With just two weeks to go until the Strictly Come Dancing 2013 Grand Final, Hollyoaks star Ashley Taylor Dawson and his professional partner Ola Jordan became the tenth couple to exit the show.
But while three out of the four judges chose to save Casualty actor Patrick Robinson and Anya Garnis following the Sunday-night dance-off, head judge Len Goodman disputed the decision, saying “I totally disagreed with this verdict."
The previous night, each of the six remaining couples were scored for their own dances before being given the chance to pick up extra points in the Swing-a-Thon. Taking to the dance floor together to show off their best swing moves, they were then voted off one by one by the judges until only Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev remained, picking up the maximum of six points.
On Sunday night, after the pairs' total scores from the judges were combined with the results of the viewer votes, Ashley and Patrick found themselves in the bottom two. Ashley and Ola once again performed their Saturday-night Salsa to Gloria Estefan’s Conga, while Patrick and Anya revisited their Rumba to When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars.
Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli all agreed that Patrick should be saved but a bullish Len Goodman was unimpressed by their decision.
“I totally disagreed with this verdict," said Len. "For me, Ashley and Ola should have been through. I know he (Ashley) missed that last lift, however I’m only judging this one routine. If I hadn’t had seen it before I wouldn’t have known there was going to be a lift there."
And the head judge was critical of Patrick's performance, saying "The cardinal sin in Rumba is stepping forward on the heel. There is never a heal lead. Unfortunately on that last routine that we saw, Patrick did many and on that basis I would have 100% gone for you (Ashley).”
Magnanimous in defeat, Ashley said his Strictly experience had been “absolutely amazing" and thanked the two women in his life.
“It’s just been absolutely amazing, from meeting the crews to make-up and costumes, to judges to all the contestants. I’ve had a fantastic time and of course this lovely lady (Ola) standing here, it’s been an absolute delight. And my amazing fiancé for doing such an incredible job while I’ve not been there. I’m coming home!”
Next week’s semi-final will see the five remaining pairs of dancers performing two routines.