Daniel O'Donnell

Daniel’s Strictly Diary Week 5

IF YOU thought I looked a bit dazed after my first Strictly dance last weekend, you were right.
For a brief moment, which felt like an hour to me, I had a mental breakdown as I waltzed around the floor with Kristina.
I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know who Kristina was and I didn’t know what I was doing there.
Kristina spotted my face glazing over during the dance and she thought there was something wrong with me.
I quickly recovered, having missed a small bit of the routine but, as I waited for the judges to give their verdict, it was on my mind. I kept thinking about the mess I’d made of it. I shouldn’t have given it a thought because it wasn’t a mess at all. I never heard a word the judges said because I was still in a daze. I couldn’t even speak.
By the time you read this, I’ll have danced the Charleston last night. And tonight I’ll know what the public think of my performance when the votes come in. This is the first elimination show, so we’re all on tender hooks.

I’m back in the rehearsal studio with Kristina learning how to dance the Charleston. As I glance in the mirror I realise I look like a Connemara pony. Let’s hope it gets better.
That night, we all attend the Pride of Britain awards. Majella accompanies me. She never gets starstuck, but there are major celebrities at every turn. I bump into David Beckham, and have a chat with Michael Flatley and his wife, Niamh.
I also meet award-winner Pauline Cafferkey from Glasgow, a nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, but luckily made a full recovery. Pauline is a cousin of Packie Bonner.

We take a trip to Royal Windsor Racecourse to shoot a scene for Strictly. Then Majella, Kristina and myself enjoy some afternoon tea at the famous racecourse.

I’m really struggling with the dance. It’s not easy when you’re 53 and you’re carrying 13st around the floor. Kristina keeps reminding me to stay in the moment and to think about my dancing. I think that’s what happened me with the waltz, I lost focus for a second.

I’m getting more comfortable with the Charleston. But it’s really fast and I’m meeting myself coming back. When it’s finished I’m still going. I feel my arms are on elastic bands and are flying everywhere.
All the contestants have a WhatsApp group and we’re sharing our experiences. I laugh out loud when I read some of them.

Kristina tells me my Charleston dance is looking good and I have nothing to worry about on the night. I’m certainly feeling a lot more comfortable this week. Whatever happens this weekend, I’ve already made 14 great new friends.There’ll be a lot of sadness when the first person leaves.