'Strictly' viewers call for Rhys Stephenson to return for final after AJ Odudu pulls out

Strictly Come Dancing -  Rhys Stephenson (BBC)
Fans want to see Rhys Stephenson in the 'Strictly' final. (BBC) (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing fans are calling for Rhys Stephenson to be allowed back for the final after AJ Odudu was forced to pull out.

TV presenter Odudu was due to go up against John Whaite and Rose Ayling-Ellis in Saturday night’s live final of the BBC ballroom contest, but can’t take part after suffering ligament damage to her ankle.

Viewers now think Stephenson – who was eliminated at the weekend – should be invited back to take her place with his pro partner Nancy Xu.

Read more: Tilly Ramsay missing Strictly final after testing positive for COVID

“Please please please tell us that Rhys and Nancy have been training just in case,” one person posted on Twitter.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 20:00:01 on 13/11/2021 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 13/11/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **DRESS REHEARSAL - EMBARGOED UNTIL 20:00 HRS ON SATURDAY 13TH NOVEMBER 2021** Nancy Xu, Rhys Stephenson - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Nancy Xu and Rhys Stephenson on 'Strictly'. (BBC) (BBC/Guy Levy)

“Gutted! Bring back Rhys?” said another.

“They should reinstate Rhys for the final but I guess it's too late now,” another posted.

One viewer said: “I suppose it's too late but then again in these COVID days and also in a competition where injury is not uncommon, you'd think they'd have a contingency.”

Another person said Stephenson and Xu should return and that they “should have made it to the final anyway”.

Odudu confirmed on Friday that she had to pull out of Strictly and said she was “gutted”.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing 2021's best moments of the series

Thanking her pro partner Kai Widdrington, she said: “Learning to dance over the last 13 weeks has been an incredible honour and to do it alongside someone as special, patient and devoted as Kai is something I'll treasure forever.”

She said being on the show had been “lifelong dream” and that she was glad it had come true.

Watch: Who is Strictly's AJ Odudu?