Craig Revel Horwood has hit back at claims that he is to blame for Aston Merrygold's shock exit from Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend. Former JLS star Aston, 29, and partner Janette Manrara bowed out of the competition on Sunday after losing out in a dance-off with Mollie King. The couple were left fighting for their place in the competition following an underwhelming performance on Saturday night, which resulted in Craig scoring them just four points for their Viennese Waltz. Having scored low points from both the judges and the public, Aston and Janette found themselves in the bottom two, along with Mollie and her partner AJ Pritchard, and were ultimately sent home by head judge Shirley Ballas.
Craig Revel Horwood has denied he's responsible for Aston Merrygold's Strictly exit
STORY: Aston Merrygold speaks out after shock Strictly exit
Speaking to the Sun, Craig responded to viewer speculation that he had sabotaged Aston's chances by giving him such a low score. "That's rubbish," the 52-year-old said. "I gave a list of what was wrong with it on the night. And Mollie did a better dance in the dance-off." He added: "We didn't put him in the bottom two, the audience did." Craig also took to Twitter to defend his decision to keep Mollie and AJ in the dance competition. "Dear all, the judges vote on the dance-off alone NOT past performances or potential performances in the future," he wrote. "If you wanna have ur say VOTE."
STORY: Mollie King finally addresses rumours of a romance with Strictly's AJ Pritchard
Aston and Janette lost out in a dance-off with Mollie King and AJ Pritchard
Ahead of Saturday's show, Aston was the bookies’ second favourite to win the coveted glitterball trophy. He was the highest-scoring celebrity of the series so far, having topped the leaderboard twice, and his odds of elimination stood at 100-1. But his Viennese Waltz with Janette scored just 25 points from the judges, putting the couple only one place above Ruth Langsford and Anton Du Beke, who were at the bottom of the leaderboard. "In all the years we have been betting on reality TV, we don't recall a bigger surprise than this," Coral spokesperson John Hill said. "Aston was one of the most popular contestants in the outright market to win the series, while we did not take one single bet on the former JLS singer departing this weekend."