AJ Odudu is out of Strictly Come Dancing final due to injury

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  • Kai Widdrington
    British dancer
  • AJ Odudu
    British television presenter
AJ Odudu has had to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final due to a serious ankle injury credit:Bang Showbiz
AJ Odudu has had to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final due to a serious ankle injury credit:Bang Showbiz

AJ Odudu is out of the 'Strictly Come Dancing' final after being advised by medical professionals not to compete due to a serious injury to her right ankle.

The 33-year-old TV presenter suffered ankle ligament damage during training with her professional partner Kai Widdrington, and was facing a race against time to be fit enough to dance on the BBC One show this Saturday night (18.12.21).

After consulting medical professionals regarding her injury, the decision has been made that sadly AJ cannot dance with Kai, 26, and will have to withdraw from the competition at the last hurdle.

A heartbroken AJ confirmed she is out of the final, but admitted her 'Strictly' journey had been a "lifelong dream" that "came true" and insisted she would be cheering on finalists John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice "on one leg".

She 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 is something I'll treasure forever. 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 and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!)"

Kai added: "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. 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.”

Sarah James, 'Strictly Come Dancing' Executive Producer, paid tribute to AJ and Kai for all the wonderful moments they have provided viewers in 2021, describing her as "one of the most brilliant 'Strictly' finalists we have ever had".

Sara 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.”

The 'Strictly Come Dancing' final airs on Saturday (18.12.21) on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 7pm.

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