The challenge of teaching Anneka Rice has proved to be Kevin Clifton’s Strictly Come Dancing downfall as they became the second couple to be voted off the BBC show - marking the pro dancer’s earliest ever exit.
In Clifton’s seven years on the show he has won once, come second four times, and seventh once, but this time the defending champion finished 14th out of 15 couples.
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TV and radio star Rice claimed never to have danced in front of anyone, even her own family, when she signed up to take part, but despite managing a competent Waltz in week two, Saturday night’s Kill Bill-themed Charleston was murder on the dancefloor for her.
Judge Bruno Tonioli commented after her performance on the live show: “It was supposed to be Kill Bill, and you did Slaughter the Charleston.”
Sad to see Anneka go as I’ve really enjoyed having her on the show. And what is Kevin going to do with all his spare time? Nearly every year since 2013 he has been in until Christmas. #Strictly— Jess Long (@JessCiara) October 6, 2019
Rice and Clifton were bottom of the leaderboard with just 11 points and found themselves in Sunday’s dance off against David James and Nadiya Bychkova, second last in the scoring on 16 points.
For the second week in a row, all four judges voted to save ex-footaller James in the dance off, this time praising his improvement in his Batman-inspired American Smooth.
Watching Clifton crashing out of the competition in week three was his new girlfriend Stacey Dooley, who he began dating after they won the 2018 series together.
She was in the audience for Saturday’s performances, with the results show pre-recorded at the end of the live show and aired on Sunday evening.
Kevin’s not used to going out this early. ☹️ #Strictly— Strictly Stats (@StrictlyScore) October 6, 2019
After being voted out, Rice said: “To be honest, I’d have saved David and Nadiya. I’ve just loved this whole thing; I’ve not one negative about the whole experience. We’ve worked really hard, I’m covered in bruises. I love this man; it’s been a joy to have that honour, that privilege of learning to dance.
“My son is getting married next year, I’m determined to be able to shuffle onto the dance floor and not do my usual thing of handing out the canapes.”
:O genuinely shocked. I thought Kevin's popularity would save Anneka #strictly— Lexi 🏳️🌈 (@MissLexisaurus) October 6, 2019
Clifton told her: “You’ve put in so much commitment and so much effort. We worked about four hours on one step on that Charleston and you delivered that Waltz last week… then to come out and deliver that Charleston - the improvement you’ve made, I’m so proud of you, it’s been an absolute joy.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6.40pm on BBC One.