SHE might be performing in front of four eagle-eyed judges, a studio audience of hundreds and millions of people nationwide every week.
But Strictly Come Dancing star Zoe Lucker has told the Examiner that it’s what people in Huddersfield think that really matters.
The actress, who grew up in Lindley, is still in the competition in the seventh week of the show after she and professional dance partner James Jordan impressed with their performance of the American smooth on Saturday.
Jo Wood, the estranged wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, was voted off after a performance that judges branded a “dance disaster”.
Wood earned the show’s lowest ever score for her rendition of the samba with Brendan Cole.
Sharp tongued judge Bruno Tonioli told her: “You dragged poor Brendan into samba hell.”
They faced the dance-off alongside Olympic athlete Jade Johnson and Ian Waite who failed to get enough public support to save them from the crunch performance despite a much more respectable score of 32.
Meanwhile, Zoe sailed through after her confidence was knocked back last week when she had to go through a dance-off to survive on the show.
She said: “I genuinely hope that people like what we are doing.
“It matters to me that people from Huddersfield are out there watching.
“I’m a Huddersfield girl through and through and I hope I’m doing people proud.”
As reported last month, 35-year-old Zoe had always been a reluctant dancer in the past, dodging the dancefloor at parties and functions.
For that reason the good marks she got when the show started came as a shock.
But she said her confidence was starting to grow.
“I was definitely shocked initially, because I had no idea what was going to happen,” she said.
“In training we have all gone through this massive process, not knowing anything about the steps and the way you are supposed to feel and look.
“Then every week I feel like ‘wow, I’m still here.’ I’m still quite shocked, but my confidence has definitely improved. I’m picking up the steps a bit more quickly and starting to enjoy it.”
The former Huddersfield New College student, best known for her role as Tanya Turner in ITV’s Footballers’ Wives, had to overcome a setback last week when she finished in the bottom two couples.
Having always been a hit with the judges, who have given her high marks each week, she was put in the dance-off following the audience vote.
The judges put her through to Saturday’s show, but Zoe admitted her confidence had taken a knock.
She said: “If we had been in the middle of the table after the judges’ scores, it wouldn’t have been such a shock and even though you try not to, when you’re near the top of the leader board you subconsciously start to feel safe.
“When you end up in the dance-off it’s really upsetting and you start to ask yourself what’s going wrong.
“You can’t help but take it personally in spite of people saying that people haven’t voted for you because they think you’re safe. I don’t think anyone will be able to escape those thoughts.”
She insisted she would be happy to see any of the celebrities win the competition.
And she refused to think about claiming the trophy herself.
“I have to go week by week because you can’t plan ahead,” she said.
“We have no idea which way things are going to go.
“You set yourself your own little challenge to do the best you can.
“I know it’s a competition, but I can’t think that way because it would take the enjoyment away.”
The intensive training for the show has made life difficult for Zoe, who was looking after one-year-old daughter, Lily, full-time before it started. She is now trying to balance being a mum, and seeing fiance Jim Herbert with her Strictly commitments.
She said: “Before I started I was spending all my time with Lily and Jim and it’s important that I have equal amounts of time with them and in training. I try to make sure I have enough time as possible with Lily.”
But she said the experience would definitely prove a positive for her in the future.
“I think for me there will definitely be certain things I will be able to tackle now, because before I was too nervous,” she said.
“I might still have those nerves, but I faced huge fear by going and dancing in front of thousands of people and after that other things don’t seem so terrifying.”