The Masked Dancer winner Louis Smith wore fake belly to trick his co-stars

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The Masked Dancer champ Louis Smith has revealed he wore a fake belly during dance rehearsals to stop the other contestants from guessing his true identity.

The 32-year-old Olympic gymnast, who stormed to victory on the bonkers ITV show, said he wanted to make sure his co-stars didn’t work out who he was while they were all together on stage – so he decided to get inventive.

Louis told us: “We all went to stage to practice one of the group dances and the runners were saying, ‘this is the moment where everyone tries to work each other out, so try not to give away any mannerisms’.”

He continued: “I was panicking and didn’t want anyone to guess who I was. So I took a pillow, put it under my hoodie and made out that I was a really fat man.”

Louis added: “I went to the stage with this pillow underneath my stomach and everyone was like, ‘who’s that?!’ I thought it was quite funny to try and throw everyone off.”

And it sounds like Louis’ cunning plan worked, as the show’s runner-up Bonnie Langford, who performed as Squirrel, twigged the belly but couldn’t work out who it was.

EastEnders star Bonnie told OK! : “We had a group rehearsal and Louis had a fake belly on so that people wouldn’t think it was him. I looked at him and thought, 'who’s that?!'"

Further opening up about the strict security measures in place backstage, Louis and Bonnie said they couldn’t believe the levels of secrecy involved in the popular ITV show.

Strictly star Louis told us: “It was crazy. The logistics of having twelve celebrities on set and not having anyone bump into each other was mad.”

“We have the hoodies that say ‘Don’t speak to me’, which is for all the crew and security backstage not to talk to us.”

He added: “We had these gloves that covered all our skin, balaclavas and Kylie Minogue style visors over the top of them.”

"We had to wait to be met by someone to make sure it was clear to take us to our dressing rooms. Then we were ushered to different places depending on what we were needed for.”

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Bonnie went on to explain: “There’s no speaking anywhere, no speaking to anybody else. You don’t see any of the other dancers until you’re on the set and you can’t speak.”

“If you want to say something, you have to wave and one of your team comes over and you whisper – it’s hilarious!”

The EastEnder star added: “At one point I did a bit of singing in my dressing room and someone came in and said: ‘Oh no, Squirrel must not sing!”

Catch up on The Masked Dancer on the ITV Hub

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