Strictly Come Dancing loses its ninth celebrity

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of presenters, Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of presenters, Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.

Graeme Swann has got the boot from Strictly Come Dancing – after a dance off with high-scoring Ashley Roberts.

The former England cricketer, 39, was the ninth celebrity to leave the BBC One show.

Ex-Pussycat Doll Roberts, 37, who found herself in the dance-off with professional partner Pasha Kovalev, dropped four points for this week’s samba routine after receiving a perfect score of 40 during the previous round in Blackpool.

All the judges said they would save Roberts, who has sparked some controversy for her level of previous dance experience.

Craig Revel Horwood called the decision “a no-brainer”, while Darcey Bussell said Roberts had the more “technically efficient performance”.

Bruno Tonioli stated: “No disrespect but it’s evident. Overall much, much stronger on every level.”

Head Judge Shirley Ballas said she agreed with her fellow judges.

And even Swann, who had stumbled during his routine on Saturday with professional partner Oti Mabuse, admitted: “I’d have voted for Ashley and Pasha as well. I can’t quite believe I was put against them.”

He said: “I was on borrowed time, unless I learnt to fly or something”.

He added: “I was a novice coming in to this. This woman Oti…  has just made me fall in love with this whole dance nonsense that I thought it was before.

“I absolutely adore you for that. I’ll never forget everything you taught and shouted at me for weeks and weeks… I’ve just had the best of times. I’ve had the worst of times.”

Mabuse said: “I’ve had the best season of my entire career on Strictly. I have never laughed so much, I’ve never been so angry so much.”

And she said: “We might not have been the best dancers but you have the spirit of Strictly.”

The judges’ scores were combined with the results of the viewers’ votes to decide the lowest scoring two couples facing the dance-off, with Swann performing his quickstep and Roberts her samba again.

On Saturday’s show, the judges had been left baffled following a technical glitch as they tried to give points to the contestants for their combined lindyhop-athon.

Roberts and Kovalev were eventually declared the winners of the group dance.

Later, Swann’s professional dance partner Oti Mabuse thanked him for the “best laughs and jokes”.

“What a journey and experience it has been,” she said on Instagram.

“From spider man, thriller, fitness class and dancing on the moon its been the best season.

“Thank you @bbcstrictly for an amazing and incredible season and thank you @officialgraemeswann for the best laughs and jokes for the past season but most importantly to everyone who voted every week.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday December 1 at 6.50pm.

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