Speculation brews over Ellie Leach and Vito Coppolas romance in strictly sem…

Speculation brews over Ellie Leach and Vito Coppolas romance in strictly sem…

The ex-Corrie star and her Strictly pro partner’s close bond has fuelled rumours of a romance, but also mean-spirited mumblings about a “showmance”.

Vito, 31, is incredulous…but only that people seem to think tonight’s semi-finalists have spare time on their hands.

He says: “We are so, so focused on practising every day. The only thing we do, we practise, we go home and it’s like, ‘OK let’s eat good food, protein and vegetables’. Then just have a good sleep.”

With two semi dances to perform, the stress is immense.

Ellie, 22, who played Faye Windass in Coronation Street, says: “It’s extra pressure but I’m actually really excited.”

Their Couple’s Choice is the second dance.

But their first is a cha cha cha, known by superfans as a “poison cha-cha-chalice”, because of its history of returning low marks in the competition.

Vito reveals: “We have our book about the judges’ feedback. We write down all the comments from Saturday night. But I am not focused on the 10 paddle at all. As long as we are able to bring joy to people who enjoy watching us, we are more than happy.”

Ellie, Annabel Croft, 57, Layton Williams, 29, and Bobby Brazier, 20, got a bye through to the semis after Nigel Harman, 50, crashed out with an injury.

Fellow contenders have had more dance experience, but Ellie says: “It’s true I’ve never really danced before. I think that’s what shocked me a little bit at first.”

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“But every single week I just think, ‘I’m going to try and be my best, try and be better than last week’. So really the competition for me is with myself.”

She adds: “Vito has taught me so much over the course of the competition.”

Vito adds: “Ellie applies the Double L – listen and learn. She wants to make me proud.”

REA D MORE BBC Strictly’s Ellie Leach admits Vito Coppola is ‘like family’ in sweet insight

A Strictly Glitterball would be some Christmas bauble, but Ellie won’t go there. She says: “Very much we live in the moment. We take every day and every minute as it comes.”

On life after Strictly, she says: “I am going to miss every single thing. It’s such an incredible place.”

Strictly Come Dancing’s semi-finals are on BBC One tonight at 7.35pm.

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