Strictly Come Dancing: AJ Odudu to perform unseen finale showdance

AJ Odudu and professional partner Kai Widdrington. Credit: PA/BBC

Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Odudu will finally get to perform her unseen finale showdance when she joins the line-up for the show's live UK arena tour next year. The 33-year-old TV presenter and her professional partner, Kai Widdrington, had to pull out of the dance competition’s final last Saturday after Odudu suffered an ankle injury.

It meant she never got to perform her routine to Naughty Boy’s Runnin’ as the injury had left her using crutches, with the ligament in the arch of her right foot damaged.

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As well as their showdance, Odudu and Widdrington will perform an American smooth on the tour, which is due to happen between January and February next year.

The tour is also set to feature this year's Strictly champions - actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner, Giovanni Pernice, and the runners-up, Bake Off star John Whaite and professional dancer Johannes Radebe.

An average of 11 million people tuned in to watch Ayling-Ellis make history after becoming the first deaf winner of Strictly Come Dancing last weekend.

Her and Pernice, 31, will dance their emotional couple’s choice routine which featured 10 seconds of silence in tribute to the deaf community, as well as an Argentine tango.

AJ Odudu was forced to pull out from the show because of an ankle injury. Credit: AJ Odudu/Twitter

Disability equality charity Scope has described Ayling-Ellis’s participation in the show as a “massive step forward” for disability representation.

Dragon’s Den star Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin, and CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu from this year’s line-up are also taking part in the tour.

The Wanted singer Max George, who competed on Strictly in 2020, will return to the dance floor for the live tour with a new professional partner, Katya Jones.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who directs the tour, said: “I was hugely disappointed that AJ and Kai missed the Strictly final. “But audiences on the arena tour are in for a big treat, as they will get to see the showdance that AJ and Kai would have performed on Saturday night. The live tour judging panel will consist of Shirley Ballas, Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli, who was absent from the recent series due to travel restriction uncertainty between the UK and the US, where he is based. Former Strictly professional and It Takes Two presenter Janette Manrara will be the host of the tour, which will have a run of 33 shows due to start in Birmingham on January 20 and end at London’s O2 Arena on February 13.