Strictly runner up John Whaite has revealed the heartbreaking comment made by Rose Ayling-Ellis backstage during the grand final in December.
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Speaking to Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley on Good Morning Britain on Monday, John told the presenters that Rose "made it quite clear" that two decades ago, deaf people "like her" may not have even been employed.
WATCH: Strictly's Giovanni Pernice teases end of partnership with Rose Ayling-Ellis
He said: "I was chatting to Rose on the day of the final in rehearsals and she made it quite clear that 20 years ago, a girl like her wouldn't have even had a job and that's how far we've come and that's how amazing she is to have broken down so many boundaries.
"So she, for me, is the worthy winner and I knew she was going to win it from the very start," he added.
John appeared on the breakfast show alongside his dancing partner Johannes Radebe, who he'll be joining on the upcoming Strictly live tour. When asked about his reaction to Rose and Giovanni Pernice's incredible couple's choice dance, Johannes praised her dancing ability.
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He said: "It's hard enough to remember what comes after to what but to not even articulate music. Rose was special to watch in this season and it was beautiful what Giovanni managed to accomplish with her.
Rose and Giovanni were crowned last year's Strictly winners
"Even today, we watched them dance that night and they deserve it as well. They really, really do. We are proud of them and Rose must just continue, she is incredible," he added.
Rose and Giovanni will be performing the iconic routine on the tour. Speaking on This Morning last week, Rose said: "We said it'd be weird for us not to do it," with Giovanni adding: "It was such a special moment that we have to do again and again.
"It's such an important dance, it's a statement, and doing it in an arena with 10,000 people live and stopping the music would be quite spectacular, I think. It's one of the most beautiful things I've done on Strictly."
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