The CBBC presenter became the eleventh contestant to be eliminated from the BBC dance show after he faced Bake Off star John Whaite in Sunday’s dreaded dance off.
After performing two routines each in Saturday’s semi-final, Rhys and his partner Nancy Xu performed their Samba to It Had Better Be Tonight (Meglio Stasera) by Michael Bublé.
Meanwhile, John and his partner Johannes Radebe performed their Jive to Higher Power by Coldplay, in a bid to impress the judges and secure their place in the final.
After both couples had danced, all four judges unanimously chose to save John and Johannes.
Craig Revel Horwood said: “In all the years I’ve been doing the show since 2004, I really do not want to make this decision tonight. This has been one of the most amazing dance offs I’ve ever witnessed.
“Both couples are equal and both couples deserve to go through and I just want to put both couples through. I know I’m not allowed to do that so I have to choose. I’m going on the technical side and it’s to do with clean finishes. I’d like to put through to the final, John and Johannes.”
Motsi Mabuse also chose to save John and Johannes, saying: “Well, I think both couples deserve to stay in the competition but that is not how it works. For me this was a very difficult decision, but I’m going to save John and Johannes.”
Anton Du Beke added: “Like Motsi and Craig, I’d have you both in the final quite frankly. Rhys came out and danced and I thought that would do for me. John came out and I thought, here we go. But then, you’ve just got to look at it and go, OK what do I like? For me tonight, in such an even contest, my nod goes to John and Johannes.”
With three votes to John and Johannes, it meant they had won the majority vote, and Rhys and Nancy would be leaving the competition. Head Judge Shirley Ballas said she would have agreed with her fellow judges, and saved John and Johannes.
When asked by host Tess Daly about their time on the show, Rhys said: “I might not have gotten to the final but I learnt so much from just being on this show, from everyone here who’s just supported us in this new family.
“To have the time to spend with this champion of a dancer [Nancy] who’s put so much into me. Thank you for just letting my energy shine. Thank you for being that partner.”
Nancy was then asked if she had any words for Rhys and said: “First I want to say a massive thank you to everyone in the show for supporting us from the very beginning. You’ve become stronger and stronger every week. And thank you [Rhys] for being an amazing dancer partner. My first year, it has been absolutely epic.”
After watching their best bits, an emotional Rhys added: “It’s good to cry, it’s good to feel. Strictly makes you feel things. You feel so much and sometimes that’s overwhelming.”
The Strictly finalists, AJ and Kai, John and Johannes and Rose and Gio and will take to the dance floor in the Strictly Come Dancing Final 2021 on Saturday 18th December at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.