Amy Dowden: Dancing in the Strictly final was 'a dream come true'
"As someone who has watched Strictly since I was a little girl, and now being a finalist, is just a dream come true. I just wish I could do it all over again."
Strictly superstar Amy Dowden is back in the Black Country, home after nearly three months of constant training for the latest series of sparkling Strictly Come Dancing.
The 28-year-old British champion in Latin American dance made it all the way to the final with CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual, just losing out on the Glitterball trophy to rivals Kelvin Fletcher and his professional partner Oti Mabuse.
This year was Amy's third appearance on Strictly, having previously been partnered with Brian Connelly, who was eliminated at week five, and Danny John-Jules, who survived until week eight.
Speaking to the Express & Star, she said being in the final with Karim was "the best feeling ever".
"I literally just wish I could do it all over again," Amy said. "It was so much fun I can't even explain it. As someone who had watched the show since a little girl, and now being a Strictly finalist is just a dream come true.
"It I could relive last Saturday I would do it in a flash, in a heartbeat. It's like any dancer's dream job, it's just surreal, I absolutely love it."
Karim and Amy received the first perfect score of 40 of the season, with their jive to Hairspray's You Can't Stop The Beat.
"It was just the best feeling ever. We got the first 40 of the season. and we literally just went out last weekend and enjoyed every single second of it.
"I feel extremely lucky to be part of such an incredible show. everyone on stage and back stage works so hard. The truth is they are truly one of the best in the industry. It's just a dream team."
Speaking about her best dances with Karim, she added: "I loved every one of them. Obviously the jive because it got us our first 40, but just all of it was special and just standing in that final last week was the best feeling in the world.
"It's always nerve wracking. You're always nervous before any performance but I just wanted to soak up and enjoy that moment and with Karim, to make memories that will last a lifetime."
Outside of Strictly, Amy, who lives in Dudley, runs her own dance school Art in Motion in Cradley Heath with her professional partner and fiancé Ben Jones.
And she said her students "lived their lives through Strictly" for those few months she was on the show.
"When I walked in on Monday they were all screaming, they were so excited," she added. "It's lovely they're so supportive. They take it so seriously when I'm on Strictly. They scream when I get the 10s and they're upset when I don't get the scores or I'm in the dance off. It means everything to them.
"They literally live their lives through Strictly those few months."
Amy revealed that Karim would soon be making a visit to the Black Country school to dance with the students.
"He's told me he wants to join the classes and keep dancing. He's certainly going to be no stranger that's for sure. He's eager and excited to meet all the kids, and the whole Art in Motion family.
"He's even on about coming to their competitions in Blackpool. He's very supportive and very lovely."
Dancing queen Amy also has her sights set on Strictly next year, but said she won't know if she's involved in the next season for a few months.
"Now it's Christmas I'm working hard with the students at the studio as they have a big competition at the beginning of January in Blackpool.
"And then I start the Strictly Live tour in January with Karim, so it's all so exciting. Rehearsals start at the beginning of January before we kick off the tour in Birmingham."
Catch Amy and Karim at the Strictly Live tour at Arena Birmingham on January 16.
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