Rose Ayling-Ellis And Giovanni Pernice Crowned Strictly Champions In Emotional Finale

Rose Ayling-Ellis has been crowned the winner of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing during an emotional final.

The EastEnders actor and her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice beat former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe to the Glitterball during Saturday’s live show.

Rose, who made Strictly history earlier this year as the show’s first deaf contestant, lifted the trophy after both she and John performed three routines.

It was one of the most closely-fought finals in the show’s 17-year history, as both couples finished with equal scores on the judges’ leaderboard.

Rose and Giovanni and John and Johannes scored 119 points out of a possible 120 after they danced their favourite routine of the series, as well as the judges’ pick, before performing a special Showdance.

Reacting to their win, Giovanni said: “Incredible. I have to say thank you to this beautiful young lady who made all my dreams come true.

“It took me seven years to get that thing and you became the best dancer, the best teammate I could have asked for, you are a dream so thank you for everything.”

Rose told him: “I just want to say you’re so amazing, you pushed me to believe in myself more than I believed in myself.

“You’re an incredible teacher and a wonderful friend and we have gone through a lot, and I just want you to know you’ve always got a piece of my heart.”

Earlier in the evening, Rose and Giovanni chose to reprise their stunning Couple’s Choice routine to Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson’s Symphony, which featured a segment danced in silence in a tribute to the deaf community, as well a performing their Quickstep to Love Is An Open Door from Frozen once again.

Meanwhile, John and Johannes reprised their Rumba to Sting’s Shape Of My Heart as their Judges’ Pick, as well as their Pirates Of The Caribbean-themed Paso Doble from Movie Week as their favourite dance.

Following Rose and Giovanni’s winning Romeo and Juliet-inspired Showdance to The Rose by Bette Middler, head judge Shirley Ballas said: “She’s melted my heart, the love you have for dance and for each other will last a lifetime. It will leave a mark on my heart forever, thank you for doing this competition.”

Anton Du Beke held back tears as he said: “I can’t speak, it’s so beautiful. Forgive me for not looking at you or I will cry.”

Fellow finalist AJ Odudu was notably absent from the finale after she and partner Kai Widdrington were forced to pull out of the competition at the 11th hour due to an injury to AJ’s foot.

The couple joined all of their fellow contestants from the series in the studio, and during a tearful interview with co-host Claudia Winkleman compared exiting the show to the end of a relationship.

Strictly Come Dancing returns with a special festive episode on Christmas Day at 5.10pm on BBC One, where six brand new celebrities will be taking to the floor.



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