Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice are up for the Must-See Moment at the BAFTAs on Sunday - and we're so excited for them! Their followers and Strictly-obsessives will be well aware that the winning duo struck up a rock-solid friendship while competing in the 2021 series – with Giovanni naming his pairing with the EastEnders actress his "best" ever.
It's clear that Rose, who was the ballroom competition's first ever deaf contestant, and her partner Giovanni won the nation's hearts throughout their time on the BBC show and they went on to become the series champions. In celebration of their fantastic bond and many jaw-dropping performances, here are some of the sweetest things Rose and Giovanni have said to each other in recent times...
WATCH: Rose Ayling-Ellis tries to hand feed Giovanni Pernice in funny video
Ahead of the nail-biting finale of Strictly, Rose and Giovanni spoke to Rylan Clark at the winner's press conference. One thing Rose revealed was her first impression of the professional dancer when they first met in September.
Giovanni and Rose soon became fan favourites on the show
She explained to HELLO! and other press at the virtual event: "In the deaf community, we know that Italians are very expressive and they're very direct in the way they talk. They just say what it is, they don't waffle or use metaphors because that just doesn't work for deaf people
"When we paired up, it was then that I realised that [Giovanni is] so funny and we have a similar sense of humour. I've really enjoyed my time with Giovanni. He's a really good teacher and he can have fun."
During the same interview, Giovanni explained how he believed he and Rose had winning qualities. He said at the time: "I knew I had a really good student. I always say it's the strongest mindset that wins the competition rather than the best dancer. Strictly is hard on the celebrities – much harder than most realise when they sign up – but if you're able to survive 13 weeks mentally, then you're halfway there. Rose is strong-minded. And she listens."
The pair went on to lift the Glitterball trophy
And the praise from Giovanni didn't stop there. The pro-dancer also had similar complimentary words for his dance partner and during an interview on BBC Radio 2 with Zoe Ball, he admitted his pairing with Rose was the best he'd had throughout his many years on the show. "I think it's been a fantastic experience, I think it's been the best I have had in the Strictly experience for sure.
"Rose is quite a determined person as well, she really wants to learn how to dance. We're having fun and I think the reason I think I'm different is because I'm more relaxed."
Eventually, the grand finale of Strictly arrived and after some show-stopping performances from both Rose, Giovanni and their opponents John Whaite and Johannes Radebe – it was Rose and Giovanni who were crowned champions.
After Tess Daly called out their names, the audience erupted with cheer and the pair could barely get their words out. Soon after, Giovanni praised the "incredible" woman who made all his "dreams come true", dubbing her a "dream".
Giovanni and Rose have struck up a strong bond from their time on the show
Rose herself was almost lost for words and called her partner an "incredible teacher and wonderful friend" and said that the Italian pro would always have a "part of my heart".
The pair then took to social media to share heartfelt messages to each other. Rose wrote: "I'm dedicating this post to the most wonderful human ever, Giovanni. The person who was there everyday with me for four months, who knows truly what this journey has been for me, the reason why I have become confident within myself. He came into my world and brought the best out of me. I cannot thank him enough for all the work and effort to make me become the dancer that I am today.
"I am beyond proud of us. I never thought I would leave Strictly with a best friend for life, thank you Gi."
Good luck Rose and Gio!
Rushing to the comments to reply to his dance partner, Giovanni wrote: "And here I [cry] again !!! I told you so many times!! You are a dream and defo best friend for life!! You are a hero and a role model to everyone and I can’t wait to dance again with you ASAP!!"
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