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'Strictly Come Dancing' fans left gutted as Nina Wadia is first to leave the competition

Strictly Nina Wadia and Neil
Poor Nina is first out. (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 viewers were left fuming as EastEnders star Nina Wadia was the first contestant to be eliminated from the competition.

Two soap stars battled it out in last night’s (Sunday 3 Oct.) dance off — Nina Wadia and Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn — to try and impress judges, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, Anton Du Beke and head judge, Shirley Ballas.

In last Saturday’s first live show of the series, all couples made their dancing debuts with no public vote. For this week, the judges’ scores were added to the ones from last week, before being combined with the results from the viewers’ votes to work out the bottom two couples who would then face the dreaded dance-off.

Nina and pro partner Neil Jones, along with Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez found themselves in the bottom two this week.

Nina became a fan favourite after her fiery Samba in week 1 to Mi Gente by J Balvin and Beyoncé, finishing eighth on the leader board. 

In last night’s intense dance-off, both couples performed their routines again. Nina and Neil performed their Tango to Would I Lie To You? by Eurythmics and Katie and Gorka danced their Jive to  by Olivia Rodrigo.

After their performances, the judges voiced their decisions, leaving fans on the edge of their seats.

Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Katie and Gorka, saying that both of the couples had upped their game and that Nina got every step right, while Katie kept up the energy all the way through with lots of retraction.

Motsi Mabuse decided to save Katie and Gorka too. 

“First of all, I want to say to both couples well done for their dance-off. I really thought that both of you gave absolutely all that you’ve got and gave the best performance you did tonight. I just found that one couple was just that little bit more convincing so that is why I’m going to go with Katie and Gorka,” she explained.

However, newcomer judge Anton Du Beke chose to save Nina and Neil. He revealed that: “This is exactly how you want a dance-off to be. You want to do your best performance and I think you both did. This is the best you’ve done both dances. The one who upped their game and performed the best I think was Nina and Neil.” 

It was then head judge Shirley Ballas’ turn to deliver her verdict, revealing that it was a very tense and tight dance-off. 

“Well this is one of the closest battles I think we’ve ever had in a dance-off. Both couples upped their game. Both couples were absolutely delightful to watch. Neither couple had mistakes so I’ve decided to go with the couple who had more advanced technical actions in their dance and that couple is Katie and Gorka.”

Sadly, this meant that it was Nina who had to leave the show, but when asked by presenter Tess Daly about her time on the show, she expressed her happiness and gratitude for the opportunity. 

“It’s been really fun, thank you so much. [Neil] is incredible, thank you,” she said.

Nina’s pro partner Neil also showered her with praise and glory, saying, “You’ve been a dream. Second partner on the show for me. I wouldn’t have wanted anybody else. You’ve been fantastic and so much fun. 

"Literally, we’re like a married couple - you’ve got both husbands here tonight! It’s been so much fun together, you said you wanted to dance and you’ve done two fantastic dances and I’m really, really, really proud of you.” 

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Fans on Twitter expressed their devastation at Nina being sent home, with some even saying she had been “robbed.”

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The remaining couples will compete for the Glitterball Trophy once again next week in a Movie Week Special.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday 9 Oct. at 6:45pm on BBC1 with the results show on Sunday 10 Oct. on BBC1 - see our TV Guide for full listings. 

Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film, and TV grow stronger.


Some of her favourite TV shows are Line of Duty, Fresh Meat, The Great British Bake Off, and Gogglebox. In her spare time, Grace likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series!