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How will the 'Strictly Come Dancing' final work now AJ Odudu is out?

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 couples
(Image credit: BBC)

So, how will the Strictly Come Dancing final work now AJ Odudu is out? That's the question every fan wants to know!

The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final is almost here, but disaster has struck at the last minute as AJ and Kai were forced to leave the competition. The duo were set to take part in the final alongside Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, and John Waithe and Johannes Radebe, but AJ suffered an injury to her foot and was advised not to continue dancing. 

In her statement, AJ explained: "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."

Following this sad news, you might be wondering how the Strictly final will look this series now that AJ and Kai are no longer able to take part. Here's what you need to know...

How will the 'Strictly Come Dancing' final work without AJ? Is the final still going ahead?

Yes, don't worry! The Strictly final will still be airing as planned this weekend, on BBC1 at 7pm on Sat Dec. 18. The BBC also hasn't announced any change to the show's length. So, the Strictly final will still run for two hours as planned. 

If you can't get enough of the programme though, don't worry, because there's a Strictly Come Dancing 2021 Christmas special airing on Christmas Day too!

Will another couple replace AJ and Kai?

No, currently there has been no confirmation that any eliminated couple will be returning to the dancefloor for the final. So it's very unlikely semi-finalist Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu will return, not least because they won't have had a chance to practice any dances.

Speaking on It Takes Two, Rhys described the experience as "intense", adding: "And that semi-final was intense. It was so good. Some of the all-stars of Strictly, so to be on that line-up was incredible."

With this in mind, it's looking like it'll just be Rose and John who are going head to head to be crowned the next celebrity Strictly winner.

Who decides the winner?

The Strictly Come Dancing final is ultimately voted on by the public, who choose their winner via phone or by voting online. The judging panel will still score routines and offer their feedback, but the public will decide who will lift the trophy.

Will there be extra dances in the final?

It seems unlikely the pairs will dance extra dances to make up for the ones AJ can't do. This is because they won't have time to practice extra dances.

We don't know actually yet what dances the remaining couples will be performing. Typically though, couples choose their own favourite dance to reprise and another is chosen by the judges, but it looks like it's being kept under wraps so we'll have to see on the night.

Lucy Buglass

Lucy is a digital writer with, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2016 with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is also a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema, setting up her own website Lucy Goes to Hollywood in 2017 to review films in her spare time. Her favourite genres are horror, thriller and anything crime related. When she's not writing about film and TV, you'll likely find her playing video games, reading, and trying her hand at podcasting.