Strictly Come Dancing FINAL ‘I have been putting on a brave face’: Tearful AJ Odudu admits she’s ‘heartbroken’ after she and Kai Widdrington were forced to pull out due to her foot injury
Sitting alongside professional partner Kai Widdrington, 26, the 33-year-old presenter, who suffered ligament damage to her foot during rehearsals this week, emotionally reflected on her experience to Strictly host Claudia Winkleman.
‘Honestly, Claudia, I don’t know how to describe what it feels like to have a broken heart. But that’s what it feels like,’ she began before breaking down.
Strictly Come Dancing FINAL: Heartbroken AJ Odudu broke down in tears with partner Kai Widdrington on Saturday after they were forced to pull out of the final due to her foot injury
Staying strong, the TV star continued: ‘But, we have had the best time on this show and you know, I have been putting on a brave face, Kai has been putting on a brave face.
‘We’ve loved the show tonight. Rose and John and Johannes and Giovanni are incredible – but we wanted to be on the dancefloor with them.
‘We’ve been swallowing tears throughout the night but I’m just so happy. I’m genuinely happy and grateful to be here – to have done all those incredible dances, to have learned so much, to have met all these beautiful people – [I] had the best outfits ever!’
Sad: Sitting alongside professional partner Kai, 26, the 33-year-old presenter emotionally reflected on her experience to Strictly host Claudia Winkleman
AJ and Kai have been at the heart of romance rumours during the course of the show and she used the time to pay a heartfelt tribute to him – and their ‘unbreakable bond.’
‘I literally would not have been here without Kai. Learning to dance has truly been the biggest joy and every single week we have said “dance like it’s your last.”
‘And I’m so glad we did that from week one because we didn’t know that our last dance was our last dance. We didn’t know. But I am glad that our last dance(s), plural, I’m glad that they were brilliant and everyone enjoyed them as much as we did.’
Experience: AJ and Kai have been at the heart of romance rumours during the course of the show and the TV star used the time to pay a heartfelt tribute to him
A choked up Claudia also praised a stoic Kai, who made his Strictly debut this year.
The choreographer responded: ‘This girl just every week outdoes herself. Every week when I come into the training room I feel like the most luckiest professional to be in the room with a woman like this. She is the most strongest character, even after the setbacks that we’ve had.
‘She’s made my first season on Strictly the best experience ever and this will always hold a place special in my heart. We didn’t get the chance to dance tonight, but my God does she look the part!’
Staying positive: A choked up Claudia also praised a stoic Kai, who made his Strictly debut this year
Sweet: ‘We didn’t get the chance to dance tonight, but my God does she look the part!’ the choreographer gushed
WINNER! EastEnders’ deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis lifted the glitterball as she was crowned winner of Strictly Come Dancing after competing against John Whaite in the most diverse final in the show’s 17-year history
EastEnders’ deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and her dance partner Giovanni Pernice lifted the glitterball as she was crowned winner of Strictly Come Dancing after competing against John Whaite in the most diverse final in the show’s 17-year history.
The nail-biting end to the 2021 series came down to the viewers’ vote after both Rose, 27, and John, 32, who formed the first ever male sex partnership with Johannes Radebe, tied on the leaderboard with the judges praising both for the ‘groundbreaking’ roles they have played in the competition.
As her name was unveiled as the winner of Strictly 2021, Rose said to Giovanni: ‘I just want to say you are so amazing. You pushed me to believe in myself more than I believe in myself. You are an incredible teacher, but not just that you are a wonderful friend.
‘We’ve gone through a lot, and I just want you to know no matter what happens, no matter how busy we get, I want to you to know you’ve always got a piece of my heart. You really do.’
A teary-eyed Giovanni also revelled in their success on the BBC show as he scored his first win since he joined Strictly seven years ago.
Gracious runner-up: The nail-biting end to the 2021 series came after the judges praised both for the ‘groundbreaking’ roles they have played in the competition