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AJ Odudu has told how Strictly Come Dancing has given her the chance of living out a childhood dancing dream that her family couldn't afford.
The TV presenter spoke emotionally about the unwavering support her family had given her throughout her life before she danced her couple's choice routine with Kai Widdrington.
Talking about judge Craig Revel Horwood having told her earlier in the series "I just wish you would have started dancing as a child, you would have been an absolute pro," Odudu opened up on the hidden depths of the critique for her.
She said: "I don't think he realised the depth of what he was saying to me, it was something that my parents just couldn't afford to let me do.
"They always said I'd be able to do it one day and now it's happening."
The TV star also said that even after having presented Big Brother's Bit On The Side, she had gone back to working in a call centre - but her family had never stopped supporting her dream of stardom.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) November 27, 2021
Odudu and Widdrington, who have become known for their chemistry on the dancefloor, put in a steamy performance to Make Me Feel which viewers of the BBC One show praised as being just as good as any pro routine.
One viewer tweeted: "AJ looks like the pro dancer."
Someone else agreed: "Good Lord AJ and Kai are dancing a blinder!"
Another fan commented: "This from AJ and Kai got just as easily be a pro performance. Looks incredible."
Someone else tweeted: "AJ and Kai literally looking like a guest performance GIVE THEM 40 RIGHT NOW."
The dance scored them 36 points, including a 10 from head judge Shirley Ballas who said: "For me, it was an ultimate performance, well done."
Talking after the dance, which was watched by her parents in the studio audience, Odudu said: "To come from Blackburn to the Strictly ballroom, that's what dreams are made of."
She added of her proud mum: "She's probably all choked up with emotion, she's literally living her best life."
Watch: Who is Strictly's AJ Odudu?