Annabel Croft is switching things up this week as she embraces her sexy side for her Samba on Strictly Come Dancing.
The former tennis professional, 57, had the nation in tears on Saturday night after her emotional couple’s choice performance with partner Johannes Radebe, dedicated to her late husband Mel Coleman.
Her beloved other half died in May just weeks after being diagnosed with stage three cancer and Annabel looked up to the sky and blew a kiss as the performance ended.
However this week the 57-year-old is getting into the party spirit as she performs a Samba to Shakira’s hit Whenever Wherever.
Speaking to The Sun, she admitted: ‘Johannes is trying to bring that sexy side out. The plan is I channel my inner Shakira, but it’s going to be quite hard to match her.
Party time! Annabel Croft, 57, is releasing her sexy side ahead of her Shakira inspired Samba after revealing Strictly has been a ‘distraction’ after the death of her husband Mel earlier this week
Emotional: The former tennis professional had the nation in tears on Saturday night after her emotional couple’s choice performance with partner Johannes Radebe, dedicated to her late husband Mel Coleman
‘It’s a bit out of my comfort zone to be honest, I’m sweating a lot more than I expected!’
Yet Johannes is determined he can bring the inner Shakira out of his partner.
‘I think everybody has a Shakira in them. Unfortunately we can’t have a few Proseccos before we dance, but I always believed that everybody, when they’re feeling comfortable, they can really, really go for gold,’ he said.
The professional dancer also remarked on just how hard Annabel trains as he confessed he has never trained for this many hours during his Strictly career.
The pair usually start at 10am and don’t finish until 6pm, and the other day they trained for ten hours.
And at 57, Annabel is feeling fitter than ever.
The sportswomen runs four times a week and plays tennis a couple of times a week, yet dancing has got her feeling a whole new level of fit.
‘I had no idea how good dancing was for the soul and the body. I’m 57 and my body has never felt fitter or more supple than it does now.’
Emotional: Annabel also praised her dancing partner Johannes Radebe for giving her ‘a purpose to get up in the morning’ – he also joined the panel alongside Annabel
Late: Annabel’s late husband, Mel, and father to their three children Charlie, Amber and Lilly, passed earlier this year, aged 60, a few weeks after he was diagnosed with stage three cancer
Performing: ‘It’s given me a reason to be able to get up in a morning and have purpose rather than just sobbing at home, which does still happen sometimes,’ she said on Loose Women on Thursday
Long-term love: The couple pictured together in 1996 – their paths crossed quite by chance when Annabel was at a crisis point in her life
Appearing on Loose Women on Thursday, Annabel revealed how Strictly has ‘distracted her from the grief’ of losing her late husband.
Annabel also praised Johannes for giving her ‘a purpose to get up in the morning’.
Speaking to host Charlene White, 43, Annabel said: ‘Obviously the grief comes in waves and their are many days where you’re just sobbing at home but with Strictly and meeting Johannes and going on this journey together, it literally has distracted me from all of that pain.
‘And they’re are days, I mean poor Johannes has had to cope with quite a few in the rehearsal rooms and everything.
‘But you [Johannes] give me so much purpose to get up in a morning and come and dance.’
Despite crediting the show, Annabel discussed how ‘bittersweet’ it is being on there as Mel used to love watching the show, especially watching Johannes.
She recalled: ‘I have such fond memories of Mel in our kitchen calling us all in to watch Johannes because he just thought he was amazing, he would pause Strictly and watch it back.
‘It’s bittersweet because I really wanted them to meet and I’m heartbroken Mel isn’t here to see this journey.’