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Dan Walker becomes the TENTH star to leave Strictly Come Dancing

Dan Walker paid tribute to ballroom partner Nadiya Bychkova on Sunday as he became the tenth contestant to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing after facing AJ Odudu in the dance-off. 

Both performed again, with Dan and Nadiya dancing their Tango to Santa Maria by Gotan Project before AJ and her partner Kai Widdrington’s Salsa to Rhythm Is Gonna Get You/Get On Your Feet by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. 

After both couples had danced a second time the judges delivered their verdicts, with the vote swinging favourably towards AJ and Kai. 

Farewell: Dan Walker paid tribute to ballroom partner Nadiya Bychkova on Sunday as he became the tenth contestant to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing

Craig Revel Horwood  said: ‘Well I’ve got to say, Dan I think you did such a great job in the dance off, that’s the best I’ve ever seen you dance, ever! 

‘AJ, you totally nailed that last bit, that was fantastic, a dilemma, but the couple I am going to save is AJ and Kai.’

Motsi Mabuse also hose to save AJ and Kai, telling the couples: ‘Well another strong dance off. It’s just an amazing year and to be part of the team I think is absolutely sensational. 

One last time: Dan and Nadiya performed their Tango to Santa Maria by Gotan Project, but it wasn't enough to save them from elimination

One last time: Dan and Nadiya performed their Tango to Santa Maria by Gotan Project, but it wasn’t enough to save them from elimination 

Emotional: Strictly Come Dancing star Nadiya appeared to hold back tears as she left Elstree Studios on Saturday evening

Emotional: Strictly Come Dancing star Nadiya appeared to hold back tears as she left Elstree Studios on Saturday evening 

Gloomy: Dan appeared to be downcast as he was driven home from the show's quarter final on Saturday night

Gloomy: Dan appeared to be downcast as he was driven home from the show’s quarter final on Saturday night

‘Dan you did a great job, AJ you did, for me, the better job, and I’m saving AJ and Kai.’ 

In agreement, Anton du Beke added: ‘Can I just say, it’s a thing to make the quarter finals of Strictly Come Dancing, and to pick this year of all years, to make the quarter finals would have guaranteed you a place in the final in any other year. 

‘It was an immense dance off, congratulations to both of you. You danced brilliantly, but the edge just goes, for me, to AJ and Kai.’

Here we go again: AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington's Salsa to Rhythm Is Gonna Get You/Get On Your Feet by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine helped them win the dance-off

Here we go again: AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington’s Salsa to Rhythm Is Gonna Get You/Get On Your Feet by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine helped them win the dance-off

With three votes to AJ and Kai, it meant they had won the majority vote, and Dan and Nadiya would be leaving the competition. 

Head Judge Shirley Ballas said she would have agreed with her fellow judges, and saved AJ and Kai. 

When asked by Tess about their time on the show, Dan admitted he agreed with the judges’ decision while crediting dance partner Nadiya for coaxing him out of his shell. 

Well done: After both couples had danced a second time the judges delivered their verdicts, with the vote swinging favourably towards AJ and Kai

Well done: After both couples had danced a second time the judges delivered their verdicts, with the vote swinging favourably towards AJ and Kai

He said: ‘By the way I would have saved AJ and Kai as well! The last 11 weeks have been absolutely amazing, I’ve genuinely loved every second of it. When I go back to the first day when I was asked to dance in front of some glitter balls, at that point, if there had been a fire exit, I’d have just walked away. 

‘But this amazing woman grabbed me by the hand, and brought me out onto this dance floor. I’m not a dancer, but she showed me that I can dance, and that for me, this has been an absolutely incredible experience.’ 

He added: ‘Thank you to the judges, your feedback every week has been brilliant, and really constructive and helpful, and everyone over there, my fellow competitors, have been brilliant. 

Humble: Dan admitted he agreed with the judges' decision while crediting dance partner Nadiya for coaxing him out of his shell

Humble: Dan admitted he agreed with the judges’ decision while crediting dance partner Nadiya for coaxing him out of his shell

‘The four people left are so good, as you say, the standard has been amazing, it’s been a pleasure for me to watch them dance each week, and thank you to all the pros for being so kind, caring and encouraging. 

‘Plus everyone who works on this programme, it’s a pleasure to be a part of a show that means so much to so many people.’ 

Turning to Nadiya, he said: ‘I also want to mention this amazing woman next to me, there are some people who walk into your life and turn some lights on, and that’s what she has done to me. You’re an amazing person, and if you’ll have me, you’ll have a friend for life Nadiya Bychkova.’

Close bond: Nadiya admitted the BBC presenter had walked into her life at 'the right time' (pictured dancing during Saturday evening's show)

Close bond: Nadiya admitted the BBC presenter had walked into her life at ‘the right time’ (pictured dancing during Saturday evening’s show)

Nadiya was then asked if she had any words for Dan, and she admitted the BBC presenter had walked into her life at ‘the right time.’ 

She said: ‘Sometimes the right person walks into your life at the right time and that’s what happened. You always encourage everyone, you always have time for everyone, it just inspires me to be a better person myself. Thank you.”

After watching their best bits, Dan said: ‘I’ve loved it, I don’t think ill dance all the time, but the one thing that will be different, is that I won’t not dance anymore. So thank you for having me, it’s been brilliant!’  

The remaining couples will take to the dancefloor in the Strictly Come Dancing semi-finals on Saturday 11th December at 7:05pm, with the results show on Sunday 12th December at 7:20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. 

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