Popstar Aston had been tipped as one of the series favourites to win, but Head Judge Shirley Ballas chose to save Mollie and her partner AJ Pritchard in what she said was “a very difficult choice”.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Mollie and AJ after scoring Aston just four on Saturday night, but fellow judges Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli both chose to save Aston.
That left Head Judge Shirley with the deciding vote. “Well again a very difficult choice, two fantastic couples and it’s very difficult to do,” she said, explaining her decision. “On technical accuracy, beautiful flow and full engagement during the dance, I’m saving Mollie and AJ.”
Aston performed a Waltz in Week Seven, but disappointing scores left him second from bottom on the judges’ leaderboard. Mollie’s Foxtrot placed her in sixth, but both celebrities found themselves in the dance off once the public vote was added.
Aston said after it was revealed he was going home that he had no hard feelings and said that he had “had the best time” on Strictly.
“I’ve had friends who have done the show before and they’ve gone, ‘You’re going to have the most amount of fun from start to finish whatever it is,’ and honestly they weren’t lying!” he told host Tess Daly. “Everything, from this lady to every single person in here, these four judges, yourself, Claudia, all you amazing lot up there that I get to see and spend so much time with. I’ve made some amazing friends and honestly I’ve had the best time, it’s been amazing.”
Aston’s professional partner Janette Manrara said, “I just have to say, honestly I don’t think that I am ever going to have the opportunity to dance with someone like you again. Someone who is so talented, so lovely, such a good friend and I just have to say thank you.
“Thank you, he is one of the most talented individuals I have ever met. You have so much to offer to the world of entertainment and I hope that this is just a small pebble to what you’re going to bring the world because you are amazing. You’re amazing.”
Judge Bruno, who said he wished both could stay, said that he picked Aston and Janette because they had “transformed their performance” in the dance off, and Darcey too said that they had “the more assured performance”.
However, Craig said that “based purely on technique for me, the better dance of the evening goes to Mollie and AJ”. With Head Judge Shirley siding with him, Aston and Janette had to leave.
The pair will join presenter Zoe Ball on Strictly: It Takes Two on Monday 6th November to discuss their time on the show, beginning at 6.30pm on BBC2. The remaining nine couples will return to perform again next Saturday 11th November.