgee]. It’s about delivering good performances every week; winning is a bonus.
which dance has been your favourite so far this year? Our couple’s choice dance, the musical-theatre routine, was great in Halloween Week. I’ve loved lots of them: the tango, the quickstep, the paso doble… Every week has been amazing!
How have things changed for you over the last four years? The most stressful thing was being cast on the biggest show on TV and I couldn’t speak any English at all. I was a little bit scared. Now I’m more comfortable. The pros have all helped me. Anton [Du Beke] helped me from the very beginning. I call him ‘padrino’, which means ‘godfather’! Christmas is coming… what gift would you buy for Faye? Why Faye? I need to buy a gift for myself! It was her birthday during the series and we went out for lunch, but then it was straight back to dancing.
I am pushing her really hard. The expectation is high; she’s a brilliant dancer and I want people to recognise that, which is why we’re giving it 100 per cent every time.
Ballroom blitz: Giovanni and Faye’s paso doble
Second place: Debbie mcgee and Giovanni