Strictly Come Dancing’s Halloween result was a shock horror for fans as another unpopular elimination saw Catherine Tyldesley sent home, thanks to Shirley Ballas’ deciding vote saving Mike Bushell instead.
Ex-Coronation Street star Tyldesley and her partner Johannes Radebe had consistently been stronger in the competition that BBC sports presenter Bushell and his partner Katya Jones, who have been treated as the joke act in many of the episodes so far.
But despite Tyldesley having brought Shirley Ballas to tears with her Rumba just a matter of weeks ago, the head judge opted to keep Bushell instead in the first time this series that she has had to settle a tied vote.
Motsi Mabuse and Bruno Tonioli had both voted to keep Tyldesley, but as Craig Revel Horwood had chosen Bushell, Ballas was called on to make the final decision.
Viewers were shocked at the decision, as the Strictly judges have previously praised Tyldesley for showing lots of promise in her routines, while they have often ridiculed Bushell’s efforts and this was his second week running in the bottom two.
The shock elimination comes just two weeks after fans were outraged to see Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell, one of the strongest pairs in the contest, sent home in favour of the usually poorer-scoring Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec.
Speaking to host Tess Daly about being voted out, Tyldesley, who called Radebe her “best friend”, said: “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to keep it up, I’ve loved every second, this man (Radebe) has changed my life.”
Radebe, who was in tears, told his partner: “I want to say thank you to this woman. Thank you for accepting who I am and for bringing me joy every day.”
Tyldesley and Bushell had both been at the bottom end of the leaderboard after the Halloween show, where Bushell danced an Alice in Wonderland-themed Tango and Tyldesley took on a corpse bride costumed Cha Cha Cha.
Saturday night’s show saw Kevin Clifton step in to partner Alex Scott when Neil Jones was injured just hours before the live show, and Clifton was criticised by viewers for forgetting many of the steps during his performance.
But he defended himself, saying he’d had less than an hour to learn the routine and felt Scott had done a sterling job in holding things together.
Will Bayley and his partner Janette Manrara also missed the episode after Bayley suffered a knee injury during training, meaning he had to take the week off.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday at 7pm.