Strictly Come Dancing final forced to make last minute format change

Strictly Come Dancing final forced to make last minute format change as show is made SHORTER after AJ Odudu dropped out due to injury

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Strictly Come Dancing’s grand final has had to undergo a last minute format change in the wake of AJ Odudu quitting the show due to injury.

Saturday’s bumper episode was set to air between 7pm and 9.05pm, giving fans over two hours of dancing fun.

However, with just two couples left to complete for the glitterball trophy, bosses have had to alter the running time, cutting the show short by 15 minutes.

Changes: Strictly Come Dancing’s grand final has had to undergo a last minute format change in the wake of AJ Odudu quitting the show due to injury

Now, TV schedules reveal that the Strictly final on BBC One will kick off slightly later at 7.10pm, ending at 9pm. 

The highly-anticipated episode will see EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice battle it out with Bake Off star John Whaite and Johannes Radebe. 

The Strictly final was thrown into chaos on Friday after AJ Odudu, 33, pulled out of the competition at the last minute after suffering ligament damage to her foot during rehearsals this week. 

The television presenter and her professional dance partner Kai Widdington, 26, broke down in tears on Friday’s It Takes Two as they made their first TV appearance after being forced to quit the show.

Edit: However, with just two couples left to complete for the glitterball trophy, bosses have had to alter the running time, cutting the show short by 15 minutes (Pictured: AJ and Kai Widdrington)

Speaking to host Rylan Clark-Neal, ‘gutted’ AJ wiped away tears after watching a clip of their Strictly journey, as she remarked: ‘It wasn’t the way we wanted to come out.’ 

AJ explained: ‘Do you know what, we had the best time and on Monday we rehearsed and we were just excited like, “Right, we’re going to do the jive, we’re going to do the Charleston, what a way to end our experience.” 

‘My ankle’s given way and my ligament has ruptured and it’s just not gonna happen. We’re gutted because we were ready to smash it.

‘This isn’t the way that we wanted to go out, obviously, but even just looking back at all of those moments, it’s just been an absolute pleasure dancing with Kai every single week, so thank you.’  

Cut down: Now, TV schedules reveal that the Strictly final on BBC One will kick off slightly later at 7.10pm, ending at 9pm


Two horse race: Now Saturday’s live final will see just John Whaite and Johannes Radebe and Rose Ayling Ellis and Giovanni Pernice compete for the Glitterball Trophy, with a source telling MailOnline that the last minute drama is a ‘disaster’

Meanwhile, Kai reflected on their two energetic dances and told how they were ‘hoping to change them’ to make it easier for AJ, but added that her injury was just ‘too bad’.

The pro dancer added that he’s glad they ‘went out on a high from last week’ after topping the leader board and bagging their first perfect score of 40 points.  

AJ said in a statement on Friday: ‘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. 

Emotional: AJ Odudu and Kai Widdington broke down in tears on Friday’s It Takes Two as they made their first TV appearance after being forced to quit the show

Sad news: The presenter, 33, had no choice but to pull out of the grand final after suffering ligament damage to her foot during rehearsals this week (pictured on Friday) 

‘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!)’  

AJ had been hoping to push through the injury and even offered to dance in her medical boot so she could compete with dance partner and rumoured boyfriend Kai, but medical professionals deemed her unfit to compete. 

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 18 December on BBC One at 7.10pm. 

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’

It’s all over: AJ has been forced to give up her dream of taking home the glitterball trophy and released a statement expressing her upset  

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