Alesha Dixon 'happy and relaxed' as improved performance begins to wins over Strictly fans
Strictly Come Dancing's controversial new judge Alesha Dixon today brushed aside continuing criticism of her performance, vowing she wouldn't let it get her down.
The former champion said she felt able to 'relax and be myself' on the panel this weekend despite being fixed firmly in the spotlight by angry viewers.
The singer received a barrage of complaints after replacing Arlene Phillips on Strictly and came under fire last week for her 'nice but rubbish' comments on the show.
But she said today she hadn't taken the job on to get depressed as signs emerged that she was slowly winning over a percentage of Strictly fans.
Her performance on Friday and Saturday did not attract anywhere near as much vitriol in the BBC chatrooms and there were even some favourable reports.
Confident: Alesha Dixon leaves Manchester radio station Key 103 where she was a guest on the breakfast show today
One contributor wrote: 'Alesha really improved last night and she will carry on improving as the series continues.
'I think she gave some good constructive criticism last night on the performance aspect .'
A confident Dixon, speaking during a radio interview this morning, said: 'Last week naturally I was just settling in
'There has been a massive build up to the show and there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders.
'This week, however, I was able to relax and be myself.'
Former jockey Richard Dunwoody was booted off the show on Saturday, but he found some words of encouragement for Dixon, saying she was 'absolutely fantastic' as a judge.
During an interview with breakfast DJ's Mike Toolan and Chelsea Norri, Alesha confessed she knew she would face pressure to quit Strictly Come Dancing
'We all thought last week that she was good but this week she was excellent,' he said.
'She's bringing a different voice to the panel as she's been there and done it and she's able to give really good advice.'
The BBC had clearly thought long and hard about how best to rebuff the first week criticisms, and opted for the upfront approach.
Host Bruce Forsyth said from the outset that the criticism she had received was 'unfair' and that the whole crew supported her.
also repeatedly asked her about her experiences on the show, which she
in turn appeared to draw on more when making her comments.
Dixon told Manchester radio station Key 103: 'Brucie is a sweetheart and has always
supported me ever since I was in the show in 2007.
'His words of support were encouraging and very lovely.'
Alesha appeared more confident on week two of the new series, unafraid to comment on contestants' techniques.
She told Laila Rouass: 'Not as good as yesterday - it lacked the attack that I want to see - come out and attack it more.'
Earlier in the show, she told Ricky Whittle: ' Your continual movement is what is so special - it was so fluid. I'm blown away.'
Relaxed: The judge's comments appeared to have improved on Saturday's show
The 30-year old singer told breakfast DJ's Mike Toolan and Chelsea Norris that criticism of her performances was the 'nature of society' and vowed not to get depressed by the backlash.
'It's the nature of society isn't it, I kind of know how the game works.
'I expect it to a certain degree and I try and take it with a pinch of salt and not take it too seriously you know.
'I don't want to lose sight of that I didn't agree to do the job to be depressed for four months.
'I wanted to do the job because actually I love the show and I have been a fan since it started and for me it's entertainment so I don't want to lose sight of that.
Having fun: Alesha has vowed not to take the show too seriously
'I think diehard fans take it to the extreme - for me it's not
about someone coming off the show and becoming a ballroom dancer.
'It's not the ballroom for the Olympics. It's about every Saturday night you sitting at home and somebody making you smile or making you laugh, that's what it's about.'
She was asked whether it had been harder for her to become a judge on the show as she was not a professional dancer like her predecessor Arlene Phillips.
Alesha, who denied having crisis talks with her producers, replied: 'For me I wouldn't have said yes to the job if I didn't think that I could do it.
Support: Richard Dunwoody, who was booted off the show on Saturday, backed Alesha, saying she was 'absolutely fantastic' as a judge
'I've been in the industry for over ten years and I've got performance experience and as I made clear on it Take Two, I was trained by a world champion ten hours a day for four months so in terms of knowing what everything is - I do.
'And that was what I was trying to say that people shouldn't forget.
Bruce Forsyth branded the criticism as 'unfair'
'When you're doing it ten hours a day for four months it's quite intense and I just think it's quite nice to have a new voice.'
Although Saturday's Strictly closed the gap slightly in the ratings war with ITV talent show The X Factor, it still came runner-up for the second week.
The difference in peak audiences fell from two million last week to 1.4million on Saturday.
The X Factor's audience peaked at 10.1million, compared with 10.7million a week earlier.
Strictly's audience equalled its previous Saturday night peak with 8.7million watching at 7.55pm, just before the start of the rival show.
The X Factor had an average audience of 8.9million, down from 9.3million a week earlier, but was still a million viewers ahead of Strictly's average of 7.9million which had risen 200,000 on the previous week.
Strictly starts at the earlier time of 7pm on Saturday when the 14 remaining couples will compete against each other for the first time, dancing the quickstep or the paso doble.
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