Mike Bushell became the seventh celebrity to exit Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday. The BBC sports presenter and his professional partner Katya Jones ended up in the bottom two for the fourth time after a Paso Doble to Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela. In a surprise turn of events, the dance-off veterans were joined by RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and her partner Giovanni Pernice, whose American Smooth to Etta James' I Just Want To Make Love to You had landed them in second place on Saturday's leaderboard.
Mike was popular with the other Strictly contestants
After both couples performed again, judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Bruno Tonioli delivered their verdicts. Craig chose to save Michelle and Giovanni, saying: "One couple put up a very good fight but the couple I’d like to save is Michelle and Giovanni." Motsi agreed, adding: "I honestly have to say I have seen the best performance from both couples. I really, really mean that but one couple was the clear winner of the dance-off and I am going to save Michelle and Giovanni." Bruno said: "Well, with all due respect to all of you, I have to save the couple that really performed to the highest standard and to me that couple is Michelle and Giovanni," and head judge Shirley Ballas confirmed she would also have saved the American.
Asked by presenter Tess Daly about his time on the show, Mike said it had been "the most amazing nine or ten weeks since we started training". The dad-of-three went on to explain: "I have lost a stone and half… I’m mentally sharper, I feel able to deal with pressured situations – thanks to the dance-offs! It has changed me completely and honestly I’m not going to stop dancing... Every moment has been an absolute honour and a joy. I didn’t think I’d get this far so I have already booked a hotel in Blackpool, so I’m still coming along!"
The BBC presenter and partner Katya Jones have become good friends
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Mike then paid tribute to his dance partner, with whom he's developed a warm friendship, saying: "This amazing teacher, Katya, I can’t tell you the dedication that she puts in. She’d make the greatest sporting coach ever, she makes you believe that anything is possible. She hasn’t taken it easy on me. We’ve had some difficult routines and I can’t believe the miracles you’ve performed. There’s so many memories."
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Katya was equally complimentary, gushing: "Honestly I’m so proud of him and I think after this dance which I think was your best dance you can leave with your head held up honestly; in my eyes you’re the winner. The only thing he has lost is weight. He came in every single day giving his heart, soul, everything, 200% no matter what after every single dance off… thank you so much."
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