Judge Rinder has revealed that he received some heartbreaking news ahead of his final Strictly performance on Sunday night. The 38-year-old, who became the eleventh celebrity to leave the competition, fought back tears as he admitted on It Takes Two that he had found out shortly before his elimination dance that somebody close to him had died.
Sitting with dance partner Oksana Platero by his side, he told Zoe Ball: "Someone I really love in my life passed away, and earlier in the day I got a text message saying this was her favourite song. Genuinely."
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Judge Rinder received some heartbreaking news before his final Strictly performance
The TV star, who performed his last dance to Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked, said he took the news as a sign to go out and enjoy his final moments on the show. "Something just happened and I decided to have the most fun I possibly could," he explained.
"When we walked out, I could feel the energy of the audience. I felt the energy from everyone to the runner to the people in costume. The love and passion permeates into the show."
The criminal barrister was unable to hold back the tears as he and his partner then watched their highlights from the series. Afterwards, Oksana told him: "You taught me so much. I guess I can say what true dedication is. Because no matter how late he is, how tired he is, how frustrated both of us are… the kind of respect and complete dedication and listening to every word I said – he did it!"
The TV star and partner Oksana Platero were the eleventh couple to leave the show
The tearful interview came one day after Judge Rinder and Oksana were voted off Strictly after a tense dance-off with Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton. The popular TV personality heaped praise on the show and his dance partner as he spoke to Tess Daly moments after the judges' decision was announced.
"I honestly don't know what to say, every single person involved in this programme has so much love for it and that permeates through the screen," he said. "It's a joy to be here, every single person, there's too many people to thank but I even want to thank the judges. I know how difficult it is sometimes to be a judge and you do it with authenticity and enthusiasm and thank you all for your comments."
Turning to Oksana, he added: "And my last thank you and my most important one, this truly extraordinary person, this teacher who has shown me from somebody who could barely walk to music with no dance experience at all to find a passion and a love for dance and that's the best kind of teaching. You are never too old to try something new and everyone should try dancing, thank you so much."