Strictly: Molly Rainford says dance-off ‘knockbacks’ made her doubt final spot

Molly Rainford has shared an emotional post on Instagram ahead of the Strictly Come Dancing final.

The 22-year-old actor was the bookies’ favourite to leave the dance competition during Sunday (11 December) night’s semifinal, having already faced the dance-off four times this series.

However, Rainford and partner Carlos Gu made it into the final while avoiding the bottom two in Monday’s (12 December) results show.

Instead, Fleur East and Will Mellor faced the dance-off, with Mellor being eliminated.

Celebrating making it to the final, Rainford posted on Instagram: “Words can’t describe this feeling. Nobody understands just how grateful we are to not only be Strictly Come Dancing 2022 FINALISTS but to get to that place in the final all thanks [to] your support and votes.”

The actor opened up about working with Gu on his first series as a professional dancer on the show and explained that getting to the final was a memory they would “never forget”.

The dream of making it to the final began to look “a lot harder to accomplish” as time went on and they faced the dance-off multiple times, Rainford said, but the couple persisted week after week.

“That song and that Paso Doble in particular really showed just how strong as a partnership we have become,” she said of her semifinal dance to Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor”, adding that it allowed them to “take the low points, use them as motivation and never give up”.

To Gu, she wrote: “Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. So glad we were partnered together all those months ago, I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”

In the comments, Gu called the actor a “true example for all the young people out there”.

“It’s been an absolutely amazing journey for me! Couldn’t be more proud,” he wrote.

After finding out they’d made it to the dance-off on Monday, Gu struggled to hold back tears during his interview with presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Rainford was the first celebrity announced to have made it through the final in the semifinal. She will be joined by Hamza Yassin, Helen Skelton and Fleur East.

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