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Rose Ayling-Ellis and John Whaite 'absolutely devastated' after AJ Odudu quits Strictly in last-minute shake-up

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington have withdrawn from Strictly

rose ayling ellis aj odudu kai
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
17 December 2021
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Rose Ayling-Ellis and John Whaite have expressed their sorrow over AJ Odudu's last-minute withdrawal from Strictly Come Dancing on Friday.

READ: Strictly's Giovanni Pernice hails Rose Ayling-Ellis partnership as his 'best one yet'

Just one day before the final, the presenter and her dance partner Kai Widdrington confirmed their decision to leave the competition after AJ suffered a devastating foot injury.

WATCH: Strictly's AJ Odudu reveals devastating injury

This weekend, both Rose and dance partner Giovanni Pernice will go head-to-head with John and Johannes Radebe in a bid to lift the coveted glitterball.

MORE: Strictly's Rose Ayling-Ellis makes touching promise to Giovanni Pernice ahead of final

Exclusive: Giovanni Pernice reveals the special qualities Rose Ayling-Ellis has to make them win Strictly

Upon hearing the news on Friday, the EastEnders actress was quick to write on social media: "Absolutely devastated for you both. You should be so proud of all the work you done. It is beautiful. I'm sending lots of love to you both."

John added: "Love you SO much. You deserved this because you've worked so hard for it, and you’ve been a beacon of joy and positivity for many of us. In spite of this blow, please remember how many people you have touched and inspired."

AJ shared her sadness with her fans alongside a series of photos, writing: "I've had ultrasounds, MRI scans and x-rays. I've had two incisions to drain the inflammation around my ankle. I've injected local anaesthetic directly into my foot, I have been strapped up to an ice compression machine for days.

strictly finals© Photo: BBC

Both Rose and John are gutted for AJ

"I've done all I can possibly do to get back on my feet for the @bbcstrictly Final, I even asked the docs if I could perform in a medical moonboot! But the fact is, I can't stand on my feet let alone dance because I've torn my spring ligament.

MORE: Strictly's AJ Odudu breaks down in tears as she reveals devastating injury

"Learning to dance over the last 13 weeks has been an incredible honour and to do it alongside someone as special, patient and devoted as Kai is something I'll treasure forever. You're the best @kaiwidd and I know you were ready to be my human crutch on that dancefloor come tomorrow night. Gutted!"

Turning her attention towards fans, she added: "You've made this experience one to remember and I couldn't be more grateful for your well wishes. Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream of mine and I'm glad it came true.

"Good luck to my partners in dance, @john_whaite & @Johannesradebe and @Rose.a.e and @perniceGiovann1. I will be cheering you all on (on one leg)."

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