Strictly’s Anton Du Beke explains decision to save Will Mellor in dance-off amid ‘fix’ allegations

Anton Du Beke has explained why he voted to save Will Mellor over Fleur East in the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final.

After a high-scoring semi-final on Sunday (11 December) night, East and partner Vito Coppola found themselves in the bottom two with Mellor and Nancy Xu.

After the couples performed again, both Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse voted for East. But when the vote came to Du Beke, the former pro dancer said that East and Coppola had made “an error in a dismount from a lift”, and he wanted Mellor to go through.

The casting vote was then given to head judge Shirley Ballas, who voted for East and Coppola, and sent Mellor and Xu home.

However, on social media, many viewers suggested that the judges had made the wrong decision and that Du Beke was correct to take into account East’s mistake.

Appearing on Lorraine on Tuesday (13 December), Du Beke defended his voting decision.

“It’s been such a brilliant and close series,” he said, adding that in the bottom two, there are “real specific things that you have to take into consideration”.

“Little things are quite big things, really,” he said.

During the judges’ deliberations, Du Beke stressed that he was voting based on the secondary performance in the dance-off.

“Well, based on this dance in the dance off and this dance only, I think it is really important to say that, because these couples both danced terrifically and I marked them the same on Sunday night,” he said.

East (left) and Mellor in the dance-off (BBC/Guy Levy)
East (left) and Mellor in the dance-off (BBC/Guy Levy)

“And now I am looking for real detail, how do I separate them? I’m really searching for something – it’s such fine detail. Due to an error in a dismount from a lift, I am going to have to save Will and Nancy.”

One Twitter user commented: “As if Will was ever going to be chosen over Fleur. Yet her lifts and landings were clunky and she’s been in the dance off numerous times and Will never has.”

“If Fleur made a mistake, why was Anton the only judge to call it out?” another tweet read. “Dance-off is meant to be judged on that dance NOT everything so far.”

East will be joined in the final by fellow contestants Molly Rainford, Hamza Yassin and Helen Skelton.

Strictly Come Dancing concludes Saturday 17 December at 7.05pm on BBC One.