Strictly: Craig argues AJ Odudu could win despite injury
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The TV Presenter sustained a foot injury earlier in the week, leaving her with no option but to pull out from the ballroom competition. Rose Ayling-Ellis has since spoken out about the unfortunate turn of events, insisting that the show will not be the same without AJ.
The 27-year-old appeared on Claudia Winkleman’s BBC Sounds radio show on Saturday alongside her dance partner to share her thoughts on the devastating news.
I think it’s so sad, and it feels quite empty. It didn’t feel right not having her in the competition
“I think it’s so sad, and it feels quite empty. It didn’t feel right not having her in the competition,” Rose said.
Giovanni chimed in by expressing his sorrow for Strictly newcomer Kai Widdrington, who he believes has done terrifically considering that this has been his first run on the BBC programme.
“I’m actually quite gutted for Kai as well. He’s done a brilliant job for his first year on the show,” he shared.
“He’s done a fantastic job, so it’s very sad not to see them there.
“They both deserve to be there.”
Last night, AJ and Kai sat down for an interview with Rylan Clark-Neal on It Takes Two, as the former Big Brother’s Bit on the Side star emotionally discussed having to leave the show ahead of the final.
AJ had recalled how she suffered a torn ligament in her right ankle during rehearsals, and under doctor’s orders, she’d been advised to quit the series.
Clearly overcome with emotions, Kai was left sobbing next to his dance partner, who tried her best to keep her composure.
“Do you know what, we had the best time and on Monday we rehearsed and we were just excited like: ‘Right, we’re going to do the jive, we’re going to do the Charleston, what a way to end our experience.’
AJ proceeded to clarify the seriousness of her injury, insisting that there was no chance she could carry on.
“My ankle’s given way and my ligament has ruptured and it’s just not gonna happen. We’re gutted because we were ready to smash it.
“This isn’t the way that we wanted to go out, obviously, but even just looking back at all of those moments, it’s just been an absolute pleasure dancing with Kai every single week, so thank you.”
Following the news, fans flocked to social media to share their reactions after the bombshell announcement.
On Twitter, @43whernmayer wrote: “Can’t believe that AJ is not dancing tonight.
“I can’t imagine leaving the series just days before the final. Send lots of love to you. #strictly.”
Another fan, @kelseysailor32, added: “Such a shame to see AJ out of #Strictly over her foot injury.
“Such an accident couldn’t have happened to a sweeter person. Sooo gutted.
“Heal up fast and be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come”.
Sarah James, the executive producer of Strictly, weighed in with a few words of her own, adding: “We cannot thank her enough for fully embracing the experience and being a total delight both on and off the dance floor.”
“AJ and Kai are a wonderful partnership and have performed some unforgettable routines over the last few months.”
AJ’s exit from the show leaves John Whaite and dance partner Johannes Radebe facing off against Rose and Giovanni in tonight’s final.
Strictly’s grand final airs tonight at 7.10 pm on BBC One.
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