The first celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing 2019 has been revealed – former Olympian James Cracknell OBE.
The ex-rower (and Radio Times Strictly columnist) failed to impress the judges with his pancake-themed jive, and after placing bottom of the leaderboard alongside footballer David James he was forced into the dreaded dance off.
This week, scores from last week’s live show (which didn’t include an elimination) were added to Saturday night’s on the leaderboard, and combined with a public vote the scores placed James and David at the bottom of the rankings.
Both men performed their dances again – with David showing off a Paso Doble alongside his partner Nadiya Bychkova – and in the end, all four judges opted to save him over James and Luba.
“Well for me in that dance off one couple improved beyond compare and that couple is the couple I would like to save, David and Nadiya,” Craig Revel Horwood said, while Motsi Mabuse cited the pair’s “stronger performance, stronger intention, [and] clearer actions” as her reasoning for saving them.
Bruno Tonioli added: “I have to save the couple that really showed to me how you apply and you work on the comments of the judges and deliver a performance that is almost night and day from one day to the other. David and Nadiya.”
While her judgement wasn’t needed, head judge Shirley Ballas then confirmed she would have also saved David and Nadiya.
Speaking about his time on the BBC entertainment series with partner Luba Mushtuk, James Cracknell said: “I’ve definitely enjoyed the last three days of the last week as I got to grips with the steps and started to enjoy it…the luxury of being with someone so good and learning off them.
“I’m a way better dancer than I was two weeks ago. Luba’s been amazing with being so patient with a couple of left feet.”
“I would like to say a huge thank you with all my heart to make this journey so amazing,” James' professional partner Luba added.
“You inspired me every day and I hope you inspire many more other people to start dancing.”
James and Luba will next be seen on Monday night’s Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, where the pair will give their first post-Strictly interview to host Zoe Ball.
James will also provide an exclusive account of his Strictly exit in an upcoming issue of Radio Times magazine, released on Tuesday 8th October.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 on Saturday 5th October at 7.10pm