AJ Odudu has credited her dance partner Kai Widdrington with “holding her together” after injuring herself in rehearsals ahead of the Strictly Come Dancing final.
The TV presenter, 33, is due to compete in the grand finale of the BBC One dancing show this Saturday, but has suffered a “traumatic injury” to her ligaments – yet remains “hopeful” they will be able to perform their three routines in a bid to win the coveted glitterball trophy.
The pair’s close partnership and steamy routines have sparked rumours of a relationship, with Odudu previously saying she feels it is “lovely” that people are so invested in their relationship.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) December 15, 2021
Speaking on Strictly spin-off, It Takes Two, on Wednesday evening, Odudu became emotional while discussing the injury.
She said: “I’m upset because we were so excited on Monday. We’ve got three amazing dances that we really want to perform.
“And I know I’m getting upset but I am genuinely remaining hopeful. I’m surrounded by a really great medical team who are trying their best to get me back on my feet.
“And of course, I’ve got Kai who is really holding me together, physically and emotionally right now.”
The TV presenter added that she was unsure when she sustained the injury during training, but explained that she has issues with her joints and has suffered a “traumatic injury” to her ligaments and said there is “a lot of inflammation”.
She added: “I can’t pinpoint when it happened during training. In fact, we felt really positive after training on Monday, I felt fine, but the pain came on so suddenly and acutely that I actually projectile vomited.
“I’m unable to stand on my right foot and I can’t stand up without crutches and I’m very upset.”
Odudu scored her first perfect 40 during Saturday’s semi-final for one of her two routines – a quickstep – which judge Craig Revel Horwood gushed was “incredible”.
Her other semi-final routine, a rumba, earned her a score of 39 out of a possible 40, leaving her and EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis joint top of the leaderboard after Saturday night where they both scored a 40 and 39 respectively for their routines.
In the final on Saturday, the pair are due to perform three routines, including reprising their jive to Gold Dust by DJ Fresh from week one which impressed the judges and placed her top of the leaderboard with a score of 34.
Widdrington said: “I think we came out of the blocks pretty heavy with this one. But obviously, we’ve had 13 weeks of dance experience now and we had a little go at it on Monday and the steps are still there, loosely, but 13 weeks of remembering is pretty good.
“But they obviously want to see the improvement. We got two eights and two nines, but we would love to see a nice maxi score from that one.
“So we think we’ve got it in us to really push out the boat with that one and get those Maxi scores. And it was also one of our favourites also.”
Odudu added: “What an amazing way to end our journey together it will be like we’re coming full circle.”
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) November 6, 2021
They will also perform their dazzling Charleston again to Don’t Bring Lulu by Dorothy Provine, Pinky and The Girls which scored them a 39 out of a possible 40.
Widdrington said they had chosen that routine because it had been “difficult to learn”, but they had “so much fun in that dance”.
For their final showdance they will perform to Runnin’ (Lose It All) by Naughty Boy featuring Beyonce and Arrow Benjamin and they described the dance as “Beyonce” and “dramatic”.
The final three celebrities will take to the dancefloor in the Strictly Come Dancing Final 2021 on December 18 at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.