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Strictly Come Dancing final: Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice win 2021 series

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Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice have been crowned the winners of Strictly Come Dancing’s 19th series.

Ayling-Ellis competed against John Whaite and professional dancer Johannes Radebe in the grand final, which aired earlier tonight (18 December) on BBC One.

An actor known for her role in EastEnders, Ayling-Ellis is the first deaf contestant to appear on Strictly, and has now become the series’ first deaf winner.

Whaite is best known as the winner of The Great British Bake Off.

AJ Odudu had been scheduled to compete as a third finalist, but had to withdraw earlier this week after sustaining an injury.

The winner was selected by means of a public vote, with judges’ scores serving only as guidelines.

The episode began with Ayling-Ellis and Pernice dancing to “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen in the ballroom style, selected as the judges’ choice. The pair were awarded three scores of “10” and a “9” for their performance.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly Come Dancing' (BBC/Guy Levy)
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice on ‘Strictly Come Dancing' (BBC/Guy Levy)

Whaite and Radebe then danced a rumba to Sting’s “Shape of My Heart”.

For their Couple’s Choice, Ayling-Ellis and Pernice then danced to “Symphony” by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson, and were awarded a perfect “40” score from the judges.

Whaite and Radebe then danced the paso doble to the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean, which they first performed during Movie Week.

The duo were also awarded a perfect score by the judges for this performance.

For the Showdance round, Ayling-Ellis and Pernice danced to “The Rose” by Bette Midler, while Whaite and Radebe tackled “You’ve Got The Love” by Florence + the Machine.

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe on ‘Strictly Come Dancing' (BBC/Guy Levy)
John Whaite and Johannes Radebe on ‘Strictly Come Dancing' (BBC/Guy Levy)

“You made my dreams come true,” Pernice told his partner after the result was announced.

“You pushed me to believe in myself,” said Ayling-Ellis. “We’ve gone through a lot, and I want you to know you’ve always got a piece of my heart.”

Ed Sheeran also performed on the episode, which can be streamed now on BBC iPlayer.

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