He became the seventh celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday, after losing to Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice in a surprising dance-off. But BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell has dismissed claims that he was relieved to be voted off. Recent reports suggested Mike was left with "barely anything… in the tank" following his participation in the show, and that continuing would have been daunting for him. But Mike was quick to insist how much he loved dancing every Saturday night.
Speaking to Mail Online, Mike said: "I've loved every second of my Strictly journey, it's the best show ever and I was really hoping to be competing in Blackpool and beyond. I'm gutted to be out but at the same time wanted to leave with my head held high and gracious in defeat. When I was eliminated, I wanted to celebrate the journey I'd been on, and the fact that I'm so excited to be doing the tour shows that I want my Strictly journey to go on."
Mike and Katya left the competition on Sunday night
The BBC sports presenter and his professional partner Katya Jones ended up in the bottom two for the fourth time after performing 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.
MORE: Eamonn Holmes has already started his Christmas shopping - see his first purchase
Speaking of her partner after their elimination, Katya said: "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 per cent no matter what after every single dance off… thank you so much."
Mike also took to Twitter following his elimination, writing: "Loved every second. Thanks so much for all the support. The most amazing teacher @Mrs_katjones surely coach of the year."
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.