The former Emmerdale actress isn't exactly what comes to mind when you think of a ballroom dancer, but after her debut last week Lisa Riley prompted William Hill to slash the odds on her winning from 66-1 to 10-1.
After hoisting partner Robert Windsor in the air on her first week she was rewarded with a standing ovation that prompted notoriously bitchy judge Craig Revel Horwood to concede: "Three words, darling: You. Can. Dance."
The actress told the Mail On Sunday: "I knew what everyone was thinking," says Lisa. "They thought I'd be slow, that I'd have no rhythm and no musicality. They thought I'd probably walk the routine then do a bit of a shimmy at the end. You only had to look at the odds the bookies gave me when my name was announced."
The gruelling rehearsals have meant Lisa, 36, has lost over a stone in the past four weeks, dropping from a size 26 to a size 20 and shedding 4in from her waist. But she insists that was never the aim.
'I'm not doing this for a diet,' she says. 'I can't help what's happening to my body.
"I can't stand the fascination in this country that everyone has to look a certain way and that if you don't, you should fake it. The 'dagger' comments, as I call them, are the best incentive. The more people call me fat and ugly, the harder I'll work. It's like giving a car petrol, it just drives me on."
Lisa continues: "Growing up, I wasn't the pretty one, I've never been that, but I've always been the confident one and that's got me where I am today."
Lisa's determination to suceed on Strictly Come Dancing has also been inspired by the death of her mother Cath two months ago after a 12-year battle with breast cancer. The grief is still raw and Lisa says that it was the thought of her mother that spurred her on. "I knew she was sitting on both our shoulders," she says of that first dance.
But the contestant is realistic about the possibilities of making it to the final: "I don't think I'll win Strictly. Last week was my week as there were a lot of things in our favour, like the choice of dance. Last night's dance [a waltz to Paloma Faith's cover of 'Never Tear Us Apart'] was a lot slower and there was no comedy. But whatever happens, I know I've done Mum proud."
After a score of 25 last night, Lisa & Robert are third on the leaderboard below Denise & James.
Check out our snaps of Strictly Come Dancing Week 2...