After giving the X Factor a ratings beating for the first time this year, BBC producers are pulling out all the stops to prevent their three final couples from doing the same to each other ahead of Saturday’s grand final.
According to insiders, Lulu and Brendan Cole’s relationship broke down completely after the pair were dumped out in the sixth week, which “makes things difficult for everyone” says one source.
Brendan’s Strictly future was thrown into doubt this week after rumours that producers wanted rid of him due to his disruptive behaviour this year, although others are suggesting that his controversial attitude has helped ratings.
There is also an atmosphere between Dan Lobb and his partner Katya Virshilas — as well as between Holly Valance and Artem Chigvintsev. All three couples will be joining the three finalists in Blackpool this weekend.
According to The Sun, Lulu fell out with Brendan after comments he made following their exit in which he implied she had a split personality.
“When Lulu heard what Brendan said about her she was livid,” said a source. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to upset her but she has been very sensitive about her time on the show and needed more support than he was prepared to give her. He is a very hard taskmaster and this didn’t often sit well with Lulu.
“As for Katya, she thought Dan didn’t care. But Dan has been telling people he thought she was getting all of the attention when it should have been about them as a couple.”
Yet insiders believed that the frosty situation between Holly Vallance and Artem Chigvintsev has improved this week after Holly threw her toys out of the pram following their exit last weekend. Apparently she felt that Artem had criticised her dancing ability.
“All these difficulties make bringing together such a huge show like the Strictly final tougher than it should be. But all the celebrities and dancers are professional people and bosses are hoping that nothing will spill over into the show,” said a source.