Mike Bushell has been saved from Strictly Come Dancing elimination for a third week running, leaving fans of the show wondering who he has to go up against to lose.
The BBC sports reporter has found himself in the dance-off after landing in the bottom two couples three weeks in a row, but was yet again saved by the judges, this time ousting Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec from the competition.
Despite being boosted up the leaderboard recently by scores that some viewers have felt were inconsistently high from the judges, Bushell and his partner Katya Jones have still been in the danger zone after the public vote.
Right. I think we can assume that Mike has already been booked for the tour. #strictly— Marian Keyes (@MarianKeyes) November 3, 2019
Frustrated Strictly fans began questioning on Sunday evening just who could beat Bushell in the BBC dance contest, especially as many thought they had seen him make a mistake in his routine.
HOW was that clean??! Mike nearly dropped Katya! Can’t believe that he’s been saved again, gotta be a fix #Strictly— Ella ⭐️🔮🎪🕸 (@artistiqwalrus) November 3, 2019
#Strictly spoiler alert but....— Jack Blackburn (@HackBlackburn) November 3, 2019
Mike Bushell is indestructible. He is going to be there in December. Winning the general election.
#Strictly is fixed! Mike goes through again and someone else gets to miss out because of favouritism— alexandra amaral (@xanaamaral23) November 3, 2019
I’m sorry, but WHY are the judges keeping Mike and Katya in the competition? They should of left WEEKS ago! There is actually NO point voting as the judges just keep their faves anyway. #Strictly #StrictlyComeDancing #StrictlyResults— K I R S T Y M A C L E O D (@kirstyymuir91) November 3, 2019
Mike will be in the dance off every week and get saved every week by the judges. He made a mistake this week and still got saved. I reckon if he just came on and did the hokey cokey for the dance off the judges would save him #Strictly #scd #StrictlyComeDancing #farce— TV Addict (@TVAddict666) November 3, 2019
Another week, another wrong decision by the #strictly judges. It's an absolute disgrace at this point that the judges saved Mike yet again. He fumbled, he nearly dropped Katya and he did not deserve to go through. 3 weeks in the dance off, 3 better dancers going home.. shocking— Dave (@DavidMackayy) November 3, 2019
In fact, such is the strength of feeling amongst Strictly fans over Bushell and Jones knocking out other couples, Jones even told The Sun on Sunday: “I’m off social media; it’s not real.
“There’s no need for negatives. I just want to do my own thing.”
Although her Twitter profile is still available to view, Jones has not posted anything since October 14.
Please don't give Mike any hate like last week , he has no control in this and it is the judges choice ❤️ he is the sweetest guy and is giving it his all, and definitely improving ❤️ #Strictly #strictlyresults— flo 🐚🕸 no spoilers (@johannestrictly) November 3, 2019
#Strictly Mike gets a another free pass. He is a nice bloke but he should not still be in the competition. Judges are much harder on the other dancers.— GeorgieL (@georgie_lawson) November 3, 2019
Last week, Bushell knocked Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe out of the competition, and the week before the judges chose to save him over David James and Nadiya Bychkova.
Weymouth, who failed to impress after a second go at her Samba, tearfully said: “I’ve loved this more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life...I never wanted to let (Skorjanec) down, I’m just absolutely heartbroken.”
All four judges voted to keep Bushell instead of Weymouth after his repeat performance of the Charleston this week.
During the week, Bushell and his wife Emily both appealed to Strictly viewers to stop posting harsh comments about him staying in the show on Twitter as they felt some opinions had become abusive and even included an apparent death threat.
Wow the abuse! Painful. We’re beyond gutted Catherine and Johannes have left but Mike danced well and deserves his spot. As a viewer since the start I get opinion but this level of abuse is shocking. He’s just a contestant and giving his all. 😡@mikebreakfast— Emily Bushell (@emilybushell80) October 27, 2019
Thanks Caroline. I totally agree. I wldalways accept the decision of the judges and advice or when I play football the referee. The judges on @bbcstrictly are the best in the world and love the comments of the likes of @CraigRevHorwood @ShirleyBallas @MOTSI_MABUSE @BrunLabCaulo https://t.co/9cKGxLd122— Mike Bushell (@mikebreakfast) October 27, 2019
Meanwhile, viewers who were outraged that Emma Barton and Anton du Beke were in last place on the leaderboard after some tough criticisms from the judges managed to save the pair from elimination by voting for them to stay another week.
Head judge Shirley Ballas had told Barton she couldn’t work out what beat the EastEnder was dancing the Rumba too, prompting fans to complain that the comments were too mean.
Barton explained later that she had been watching YouTube videos of Ballas dancing the Rumba in preparation for the routine, to which du Beke said: “That’s the last time we YouTube Shirley.”
Loved Anton's celebration when he and Emma got through 😂 don't blame him at all. #Strictly— Nicole (@UnitedSheStands) November 3, 2019
Du Beke jumped up and down shouting “Yes!” as their names were announced as being through to next week.
He later told host Claudia Winkleman: “I would have hated for us to be in the dance off on that dance, because I thought that Emma danced it beautifully.”
The episode also included Strictly’s first ever same-sex pairing as Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima danced together.
Viewers loved the routine and congratulated the show on featuring two men dancing with each other.
Seeing Johannes and Graziano dancing together on #Strictly has actually made me quite emotional. It often feels like we still have so far to go re #LGBTQ but things like this serve as a reminder of how far we’ve come. 🏳️🌈 well done, guys ❤️— ✨ 𝙲𝚊𝚛𝚕𝚢 ✨ 🏳️🌈 (@CarlySimoneXo) November 3, 2019
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday at 6.50pm.