After reaching the finals of last year’s Strictly Come Dancing, Jamie Laing found a whole new love for dancing. So it’s no wonder he jumped at the chance to host BBC Three’s dance/dating series, I Like The Way U Move.
The new series is part reality, part competition as five single pro-dancers pair up with a “rookie” – a non professional dancer – to see if they can have chemistry on and off the dance floor.
After getting up close and personal in the rehearsal room, the couples will take it in turns to perform in front of Jamie, his co-host, dance expert Kaelynn ‘KK’ Harris and a series of star guest judges, including Strictly’s Oti Mabuse and Giovanni Pernice.
“We’re basically finding out if people fall in love through dance – and turns out they do!” says Jamie. The show also marks his first major presenting gig – an ambition he’s had since his Made In Chelsea days. “The stars aligned and I was in the right place at the right time,” he says.
Here, Jamie, 32, who lives in London with girlfriend and former MIC co-star Sophie Habboo, tells us more about his dream gig, who he’s backing to win this year’s Strictly and why he has no doubt that the Strictly curse really does exist.
Hi Jamie! Tell us about I Like The Way U Move…
It’s basically a dating/dancing fusion show. There are five sexy dancers who move into a house for six weeks and partner up with rookies, aka the non-pro dancers.
They have 24 hours to come up with a routine and then we judge them on their chemistry and connection. So we’re basically finding out if people fall in love through dance – and turns out they do!
Ooh! Tell us more…
I knew people would flirt and get romantic with each other, but I didn’t realise the extent of it. I can’t say much – people fell in love, but also got their hearts broken. And there are still some things that are going on now.
Do you need to get a hat ready then?
Probably! I’m probably going to be hosting the weddings. I can’t wait.
Having been on Strictly, can you see how people fall in love through dance?
The foundations of a good relationship are trust and loyalty and the foundations of a good dance partnership is trust and loyalty, so it’s like you’re fast-forwarding a relationship.
Also, when you’re dancing with someone and you fancy them, you have to grab them round the waist and their bottoms, so you’re getting close and, again, that fast-forwards that stage.
What are your thoughts on the Strictly curse?
The Strictly curse does exist. We’ve seen people hook up and there are marriages and relationships. Yes, some people have been hurt along the way, but there’s also been some amazing couples – look at Joe Sugg and Dianne [Buswell].
They’re living together and have bought a house. Through dance you can fall in love, but you also make friendships.
It doesn’t always have to be romantic. You create a bond through dance. Karen [Hauer] and I are from completely different backgrounds and have lived totally different lives, but we became best mates through it.
How would you and your girlfriend Sophie get on if you had to dance together?
I’m too bossy when it comes to trying to teach her how to dance. I tried to teach her a cha-cha and she really didn’t like it.
Would you like to see her on Strictly one day?
She would do incredibly well and I hope she does something like that one day. She’s not going to dance with Giovanni [Pernice] – I’ll tell you that for sure. Just because he’s not a good dancer – that’s the only reason [Laughs].
Is it strange watching this year’s Strictly ?
You get a bit of a sense of FOMO. What I did, quite narcissistically, was go back and watched some of my old routines. It’s parked in the great, fond memories that I have.
Would I want to do it again? Of course. But being naive to the experience is the best way to do it as you don’t know how tough it’s going to be.
Who are you rooting for?
Ugo [Monye] and Oti, Greg Wise and Karen. And Adam Peaty – that little booty and six pack of his! Well done to that guy, I hope he smashes it. You’ve got to be competitive in Strictly and he’s the ultimate competitor.
Are you still in touch with the class of 2020?
Yeah, we have a WhatsApp group and we message every time it’s on and talk about different things. Once you go through an experience like that together, you’re going to be friends for life.
I saw JJ [Chalmers] the other day and it was like we’d been friends forever. It never changes.
Did doing the show change people’s perception of you?
My granny lives in Scotland and I’d get a call from her weekly saying her hairdresser and the lady down the road are big fans, so it reached a different audience. I used to get recognised because I kissed the wrong person, now I get, “Oh, he’s that nice guy who dressed up as Hercules.”
Where’s the strangest place you’ve been recognised?
I was up in the Isle of Mull and some guy drove past me in a tractor, reversed, opened the door and said, “I’ve named my goldfish after you and Spencer [Matthews]” and then drove off.
This is your first big presenting job. How does that feel?
I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. The stars aligned and I was in the right place at the right time. I’m very fortunate to be in this position. It’s a dream come true.
Whose career do you admire?
Jack Whitehall – he’s a great friend of mine and I’m super proud of him. He’s gone from grafting to be a comedian, to hosting the Brits to now being in the movie Jungle Cruise.
We go way back as my best friend Toby is married to his sister. Jack’s very generous with his time to people he loves. When you get to be a superstar like he is, everyone’s coming at you from all angles but he’s very family orientated.
I Like The Way U Move is available on BBC Three now.To read more from the biggest stars on reality TV and entertainment sign up for OK!'s daily newsletter here.
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