'Strictly Come Dancing' confirms that AJ and Kai will not compete in the final

Strictly stars AJ and Kai
(Image credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 finalists AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington have had to pull out of the series final on Saturday night, due to an injury that AJ suffered to her foot.

Earlier this week, AJ told us that she was doing everything she could to compete on Saturday, saying: "We have missed a lot of training because I can't stand up, I'm on crutches, and I'm doing everything I can to try and be there on Saturday night."

But unfortunately, she has not been able to recover from the injury in time, which means her time in the competition is officially over. 

The news was confirmed on Strictly's official Twitter account, where they wrote: "Sadly due to injury AJ and Kai have had to withdraw from Strictly and won’t compete in tomorrow’s final. We want to thank them for 13 incredible weeks on the show and the pure joy they brought to the dance floor every week."

Another statement revealed that medical professionals had been consulted over the injury, and the decision was made that she should not compete. The couple has now withdrawn and passed on their best wishes to Rose Ayling-Ellis and John Waithe, the final two celebrities.

Following this announcement, AJ said: "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. 

"Thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home for watching and supporting. You've made this experience one to remember. Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream and I'm glad it came true. Good luck to my partners in dance, John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!)."

Her professional partner Kai added:  "I’ve been absolutely honoured to get to dance with the incredible AJ Odudu for the last few months and although neither of us wanted our journey to end this way, AJ’s health and safety are by far the most important things. I want to thank AJ for being the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show and I will always treasure the memories of dancing in the Strictly ballroom with her. 

"I know we will be friends for life and I will be there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can. I want to wish good luck to John & Johannes and Rose & Giovanni for the Final. And finally the biggest thank you to everyone who voted for us throughout the series, your support has been unforgettable."

The Strictly Come Dancing final airs on BBC1 at 7pm on Sat 17 Dec.

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Now she works for our sister site TechRadar in the same role. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress