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Who is Faye Tozer? The pop star with a North East connection topping the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard

Everything you need to know about Faye Tozer
Everything you need to know about Faye Tozer

The hugely popular Strictly Come Dancing is finally back on our BBC One screens - and this year it brings a contestant that the North East can get behind!

Faye Tozer, a singer from the band Steps, is appearing on this year's series and has wasted no time impressing on the dance floor.

The 42-year-old Cha Cha Cha'd her way to the top of charts following the first live show of the series on Saturday - but some have been negative about her performance due to her previous dance experience.

Here's everything you need to know about Faye and her connection with the North East

Faye Louise Tozer was born on November 14, 1975 and grew in Dunstable, Befordshire.

She made her name with the band the Steps between 1997 and 2001 before they separated, and has since pursued a career as an actress and a TV presenter.

READ MORE: ‘My North East culture shock’ by Faye from Steps

What is the North East Connection?

Faye first married got married in 2002 to Jasper Irn, from Denmark. They then divorced in 2007.

She got remarried in 2009 to Sunderland-born businessman Michael Smith. The pair tied the knot at Beamish Hall, County Durham.

Since then, she has lived with Michael in West Boldon, South Tyneside.

The pair's child, Benjamin, was born in the North East.

Adopted Mackem Faye now calls Sunderland her home city, and is a patron of South Shields charity The Charlie Cookson Foundation, which was launched in honour of Charlie, who died aged 30 months in October 2013 after fighting an undiagnosed condition.

READ MORE: Theatre boss backs Strictly star Faye Tozer to win show​

When has she danced before?

Faye trained at the Anne Gale School of Dance where she achieved qualifications in dance, including ballet, tap and modern - so it was no surprise to see her top the charts on the opening weekend.

She made her musical theatre debut in Tell Me On A Sunday in 2004 and has gone on to appear in shows such as Love Shack and Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens.

In 2016, she appeared in the Sunderland Empire pantomime Sleeping Beauty as the Good Fairy, sprinkling some festive magic across the city.

Alongside her dance partner, Giovanni Pernice, judge Dame Darcey Bussell rated the pair as an eight, hailing their dance as "a wonderful way to close the night".

READ MORE: Steps singer Faye Tozer tops the leaderboard on her Strictly Come Dancing debut

Could she win this year's Strictly?

According to Oddschecker, Faye is currently a 10/1 winner, coming behind YouTuber Joe Sugg, presenter Vick Hope and journalist Stacey Dooley.

Former Pussycat Doll Ashley Robert, who tied with Faye at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, is 5/1.