Strictly star John Whaite drops dance partner Johannes Radebe in salsa slip-up during quarter-final

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Strictly Come Dancing favourite John Whaite dropped his dancing partner in the quarter final of the show, but still managed to finish in the middle of the leaderboard.

The TV baker, who was born in Chorley and grew up in Wrightington, opened the show with a salsa to a rendition of We Are Family, ending with his partner Johannes Radebe giving him “the wrong hand” and falling to the floor.

After their performance, Radebe said: “It’s live, anything can happen.”

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Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who gave the couple a score of seven, said: “I love it when it goes wrong, you had no choice you had to throw him onto the floor.”

John Whaite performing his latest routineJohn Whaite performing his latest routine
John Whaite performing his latest routine

The pair, who performed in matching blue and purple shimmering shirts, were scored 32 – leaving them third of five on the leaderboard.

Anton Du Beke joked: “I have lifted partners over the years that I could not wait to put down, it was amazing.”

Closing the quarter final with another salsa, Whaite's fellow Lancastrian AJ Odudu, from Blackburn, plummeted to bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 30 after she struggled with her final lift.

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The TV presenter performed to Gloria Estefan’s Rhythm Is Gonna Get You with her partner Kai Widdrington.

Revel Horwood called the ending a “complete dance disaster darling”, while Du Beke said: “It went on and on and on, I was like please stop I can’t bear it.”

Head judge Shirley Ballas added: “Like any quarter final championships it takes nerves of steel and your ending like John and Johannes went wrong. It was on its way to a 10, just unfortunate.”

Rose Ayling-Ellis shot to the joint top of the leaderboard with partner Giovanni Pernice and their Love Actually-inspired American smooth.

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In the routine, performed to This Will Be An Everlasting Love by Natalie Cole, the EastEnders actress dived into a lift “never seen before” on Strictly.

Ballas told the couple: “You delivered a performance of a lifetime. There was a point in mid air where you were not touching each other, that is really a leap of faith.”

Revel Horwood said: “Absolutely amazing that lift. I thought the whole routine was absolutely gorgeous, wonderful storytelling.”

Motsi Mabuse added the song was “made for that routine”.

“Every time you dance you touch my heart, and I love it,” Du Beke said.

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Joining them at the top of the leaderboard was CCBC host Rhys Stephenson and his partner Nancy Xu, who “nailed” their Argentinian tango to Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight.

Having been in the bottom two last week, Ballas said: “I just want to hold you and say well done. You have been in the bottom several times and I think it has humbled you, every time you come back better.”

Revel Horwood added: “I thought you did a fantastic job I have to say.”

The judges disagreed with each other after BBC broadcaster Dan Walker had performed his tango with partner Nadiya Bychkova to Santa Maria by Gotan Project.

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They scored 31, with Ballas commenting Walker had the “feeling of a ballroom dancer”, and Revel Horwood agreed adding: “This is my favourite of all the dances you have done, you should be so proud of yourself.”

But Du Beke disagreed describing it as “not the best” and Mabuse thought it was “hasty” and he had “lost a bit of control”.

The Strictly Come Dancing eliminations will be on Sunday at 7.20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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