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Strictly Come Dancing eliminates tenth contestant as judges disagree after 'tough' dance-off

Strictly Come Dancing semi-final
Strictly Come Dancing semi-final (Guy Levy)

Annabel Croft became the tenth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing in Sunday night's results show.

The former tennis player and her dance partner Johannes Radebe were voted out after facing Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell in the dreaded dance-off.

Both couples took to the ballroom floor to perform their favourite routine from the semi-finals, with Bobby and Diane opting for their Quickstep to 'Mack the Knife' by Bobby Darin, while Annabel and Johannes performed their Viennese Waltz to 'Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want' by Slow Moving Millie.

Johannes Radebe and Annabel Croft on Strictly Come Dancing
Johannes Radebe and Annabel Croft were sent home on Sunday (Guy Levy)

While Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Annabel and Johannes, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke opted to send them home. This meant that head judge Shirley Ballas had the casting vote, and decided to save Bobby and Dianne, taking them through to the final.

On why he chose to save Annabel and Johannes, Craig said: "Well, one dance was flashy, one dance was quiet. I think both couples have equalised completely. I saw improvement in this one couple and based on this dance and nothing in the past but this dance alone, the person which I think had the most exquisite technique is Annabel and Johannes."

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Meanwhile, Motsi admitted that making the decision was "really tough" and while both couples danced "really well", "there was one dance where there was a slight hesitation at a turn, one slight hesitation was the decision, and I will be saving Bobby and Dianne".

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell were saved by the judges (Guy Levy)

Speaking to host Tess Daly about her time on the show, Annabel said the past few weeks have been "the most life-changing and extraordinary experience of my life".

"I have to congratulate Bobby and Dianne and all the contestants that took part in it," she continued. "But obviously, it's been an amazing, magical experience for me."

Turning to her dance partner, she said: "Johannes, you have been absolutely extraordinary. You have given me a reason to get out of bed and come and dance with you, distract me and to heal me. I can't thank you enough for that. You have been so patient, so caring and so loving. You are an unbelievably special human being. I simply adore you. Thank you so much."

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe embracing
Annabel said the experience had been "life-changing" (BBC)

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Johannes was also full of praise for his dance partner. "I would like to say thank you," he said, when asked if he had any words for Annabel. "Thank you for making the decision to come here. Thank you to Strictly Come Dancing for sending her my way. My life is richer with you in it. I hope we dance long after this has ended. You know my heart and I just want to tell you thank you Annabel."

Referencing Annabel's three children, he added: "Thank you Lily, thank you Amber, thank you Charlie."

Annabel went on to say that her experience has been "the most incredible rollercoaster ride" and thanked the team behind the show for their "extraordinary" work. "It has been amazing and I can't thank everyone enough. Thank you so much Johannes, for the most special time I have had with you," she added.

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe perform their couple's choice routine
Johannes was full of praise for Annabel (Guy Levy)

The remaining three couples will take to the ballroom floor next week for the final time as they compete for a chance to lift the Glitterball Trophy.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Final airs live on Saturday 16 December at 7.00pm, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Every Strictly Come Dancing winner so far

Rose and Giovanni with the Glitterball in 2021
Rose and Giovanni lifted the Glitterball in 2021
  • 2004: Natisha Kaplinsky (partner Brendan Cole)

  • 2004: Jill Halfpenny (partner Darren Bennett)

  • 2005: Darren Gough (partner Lilia Kopylova)

  • 2006: Mark Ramprakash (partner Karen Hardy)

  • 2007: Alesha Dixon (partner Matthew Cutler)

  • 2008: Tom Chambers (partner Camilla Dallerup)

  • 2009: Chris Hollins (partner Ola Jordan)

  • 2010: Kara Tointon (partner Artem Chigvintsev)

  • 2011: Harry Judd (partner Aliona Vilani)

  • 2012: Louis Smith (partner Flavia Cacace)

  • 2013: Abbey Clancy (partner Aljaž Škorjanec)

  • 2014: Caroline Flack (partner Pasha Kovalev)

  • 2015: Jay McGuiness (partner Aliona Vilani)

  • 2016: Ore Oduba (partner Joanne Clifton)

  • 2017: Joe McFadden (partner Katya Jones)

  • 2018: Stacey Dooley (partner Kevin Clifton)

  • 2019: Kelvin Fletcher (partner Oti Mabuse)

  • 2020: Bill Bailey (partner Oti Mabuse)

  • 2021: Rose Ayling-Ellis (partner Giovanni Pernice)

  • 2022: Hamza Yassin (partner Jowita Przystał)