‘He’d burst with pride’: Fleur East says she’s doing Strictly for her late father in emotional tribute video

Fleur East paid an emotional tribute to her late father during her leaderboard-topping Couple’s Choice routine on Strictly Come Dancing.

During Saturday (19 November) night’s Blackpool extravaganza, in which the show returned to the Tower Ballroom for the first time since 2019, singer East and her partner Vito Coppola performed to a Destiny’s Child megamix.

In the video airing before the routine, East explained how her parents had always encouraged her to follow her childhood dreams of singing.

“I love singing so much because it’s part of my DNA. It’s part of who I am,” she said, before recalling how her father was a Strictly super-fan.

Strictly Come Dancing was my dad’s favourite show,” she explained. “When I was on The X Factor, it used to run the same time as Strictly and my dad was very annoyed that he had to miss the Strictly result because he was watching me on TV.

“If my dad was here and he knew I was going to Blackpool, I think he would burst with pride.”

She continued: “He was my biggest fan. Everything I’m doing, I’m doing for him and to make him proud.”

East’s husband Marcel added: “Each performance, she always said to me, ‘Oh, I wish Dad was here.’ I always remind her, ‘Listen, he’s here, he’s watching, he’s so proud and happy of how far you’ve come.’”

East was supported during the Blackpool Week special by Marcel, her mum and sister, who watched as she wowed the judges with her routine.

East during her Couple’s Choice routine (BBC/Guy Levy)
East during her Couple’s Choice routine (BBC/Guy Levy)

Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who was yet to use his 10 paddle all series, told East: “One word, three syllables, beginning with F: fab-u-lous.”

Shirley Ballas said it was an “iconic routine that will go down in history”, while Anton Du Beke echoed that the dance was “as good as we’ve done, ever”.

The couple received a perfect score of 40 for the routine, the highest score of the night and the series so far. East’s mother was seen wiping her eyes at the end of the routine.

You can see the full leaderboard from Saturday here.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Sunday 20 November at 7.20pm on BBC One.