Greg Rutherford’s Strictly Come Dancing competition ends in tears in Blackpool

strictly come dancing, greg rutherford
(Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Two Olympic athletes faced each other in the dance-off in Strictly Come Dancing’s Blackpool week: Greg Rutherford and Claudia Fragapane…and Claudia emerged victorious

Strictly Come Dancing’s Blackpool special was a treat for viewers, with nearly 12 million tuning in to the Saturday night show. But not enough of them voted for Greg Rutherford or Claudia Fragapane, who faced each other in the dance-off. And that’s where Greg lost the judges’ vote, too, with a unanimous decision to save Claudia and her partner AJ Pritchard. It was a decision that left Greg choking back tears.

strictly come dancing, claudia fragapane, greg rutherford

Olympic athletes Claudia and Greg faced each other in the dance-off (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

That said, judges Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli had favoured Claudia’s performance on Saturday, too, scoring her and partner AJ 36 points for their jive to “Hey Mickey” by Toni Basil.

Craig told Claudia on Saturday that her dance “could have scored a 10” [yes, a 10 from Craig] but, unfortunately, there was a tiny mistake.”

It was a mistake early on in the routine that all the judges spotted. Did you? You can watch the dance again below.

Len said to Claudia, who was facing her first dance-off: “You shouldn't be here, you’re too good a dancer."

And when it came to dancing again, she was sure-footed enough to win through.

Greg, who was in the dance-off for the second week in a row, had finished second bottom on the leader board on Saturday, with a score of 32 points for his quickstep with Natalie Lowe, danced to “Hand Jive” by Sha Na Na.

The judges all agreed that the long-jumper was a “bit too bouncy”.

“You have built-in spring so it makes it harder for you to control the bounce,” Darcey told him.

During the routine, Greg showed he can hand jive with the pros, but his footwork let him down.

“You need to refine it,” Bruno told him. "Keep the fun feeling but try to smooth the footwork a little bit."

But Greg's effort in the dance-off wasn’t enough to save him.

“Strictly has been one of the most incredible things in my life. I’ve made such a good friend here," Greg said, in an emotional tribute to Natalie. Then they danced their last dance.

strictly come dancing, greg rutherford

Greg gave Natalie a twirl as they exited the Strictly contest (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Which leaves six couples in the contest.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1, Saturday, November 26, 7.00pm.