'Strictly Come Dancing' 2021: Who won?

·TV Reporter
·4-min read
Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Rose Ayling-Ellis, Giovanni Pernice, Johannes Radebe, John Whaite - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
The 'Strictly' 2021 finalists. (BBC/Guy Levy)

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice have won Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

The EastEnders actor made history as the first ever deaf contestant in the BBC One show, stunning with a routine that included a silent section to represent her experiences of dancing.

Read more: Johannes Radebe shares how Strictly improved relationship with his mum

It was hailed as the greatest ever moment on Strictly and made a reappearance in the final as the couple performed it again.

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Giovanni Pernice, Rose Ayling-Ellis - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Giovanni Pernice and Rose Ayling-Ellis lift the Glitterball Trophy. (BBC/Guy Levy)

Pro dancer Pernice, who has won for the first time, said: "You made all my dreams come true. You became the best dancer, the best teammate I could ask for. You are a dream, Rose."

Ayling-Ellis replied: "You pushed me to believe in myself more than I believed in myself.

"No matter what happens, no matter how busy we get, I just want you to know you've always got a piece of my heart."

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Rose Ayling-Ellis, Giovanni Pernice - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice were the favourites to win. (BBC/Guy Levy)

The runners up were John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, also making history as the show's first ever all-male couple.

Viewers praised the final for being the most diverse ever and Radebe told his dance partner: "Thank you for coming on this year. You and me know that visibility is everything. I applaud you, I'm proud of you, and anything you need, you call me."

Both couples made the show's judges cry with their final showdances.

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/12/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Johannes Radebe, John Whaite - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Johannes Radebe and John Whaite were runners up. (BBC/Guy Levy)

Anton Du Beke told Ayling-Ellis after her showdance: "It makes me really emotional watching you dance, I can't even look at you. I've watched a lot of people dance over the years and most of them make me really unhappy. Forgive me, I can't look at you because I'll cry."

Ayling-Ellis told host Claudia Winkleman after her final dance: "Strictly has made me more me than I've ever been."

Read more: Why Rose Ayling-Ellis was thrilled to get an Italian partner

Motsi Mabuse was brought to tears by Whaite and Radebe's showdance as she told them: "I'm thinking what a great time it is to be part of Strictly, on this day to have seen you, to have seen Rose, to be sitting here and thinking I'm a part of that. 

"It's changed lives. It's not just your journey, it's all of ours."

Head judge Shirley Ballas agreed as she told them: "This partnership is groundbreaking, it's iconic."

Radebe, also emotional after his last dance with Whaite, told Winkleman: "I've never had to hold back because I've got a partner who matches my strength."

However, the most emotional celebrity on the night was AJ Odudu who had to drop out of the final with partner Kai Widdrington just yesterday after damaging the ligament in her ankle.

Fighting through tears as she spoke to Winkleman during the live final, Odudu said: "I don't know how to describe what it feels like to have a broken heart, but that's what it feels like.

"I've been putting on a brave face, Kai's been putting on a brave face, we've loved the show tonight, they've been incredible, John and Johannes, Rose and Giovanni, but we wanted to be on the dancefloor with them. We've been swallowing tears throughout most of the night."

Ayling-Ellis and Pernice succeed 2020 winners Bill Bailey and Ori Mabuse.

Watch: Who is Strictly's Rose Ayling-Ellis?

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