Strictly speaking, these boys are ready to set those glitterballs rolling – as the hit dancing show’s first spin-off supergroup.
Between them, these three boyband members and a gymnast have some serious Strictly silverware to show off. Now they are set to storm the West End.
Fresh from his Christmas Special triumph, ex-JLS pin-up Aston Merrygold has teamed up with former Strictly champs and fellow boybanders Harry Judd and Jay McGuiness.
Cartwheel in gymnast Louis Smith – who won on the ITV contest in 2012 – and you have the cast of Rip It Up, a stage show pooling the fab four’s singing, dancing and acrobatic talents.
“I’m so excited,” says Aston, who wowed the judges and audience with his jive with partner Janette Manrara on Boxing Day.
Aston Merrygold with fellow Strictly stars Louis Smith and Harry Judd
(Image: Ryan X Howard)
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“We’re playing in the same theatre for four months. I can’t wait.
“I’ll be singing and dancing. And Louis will be cartwheeling across the stage – although I do more somersaults than him.”
Aston admits he had something to prove on Wednesday after his shock exit from the show in week six last year.
And new Rip It Up co-stars McFly drummer Harry and The Wanted’s Jay were there to cheer him on along with Louis.
Aston, 30, says: “I knew what it was like not to win and that I’d be able to handle it. But I said to them before my final dance if I didn’t get a 10 from Craig Revel Horwood I’d flip my lid. As it turned out, I got four 10s!”
As well as knowing Harry and Jay from the boyband life, Aston has been mates with Louis, 29, since they grew up together in Peterborough.
“It’s so great now our careers are crossing over,” says Aston.
Olympic silver medallist Louis admits that, before Aston’s win on Wednesday, he and Harry had been ribbing him for losing Strictly the first time around.
Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara won Strictly’s Christmas special
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“We teased him, saying how great it would be to have four champions on the same stage in Rip It Up. Then we’d say – ‘Oh no, one of us is a loser’.
“Aston took it pretty well. Now, of course, he’s a bona fide champ. I was there to cheer him on and he smashed it.”
Louis, who gave up gymnastics to concentrate on showbiz, hopes the show will lead to acting roles.
“I’d love to be in a Hollywood action movie,” he says.
Harry, 33 – who won Strictly in 2011 – is looking forward to playing the drums on a West End stage.
“Apart from dancing, I’ll get to play on four songs,” he says. “After the tour I’d love McFly to reform.”
The lads start rehearsals for the February-June run at the Garrick Theatre next month and Jay, 28 – Strictly winner in 2015 – admits: “The choreography is so hard.”
Aston has another big date to look forward to. He’s set to wed fiancee Sarah Richards, mum of his baby son Grayson, in summer.
“I could see Sarah in the audience when I won,” he laughs. “She was like a football hooligan – pumping the air with her fist.”
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