Strictly Come Dancing eliminates eighth celebrity amid ongoing ‘fix’ claims

Elimination took place after Saturday night’s Blackpool week

Annabel Nugent
Monday 20 November 2023 04:40 GMT
Defiant Angela Rippon's message to Strictly fans after bottom-two finish

Strictly Come Dancing has said goodbye to its eighth contestant after an eventful Blackpool week.

Sunday night’s results show (19 November) saw the latest celebrity sent home from the competition following the previous evening’s episode.

On Saturday (18 November), the remaining couples took to the famous sprung floor of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to perform their most elaborate routines yet.

Landing in the bottom two, however, were Angela Rippon and Bobby Brazier who competed in Sunday night’s dreaded dance-off – with Rippon, 79, ultimately being sent home at the end of the episode.

Both couples performed their routines again, with Brazier and Diane Buswell performing their Jive to “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by Wham! and Rippon performing her American Smooth to “Tea for Two” by Ella Fitzgerald together with her partner Kai Widdrington.

The judges made the unanimous decision to save Brazier and Buswell, with Craig Revel Horwood being the first to give his verdict.

“Well, there’s a standout performance for me that I can’t ignore and the couple that I would like to save are Bobby and Dianne,” he said. Motsi Mabuse, Anton DuBeke, and head judge Shirley Ballas all voted to do the same.

Rippon’s elimination from the programme does not come as a huge surprise given that she had been in the dance-off for the past two consecutive weeks. Last week, her triumph over newsreader Krishnan Guru Murthy, who went home in week eight, proved controversial, with some fans claiming the show was “fixed” to keep Rippon on air.

Rippon, who is the oldest Strictly contestant ever, has had an eventful run on the series. During week one, she stunned viewers with her inaugural dance in which she executed a sensational high-kick that drew a standing ovation from the judging panel.

Her last performance on Saturday (18 November) was a full circle moment given that the last time Rippon was standing in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom was when she was the presenter of Strictly precursor Come Dancing.

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Rippon and Widdrington will dance another day

Asked by host Tess Daly about her time on the show, Rippon said: “I have to tell you that the last nine weeks have probably been the most terrifying, the most fantastic, the most glorious, the most joyful that I have spent for a very long time in my profession.”

She went on to praise her dance partner, calling Widdrington “an old soul on young shoulders”.

“He’s 28 and I’m 79, there’s a 51 year difference in our ages,” she said. “He has looked after me so brilliantly, he’s a wonderful dancer, a great choreographer, but he’s a terrific teacher… and he has the patience of a saint! All I can say is that you’ve [to Kai] got me here so don’t you dare cry!”

You can find all the talking points from Strictly’s Blackpool special here, as well as an updated leaderboard of all the remaining contestants here.

Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday 25 November at 6.40pm on BBC One.

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