Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news – Rose to battle through PAIN in tonight's semis as AJ Odudu hits back at cheat claims

STRICTLY's AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington have hit back at claims they cheated in last weekend's dance off – and sent Dan Walker dancing home.

Viewers have questioned if AJ and Kai changed up their routine for their second performance which aired in the results show on Sunday.

The dance partners explained that they successfully executed the move the second time around – allowing them the chance to sail through to the semi-finals.

AJ said: "I felt like a star, but then it all went downhill. I got tangled up, just a cheeky little tangle."

The news comes as Dan Walker has opened up about Strictly curse rumours after he was pictured 'hugging' his dance partner backstage.

Read our Strictly live blog below for the latest news and gossip…

  • Louis Allwood

    Rose calls Giovanni Pernice ‘sweaty’ during practice

    Rose Ayling-Ellis has joked that her dance partner Giovanni Pernice was “sweaty” as the couple practised their Argentine tango for the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final.

    Appearing on Strictly It Takes Two, the actress was shown a video clip and laughed at her apparent disgust at being so close to her dance partner, calling him “sweaty”.

    In the footage, Pernice joked: “Stop doing the sweaty thing. People would pay to have this sweat and be this close with me.”

  • Louis Allwood

    The celebs left in the competition

    There are still four celebrities all dancing for that Glitterball trophy.

    The stars that are left in the competition are:

    • AJ Odudu 
    • John Whaite
    • Rhys Stephenson 
    • Rose Ayling-Ellis 

    Strictly live tour news

    Strictly Come Dancing – the Live Tour 2022 has confirmed its list of celebrities and professionals.

    It’ll be kicking off at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena on January 20 and running through to February 13, where it’ll close the curtain at The O2 in London.

    Manchester Evening News announced this year’s semi-finalists will be joining the live tour, including John Whaite, Johannes Radebe, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Giovanni Pernice, Rhys Stephenson, Nancy Xu, AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington/

    Eliminated co-stars Sara Davies, Aljaž Škorjanec, Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin will also join them.

    The likes of Neil Jones, Amy Dowden, Cameron Lombard, Jake Leigh, Jowita Przystal, Luba Mushtuk and Katya Jones are also representing the pros.

    Meanwhile, the touring panel consists of judges is Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli. Janette Manrara is onboard as host.

    • Louis Allwood

      Rose could be running away with the trophy

      Rose and Giovanni will almost certainly win Strictly Come Dancing this year, according to the latest odds from Ladbrokes.

      The bookies have the duo priced at 1/5 to lift this year's glitterball trophy, which equates to a whopping 83% chance of winning.

      Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "Rose and Giovanni may as well just be handed the trophy now as it's looking impossible to beat them this year."

    • Louis Allwood

      Strictly winners revealed through secret body language

      Body language expert Darren Stanton that there is one pair giving away their victory through their subconscious gestures.

      Darren has written on the Mirror that the frontrunners for him are John Whaite and Johannes Radebe “due to the obvious rapport they share and the true – and genuine – emotion they have when engaging with one another”.

      Darren continued to say that: “They say that the eyes are the window to the soul – eyes can be a direct reflection of emotion and if we look at the level of engagement between John and Johannes, as dancers they hold each other’s gaze and have complete synchronicity. Their connection is undeniable and their performances are seamless.

      “These two go from strength to strength each week and it’s clear the level of connection between them continues to increase and get stronger.

      “The non-verbal communication they displayed during this week’s dance, such as their intense eye contact and close interactions within each other’s proximity zones, suggests their bond has reached new heights – this was validated by both the audience and the judging panel’s response.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Who won Strictly Come Dancing 2020?

      Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse won Strictly Come Dancing 2020 beating HRVY, Maisie Smith and Jamie Laing in the grand final.

      The 55-year-old comedian made history as he became the oldest contestant to take home the Glitterball trophy.

      And Oti became the first-ever professional dancer to win the show two years in a row.

      Host Tess Daly announced the result as the nine-week series came to an end early because of coronavirus.

      Bill, HRVY and Maisie all finished top of the leaderboard with a total of 88 points from three dances.

      They were followed by Jamie in last place, with 84 after failing to land a ten from Craig Revel Horwood.

    • Louis Allwood

      Strictly’s John & Johannes inspire fans to come out

      John Whaite and Johannes Radebe have made history on Strictly Come Dancing, and are now fighting for their shot at the Glitterball as the finale gets nearer.

      Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, John and Johannes talked about the impact their participation has had on the LBGTQ+ community and the importance of men showing their vulnerable side.

      John said: People have said we’ve given them the ability to come out. People have actually said, thanks to you and Johannes, seeing their parents’ reaction to two men dancing, has given them the reassurance they needed to say “I’m gay”, or “I’m lesbian”, or “I’m queer”.

      “Particularly for people to open up to us like that, and tell us their stories… every single day we get messages like that, and it’s extremely humbling to be a catalyst for those people.”

      Strictly’s John Whaite continued to say: “That’s what we wanted to do when we joined forces, Johannes and I, to become this partnership. We hoped that it would be bigger than us, because it is bigger than us.

      “The message we are giving off is much bigger than the two of us, and it will last longer than the two of us lasts.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Dan Walker – I’ve turned down brilliant jobs because my faith

      DEVOUT Christian Dan goes to church every week and refuses to work on a Sunday.

      As a result, he said he has had to “turn down amazing jobs”.

      This week, he announced he would not be participating in the five-week Strictly tour.

      And Dan — who doesn’t swear — strongly believes children need to be safeguarded against the proliferation of bad language on TV and online.

      Chatting from his home in Sheffield — where he went to university — the BBC presenter said: “I’ve been a Christian for a long time and my faith has always been really important to me.

      “It’s at the centre of who I am, what I think, what I do."

    • Louis Allwood

      Crew ‘dreading Nina Wadia’s return in series finale after she slammed the show’

      Staff are dreading the return of EastEnders actress Nina Wadia after she slammed the show following her exit, according to reports.

      The 52-year-old was the first celeb to be eliminated back in week two, and claimed she'd been hard done by from the judges' scoring.

      She described their marking as "shocking" and said the overall experience was "odd".

      Ahead of Saturday night's final which will see past contestants return, one inside told the Mirror: “It’s left a very sour taste in the mouth.”

      Another complained Nina “moaned all the time” and added: “She is coming back for the final, which we are slightly dreading.”

      Nina lost out in the dance off to former Corrie star Katie McGlynn.

    • Louis Allwood

      Latest Ladbrokes odd's to win

      Strictly winner

      • Rose 1/5
      • AJ 8/1
      • John 10/1
      • Rhys 25/1

      Who is fave to go

      Rhys Stephenson is the most likely celebrity to miss out on the final of Strictly Come Dancing according to Ladbrokes. 

      The CBBC presenter is the odds-on favourite at just 8/15 to leave the competition during the semi-finals weekend.

      7/2 says AJ goes instead, or there's a 4/1 shot John and Johannes fail to make the last showdown of the series. 

      At 20/1 with the bookies for elimination on Sunday night Rose and Giovanni look to have already one foot in the Strictly final.

      Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "Unfortunately for Rhys and Nancy it looks like they're going to fall at the final hurdle, with this year's Strictly finalists coming from Rose, AJ and John."

      Start time changed for Tonight's show

      The shows start time has been shunted back 25 minutes tonight.

      The semi-finals, which will see two dances from each of the remaining couples, will also run longer than last week's show.

      Saturday's show will start at 7.05pm and run for an hour and 20 minutes, before Michael McIntyre's The Wheel starts at 8.25pm.

      Last week's outing, which sealed the fate of BBC Breakfast star Dan Walker, began at 6.40pm and aired for just an hour.

      Tonight's Strictly will see show favourites Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice do the Argentine tango to Eduardo Rovira's A Evaristo Carriego.

      Cheat claims

      Viewers have questioned if AJ and Kai changed up their routine for their second performance which aired in the results show on Sunday.

      The dance partners explained that they successfully executed the move the second time around – allowing them the chance to sail through to the semi-finals.

      AJ said: "I felt like a star, but then it all went downhill. I got tangled up, just a cheeky little tangle."

      Her partner Kai continued: "We had incredible choreography last week but I said to them, we don't want to leave it to chance and we would be doing an injustice to AJ if we didn't push the boundaries.

      "You would feel the same way because you want to push the boundaries, you want it to be memorable, you don't want it to be just 'okay'. I just didn't do my best. I'd rather do that and go wrong than just play it safe. I think it's good that we pushed the boundaries."

      AJ then added: "We've never once played it safe. Every single dance has been outside of my comfort zones for sure and I know that it's a tough routine because it was challenging for Kai as well. That's when you know, when the pro finds it hard.

      "But genuinely I would much rather stumble going for it than just having the ride."

      Dan Walkers rivalry with Piers Morgan

      Strictly star Dan Walker revealed he loves his rivalry with frenemy Piers Morgan.

      He said: “Piers is a brilliant broadcaster. He’s a very clever bloke and actually I’ve enjoyed our jousting over the years.

      “I miss that because I think we’re both competitive.

      “He crossed a line a few times, which I resolutely didn’t, but I’m looking forward to seeing him back on telly.”

      And he said breakfast television has been generally quieter since the ex-Sun man quit ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

      Star opens up on Strictly curse rumours

      Dan Walker has put rumours to bed after he was spotted sharing a cuddle with dance partner Nadyia backstage.

      The pair shared a comforting moment backstage, with Dan admitting: “I just needed to give somebody a hug.

      “I needed to release emotionally from everything I’d been bottling up in the week.”

      Dan, 44, had been cut up by a pal’s death and sought solace with Nadiya, 32, because Covid rules prevented them going near others.

      He added: “There was only one person I was allowed to touch in the entire production that night and that was my partner.

      “I needed somebody to give a hug to, and that was literally it.

      “Nadiya was great. She said nice things, and I felt a lot better. We all need that sometimes.”

      • Louis Allwood

        Who won Strictly Come Dancing 2020?

        Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse won Strictly Come Dancing 2020 beating HRVY, Maisie Smith and Jamie Laing in the grand final.

        The 55-year-old comedian made history as he became the oldest contestant to take home the Glitterball trophy.

        And Oti became the first-ever professional dancer to win the show two years in a row.

        Host Tess Daly announced the result as the nine-week series came to an end early because of coronavirus.

        Bill, HRVY and Maisie all finished top of the leaderboard with a total of 88 points from three dances.

        They were followed by Jamie in last place, with 84 after failing to land a ten from Craig Revel Horwood.

      • Louis Allwood

        Richest Strictly professionals

        New analysis has revealed that Dianne Buswell is the most influential dancer on the show.

        Analysis conducted by furniture retailer Bed Kingdom, analysed Instagram profiles of the professional dancers and marketing calculators to determine how influential this year’s cast of dancers are on social media.

        • Dianne Buswell is the most influential professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, potentially earning £3,355 per sponsored post on Instagram
        • Gorka Marquez is the second most influential professional dancer
        • Last year’s winner and The Masked Dancer UK judge, Oti Mabuse, is the third most influential professional

        Strictly Come Dancing’s new rule

        Strictly bosses have implemented a new rule with the Omicron variant now at large, and this will make the competition fairer.

        BirminghamLive reported that Strictly bosses have made a big change to the rules around Covid as the Omicron variant spreads.

        Up until now celebrities who have caught the virus have been allowed to have a week off and then return to the show.

        Now the celebrities will be immediately eliminated from the competition, a TV insider claims.

        Who performs the songs on Strictly Come Dancing?

        Strictly Come Dancing is not just loved by audiences for the brilliant dancing, but also for the great live music.

        Musical director and arranger Dave Arch is the man in charge of the band.

        He is a British pianist, conductor, arranger and composer who has enjoyed a prolific career covering a broad spectrum of the music business including albums, films, and commercials, live and television work.

        He is also the Musical Director for recent productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

        When is Strictly Come Dancing on TV and how can I watch it?

        Strictly continues December 11, 2021 at 7.05pm on BBC One.

        The results will then be read out the following day (December 12, 2021) at 7.20pm.

        If you miss any of the action, you can catch up on the BBC iPlayer.

        What are the dances?

        AJ Odudu and partner Kai Widdrington:

        • Rumba to Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee.
        • Quickstep to Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman.

        John Whaite and Johannes Radebe:

        • Jive to Higher Power by Coldplay.
        • Couple's Choice to Hometown Glory by Adele.

        Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice:

        • Argentine Tango to A Evaristo Carriego by Eduardo Rovira.
        • Waltz to How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding.

        Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu: 

        • Samba to It Had Better Be Tonight (Meglio Stasera) by Michael Bublé.
        • Tango to One Vision by Queen.
        • Louis Allwood

          Giovanni Pernice makes cheeky joke about ‘closeness’

          Giovanni Pernice has cheekily joked about his "closeness" to partner Rose Ayling-Ellis.

          The professional has formed a strong bond with the show's first deaf dancer over the series.

          Last night Strictly: It Takes Two, host Janette Manrara joked: "Giovanni mentioned how close you were actually going to be, but Rose you weren't very excited about it."

          The 27-year-old had teased Giovanni about his "sweaty" body during a gruelling training session this week.

          After playing out the clip, Giovanni shouted: "People will pay to have this sweat. People would pay to be that close to me."

        • Louis Allwood

          Eliminated star says ‘best four dancers’ are left

          Dan Walker has said “the best four dancers” are in the semi-finals on Strictly Come Dancing following his exit over the weekend.

          Speaking on It Takes Two on Monday, Dan pointed out: “We did ten weeks of the competition without ever being in the dance-off

          “Having never danced before, and being fearful of the dance floor when I started out, to get to week 11, we knew it was going to come at some stage, didn’t we?

          “Because everyone in the competition is so good. I think the important thing is, the best four dancers are in the semi-final… As I said in the dance-off, I would have put AJ and Kai through as well.

          “It’s an entertainment show but it’s also a dancing competition and they were the best by a mile. We all said that on day one.”

        • Louis Allwood

          Strictly’s Giovanni gets his flirt on

          Elsewhere, the Italian hunk – who The Sun revealed is dating Made In Chelsea’s Verity Bowditch – is favourite to win this series with deaf EastEnders actress Rose, 27. 

          Rose and Giovanni often post gushing messages to one another and viewers have commented on their incredible chemistry.

          Last month following their silent dance, Giovanni posted a pic of the performance, writing: “A moment that will remain forever in my heart. You really are a role model.”

          At the end of their routine, the flirty Italian told Rose he “loved her” before they received a near-perfect 39 out of 40.

          And last week, the duo melted hearts on This Morning as Giovanni said Rose was the “100 per cent the best partner” he’d had.

        • Louis Allwood

          I’m A Celeb & Strictly star signs big money deal

          EVICTED Arlene Phillips signed a big-money deal with Tesco just hours after leaving the castle.

          The former Strictly Come Dancing judge, 78, has filmed a secret advert for the shopping giant.

          Their agreement, thought to be worth a six-figure sum, was struck less than 24 hours after she became the first celeb sent home from this year’s ITV series.

          She was in a studio in London on Tuesday.

          A source said: “Arlene might have not got very far, but she’s still got some earning power.

          “I’m sure the ad will have a quick turnaround and Tesco will try and capitalise on her moment in the spotlight.”

          Arlene recently became a new Dancing on Ice judge.

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