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Rose Ayling-Ellis had Strictly Come Dancing viewers in tears with an emotional routine dedicated to the deaf community on Saturday night.
The EastEnders star, who is the BBC ballroom show’s first-ever deaf contestant, performed a contemporary dance to Symphony by Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson alongside her partner Giovanni Pernice as their Couple’s Choice.
The music was paused during the middle of the routine as the couple continued to dance in silence as a tribute to the deaf community.
The performance picked up 39 points out of a possible 40 from the judges, with Anton Du Beke, who has been on the show since it began in 2004, declaring it the “greatest thing I’ve ever seen on the show”.
He became emotional as he delivered his comments to Rose and Giovanni, as did Motsi Mabuse, who said: “I honestly feel like saying thank you, because I think this was just such a beautiful moment to include us in your world. And for us to actually understand – how important.
“And this was so special. Sometimes it’s more than scores and marks and dancing, sometimes it’s just a moment, and we just had that, and thank you so much.”
Head judge Shirley Ballas remarked: “Well, I feel first of all, that I should stand up out of respect for you sharing, particularly the silent moment which I was not expecting and it takes you into a much deeper place.
“I’m sure the deaf community will be absolutely so proud of you.
“And for sharing your heart, and for being honest, and for being true and for people seeing that a beautiful young lady like you can be so successful.
“This is a number that will be etched in my heart for a long time. It was absolutely beautiful.”
Despite having one technical note for Rose on how to add more energy into the contemporary dance, Craig Revel Horwood also hailed the performance as “fab-u-lous”.
On social media, fans were equally moved by Rose and Giovanni’s routine, with many in tears:
— WoyWoy 💭💙 (@WoyenB) November 13, 2021
They saved the best til last…
Gio and Rose had me crying anyway THEN it finished and he said ‘I love you’ and I started shouting ‘KIIIISSSS’ at the tv
and then Shirley said her bit and Anton got emotional and I am absolutely finished 😭 #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing
— Caitlin (@Cait_lin9) November 13, 2021
@RoseAylingEllis & @pernicegiovann1 I was in complete bits filled with joy, smiles & emotion from your dance. Thank you so much for bringing so many of us into your world. @MOTSI_MABUSE you said it all with your comments. We all need to take the time to understand each other ❤️ pic.twitter.com/uEexXcFv2s
— Counsel KKN (@CounselKkn) November 13, 2021
— Strictly On The Sofa: The Podcast (@StrictlyOnSofa) November 13, 2021
Turning on twitter to check I'm not alone crying at Rose and Giovanni's #Strictly dance... And for once, it's reassuring 😭😭😭
— Rhiannon Evans (@rhiannonev) November 13, 2021
STILL CRYING!!! I agree with Anton, Rose and Giovanni's dance was THE greatest dance in the history of #Strictly But calling it a 'dance' trivializes it, it was SO much more!! It was incredible! These pair are beautiful together. @bbcstrictlypic.twitter.com/GVab65cJhk
— The Woman (@TheWomanHolmes) November 13, 2021
Cannot stop sobbing. What a privilege to watch that dance. An unforgettable moment in Strictly history. #RoseandGio
— Kay Ribeiro (@kayribeiro) November 13, 2021
Rose and Giovanni transcended the strictly competition tonight. This was ART. Shirley and Anton got it. Normally I agree with Craig, but tonight he was just mean spirited Frankly he deserves a punch in the face.#Strictly
— Rachel Stewart (@RACHELTHEARTIST) November 13, 2021
— Michael Patterson (@michaelp93) November 13, 2021
Rose & Giovanni. 😭🥺🙌🏽
— Adele Roberts (@AdeleRoberts) November 13, 2021
One of the most powerful things I’ve seen on tv! An absolutely beautiful performance by Rose & Giovanni! Your truly an inspiration for the deaf community @RoseAylingEllis 🧏♀️#thankyou
— Sarah-Jane Watt (@Ladyjane841) November 13, 2021
Thoroughly overwhelmed by @RoseAylingEllis and @pernicegiovann1 dancing tonight. Sobbed through the silent moment and then at Anton getting upset. What a wonderful partnership. #Strictly@bbcstrictlyhttps://t.co/FnyDIZN2ID
— Emma Rushton (@ERushton) November 13, 2021
Rose and Giovanni - that was a special moment. A very special moment ❤️
— Robin Windsor (@Robinwindsor) November 13, 2021
— Sofia 🐢🦄🐒 (@ReshmaSofia) November 13, 2021
— ellie (@eIIiemvrphy) November 13, 2021
— ella is sarah (@ellasheeps) November 13, 2021
— Amy Moffatt 🌹 (@Amy__Moffatt) November 13, 2021
Incredible! Well done Rose and Giovanni. We’re so proud of you. https://t.co/ME7MKfxcOx
— NDCS (@NDCS_UK) November 13, 2021
After the performance, Rose thanked Giovanni for his dedication in creating the choreography of the routine.
She said: “I feel very thankful for your determination to make this dance the most positive, happy dance, it can be, because you know that being deaf, there’s nothing wrong, it’s such a joy to be deaf, and I think that says a lot about you as a person.”
The couple were also sent a video message from Hamilton Lodge School and College, a school for the deaf, who thanked them for representing the deaf community and for inspiring others.
The pupils and staff conveyed the message in sign language, saying: “You are great role models for us because you show that deaf and hearing people can work together to achieve anything.
“And like you, we want more people to learn how to sign.”
Rose and Giovanni ended up landing in second place on the judges’ leaderboard, with only Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu’s Charleston beating them with a perfect score of 40.
Find out who is next to leave Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday at 7.20pm on BBC One.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.