Strictly Come Dancing final news 2021 – AJ Odudu forced to QUIT as Rose fave to win plus what time is show on tonight

WITH hours to go until the final, disaster has struck the BBC Strictly Come Dancing show, as AJ Odudu has been forced OUT of final this weekend.

AJ has been left devastated as she announced her withdrawal from the competition today.

Due to suffering a nasty injury, which left her on crutches and unable to dance, she will now be absent on the show on Saturday – leaving two couples to battle it out for the Glitterball.

Bookies have named Rose as the fave to win this series of Strictly.

Leading bookmaker Coral has cut Rose Ayling-Ellis to 1-20 (from 1-8) to win this weekend’s Strictly Come Dancing final after AJ Odudu was forced to withdraw due to injury.

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

  • Milica Cosic

    Rose Ayling-Ellis crowned 'most influential' Strictly contestant

    Online casino experts CasinoTop10 analysed the Instagram followings of this year’s celebrity cast members to reveal who had the highest increase since the launch show.

    • Rose Ayling-Ellis’s Instagram following has seen the highest increase out of the celebrity contestants on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing series.
    • Rose has gained 379,246 followers since the launch show, closely followed by Tilly Ramsay with 312,419 new followers.
    • John Whaite has the third highest increase, with 144,628 new followers.

    Explained: Why is AJ not in the Strictly final?

    AJ has been ruled out of the series final after a nasty ankle injury left her on crutches and unable to dance.

    She announced her withdrawal from the competition on December 17, 2021 after she was pictured hobbling to her last rehearsal.

    She said: “I’m deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle.

    "Learning to dance over the last 13 weeks has been an incredible honour and to do it alongside someone as special, patient and devoted as Kai [Widdrington] is something I’ll treasure forever."

    When is the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final?

    The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final will air on BBC One TONIGHT (December 18, 2021) from 7pm.

    This means one contestant will be celebrating Christmas as Strictly's fiercest dancer.

    The finale will then be available for viewers wishing to catch up with the programme on BBC iPlayer.

    Results each week announcing the unlucky celeb to be voted out of the dancing competition are usually aired on a Sunday evening.

    But the final result's is expected to be revealed on the Saturday night.

    • Milica Cosic

      Two left battling it out tonight

      Two couples now face a head-to-head battle to scoop the Glitterball Trophy.

      EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis is the frontrunner tipped to take home the Strictly prize on Saturday night.

      Chef John Whaite will be dancing alongside pro partner Johannes Radebe in the final.

      John and Johannes made Strictly history as the first male same-sex pairing to compete and have done well on the scoreboard each week.

      The TV star shot to fame when he won Bake Off back in 2012.

    • Milica Cosic

      Strictly’s AJ Odudu admits she can’t stand

      STRICTLY'S AJ Odudu has admitted she can't stand let alone dance as she revealed she's wearing medical moonboot.

       AJ kept fans updated on her horrific injury that forced her to pull out of the glittering Strictly finals tomorrow night.

      She said: "The fact is, I can't stand on my feet let alone dance because I've torn my spring ligament."

      In a post which she called 'how it started vs how it's going', she explained all the medical procedures she had been through.

      The brave star said: "I've had ultrasounds, MRI scans and x-rays.

      "I've had two incisions to drain the inflammation around my ankle. I've injected local anaesthetic directly into my foot, I have been strapped up to an ice compression machine for days.

      "I've done all I can possibly do to get back on my feet for the @bbcstrictly Final, I even asked the docs if I could perform in a medical moonboot! "

    • Milica Cosic

      Explained: Will AJ still be attending the final?

      It is still not confirmed whether or not Odudu will be attending the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday night.

      However, many fans are left believing that she will be attending to support the final two dance couples left in the competition. 

      The dancers now left in the competition and competing for the Glitterball trophy areRose Ayling-Ellis who is coupled with Giovanni Pernice, and John Whaite coupled with Johannes Radebe.

    • Milica Cosic

      Tess Daly’s expensive Strictly wardrobe

      Research conducted by fabric experts Dalston Mill Fabrics analysed every outfit worn by the two presenters each Saturday night.

      They found that the average price of Tess’ outfits on the Saturday night live shows is almost three times more expensive than Claudia’s.

      The most expensive outfit worn by Tess is a black sequin and velvet dress from week two of the series made by Galia Lahav costing £2,600. She paired this outfit with a more understated pair of plain black YSL stilettos to complete the look. 

      • Tess Daly’s wardrobe averages at £929 per show. 
      • Claudia Winkleman’s cheapest Strictly outfit has come to £326. 

      Rose shortest priced Strictly favourite ever

      Leading bookmaker Coral has cut Rose Ayling-Ellis to 1-20 (from 1-8) to win this weekend’s Strictly Come Dancing final after AJ Odudu was forced to withdraw due to injury.

      John Whaite is 8-1 to cause an upset over the weekend.

      “It’s very unfortunate that AJ has had to withdraw at this stage. Rose is now the shortest priced favourite we have ever had in a Strictly final,” said Coral’s John Hill.

      AJ ‘did everything in her power’ to remain in Strictly

      AJ Odudu has said she did everything in her power before she was forced to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final having suffered a torn ligament in her ankle.

      The TV presenter and partner Kai Widdrington were due to compete on Saturday night against soap star Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice and baker John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe for the glitterball trophy.

      Appearing on the BBC spin-off show It Takes Two for the 1,000th episode, she said: “I have literally done everything in my power to be on that dance floor. I asked the medics if I could dance in a moon boot.”

      Partner Widdrington, who was crying during the interview, said: “We were really hoping we would get over the line and dance in the final, we had very energetic dances but the injury is just too bad and, at the end of he day, AJ’s health is more important.

      “We earned our place in the final.”

      Co-presenter Rylan Clark-Neal showed the couple a highlight reel from their time on Strictly Come Dancing, saying it has been a “pleasure” to watch them.

      • Milica Cosic

        Giovanni shares adorable highlight of the series

        Giovanni Pernice has shared his highlight from this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing.

        Speaking to It Takes Two host Rylan Clark-Neal at a BBC press conference, Giovanni (who is coupled with Rose) explained: "I might be the dance teacher but for me the highlight has been spending every single day in the studio with Rose because of the positivity and the happiness I’ve had every single day for 14 weeks.

        "It's been joyful."

        He added: "It's the first time I've said I don't want this [series] to finish.

        "Rose really wants to learn the dance, she really wants to get the dance right, it's fantastic and rewarding.

        "When I watch it back, I forget that she's deaf because of how she dances, [she's] like a professional right now. So I am a very, very proud teacher, but more than anything I am happy that I discovered a fantastic friend for life, for sure."

      • Milica Cosic

        HOURS LEFT TO GO!

        The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final will air on BBC One TONIGHT (December 18, 2021) from 7pm.

        This means one contestant will be celebrating Christmas as Strictly’s fiercest dancer.

        The series will have been on the air for three months when the finale will hit the screens.

        The finale will then be available for viewers wishing to catch up with the programme on BBC iPlayer.

      • Milica Cosic

        Will AJ still be attending the final?

        It is still not confirmed whether or not Odudu will be attending the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday night.

        However, many fans are left believing that she will be attending to support the final two dance couples left in the competition. 

        The dancers now left in the competition and competing for the Glitterball trophy areRose Ayling-Ellis who is coupled with Giovanni Pernice, and John Whaite coupled with Johannes Radebe.

      • Milica Cosic

        Strictly final in chaos

        The live final is taking place on Saturday but it's far from smooth sailing as there is a cloud of chaos looming over the last episode of the 2021 series – with a number of problems threatening to derail plans.

        Sadly for 20-year-old Tilly, she won't be returning to the ballroom as she has caught Covid.

        Taking to social media on Wednesday, she wrote: “So sad to be missing the Strictly final – but sadly have tested positive for covid so will be watching from my sofa and cheering on the amazing finalists from home on Saturday night – wishing everyone lots of love & good luck.”

        Robert Webb also took to his Instagram to announce that he won't be returning, writing: “the producers understood that when I had to stop, I had to stop completely… the offer of one more dance was politely declined.”

      • Milica Cosic

        Two couples now left

        Two couples now face a head-to-head battle to scoop the Glitterball Trophy.

        EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis is the frontrunner tipped to take home the Strictly prize on Saturday night.

        Rose is paired up with Giovanni Pernice.

        Battling against Rose will be chef John Whaite, who is dancing alongside pro partner Johannes Radebe in the final.

      • Milica Cosic

        A 'dreaded' Nina Wadia come back

        Reports have suggested the crew working on the BBC series are “dreading” Nina Wadia coming back for the final.

        The 52-year-old star was the first contestant to be eliminated on week two of the show. She even hit out at the series following her departure calling her experience: “Odd”.

        A show source said earlier this week: “It’s left a very sour taste in the mouth.”

        Another source has claimed that Nina had “moaned all the time” during her time on the show, even adding: “She is coming back for the final, which we are slightly dreading.”

      • Milica Cosic

        AJ 'hoped' she'd be on the show

        Initial reports revealed the 33-year-old had to miss a day of training after suffering the injury and underwent a scan. 

        Despite sustaining the injury so close to Saturday's final, it was "hoped" that AJ would be fit for this weekend's show.

        AJ reached the final after impressing the judges week after week with pro partner Kai.

      • Milica Cosic

        Dinner date for two

        Giovanni, 31, took to his Instagram to share a story of him and Rose, 27, both wearing paper crowns and reading a joke from one of their crackers.

        Speaking to the camera, Giovanni said: "So Christmas for two."

        He then spun around to EastEnders star Rose, who said: "Merry Christmas. Can I ask you… why can't you play a joke on a snake?"

        Giovanni replied: "I don't know Rose." She added: "Because you can't pull their legs."

        He then spun the camera back around to his face and said: "Wow."

      • Milica Cosic

        Who is competing in the Strictly Christmas special?

        The festive edition of the hit BBC One show only has six stars taking part.

        Those taking part in the 2021 show include:

        • Anne-Marie is paired with Graziano Di Prima 
        • The Repair Shop's Jay Blades with paired with professional dancer, Luba Mushtuk
        • First Dates star Fred Sirieix is paired with Dianne Buswell 
        • TV star and comedian Mel Giedroyc is paired Neil Jones
        • Veteran news broadcaster Moira Stuart is paired with Aljaz Skorjanec
        • TV and radio presenter Adrian Chiles was the final celeb to be announced for the show, and he'll be dancing with pro newcomer Jowita Przystal

        Tess Daly's Strictly wardrobe 3X more expensive than Claudia's

        Research conducted by fabric experts Dalston Mill Fabrics analysed every outfit worn by the two presenters each Saturday night.

        They found that the average price of Tess’ outfits on the Saturday night live shows is almost three times more expensive than Claudia’s.

        The most expensive outfit worn by Tess is a black sequin and velvet dress from week two of the series made by Galia Lahav costing £2,600. She paired this outfit with a more understated pair of plain black YSL stilettos to complete the look. 

        • Tess Daly’s wardrobe averages at £929 per show. 
        • Claudia Winkleman’s cheapest Strictly outfit has come to £326. 

        'Rose starring on night prime time a massive step forward'

        James Taylor, executive director of strategy at Scope, said: “So many disabled people don’t see themselves represented on screen. For Rose Ayling-Ellis to have starred week-after-week on Saturday night prime time is a massive step forward.

        “However, there is still a very long way to go until disabled people are featured fairly on screen. There are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK and their lives and stories are not being told.  

        “Seeing disabled people on TV will only help improve understanding and break down barriers. So, the fact that Rose’s journey has been beamed into living rooms week-in week-out is excellent progress and must be the start of real change. 

        “Whoever lifts the glitterball trophy, we have seen a victory for representation on our screens, challenging the stereotypes of what disabled people can do.

        "We want more broadcasters to step up and feature the talents of disabled people.”  

        AJ Odudu: 'Strictly's left me permanently disfigured'

        AJ Odudu joked Strictly had “permanently disfigured” her before a nasty injury left her on crutches.

        Speaking earlier in the competition, before injuring her foot, the TV presenter told The Sun: “Honestly speaking, I don’t think my toes will ever be the same again. I think they’re going to be permanently in the shape of a latin shoe.

        “I think they’re going to be permanently disfigured by Strictly!

        “But you know what? It’s incredible what the body can do. I am a complete beginner, never danced before and to think that my body is moving in the ways that I never thought it could, I’m like, ‘Wow! This is incredible.’

        “I hope all the things that I’ve learnt from Strictly stay with me, even if it does mean me having a weird shaped toes. But I’m constantly aching.”

        • Milica Cosic

          Most searched for couple

          Rose and Giovanni are consistently the most searched for couple during Strictly 2021.

          New data commissioned by Bingosites.co.uk shows that amongst the four couples in the Semifinal, Rose and Giovanni are consistently the most searched for couple over the span of the series. 

          This is particularly prominent on Nov 13th when, as a Strictly first, the music was stopped during Rose and Giovanni’s performance to simulate roses’ experience on the dance floor.

          The dance couple also make for the most searched for couple to win this weekend.

        • Milica Cosic

          Strictly's Giovanni Pernice reveals ‘jealousy'

          Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice has revealed he would have been “jealous” if Rose Ayling-Ellis was paired up with someone else.

          Ahead of the final, Giovanni said: "For me, the highlight has been spending every day in the studio with Rose because of the positivity and the happiness that I have had every single day for 14 weeks, its been joyful and it's the first time I've said I don't want this to finish.

          "I always say I'm the one who is privileged to be able to do this journey with her.”

          He added:  “If she was doing it with someone else, I would be quite jealous."

        • Milica Cosic

          Explained: Is there a theme for the final?

          There isn’t a theme for Strictly’s grand finale.

          Based on past editions, finalists will be performing up to three routines in the hopes of dancing all the way to victory.

          There is typically the traditional show dance and celebrities will reprise two past dances of the programme.

          One of them will be chosen by the Strictly judges who, as usual, will be giving the stars feedback and tips on how to improve their groove.

          The public alone can decide who wins as the marks from the judges are only for guidance.

        • Milica Cosic

          Strictly 'changed Rose's life'

          Rose, the show's first deaf contestant, won over viewers with an emotional contemporary routine featuring 10 seconds of silence in tribute to the deaf community.

          She will be performing this dance again in the final on Saturday.

          Speaking at a press conference hosted by It Takes Two presenter Rylan Clark, Giovanni said: "The sound moment was so powerful and it got so much attention, Rose keeps saying the dance changed her life, it's fair to do it again.

          "It's remarkable, when I watch a show back sometimes I completely forget she's deaf because of the way she dances. I am a very, very proud teacher but more than that I am happy I discovered a fantastic friend for life."

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