The TV presenter says she’s “deeply upset” after tearing a ligament in her right ankle.
TV presenter AJ Odudu has been forced to pull out of Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing final after tearing a ligament in her right ankle.
She was on crutches earlier this week, but has now officially given up hope of competing for the glitterball trophy with dance partner Kai Widdrington.
She said she was “deeply upset that I am unable to perform”.
The final will now be contested by Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, and John Whaite and Johannes Radebe.
Sadly due to injury AJ and Kai have had to withdraw from #Strictly and won’t compete in tomorrow’s final. We want to thank them for 13 incredible weeks on the show and the pure joy they brought to the dance floor every week. ❤️ https://t.co/DlCFHiEAMc pic.twitter.com/S4K142aerd— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly)
In a statement, Odudu said: “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.
“Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream and I’m glad it came true. Good luck to my partners in dance, John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!)”
Odudu, who is best known for presenting Big Brother spin-off Bit on the Side and the Channel 4 reality show spin-off Married at First Sight: Afters, had previously said she first felt the injury on Monday.
Widdrington said she had been “the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show”.
He added: “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.”
Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James said: “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 sends her all our love and wish her a speedy recovery.”
Whichever remaining couple wins Saturday’s final, history will be made.
EastEnders actress Ayling-Ellis could become the first deaf contestant to triumph in the BBC One dance show, and is currently the bookmakers’ favourite, while former Great British Bake Off champion Whaite and Radebe would be the first same-sex champions.