Strictly judges send home fifth celebrity after dance-off with ‘fighting spirit’

A fifth celebrity has been eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing after a dance-off which one judge said featured “fighting spirit” from both couples.

Former Love Island star Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima have lost their chance to lift the Glitterball trophy later this year after their Charleston dance to Jeepers Creepers by Al Donahue and his Orchestra failed to impress judges on Sunday’s pre-recorded BBC One show.

McDermott, 26, received a total of 25 points from the judges on Saturday and following a public vote faced Waterloo Road’s Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk in the dance-off.

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima dancing the Charleston
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima dance the Charleston (Guy Levy/BBC)

McDermott had come back triumphant from two previous dance-offs but was unable to snatch victory for a third time.

Thomas and Mushtuk’s American smooth dance to Magic Moments by Perry Como had received a total score of 32 points from the judges.

Following the couples performing once again, judge Craig Revel Horwood said: “For me one couple did remarkably well and nailed that routine. That couple is Adam and Luba.”

Motsi Mabuse made the same decision, nevertheless praising both couples for their routines.

“Well I feel there was definitely a fighting spirit from both couples, I think both couples improved remarkably, they were both stunning,” she said.

Both Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas chose to save Thomas and Mushtuk as well.

McDermott said: “I have had the time of my life. Just to be here is incredible. Thank you to the judges and my amazing partner obviously.

“My fellow contestants are just incredible. It has been the most amazing experience. I can’t believe it’s over but I am going to be here in spirit every week supporting them.”

Di Prima told his dance partner that he was “so proud” of her and said she is what Strictly “is all about”.

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk rehearsing the American Smooth
Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk rehearse the American smooth (Guy Levy/BBC)

He said: “She has been great for me 8am till 9pm. Never stopping, asking just for a half an hour break.

“She is literally what Strictly is all about. A real novice, coming in, putting all the hard job.

“You have such a good soul. You are so humble and I say thank you that I found a friend like you. I have learnt so much from you. And your hard work within six weeks.

“You have never danced before. I am so proud of you. So proud of you honestly.”

The eliminated pair will be be joining former Strictly star Fleur East on Strictly It Takes Two on Monday at 6.30pm on BBC Two.

The results show included a performance from Rick Astley with his new single Forever And More and professional dancers doubled down on the Halloween theme with a Wednesday Addams inspired routine.

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday November 4 at 7.05pm on BBC One.