Les Dennis could crumble after Strictly judges comments, claims Brendan Cole

Les Dennis and Nancy Xu Tango perform a tango

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole believes Les Dennis could “crumble” under the weight of the judges’ harsh critique.

Last Saturday (23 September) Les saw himself and his professional partner Nancy Xu come last on the leaderboard, having been awarded just 16 points.

Their Tango to The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me wasn’t a huge hit with the BBC panel, and now Brendan, 47, has had his say on what could possibly be running through the 69-year-old’s mind.

Speaking to Sky Bingo, the ex-professional said: “[The judges’ comments] will play on [Les Dennis’] mind.

“Even mentally strong people who really don’t take to heart people’s stuff, I’ve seen them crumble on the show because you put your heart and soul into something and he’s had all this time [the last two months] building this up, and he’s an entertainer, he works in entertainment. You expect people in entertainment to be able to hold their own on a dance floor, to a point.

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“Then to go out there, put his heart and soul out on the floor, he’s got a young child – who will be watching – and he will be wanting to impress him, his wife, all these things play on your mind, and you don’t want to let yourself down.”

Seemingly speaking from experience, Brendan continued: “You go out and you think you’ve done a really good job, but the reality is, it’s not a particularly good job and then the judges rip into you and that’s soul-destroying.”

The star, who won the Glitterball Trophy in 2004, said that Les needs to pick himself up from the disappointment as he has to crack on with learning a new dance with Nancy, 32.

“You’ve spent two weeks working on one dance and now you have five days to learn another dance – that’s really hard.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, Brendan said that during his 15 seasons on the show, he always had an “issue” with how the judges “smashed” his partners.

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“I’ve always had an issue with them [the judges] when they smash your partner, [as] they’ve just knocked two days of training off my rehearsal schedule because I’m going to spend two days mentally picking them up, ready so they can just learn routine – so you’ve just ruined my week, thank you very much, judges!

“That’s something that judges don’t really think about – the effect that their words will have on somebody’s preparation for the next one.”

He clarified that while he doesn’t want Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas to go easy, he does want them to think about how their words can wound.

“I’m not saying that they should be soft or go gently, but words are powerful in this day and age, and I think Les will struggle from here on in, if he can’t mentally go, ‘Right, pick myself up, dust myself off, this next one I’m going to blow you away’ – but I don’t think that’s Les, I think he’ll always be thinking about [the] ‘what ifs.”

This weekend, Les and Nancy will be hoping to impress as they Samba to Rock the Boat by Hues Corporation.

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One at 6.20pm on Saturday.

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