Strictly Come Dancing runner-up HRVY has warned the new recruits to be prepared for hard graft and ignoring gossip if they want to get close to the glitterball.
The singer reached the final with Janette Manrara in the last series, which was filmed during lockdown and saw Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse take the title.
HRVY, left, real name Harvey Cantwell, told the Daily Star: “It only gets harder – don’t think it gets easier.
“You get the first three weeks down and think, ‘Yes’.
“Then, ‘this is dragging’.
“You get to the seventh week and you’re like, ‘Oh my God. Still here’.
“It’s in a good way, but it is hard work. It’s a different kind of challenge.”
Keeping focused can be difficult when the rumour mill starts churning as HRVY found out when he was romantically linked to EastEnders actress Maisie Smith – and worked the headlines to his advantage.
He says: “It was fun to play along. Nothing happened between me and Maisie.
“We weren’t allowed to touch each other as we were in a bubble.
“People speculate and say they see things but it’s all hearsay.
“Everyone can make their own minds up.
“It was a fun show but there was a lot of heat around everything we all did.
“Sometimes you feel like everyone is out to get you – people want a good story to read.
“If we’re entertaining people then cool, so long as it’s not at the expense of other people’s mental health.” The Kent-born star also admits the celebs aren’t immune to the effects of comments from internet trolls.
And he believes people need to think before they write hurtful stuff.
“Trust me, everyone reads everything,” adds the 22-year-old.
“We do look at the comments from ‘Dave from Gloucestershire’ saying what he wants.
“You would never think to say something nasty to someone in person.
“It’s easy to say things online as there’s no consequence as it gets put out with millions of other comments.
“I don’t think it’s policed enough. There’s people who have been very hurt by things written online.”
While he likes using social media to make showbiz pals, the contents of his inbox often leaves him shocked.
He says: “I get some weird images – it keeps me entertained during the day.
“It ranges from lovely nan fans with nice messages to weird old men.
“I do get a few cougar DMs. I’d never rule out dating an older woman.
“It’s 2021 who knows what could happen?
“I’m concentrating on my music but you can make time for anything you love in life.
“I’m still waiting for that DM back from Olivia Rodrigo.
“She’s a bit busy being one of the world’s biggest popstars at the moment but I’ll see her at the top – I’m coming.”
After presenting on CBBC and supporting Little Mix on tour, Strictly gave HRVY the push he needed to take his music career to the next level. Off the back of the BBC programme he signed a new record deal and performed latest single Runaway With It at the National TV Awards last month.
He says: “I have an EP coming soon which I feel is a step in a new direction, then there will be an album next year.
“Strictly took me out of my comfort zone and tested me a lot.
“It was an amazing experience and good to do it at a time when there was nothing else.”
The pandemic has been blamed for the fall in ratings for the 2021 launch show compared to his series.
But HRVY reckons it’s best not to get distracted by the numbers.
He says: “Due to Covid no one could do anything. We were one of the only live TV shows on.
“There was a lot of excitement with the first same-sex couple with Nicola and Katya. So a lot of firsts last year why people who may not have watched it before tuned in.
“You can’t compare to other years. So long as you enjoy your experience it doesn’t matter.”
Filming under strict conditions and in tight bubbles last year, HRVY is well aware how seriously the BBC has taken Covid protocol.
And after reports of two pro dancers refusing to get vaccinated, the singer believes it’s a tricky issue to deal with.
He says: “You can never force someone to do anything they don’t want to do but I’m double vaxxed.
“I think it’s safe for everyone – they’re not going to let people have a jab that isn’t safe.”
*HRVY’s UK tour kicks off on October 17 in Glasgow. Tickets are available at gigsandtours.com. His single Runaway With It is out now and his new music drops next month.
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