After suffering a foot injury, AJ Odudu has confirmed she is unable to take part in the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday.


Her withdrawal from the competition means Rose Ayling-Ellis will go head-to-head with John Whaite in Saturday's grand final – just two contestants competing for the Glitterball trophy.

Earlier this week, it was revealed AJ was experiencing severe pain in her foot and had undergone a scan.

She was advised to rest her foot but sadly will not be fit enough to perform on Saturday.

In a statement, the Strictly Come Dancing finalist 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.

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"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 [Whaite] and Johannes [Radebe] and Rose [Ayling-Ellis] and Giovanni [Pernice]. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!)."

Strictly stars AJ and Kai

AJ had been one of the frontrunners since the start of the series and the news will no doubt leave many fans – who had hoped to see her go all the way – disappointed.

Her professional partner Kai expressed his gratitude for being able to dance with AJ on her Strictly journey.

"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," he said in a statement today.

"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."

AJ and Kai will appear on tonight's It Takes Two for a final chat following the news of their withdrawal from the final.

Meanwhile, Sarah James, Strictly Come Dancing's executive producer, said: “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."

Strictly: It Takes Two airs tonight at 6:30pm on BBC Two. The Strictly Come Dancing final airs Saturday at 7.10pm on BBC One.


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