I've danced away the heartache of my love leaving me .. and feel SEXIER than ever; STRICTLY ALESHA EXCLUSIVE.
ALESHA Dixon is feeling sexy. She's single, dating again and favourite to win the BBC's ballroom battle when it ends next week.
It's a great boost to her selfesteem - something she desperately needed after the break-up of her marriage to British rap star MC Harvey.
"Dancing makes you feel really sexy," she says, with a wicked laugh. "I call it foreplay without the finale. When you're dancing with somebody all day and spending that much time up close together, it makes you feel very sexual.
"You're more flirty than you would normally be and I've definitely become a very flirty person since I started doing the show."
Only 12 months ago Alesha was left devastated by her marriage split - but now she has turned her life around and is in the mood to celebrate.
"I'm going to throw a massive party to look back on what an incredible year this has been.
"After 2006, I was hoping for a better 2007. But this year has ended better than I could ever have imagined. Roll on 2008."
It was last November that Alesha's marriage imploded after So Solid Crew singer Harvey - real name Michael Harvey - was caught in bed with Javine Hylton, his co-star in West End musical Daddy Cool.
The betrayal was particularly cruel as Javine - a finalist in Pop Stars: The Rivals and now eight months pregnant - was a close friend of Alesha's.
But after months of mourning, Alesha - who enjoyed a string of top 10 hits including All I Want and One Night Stand with girlband Mis-Teeq - picked herself up, dusted herself off and jumped back on the road to recovery.
And she believes it's this can-do attitude that has endeared her to Strictly Come Dancing's nine million voting viewers.
Grabbing a short break in her seven-days-a-week training schedule, Alesha, says: "I think people like to see women rise from situations like that. My feeling is, if you're a good person and you've got your morals and someone does something like that to you, then you've got nothing to hang your head in shame about. I think a lot of women have been very supportive because they understand what I've been through."
Even now Alesha, 29, refuses to bad-mouth her ex-husband and her ex-friend.
Instead she has let her incredible dancing success speak for her - and says she believes firmly that fate will do the rest. "I believe in Karma so much - what you give out comes back to you.
"I intend to enjoy my life and appreciate it. I'm not going to allow something I didn't even do to ruin my life.
"Why should you spend your life depressed over somebody else? Life is too short.
"But sometimes we forget that until something happens that makes us remember it."
Since the split Alesha has been linked with a string of eligible bachelors - including US record producer Pharrell Williams (ex-love of Jade Jagger) and nightclub bouncer James Chandler.
But for now Alesha insists she's only married to her gruelling dance training schedule.
But as the ink dries on her divorce papers, Alesha - who had been with love rat Harvey since she was 22 - says she is ready to find love again.
"I'm not actively looking for someone, but I am dating and I feel like if I meet someone, then that would be cool. I turn 30 next year and when I was in my early 20s I thought that by that age you'd have to have children and be doing certain things with your life. But I don't feel that pressure any more.
"Your twenties used to be the years you lived your life, but I'm starting to feel that 30 to 35 will be another amazing chapter, so I'm just going to go with the flow and see where life takes me." So what sort of guy would it take to sweep her off her feet? "Obviously dating changes as you get older and the way I'd want to meet someone now is completely different to how I went about it when I was 22," she says.
"I'm a bit more cautious about men now. I can't deal with lies.
"These days I feel I'd want to meet someone and get to know them as a friend first rather than go out to try to find a man.
"Unfortunately you have to go out if you want to meet a man - and doing Strictly means I haven't been out for about three months."
Looking stunning with just a slick of bright red lipstick, there's no doubt Alesha will soon be snapped up.
And it can't have done any harm that her size eight figure has been honed to perfection from training up to 10 hours a day with professional dance partner Matthew Cutler, 34.
She has also managed to keep the curves that have had millions of men suddenly become hooked on Strictly Come Dancing. At the North London dance studio that has become like a second home to her for the last three months, Alesha says: "I don't know how much weight I've lost because I don't do scales, I don't do diets and I don't calorie count.
"But I do feel like I've lost a layer of something. My muscles are stronger, I'm more toned and I feel fit."
And to top it all, Alesha - who has been compared to "a gorgeous gazelle" by the show's no-nonsense judges - says dancing has made her feel raunchier than ever.
"It's even had an effect on my family," she says. "I rang my nan for some advice on my cha cha and she said, 'Just give it some sex'. I couldn't believe I was hearing this from my grandma!"
So her seduction technique won't be a problem - but how does she see her future panning out as she enters her third decade?
"I'd love to have kids one day," she says, rubbishing her ex-husband's claim that she was stalling on starting a family.
"All of my friends have got children - in fact most of them are on their third, so there are times when I do feel a bit left out.
I LOOK at their lives and think they've got lovely family set-ups. I'd admire that and then there's that little girl in me that wanted to have a baby at the same time as my friends so the kids could all play together.
"But my friends say they envy aspects of my life too, so it's a case of thinking that the grass is always greener.
"And so many women are having children in their 30s and even 40s now that I'm not worried. It used to worry me, but not any more."
Back on the dancefloor, and as the series heads towards its final week, Alesha remains on course to be crowned queen of the ballroom.
Her closest rival, Kelly Brook, 28, and partner Brendan Cole, 31, pulled out of the contest two weeks ago following the death of Kelly's father.
"It was really horrible when Kelly and Brendan left," says Alesha.
"It felt really weird not having them in the show. Brendan was like a force of nature with the judges. So losing him was like having a pantomime with the villain missing. The atmosphere really changed that week and Kelly was really missed. And it was sad for her because she's got a passion for dance and it all ended in such an unfortunate way."
With her closest rival out of the way though, Alesha is now all set to scoop the coveted crown - previously won by BBC newsgirl Natasha Kaplinsky, ex-EastEnder Jill Halfpenny and cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash.
Last night she was again on top form, scoring 38 in her first dance, a quick step, including two perfect 10s, putting her on course for a place in next week's final. Judge Bruno Tonioli called her "the first lady of dance".
Alesha says she's desperate to win - if only to pay back dance partner Matthew for all his hard work.
"The best Christmas present I could get him would be to win the show," she says. "But second to that I have already given him a framed engraved picture of us dancing together. I represent the girl whose mum couldn't afford to send her to stage school, but who's getting the chance to catch up when she's 29.
"I come from a singleparent family and nothing was ever given to me - I've had to work for everything I've achieved.
"It sounds corny but the only reason I did Strictly was to learn to dance. So whatever happens, I feel like a winner. And I'm happier than ever."
MATT & FLAVIA
MATT is good looking but he reminds me of my little brother, so I couldn't believe it when a rumour started that we were dating. But underneath that boy-nextdoor image, he and Flavia are strong contenders.
GETHIN & CAMILLA
I LOVE watching these two dance. Gethin has got a big following - women always vote for men rather than other women. But there's nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition.
'I believe dancing is a lot like foreplay ..but without the finale'
'I'm a much flirtier person since taking part in the show'
Strictly The Results Show, tonight, BBC1, 6.50pm
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Favourite Alesha is determined to win for Matthew's sake; Alesha with MC Harvey before he betrayed her; Ex-Mis-Teeq singer Alesha meets our girl Lara for a chat; MATT & FLAVIA; GETHIN & CAMILLA