Mike Bushell has finally been voted out of Strictly Come Dancing after going up against shock dance off competitor Michelle Visage.
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Visage and her partner Giovanni Pernice are hugely popular with viewers and had placed second on the leaderboard with 36 points, so it came as a surprise to see them in the bottom two during Sunday’s results show.
However, they spelled the end of sports reporter Bushell and his partner Katya Jones’ three-week run of being saved by the judges.
There was an awkward moment as Bushell went to lift Jones during their farewell dance but got her stuck on his head, although he managed to style things out with a conga.
All four judges chose to send Visage to next week’s Blackpool round and Bushell home, something that some fans of the show were pleased about after watching Bushell knock out Emma Weymouth, Catherine Tyldesley, and David James in previous weeks.
But many were also pleased that the online abuse he had received would come to an end.
Visage’s American Smooth had won her some of her best comments so far, so there was shock that she had still ended up in the danger zone with audible gasps as the public vote results were announced and Motsi Mabuse saying how surprised she was.
Bushell had also been praised for his efforts in the Paso Doble, but was no match for the competition favourite in the dance off.
After being voted out, he said: “I’m mentally sharper, I feel able to deal with pressured situations – thanks to the dance offs. It has changed me completely and honestly I’m not going to stop dancing.
“My dad’s going to take up ballroom dancing and my mum has started Zumba – I want to thank all my family and the judges. I have all the comments framed around the house.
“I didn’t think I’d get this far so I have already booked a hotel in Blackpool, so I’m still coming along. This amazing teacher, Katya, I can’t tell you the dedication that she puts in. She’d make the greatest sporting coach ever, she makes you believe that anything is possible.”
Jones added: “In my eyes you’re the winner. The only thing he has lost is weight. He came in every single day giving his heart, soul, everything, 200 per cent no matter what after every single dance off.”
Fans of Strictly had been getting increasingly angry at the judges for saving Bushell each week, with insults thrown at him on social media getting so bad that he and his wife Emily had to make public pleas for the abuse to stop.
Jones quit social media a few weeks ago because of the comments, while Bushell’s BBC Breakfast colleague Dan Walker spoke out in defence of his friend earlier this week.
The remaining seven couples will take Strictly on the road next week for the annual episode from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom.
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One.