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Strictly’s AJ Odudu hobbles on crutches to head to rehearsals


Strictly star AJ Odudu has been forced to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final after suffering ligament damage to her foot.  

The TV presenter, 33, had been hoping to push through the injury so she could compete with dance partner and rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington, but medical professionals deemed her unfit to compete.  

Now Saturday’s live final will see just John Whaite and Johannes Radebe and Rose Ayling Ellis and Giovanni Pernice compete for the Glitterball Trophy, with a source telling MailOnline that the last minute drama is a ‘disaster’. 

AJ said in a statement that she was ‘deeply upset’ by the news and later quipped that she would be cheering on the remaining dancers while ‘on one leg’.

Sad news: Strictly star AJ Odudu has been forced to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final after suffering ligament damage to her foot (pictured on Friday) 

Tragic: AJ had been hoping to compete alongside her dance partner and rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington in Saturday's live final

Tragic: AJ had been hoping to compete alongside her dance partner and rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington in Saturday’s live final

AJ said in a statement: ‘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 is something I’ll treasure forever. 

‘Thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home for watching and supporting. You’ve made this experience one to remember. 

‘Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream and I’m glad it came true. Good luck to my partners in dance, John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!)’

Sad news: Strictly star AJ Odudu has been forced to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final after suffering ligament damage to her foot (pictured on Friday)

Sad news: Strictly star AJ Odudu has been forced to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final after suffering ligament damage to her foot (pictured on Friday)  

AJ said in a statement: 'I'm deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle'

AJ said in a statement: ‘I’m deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle’

It's all over: AJ has been forced to give up her dream of taking home the glitterball trophy

It’s all over: AJ has been forced to give up her dream of taking home the glitterball trophy 

Dance partner Kai said: ‘I’ve been absolutely honoured to get to dance with the incredible AJ Odudu for the last few months and although neither of us wanted our journey to end this way, AJ’s health and safety are by far the most important things. 

‘I want to thank AJ for being the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show and I will always treasure the memories of dancing in the Strictly ballroom with her. 

‘I know we will be friends for life and I will be there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can. I want to wish good luck to John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni for the final. 

‘And finally the biggest thank you to everyone who voted for us throughout the series, your support has been unforgettable.’

Tough: The TV presenter, 33, who's partnered with rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington, 26, suffered ligament damage to her foot earlier this week, leaving her unable to stand

Tough: The TV presenter, 33, who’s partnered with rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington, 26, suffered ligament damage to her foot earlier this week, leaving her unable to stand

Hop aboard: AJ shared a lengthy post expressing her upset alongside a snap getting a piggyback from her dance partner Kai

Hop aboard: AJ shared a lengthy post expressing her upset alongside a snap getting a piggyback from her dance partner Kai 

AJ then shared a Instagram post featuring a picture on the dancefloor and then a picture receiving a piggyback from Kai with a brace on her foot.

She penned: ‘How it started. How it’s going. 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! But the fact is, I can’t stand on my feet let alone dance because I’ve torn my spring ligament.

Two horse race: Now Saturday's live final will see just John Whaite and Johannes Radebe (pictured) and Rose Ayling Ellis and Giovanni Pernice compete for the Glitterball Trophy, with a source telling MailOnline that the last minute drama is a 'disaster'

Winners? Rose and Giovanni are the favourites to win having dominated the betting since the early stages and has now fallen into a red-hot 1/20 to lift the glitterball trophy,

Two horse race: Now Saturday’s live final will see just John Whaite and Johannes Radebe and Rose Ayling Ellis and Giovanni Pernice compete for the Glitterball Trophy, with a source telling MailOnline that the last minute drama is a ‘disaster’

‘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 is something I’ll treasure forever. You’re the best @kaiwidd and I know you were ready to be my human crutch on that dancefloor come tomorrow night. Gutted! ❤️ 

‘I want to say a huge thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home watching and supporting. You’ve made this experience one to remember and I couldn’t be more grateful for your well wishes. 

‘Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream of mine and I’m glad it came true. ✨ Good luck to my partners in dance, @john_whaite & @Johannesradebe and @Rose.a.e and @perniceGiovann1. I will be cheering you all on (on one leg). ‘ 

Stepping out: The star is unable to put any weight on her foot, however she is still hoping to compete in the final

Stepping out: The star is unable to put any weight on her foot, however she is still hoping to compete in the final

Difficult: AJ who is said to have had treatment on Wednesday for the injury looked fragile as she hobbled on her crutches

Difficult: AJ who is said to have had treatment on Wednesday for the injury looked fragile as she hobbled on her crutches

Sarah James, Strictly Come Dancing Executive Producer, added: ‘AJ may not be able to compete in the final but she is and always will be one of the most brilliant Strictly finalists we have ever had. 

‘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. 

‘Although this is not how we would have wanted her Strictly journey to end, AJ’s health and wellbeing come first and everyone involved in the show send her all our love and wish her a speedy recovery.’  

Saturday’s final will now see John and Rose battle it out to be named the 2021 Strictly champion. 

The finalists will perform three dance routines on Saturday night’s live show, a judge’s pick, the couple’s favourite number and their show dance. 

Rose is the favourite to win having dominated the betting since the early stages and has now fallen into a red-hot 1/20 to lift the glitterball trophy, however AJ’s withdrawal has now seen John’s chances of an upset clipped in to 8/1 from 14/1 by BoyleSports. 

The show will also feature a performance from the professional dancers, where Janette Manrara will rejoin the group, after quitting to host It Takes Two, and dance alongside husband Aljaž Škorjanec. 

Ed Sheeran will provide the musical performance for the evening.  

 

Devastated: She detailed the injury in a social media post on Wednesday evening as she sat on a sofa

 Devastated: She detailed the injury in a social media post on Wednesday evening as she sat on a sofa

AJ suffered ligament damage to her foot earlier this week, leaving her unable to stand. The star is unable to put any weight on her foot, however was still hoping to compete in the final. 

AJ who is said to have had treatment on Wednesday for the injury looked fragile as she hobbled on her crutches. 

The beauty still managed to look stylish despite her injury, dressing in a black and orange striped jumper which she teamed with dark jeans.  

She completed her laid back look with a camouflage bag and wore a face covering over her nose and mouth.  

Speaking on Wednesday, AJ sobbed as she looked back at her Strictly experience so far, without being able to confirm if she will perform in Saturday night’s grand final. 

She later detailed the injury in a social media post on Wednesday evening, shortly before appearing on Strictly sister-show It Takes Two.  

AJ said: ‘Basically, long story short, I have hurt the ligament in my arch, and I can’t put any weight on my foot at all.

‘We have missed a lot of training because I can’t stand up, I’m on crutches and I am doing everything I can to try and be there on Saturday night.

‘It’s just really frustrating actually because the two dances that we are repeating from the series we haven’t performed them in weeks and weeks and without giving too much away they are energy inducing dances.

‘On Monday, we were optimistic because we were like do you know what the steps are still there we just need to build up the stamina and as Kai mentioned our show dance is a beautiful and epic routine that we have stepped through but again it is one of those things that you need the practice in order to give it everything.

‘I am at this moment in time very frustrated and upset.’ 

Not good: A source told The Mirror: 'This is the worst possible timing but AJ is a real trooper and will keep going no matter what. The pain in her foot was terrible'

Not good: A source told The Mirror: ‘This is the worst possible timing but AJ is a real trooper and will keep going no matter what. The pain in her foot was terrible’ 

Posting an image of her injured foot as she prepared for an appearance on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two, AJ revealed she has been unable to rehearse ahead of the final. 

She wrote: ‘I’ve got a repeated traumatic impact injury to my right ankle affecting the joint, capsule and ligaments themselves. I can’t pinpoint a moment it actually happened during training but the pain came on suddenly on Monday night. 

‘The pain was so acute that I projectile vomited and currently I can’t put any weight on my right foot without agonising discomfort.  

‘Because I’m unable to move without crutches, we haven’t been nor will be able to rehearse properly ahead of the live final. To say I’m devastated would be a huge understatement and I am gutted. 

‘THAT BEING SAID, whilst it’s not the week I had planned I’m trying to remain hopeful and positive. I’m surrounded by a fantastic medical team who are trying their best to get me back on my feet PLUS, I have the most incredible partner who is carrying me emotionally and physically (literally). 

‘Thanks for all your messages. I sincerely hope it will be all right on the night.’   

Gutted: Speaking on Wednesday, AJ sobbed as she looked back at her Strictly experience so far, without being able to confirm if she will perform in Saturday night's grand final

Gutted: Speaking on Wednesday, AJ sobbed as she looked back at her Strictly experience so far, without being able to confirm if she will perform in Saturday night’s grand final

AJ’s withdrawal from the competition comes after pro Giovanni also suffered an injury. 

On Thursday, the dancer’s foot was crushed in a closing door as he arrived at the It Takes Two film studios in London with celebrity dance partner Rose.  

While patiently waiting for the door to the film studies to be opened from the inside, Giovanni and Rose were stood outside chatting to fans.

Oh no! On Thursday, Giovanni Pernice's, 31, foot was crushed in a closing door as he arrived at the It Takes Two film studios in London with celebrity dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis

Oh no! On Thursday, Giovanni Pernice’s, 31, foot was crushed in a closing door as he arrived at the It Takes Two film studios in London with celebrity dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis

Ouch! Giovanni exclaimed 'that's my foot!' as he removed it at the last second after it was trapped and almost crushed

Ouch! Giovanni exclaimed ‘that’s my foot!’ as he removed it at the last second after it was trapped and almost crushed

Finally, three men left through the door to behind them, and after the third and final man passed through, Giovanni used his foot to keep the door ajar and urged him: ‘keep it keep it keep it…’    

But the man refused to listen to the professional dancer’s request and instead forced the door closed.

Giovanni exclaimed ‘that’s my foot!’ as he removed it at the last second after it was trapped and almost crushed. 

Unaware of the incredibly close-call, Rose asked: ‘So, we’re not going in then?’ 

Giovanni responded: ‘I was holding the door with my foot’ as he explained what had happened.

‘You nearly had a broken leg then!’ noted one of the fans who’d watched the incident unfold.

MailOnline has contacted Giovanni Pernice’s representatives for comment. 

To me, to you... or not!? After the third and final man passed through a door behind him, Giovanni used his foot to keep the door ajar

Worry: The man was clearly ignoring the professional dancer's request

To me, to you… or not!? After the third and final man passed through a door behind him, Giovanni used his foot to keep the door ajar and urged the man: ‘keep it keep it keep it…’



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