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Strictly finalists revealed as 10th celebrity eliminated from show

Annabel Croft has become the 10th celebrity eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing leaving finalists Bobby Brazier, Ellie Leach and Layton Williams.

The 57-year-old former tennis player lost out following a dance-off with EastEnders star Brazier, 20, and professional dancer Dianne Buswell.

Croft, whose husband died earlier in the year, thanked her dance partner Johannes Radebe and told him he had given her “a reason to get out of bed”.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe performing their Viennese waltz (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

In the dance-off, Croft and Radebe performed a Viennese waltz in the style of Slow Moving Millie’s cover of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, by indie band The Smiths.

Soap star Brazier and dancer Buswell performed their quickstep to Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Croft while Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas opted to save Brazier.

Ballas said: “The semi-final 2023, I thought both couples were absolutely extraordinary, I felt that both couples lifted their performance, I thought there was technical qualities on both sides, improvements galore, but again one tiny mistake coming out of a pivot turn and therefore my decision would be to save Bobby and Dianne.”

Presenter Tess Daly asked Croft if she had any final words.

The former tennis champion said: “It’s been the most life-changing and extraordinary experience of my life.

“I have to congratulate Bobby and Dianne and all the contestants that took part in it.

“But obviously, it’s been an amazing, magical experience for me. Johannes, you have been absolutely extraordinary.

“You have given me a reason to get out of bed and come and dance with you, distract me and to heal me.

“I can’t thank you enough for that. You have been so patient, so caring and so loving.

“You are an unbelievably special human being. I simply adore you. Thank you so much.”

Radebe told Croft: “I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making the decision to come here.

“Thank you to Strictly Come Dancing for sending her my way. My life is richer with you in it.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Annabel Croft said the show had been an ‘incredible rollercoaster ride’ (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

“I hope we dance long after this has ended. You know my heart and I just want to tell you thank you, Annabel.”

Croft added: “It’s been the most incredible rollercoaster ride, I have had every single emotion you can imagine.

“I really want to thank Strictly for letting me take part in this competition.

“Thank you to the judges, for your amazing comments and guiding us all along.

“But I also see this as a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and I wish that everyone in the public could see what goes on behind the scenes because it’s quite extraordinary the machinery that makes it work and makes the show what it is.

“The most wholesome family entertainment magical show with so much glitz and glamour and so much enjoyment for everybody.

“It has been amazing and I can’t thank everyone enough. Thank you so much Johannes, for the most special time I have had with you.”

During the results show, the Strictly professionals performed a group number and Take That performed their new single This Life.

Actor Williams and his dance partner Nikita Kuzmin had topped Saturday night’s leaderboard with a combined score of 116 points from their two dances and last week’s performance – including a 40 for their Charleston, which earned a rare standing ovation from Revel Horwood.

Soap star Ellie Leach and partner Vito Coppola were second on a combined 111 points, with Brazier in third on 107 and Croft fourth on 98, from the judges’ votes.

The remaining three couples will take to the dancefloor next week for the final time.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Final will air live on Saturday December 16 at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Croft and Radebe will be joining host Fleur East on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two on Monday December 11 at 6.30pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.