Strictlys Rhys asks pro partner to slap him in the face to calm nerves

Strictly Come Dancing star Rhys Stephenson has admitted that he is so overcome with nerves performing on the show he has to get his dance partner to slap him in the face.

The CBBC Presenter has been praised by judges for his on-point performances with dance partner Nancy Xu – but the high scores haven't come easily.

Rhys, 27, has claimed that while he oozes confidence on the dancefloor, behind the scenes is a very different story.

In fact, he's so overcome by stage fright prior to their live show performances that Rhys admits asking Nancy to slap him in the face to calm him down.

He told OK! magazine: "I was about 80% excited and 20% nervous. When the show begins and they say, 'Rhys and Nancy, you guys are up', that’s when I’m paralysed with fear.

"So I told Nancy to give me a couple of quick slaps across the face and I’d be fine."

Meanwhile, Nancy has confessed that she can be tough on her dance partner during their practice sessions, but she's still a nice person.

She said: " I am very hard in practice but I am a nice person really."

Rhys then joked about how Nancy has urged him not to find her severe look during their training sessions off-putting.

He continued: "She warned me not to be put off by her face. She said it might look a bit hard but it’s not personal, it’s just her “resting training face.

"So I had to be careful not to look at her and think that she hated me. That was just her being intense."

Rhys and Nancy have undeniable chemistry on the dancefloor and the Strictly Professional admits she feels lucky to be partnered with the star.

Nancy said: "He’s my first celebrity partner and, having seen what he could do, I felt so lucky."

And Rhys believes their strong connection means they have unmatched energy that makes them a force to be reckoned with.

He added: "We both have a lot of energy – Claudia Winkleman knew she wouldn’t get a word in edgeways when she interviewed us. If they took mine and Nancy’s energy, they could power a few countries with that."

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