Strictly final in chaos after Covid outbreak, injuries and crew concerns


On Saturday night either AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, or Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice will be crowned the 2021 Strictly champions – but the final looks to be plagued with problems

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Strictly: AJ Odudu breaks down over her injury before the final

The hotly anticipated Strictly Come Dancing live final is almost here with just days to go before the Glitterball Trophy is claimed by the 2021 champion.

The long-running BBC dance competition has been thrilling and wowing audiences since the series – the 19th in it’s ongoing run – launched back in the middle of September.

Over the past 13 weeks, the 15 original contestants and their dance partners have been whittled down to finalists TV host AJ Odudu and dance partner Kai Widdrington, Bake Off star John Whaite and his dance partner Johannes Radebe, and EastEnders’ Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice.

With the live final taking place on Saturday, it should be smooth sailing as the finalists – and past contestants – are due to return to the dance floor one final time.

But unfortunately a cloud of chaos is looming over the last show of the 2021 series with a number of problems threatening to derail plans.

Tilly Ramsay won’t be back for the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 live final after testing positive for Covid-19
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BBC)

Covid Outbreak

Every year when Strictly comes to an end, all contestants from the season are invited back to take part in the live final show.

As well as AJ, Kai and John, past contestants actress Nina Wadia, soap star Katie McGlynn, comedian Robert Webb, actor Greg Wise, sportsman Ugo Monye, Loose Women’s Judi Love, swimmer Adam Peaty, reality star Sara Davies, musician Tom Fletcher, chef Tilly Ramsay, BBC star Dan Walker, and CBeebies’ Rhys Stephenson have been invited back.

Sadly for 20-year-old Tilly, however, a return to the ballroom has been scuppered by Covid.

Taking to social media on Wednesday, she wrote: “So sad to be missing the Strictly final – but sadly have tested positive for covid so will be watching from my sofa and cheering on the amazing finalists from home on Saturday night – wishing everyone lots of love & good luck.”

Robert Webb dropped out of the competition in October – and won’t be back for the live final
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Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire)

Ditching Dance

Strictly fans were concerned back in October when Robert Webb abruptly pulled out of the competition due to health concerns.

The 49-year-old comedy actor had undergone heart surgery in recent years and feared he had bitten off more than he could chew by taking part in the show.

Explaining his decision to quit, he said: “I had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show.”

Fans hoping to see Rob back for the final will be disappointed to learn he won’t return this weekend – announcing on Instagram on Wednesday: “the producers understood that when I had to stop, I had to stop completely… the offer of one more dance was politely declined.”


Strictly staff are reportedly ‘dreading’ Nina Wadia’s return after she slammed the show following her exit
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Return Fears

While fans might be sad that Robert isn’t returning to the show, reports have suggested crew working on the BBC series are “dreading” Nina Wadia coming back.

The 52-year-old star was the first contestant to be eliminated on week two of the show – and she hit out at the series following her departure calling her experience: “Odd”.

A show source said earlier this week: “It’s left a very sour taste in the mouth.”

While another source claimed Nina had: “moaned all the time” during her time on the show, adding: “She is coming back for the final, which we are slightly dreading.”


AJ Odudu has been struck by injury days before the live final
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Instagram)

Injury Issues

The final is going to be a tight race with each of the remaining contests amassing huge numbers of fans after twisting, turning and skipping their way across the dancefloor over the past few weeks.

But there are fears that 33-year-old AJ could miss out after succumbing to injury just days before the final.

Sharing photos of herself looking downcast and holding crutches, the star announced via social media on Wednesday: “I’ve got a repeated traumatic impact injury to my right ankle affecting the joint, capsule and ligaments themselves. I can’t pinpoint a moment it actually happened during training but the pain came on suddenly on Monday night.”

But remaining optimistic she added: “whilst it’s not the week I had planned I’m trying to remain hopeful and positive. I’m surrounded by a fantastic medical team who are trying their best to get me back on my feet PLUS, I have the most incredible partner @kaiwidd who is carrying me emotionally and physically (literally).”

John Whaite hit back at homophobic Strictly viewers who vowed to boycott the final
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Boycott Bigotry

The 2021 series of Strictly made history by introducing the first same-sex male pairing on the show as Bake Off’s John was paired with dance pro Johannes Radebe.

However the boys – who are both openly gay – have been targeted by some close minded viewers that have lashed out on social media and even threatened to boycott the final.

Hitting back at the trolls, 32-year-old John wrote on social media: “‘Woke’, ‘Fixed’, ‘Box-ticking’, ‘Agenda’, ‘Bias’, ‘Proving a point’, ‘Not natural’, ‘Won’t be watching the final.’

“You vicious, empty people are a dying breed. You’ll be left behind as the world becomes kinder, more empathic, more loving, more tolerant, more understanding.”

Strictly Come Dancing the 2021 Live Final airs on BBC One on Saturday night at 7pm.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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