Fleur East: Who is the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 contestant and what is she famous for?

All fans of dance, sequins and panels of flamboyant judges, rejoice – Strictly Come Dancing is back for another week.

The autumn staple is well underway on BBC One, with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman resuming their hosting duties.

After a trial run last year, Anton Du Beke has made the permanent move from dancer to judge this season, as he now shares scoring responsibilities with Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood.

Of course, there are many professional dancers in tow, as well as a whole roster of celebrities who are showing off their skills in styles from Salsa to Waltz. (You can check out the full line-up here.)

A contestant that many are hedging their bets on for the glitterball is singer Fleur East. She is coupled up with new dancer Vito Coppola.

But who exactly is East, and how does she feel about being a part of Strictly 2022?

East first hit TV screens in 2005 as part of girl group Addictiv Ladies on The X Factor. After getting eliminated in week one of the live studio shows, the group disbanded.

However, this was far from the end of East’s X Factor journey; in 2014, she reauditioned as a solo act where she impressed the judges and the public with her energetic performances. Her rendition of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk” reached number one on the UK iTunes chart, leading the original track to be released five weeks ahead of schedule.

East and partner Vito Coppola (BBC/Guy Levy)
East and partner Vito Coppola (BBC/Guy Levy)

Ultimately, East finished in second place and went on to score a number three single with the song “Sax”.

After this, she took part in I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2018, finishing in fourth place. She has continued performing and releasing music ever since.

Speaking about why she wanted to join Strictly, East said: “ Firstly, it’s the best show ever. Secondly, for me it’s a personal reason, my dad passed away in 2020 and this was his favourite show. He even used to get annoyed that he had to miss out on Strictly when I was on The X Factor because they were on at the same time.

“When I was deciding whether or not to do it I spoke to my sister and she reminded me of dad watching it all the time and then that was that the deciding factor straightaway, so that’s my motivation for doing it.”

In week four, the judges adored East’s moody Argentine Tango to “Paint it Black” by Ciara. She came second on the leaderboard with 38 points and avoided the dreaded dance-off, having been there the previous week.

Week five saw East score 32 points for her Jive to Abba’s “Waterloo”, while week six (Halloween week) saw her dance the Salsa to “Break My Soul” by Beyoncé, scoring 32 again.

East and Coppola ended the episode by dropping into the dance off, facing James Bye and Amy Dowden.

In week seven, East impressed the judges once again, and scored near-perfect 39 points for her Waltz.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturdays and Sundays on BBC One.