I’ve learned to have a thick skin;
Westlife’s Nicky Byrne, 34, talks about Strictly Come Dancing, his hopes for the future and the precious time he now gets to spend with his family…
What have you enjoyed the most about Strictly?
I’ve just loved the whole thing. It’s a great bunch of people and I’ve been taught something that doesn’t come naturally to me. My only experience of dancing was getting off the stool at the key change in Westlife!
Were you pleased to be paired with Karen Hauer?
Yeah she is great, she’s new and she is ambitious. I think she was under a lot a pressure too because of that illegal lift in week one.
You had a couple of bad weeks to start, how did that make you feel?
Under a lot of pressure! When you mess up, the dancers tell you to throw yourself into it but it’s hard. It didn’t look as bad on TV as it was in front of the judges.
How have you found the judges’ criticism?
I’ve learned to have a thick skin. I take it on board but I don’t lose any sleep over it. I was embarrassed, not because of what the judges said but because I knew I had gone wrong. I felt bad for people at home watching, they must have thought I was just like a really bad drunk dad at a wedding. Thankfully the public saved me.
Is the Strictly training schedule a shock to the system?
I’m quite fit in terms of aerobics so the walking and dancing I don’t find physically hard but I find it hard on my feet. The blisters are terrible and the arches in my feet ache from being in high heels. I’ve never experienced pain like that before. I can totally sympathise with all those women going out on the town on a Saturday night, I don’t know how you do it.
How do you keep fit normally?
I train with a guy in Ireland who is an ex Irish kick boxing champion. So I box quite a lot and do a lot of weight training. I train at least three or four days a week.
Who do you think will win Strictly this year?
Kimberly has a great chance to go all the way. I’m not sure if she’ll win but I think she’ll be in the final. Denise is fantastic, she should probably win it, she is the best dancer by a mile. I think Louis is certainly going to be up there, Dani is a great dancer, and Lisa has proved she can do really well too.
What have you found more challenging, performing in front of thousands of fans with Westlife or dancing on Strictly?
So far, definitely performing on Strictly. In Westlife there were four or five of us and we worked together. We were able to have bad gigs and we got away with it because no one was really judging us. The fans were mostly young girls who fancied us. In Strictly you’re watched by adults, on probably the biggest show on television, and it’s a big jump. We’re dancing in front of top notch dancers and 12million people on TV. I’m on my own, totally exposed, doing something I’ve never done before.
Do you keep in touch with all of your old mates from Westlife?
Yeah they’ve all been in touch to say good luck on Strictly. We spent 14 years together and now we’ve gone our separate ways. I feel like you need to give people space and that goes four ways. I’m not sure meeting up so soon and trying to continue like everything was the same would have been a good idea. It’s not like we’re on the phone every day and that makes it all better when you do meet up.
Is there a Westlife reunion on the cards?
No that’s definitely not on the cards.
Do you see your family more now or has the Strictly training got in the way?
Amazingly I arranged for my training to be in Dublin so it’s brilliant. My twin boys Jay and Rocco are just in primary school and for the first time in my life I actually feel like I’ve got a bit of structure, a bit of nine to five. I get up and have breakfast as a family and either Georgina, my wife, or myself with drop them to school then I’ll head into work or training and then I’m usually home by seven and we have dinner and put them to bed.
What did your boys think about seeing you on the show?
They love it! I recently presented a show in Ireland called Football’s Next Star, the one Jamie Redknapp did in the UK, and they were like ‘Ok Daddy’s going to be a TV presenter’. So when they saw me on Strictly they were like ‘Oh Daddy’s dancing now.’ I think I’m confusing them a little bit. But they are loving it and they give it loads in front of the TV when I’m dancing. One of them had tears in his eyes when I was getting bad comments from the judges.
Are their any signs of them following in your football, singing or dancing footsteps?
Whatever they want to do I’ll be happy. If I had a choice I’d love it if they wanted to get into football, but whatever makes them happy you know. You just got to show them the ropes and let them make their own decisions.
What have you got coming up next?
Nothing in concrete but I’d love to present TV or radio shows, or interview people on a chat show. There has also always been a dream inside me to do a bit of acting. The beautiful thing is, the world is my oyster. We were so confined in Westlife and rightly so, none of us were venturing off doing separate projects, we had that kind of unity. Now we are out there on our own and I am able to accept shows like Strictly.
Credit/Source: Sunday People | westlife.gr