BBC presenter Mike Bushell has become the seventh celebrity eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing following a dance-off with American TV personality Michelle Visage.
Bushell came bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday night’s show after his paso doble (to Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela) failed to impress the judges, and when his score was combined with the public vote he landed in the dance-off for the fourth week in a row.
Visage’s presence in the dance-off was more of a surprise, however, with the RuPaul’s Drag Race star ending up in the bottom two despite a strong week that put her second on the leaderboard and above other contestants like Emma Barton, Chris Ramsay, Karim Zeroual, Alex Scott and Kelvin Fletcher. Clearly, when combined with the public vote that wasn’t enough to keep her safe.
In the dance-off Mike and his partner Katya Jones again performed their paso doble, while Michelle and her partner Giovanni Pernice took to the floor with their America Smooth Foxtrot to I Just Want to Make Love to You by Etta James, and the judges unanimously voted to save Michelle and Giovanni.
“One couple put up a very good fight but the couple I’d like to save is Michelle and Giovanni,” Craig Revel Horwood said.
“I honest have to say I have seen the best performance from both couples,” added Motsi Mabuse.
“I really, really mean that but one couple was the clear winner of the dance off and I am going to save Michelle and Giovanni.”
“Well with all due respect to all of you, I have to save the couple that really performed to the highest standard and to me that couple is Michelle and Giovanni,” agreed Bruno Tonioli.
Head judge Shirley Ballas didn’t need to vote, but she confirmed she would have also saved Michelle and Giovanni.
“I have had the most amazing 9 or 10 weeks since we started training,” Bushell said after his elimination.
“I have lost a stone and half. I’m a guy in his 50s, I’m mentally sharper, I feel able to deal with pressured situations – thanks to the dance-offs!
“It has changed me completely and honestly I’m not going to stop dancing. My wife Emily has supported me all the way through and my daughters. My dad’s going to take up ballroom dancing and my mum has started Zumba – I want to thank all my family and the judges. I have all the comments framed around the house. Every moment has been an absolute honour and a joy.
“I didn’t think I’d get this far so I have already booked a hotel in Blackpool, so I’m still coming along.
“This amazing teacher, Katya, I can’t tell you the dedication that she puts in. She’d make the greatest sporting coach ever, she makes you believe that anything is possible. She hasn’t taken it easy on me. We’ve had some difficult routines and I can’t believe the miracles you’ve performed. There’s so many memories.”
“I’m so proud of him and I think after even this dance which I think was your best dance you can leave with your head held up honestly,” added professional partner Katya Jones. “In my eyes you’re the winner.
“The only thing he has lost is weight. He came in every single day giving his heart, soul, everything, 200% no matter what after every single dance-off and thank you so much. I’m so sorry I couldn’t take to Blackpool.”
The remaining seven couples will now take to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool for the series’ annual seaside sojourn, where another couple will be eliminated.
Mike and Katya, meanwhile, will appear on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two with Rylan Clark-Neal on Monday for their first post-elimination interview.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 on Saturday 16th November at 7.05pm