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Strictly’s AJ Odudu hugs mother as she steps out on crutches as she confirms she WILL attend final


AJ Odudu hugged her mother Florence as she stepped out of the Strictly Come Dancing hotel in London on crutches on Saturday, after confirming she will attend the final to cheer on her pals. 

The presenter, 33, was forced to pull out of the competition after injuring her foot just days before the final. 

Her injury left unable to stand as she suffered torn ligament damage earlier this week. 

Gutted: AJ Odudu, 33, hugged her mother as she stepped out of the Strictly Come Dancing hotel on crutches on Saturday, after confirming she will attend the final to cheer on her pals

Despite the injury, AJ looked in good spirits as she smiled and pulled a peace sign, before heading into a waiting taxi. 

She looked chic as she wore a floral bohemian style shirt and black jeans as she wore a foot fracture boot. 

AJ then clambered into the taxi with her crutches and a balloon and a bouquet of flowers. 

Disappointed: The presenter was forced to pull out of the competition after injuring her foot just days before the final

Disappointed: The presenter was forced to pull out of the competition after injuring her foot just days before the final

Oh no: Her injury left unable to stand as she suffered torn ligament damage earlier this week

Oh no: Her injury left unable to stand as she suffered torn ligament damage earlier this week

The outing comes after she spoke to to Claudia Winkleman on BBC Radio 2, saying she was feeling ‘a combination of so many emotions.’ 

She went on: ‘Really grateful to be here in one piece having had the best 13 weeks with Kai on the most incredible show but really gutted to leave it in this way.

‘We were so excited to perform in the final and so grateful. We had so much up our sleeves.

Keeping positive: She looked chic as she wore a floral bohemian style shirt and black jeans as she wore a foot fracture boot

Keeping positive: She looked chic as she wore a floral bohemian style shirt and black jeans as she wore a foot fracture boot

Chatting: Earlier that day she spoke with Claudia Winkleman on Radio 2

Chatting: Earlier that day she spoke with Claudia Winkleman on Radio 2 

She added through gritted teeth: ‘Looking down at a torn ligaments in my right angle, I couldn’t be more gutted that it didn’t hang on.

‘Monday was so exciting. We got into the studio and initially I thought, ‘We;ve got the jive and Charlston and saw our beautiful show dance and we went through it and thought, ‘It’s gonna be amazing.’

‘Yeah Claudia I don’t know what to say, I’m absolutely devastated and also for the people who supported us, and Kai.

She said on the show: 'It's a combination of so many emotions. Really grateful to be here in one piece having had the best 13 weeks with Kai on the most incredible show but really gutted to leave it in this way.'

She said on the show: ‘It’s a combination of so many emotions. Really grateful to be here in one piece having had the best 13 weeks with Kai on the most incredible show but really gutted to leave it in this way.’ 

Having fun: Despite the injury, AJ looked in good spirits as she smiled and pulled a peace sign on the outing before heading into a waiting taxi

Having fun: Despite the injury, AJ looked in good spirits as she smiled and pulled a peace sign on the outing before heading into a waiting taxi

Suffering: Her mother doted on her as she hobbled along the street

Suffering: Her mother doted on her as she hobbled along the street 

‘He’s got me back up when I got knocked down and gave me a new lease of life. He made me feel very strong going into the final week.

Revealing they had been hopeful to remain in the competition despite the wound, the dancing pro said: ‘Yesterday was very difficult.

‘The call wasn’t made until the morning because we were holding on and thinking we could change the dances to something slower.’

Sad: She went on: 'We were so excited to perform in the final and so grateful. We had so much up our sleeves'

Sad: She went on: ‘We were so excited to perform in the final and so grateful. We had so much up our sleeves’ 

Eeek: She added through gritted teeth: 'Looking down at a torn ligaments in my right angle, I couldn't be more gutted that it didn't hang on'

Eeek: She added through gritted teeth: ‘Looking down at a torn ligaments in my right angle, I couldn’t be more gutted that it didn’t hang on’ 

‘People were consoling us cos I was at Elstree [Studios] by myself waiting for her and they played a VT and I was just gone and I never cry.

‘We can look back in five or 10 years and think, ‘I can’t believe we did that. I know her mum is incredibly proud.

AJ added of her beloved Florence, ‘My mum all week has been saying, ‘I need to come and see you,’ but I’ve been fending her off because it then means it’s over.

”The painkillers just need to kick in,’ I was saying but it was good to get the cuddles I need from her. She’s gonna come to the studio, cheer everyone on and give Kai a big squeeze as well.

Helping hand: Florence carried AJ's green fluffy coat and crutches as she followed her daughter

Helping hand: Florence carried AJ’s green fluffy coat and crutches as she followed her daughter 

Leaving: AJ then clambered into the taxi with her crutches and a balloon and a bouquet of flowers

Leaving: AJ then clambered into the taxi with her crutches and a balloon and a bouquet of flowers

‘It’s gonna be really odd but also I want everyone to back Rose and John and Johannes and Giovanni.

‘It’s been such an incredible cast this year. We’ve been so supportive of each other and I know they didn’t want this either.

‘I, of course, would love to be on the dancefloor with them tonight but I can’t wait to cheer them on with one leg through lots of tears,’ she joked.

Defiant: The outing comes after AJ confirmed she will attend the Strictly Come Dancing final after injuring her foot and being forced to pull out of the competition (pictured with Kai Widdrington last Saturday)

Defiant: The outing comes after AJ confirmed she will attend the Strictly Come Dancing final after injuring her foot and being forced to pull out of the competition (pictured with Kai Widdrington last Saturday)

Speaking to Claudia moment before, judge Anton Du Beke shared his disappointment at not having the opportunity to watch AJ dance once more.

He said: ‘So this year, we’re down to two sadly so it’s remarkable. It’s horrendous, I feel terrible for the show because it would have been the final of all finals.

‘Just brilliant and I feel mortified for her because she’s been incredible from week one. She did her Jive and I sat there thinking, “Woah, hello, we’ve got a contender here.”‘

She then told Claudia: 'He's [Kai] got me back up when I got knocked down and gave me a new lease of life. He made me feel very strong going into the final week'

She then told Claudia: ‘He’s [Kai] got me back up when I got knocked down and gave me a new lease of life. He made me feel very strong going into the final week’ 

Upsetting: AJ - who is said to have had treatment on Wednesday - is unable to put any weight on her foot, and was hoping to compete in the final but ultimately made the decision to pull out

Upsetting: AJ – who is said to have had treatment on Wednesday – is unable to put any weight on her foot, and was hoping to compete in the final but ultimately made the decision to pull out

‘I think I gave her a nine. If you get an injury in week seven you think, “Oh ok,” but this is horrendous I feel so terrible for her. I think everyone’s heartbroken for her.

AJ – who is said to have had treatment on Wednesday – is unable to put any weight on her foot, and was hoping to compete in the final but ultimately made the decision to pull out.

After consulting medical professionals, AJ said in a statement: ‘I’m deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle.

Sad news: After consulting medical professionals, AJ previously said in a statement: 'I'm deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle'

Sad news: After consulting medical professionals, AJ previously said in a statement: ‘I’m deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle’ 

‘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!)’

Oh no! The star was spotted leaving her London hotel later in the day to head to her final rehearsals on crutches, just one day before the Strictly final

Oh no! The star was spotted leaving her London hotel later in the day to head to her final rehearsals on crutches, just one day before the Strictly final

Upset: Speaking to Claudia moment before, judge Anton Du Beke shared his disappointment at not having the opportunity to watch AJ dance once more (pictured in October 2021)

Upset: Speaking to Claudia moment before, judge Anton Du Beke shared his disappointment at not having the opportunity to watch AJ dance once more (pictured in October 2021)

Now the live final will see just John Whaite and Johannes Radebe and Rose Ayling Ellis and Giovanni Pernice compete for the Glitterball Trophy.

Dance partner Kai Widdrington said: ‘I’ve been absolutely honoured to get to dance with the incredible AJ Odudu for the last few months.

‘Although neither of us wanted our journey to end this way, AJ’s health and safety are by far the most important things.

‘I want to thank AJ for being the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show and I will always treasure the memories of dancing in the Strictly ballroom with her.

Tragic: AJ had been hoping to compete alongside her dance partner and rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington in Saturday's live final

Tragic: AJ had been hoping to compete alongside her dance partner and rumoured boyfriend Kai Widdrington in Saturday’s live final

‘I know we will be friends for life and I will be there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can. I want to wish good luck to John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni for the final.

‘And finally the biggest thank you to everyone who voted for us throughout the series, your support has been unforgettable.’ 

Former Strictly star Adam Peaty also stepped out not too far behind AJ on Saturday. 

The Olympic swimmer wore a white blazer and black T-shirt as he exited the Strictly hotel. 

On the way: Former Strictly star Adam Peaty also stepped out not too far behind AJ on Saturday

On the way: Former Strictly star Adam Peaty also stepped out not too far behind AJ on Saturday

Busy: The Olympic swimmer wore a white blazer and black T-shirt as he exited the Strictly hotel

Busy: The Olympic swimmer wore a white blazer and black T-shirt as he exited the Strictly hotel

He held a white garment bag in one hand, while held a black holdall in the other. 

A black face mask slipped down his face as he went on his way, while listening to music on Air Pods. 

Adam and his dance partner Katya Jones was voted off the competition back in week 7. 

A regional war has been ignited for the final on Saturday night with John dancing for the northerners and Rose representing the south. 

John, who hails from Chorley in Lancashire, and Rose, who comes from Kent, are dancing in the final after AJ pulled out – making it the first time since 2009 that there have been two dancers in the final. 

Stepping out: He held a white garment bag and a black holdall in his hands

Stepping out: He held a white garment bag and a black holdall in his hands 

Looking good: A black face mask slipped down his face as he went on his way, while listening to music on Air Pods

Looking good: A black face mask slipped down his face as he went on his way, while listening to music on Air Pods

The southern vote has helped 27-year-old Rose become favourite to win with 1-20 odds, while northerner John, 32, is the 8-1 outsider.  

A TV source has told The Sun: ‘The regional vote has a massive effect on the success of contestants on TV contests, and never before has there been two people in the final with such a clear geographic divide.

‘There’s a strong sense that this is a clash of the titans, as both Rose and John are incredible dancers who will now go into the final neck-and-neck with voters.

‘AJ’s exit was a tragedy for her. But getting the votes she’d have received from northerners is likely to be the last-minute surge John needed to put him in reach of the glitterball.’

North vs. South: A regional war has been ignited for the final on Saturday night with John (pictured, right) dancing for the northerners and Rose representing the south

North vs. South: A regional war has been ignited for the final on Saturday night with John (pictured, right) dancing for the northerners and Rose representing the south



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