Jake Wood lost out on the glitterball trophy as he was voted off Strictly Come Dancing's semi-final on Sunday night. The EastEnders actor praised his professional dance partner Janette Manrara for "working wonders" as he exited the competition after a dance-off against Mark Wright and Karen Hauer.
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Taking to the dance floor Jake and Janette performed their cha cha cha to Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band, while Mark and Karen danced their rumba to Eva Cassidy's version of Fields of Gold.
Craig Revel Horwood gave his vote, choosing to save the former TOWIE star and his partner, while Darcey Bussell disagreed, saying: "For me, this is very difficult. The couple I would like to save is Jake and Janette."
Jake Wood and Janette Manrara failed to impress with their cha cha cha on Strictly's semi-final
Bruno Tonioli also opted to save the actor and his partner, saying: "I love both my boys but I have to save Jake and Janette."
The deciding vote was left to head judge Len Goodman, who chose to keep Mark and Karen – who have appeared in the dance-off three times before – in the competition.
"This is very difficult," said Len. "The cha cha cha had little cha cha cha content and the rumba had little rumba content so in that respect it's a very level playing field.
"One was totally performance driven, the other was more about artistry and this is for me the toughest of all but I'm going to save Mark and Karen."
Jake Wood and Janette Manrara faced Karen Hauer and Mark Wright in the dance-off
Reflecting back on his Strictly experience, Jake thanked his fans for their support and praised his dance partner for her dancing talent. "It's a huge disappointment to go out in the semi-finals but for a 42-year-old dad of two, who's never danced before, Janette has worked wonders," he said.
"It's been a real privilege to watch her work and she's so passionate about what she does that it's infectious. I'd like to thank all the people at home who voted – it's just meant the world. And I'd like to thank my wife Alison and my two children Amber and Buster as well. Without their support I couldn't have done this."
Jake Wood praised his dance partner Janette Manrara for 'working wonders'
Janette returned his compliments, calling her dance partner a "friend for life".
"I don't have enough words to say how proud I am of him," said the Miami-born pro. "He's come from nowhere and gotten all the way to the semi-final. He's been an absolute pleasure to work with – so driven, so focussed. He's just phenomenal. Thank-you, Jake, for making this such an amazing experience. He's my friend for life now. For real."
Strictly will return next Saturday and see the four finalists compete for the glitter ball trophy.