VIDEO PREVIEW: Strictly star Ed Balls back on the vote campaign at Leeds First Direct Arena
Ed Balls is back on the vote winning campaign trail in his beloved Yorkshire.
But this time his feet will do the talking.
Grab that sparkly jacket, dust off those dance shoes and waltz your way over to Leeds First Direct Arena - Ed is back with Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour.
The TV series spin-off of the professionally partnered celebrity dance extravaganza is celebrating its tenth anniversary on a nationwide tour and plays Leeds on Thursday and Friday, February 2 and 3.
BUY TICKES: Seats for shows at Leeds First Direct Arena are £41 to £73.25, including fees. Buy in person, call the box office on 0844 248 1585 or visit www.firstdirectarena.comThe audience gets to vote by text every night to award one couple the prized Glitter Ball Trophy.
Labour’s former shadow chancellor, who served as Labour MP for Morley and Outwood until 2015, says he is going all out for the local vote on home ground where he believes he might even win.
In an exclusive chat - watch the full video interview on our web site - the 49-year-old said he has only lived in Castleford for 20 years, which still makes him a newcomer, but with professional dance partner Katya Jones he is hoping even to win over local Tory voters with their fun routines.
That almost certainly means a repeat of their TV series highlight, the much talked about Gangnam Style dance routine, complete with hilarious ‘Pony Jump’ move, which showed another side to Ed and helped him to win over the nation.
The self-confessed former Dad dancer hopes performing the same moves night after night on tour around the country could lead to a perfect ‘10 from Len’, retiring senior Strictly judge Len Goodman.
Craig Revel Horwood, the live tour director and hard-to-please head judge, who everyone loves to hate, says miracles do happen and Ed might be right, especially in his adopted home town. Ed said of performing at the Arena: “Can you believe it? Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney are probably complacent about playing to packed arenas but I’ve never done it before and I’m looking forward to it.
“I remember sitting with the council when they were planning the Arena. I never thought I would be dancing in it!
“It’s going to be special going everywhere around the country but for me, in particular, to come back to Yorkshire and particularly Leeds is very special. I will be just a mile from my old constituency.
“I’ve got friends coming from Castleford. My old campaign team will be coming up from Morley, so it’s going to be quite an emotional evening for me.”
He said: “What I learned, last autumn is, whether you are Labour or Conservative, or you support Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds or Man U, whether you are north or south, you can all enjoy Strictly Come Dancing and you can all vote for me.
“Enough people voted for me on TV to get me through each week and lets hope in Leeds they will come out and give me a few votes.”
Ed said of his transformation from politician to reality TV dance star: “I definitely surprised myself, I thought I might last one or two weeks. I never thought I would get all the way to Blackpool and beyond.
“I’ve got some rhythm and some musicality and Katya my partner is a brilliant choreographer.
“I think what we managed to do was get the dance in there but also to make people smile - some good entertainment and comedy value, whether that was Laurel and Hardy, The Mask or Gangnam.
“It’s a special thing in life to make people smile. I’ve never really had that before.”
Judge Craig says he won’t be going easy on any of the dancers and what you see from him on TV is no act. But he reckons miracles do happen and he could give Ed a perfect 10.
He said: “He will be doing the routines 40 times more. He’ll get better and better. Miracles have occurred before on this show.
“People should come if they want to see how much sparkle there really is - when you see all the costumes in real life it is arresting. It’s just so beautiful,
“Plus you get to see all the stars and of course me. If I’m not worth £50 a ticket, come on. It is going to be Fab-u-lous darling.”
The line-up features 2016 TV Series winner Ore Oduba with Karen Clifton; Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton; Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse; Daisy Lowe and Aljaž Skorjanec; Lesley Joseph and Gorka Marquez.