Fourth celebrity waltzes off Strictly after dance-off

Former rugby player Ugo Monye has become the fourth celebrity eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing.

The Question Of Sport team captain, 38, faced children’s TV presenter Rhys Stephenson, 27, in the dance-off after tumbling to the bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday night with just 20 points from the judges.

Monye had returned to the show after a week off training due to an old back injury, and was challenged with a rumba to Leave The Door Open by Silk Sonic alongside his professional partner Oti Mabuse.

His elimination ends Mabuse’s chance of scoring her third consecutive win on the BBC One show, after victories in 2019 with Kelvin Fletcher and 2020 with Bill Bailey.

The judging panel voted unanimously to save Stephenson and his partner Nancy Xu after they repeated their American smooth to I’ve Got The World On A String by Michael Buble in the dance-off.

Monye told co-host Tess Daly he had “loved” his time on Strictly.

“It’s an absolute privilege to be on this show and all I’ve wanted to do every week is just get a little bit better and I’ve done that,” he said.

“There’s lots of people that I would love to say thank you to. Oti, firstly, just for putting up with me. She said she wanted a challenge and she got one.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Nancy Xu and Rhys Stephenson survived the dance-off (BBC/PA)

“To everyone else that’s in the competition, it’s truly incredible and I wish you all the very best of luck.

“To the judges – Craig – I think it’s really important to say that if you’re willing to accept the positive comments, you have to accept the criticism as well, so thank you for all of your comments.”

Mabuse added: “Seeing you through your injury, I appreciate every single moment that you’ve given to me. I am grateful for the show.

“To say I work on the best show in the whole country, with the best celebrities is a privilege and I am very grateful too – thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite topped the leaderboard on Saturday night with a Charleston to Milord by Edith Piaf set in a French bakery, scoring 38 points with his professional partner Johannes Radebe.

TV personality and comedian Judi Love missed Saturday night’s show after testing positive for Covid-19, but will return to the programme next week after her period of self-isolation ends.