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Kevin Clifton talks Strictly rules after AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington accused of cheating

The former Strictly star was discussing the moment on his podcast

kevin and aj
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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Kevin Clifton has spoken out about the rules of Strictly Come Dancing's dance-off following the quarter finals last week, which saw AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington perform their salsa for a second time, before they were accused of changing their routine.

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Kevin, who left the show in 2020, and his sister Joanne, who also previously worked on the BBC programme, were chatting about the intense dance-off between AJ and Dan Walker on Kevin's podcast, The Clifton Show, this week when he opened up about the competition's rules.

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Former champion Joanne began: "I haven't seen the dance-off, but it's been talked about a lot on social media, did they change the lift or not, and is that against the rules to change it?" to which Kevin, who won in 2019, replied: "There was a ruling on this, wasn't there? I can't remember."

He continued: "There's something in me saying that there was a rule that we're not allowed to change anything about the routine for the dance-off. There's something in me for some reason that rings a bell."

Joanne explained further: "That’s what I was going to ask you because, to me, it looked like what the lift was supposed to be was the one where the leg goes over the head, she swings down, and then he puts her down."

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strictly kai and aj© Photo: BBC

Kai and AJ faced the dance-off last week

However, Kevin then admitted that rules on the Latin and ballroom competition often get reviewed over the years. "But I don't know, and rules change all the time, so maybe it’s different now."

Kevin's comments come soon after AJ and Kai performed their salsa a second time in the dance-off on Saturday while competing against Dan Walker and Nadia Bychkova. After AJ and Kai made it through, viewers on social media accused the pair of changing their routine. But AJ and Kai were keen to set the record straight.

Appearing on It Takes Two on Wednesday, Kai explained that he had to alter the lift in the first dance to prevent dropping AJ: "I realised if I tried to put her down she would hit her head so I'm just going to wait for her to climb off my shoulder and then usher her back to her end position." AJ added: "I was nervous going into that final lift, so to be able to execute it and show everyone, 'This is what it was meant to look like', I was really pleased."

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