Ashley Roberts says she mentally prepared herself to be in dance-off again

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Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev performing on Strictly last week (Guy Levy//BBC/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing’s Ashley Roberts has said she mentally prepared herself to be in the dance-off again before last weekend’s show.

The Pussycat Dolls star ended up competing for her place for the third week in a row, despite earning a perfect score of 40 with her American smooth.

Speaking on Strictly spin-off It Takes Two, she said: “I mentally prepared myself just in case because being in the bottom two twice in a row, I think you have to do that.

“I obviously wanted to make it through to the final and we had to battle to do that. It’s not a good feeling. I just looked at [Pasha Kovalev] and said: ‘Hey look, we’ve just got to go out there and enjoy ourselves’.”

Roberts, 37, and professional partner Kovalev claimed the only perfect score of the night, impressing the judges with their second dance, which was filled with dramatic lifts that Bruno Tonioli described as “out of this world”.

Shirley Ballas described the routine as “absolutely stunning on every level” and Craig Revel Horwood could only clap in response to the dance.

The pair achieved a total of 76 but still ended up in the dance-off after the public vote was taken into account.

Strictly Come Dancing 2018
Strictly judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli gave a perfect score to Ashley Roberts (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Earlier in the BBC 2 programme, professional dancer Neil Jones had defended Roberts, addressing claims that she has an unfair advantage over the other celebrities because of her background in dance.

Jones, whose wife Katya became embroiled in a kissing scandal with former contestant Seann Walsh, urged fans to judge Roberts less harshly.

Speaking to host Zoe Ball, he said: “I know everyone turns around each week and say that she’s a dancer but she’s never danced Latin and ballroom.

“I’ve never danced ballet. If you got me dancing ballet I wouldn’t look that good. I think a little bit less (criticism) on Ashley. She’s trying really hard. She’s looking great.”

The Strictly Come Dancing series finale airs on Saturday night.

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