With the Strictly Come Dancing final 2021 just around the corner, the remaining five couples once again raised the bar in a bid to reach the penultimate round and bolster their chances of lifting the Glitterball trophy.


Week 11 was eventful, to say the least. EastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis practically took flight as she pulled off a hair-raising leap into Giovanni Pernice's arms, while 2012 Bake Off winner John Whaite accidentally dropped Johannes Radebe “like a sack of potatoes” at the very end of their routine.

Given the sheer amount of content they're all packing into their dances, mistakes will happen.

But while John and Johannes sailed through to the semi-final, TV presenter AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington found themselves in the bottom two alongside BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova.

The pairs once again performed their respective dances – Dan a Tango and AJ a Salsa – but despite his best efforts, it was Dan who was voted out of the competition, with AJ and Kai securing their place in next week's show alongside Rose and Giovanni, John and Johannes, and Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu.

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Dan Walker Strictly Come Dancing

The conversation surrounding Dan's place on the show has been especially loud, with plenty of people banging the drum for him as he continued to make it through week after week. But there has also been significant criticism from viewers who felt that his lack of dancing prowess should have knocked him out of Strictly long ago.

The noise was so loud, in fact, that Dan himself felt compelled to respond.

"Thank you to everyone who is sending lovely messages & enjoying us having fun on #Strictly and to the few who say… “Just leave” “Aren’t you ashamed?” “You’re a disgrace” “It’s a fix” (which I don’t get) or “Who is voting for them?” IT’S A TV SHOW!" he wrote on Twitter. "See you in the 1/4 finals."

Following the judges' decision, Walker revealed that he would also have saved AJ and Kai, before going on to wax lyrical about his time on the show.

"The last 11 weeks have been absolutely amazing," he said. "I’ve genuinely loved every second of it. When I go back to the first day when I was asked to dance in front of some glitter balls, at that point, if there had been a fire exit, I’d have just walked away. But this amazing woman grabbed me by the hand, and brought me out onto this dance floor."

He went on to heap praise on his pro partner for the part she's played in his journey: "I’m not a dancer, but she showed me that I can dance, and that for me, this has been an absolutely incredible experience.... There are some people who walk into your life and turn some lights on, and that’s what she has done to me. You’re an amazing person, and if you’ll have me, you’ll have a friend for life Nadiya Bychkova.”

Dan Walker on Strictly 2021
BBC/Guy Levy

And Nadiya was equally as gushing about Dan: "Like he said, sometimes the right person walks into your life at the right time and that’s what happened. You always encourage everyone, you always have time for everyone, it just inspires me to be a better person myself. Thank you.”

Following their best bits highlight, Dan added: “I’ve loved it. I don’t think I'll dance all the time, but the one thing that will be different is that I won’t not dance anymore. So thank you for having me, it’s been brilliant!”

Dan and Nadiya will join Rylan and Janette Manrara on Strictly It Takes Two on Monday 6th December at 6.30pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.


Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One at 6:40pm on Saturday 4th December. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.