AJ Odudu Forced To Pull Out Of Strictly Come Dancing Final Due To Injury

It's been confirmed that this year's Strictly final will now go ahead with just two contestants.
AJ Odudu
AJ Odudu
Ray Burmiston/BBC

AJ Odudu will not be competing in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing final due to injury, it has been confirmed.

Having been a frontrunner throughout the current series of Strictly, AJ disclosed earlier this week that she was on crutches “at the worst possible time” and had therefore not been able to rehearse.

Following this, the TV presenter broke down in tears while she discussed her condition on spin-off show It Takes Two, explaining: “I don’t know when it happened, but essentially I’ve got issues with my joint. I’ve suffered some traumatic injury to my ligaments. There’s a lot of inflammation.

“I can’t pinpoint when it happened during training, in fact, we felt really positive after training on Monday, I felt fine. But the pain came on so suddenly and acutely that I actually projectile vomited.

“I’m unable to stand on my right foot, and I can’t stand up with crutches. I’m very upset.”

It has now been announced that AJ and her professional partner Kai Widdrington will not be competing in the Strictly final, due to what has been confirmed as a torn ligament.

AJ said: “I’m deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle. 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.

“Thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home for watching and supporting. You’ve made this experience one to remember.”

She added: “Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream and I’m glad it came true. Good luck to my partners in dance, John & Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!).”

Kai also said: “I’ve been absolutely honoured to get to dance with the incredible AJ Odudu for the last few months and although neither of us wanted our journey to end this way, AJ’s health and safety are by far the most important things.

“I want to thank AJ for being the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show and I will always treasure the memories of dancing in the Strictly ballroom with her. I know we will be friends for life and I will be there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can.”

The former Big Brother’s Bit On The Side host had been due to go up against EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis and former Bake Off winner John Whaite for the coveted Glitterball trophy.

Instead, the final will go ahead with just two competitors remaining.

Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James said: “AJ may not be able to compete in the final but she is and always will be one of the most brilliant Strictly finalists we have ever had. We cannot thank her enough for fully embracing the experience and being a total delight both on and off the dance floor.

“AJ and Kai are a wonderful partnership and have performed some unforgettable routines over the last few months. Although this is not how we would have wanted her Strictly journey to end, AJ’s health and wellbeing come first and everyone involved in the show send her all our love and wish her a speedy recovery.”

The Strictly Come Dancing final airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.

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