Strictly AJ’s desperate fight to get to final as horror injury leaves her on crutches


Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Odudu had been unable to rehearse for the final after she injured her foot

Strictly AJ’s desperate fight to get to final as horror injury leaves her on crutches

Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly star AJ Odudu hobbles into the It Takes Two studios on crutches, but she still has her sights set on the Glitterball trophy.

The TV presenter, 33, declared: “I’m doing everything I can to try to be there on Saturday.”

She is due to dance in the final of the BBC One show with pro partner Kai Widdrington.

But the Mirror revealed on Tuesday that she had been unable to rehearse after injuring her foot.

She appeared with her foot lifted and strapped in bandages at a press conference hosted by It Takes Two host Rylan Clark yesterday, and said she was “very frustrated and upset” by the injury.

She said: “Basically, long story short, I’ve hurt the ligament in my arch.

“I can’t put any weight on my foot at all. So we have missed a lot of training, because I can’t stand up, I’m on crutches.”

She and Kai are up against Bake Off winner John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, in the final. Each pair will perform three routines, among them the much-awaited show dance.

AJ injured her foot



The star was seen on crutches arriving at the Riverside Studios



Seated alongside AJ yesterday, 26-year-old Kai, who made his debut as a pro dancer on Strictly this year, said they rehearsed their show dance on Monday.

“We did the show dance, we got through it,” he said. “Obviously we still need to patch it up a little bit and connect everything, there’s a lot of lifts in there.

“But the other dances that we’re going to do we did and put the music on and AJ knows them.”

AJ said: “It’s just really frustrating actually. Because the two dances you mentioned that we’re repeating from the series, we’ve not performed them in weeks. So, without giving too much away, they’re energy-inducing dances.

“On Monday, we were optimistic because we were like, ‘Do you know what? The steps are still there. Just got to build the stamina’.

“Then as Kai mentioned, our show dance, it’s a beautiful, epic show dance, that we have stepped through, we have marked through, I know where we’re meant to be, what I’m meant to be doing.

She is due to dance the final



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“But again, it’s one of those things you need the practise to give it everything essentially.

“So I am at this moment in time very frustrated and upset. But again, our main focus is my foot at the moment and just making sure that we can make it.”

The couple scored their first perfect 40 during last week’s semi-final for one of their two routines, a quickstep, which judge Craig Revel Horwood said was “incredible”.

AJ became tearful as she discussed dancing with Kai, who has labelled her a “dream partner”. And Kai said he was “ecstatic” to be partnered with AJ.

He said: “No dance experience, even when people think that she has. You actually haven’t had any at all, I can categorically say that.”

Talking about their first week on the show, when they topped the leaderboard, he said: “We came out and did that jive and it was just one of those moments where you just go, ‘Wow, that just happened, what is happening?’.”

  • Strictly Come Dancing Final 2021, Saturday, 7pm, BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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