Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Odudu forced to pull out of show ahead of 2021 final

Strictly's AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington
(Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Odudu has pulled out of the hit dance show just a day before the grand final is set to take place after sustaining a devastating injury earlier in the week. 

From the moment Strictly Come Dancing 2021 started, presenter AJ Odudu and her professional partner Kai Widdrington were clearly a force to be reckoned with in the competition. Securing an astonishing score of 34 for their Jive to DJ Fresh’s Gold Dust in the launch show, many long-time fans might well have predicted AJ and Kai would go on to be Strictly Come Dancing finalists 2021. So it likely came as a terrible shock to many when reports emerged suggesting that the Strictly final 2021 was in jeopardy after AJ was spotted on crutches. 

Now with the final a day away, the popular star has pulled out of Strictly Come Dancing. Taking to Instagram at this heart-breaking time, AJ shared a stunning Strictly picture of her and Kai taken at the beginning of the series, compared to a shot of her in hospital, her leg in a brace and crutches grasped in her left hand. 

A photo posted by on

Opening her caption, ‘How it started. 🔁 How it's going. 🙈’, the brave star went on to explain the sad news to fans who’ve no doubt been dreading this moment might come. 

AJ declared, ‘I've had ultrasounds, MRI scans and x-rays. I've had two incisions to drain the inflammation around my ankle. I've injected local anaesthetic directly into my foot, I have been strapped up to an ice compression machine for days.

I've done all I can possibly do to get back on my feet for the @bbcstrictly Final, I even asked the docs if I could perform in a medical moonboot! 😆 But the fact is, I can't stand on my feet let alone dance because I've torn my spring ligament. 😭’ she added, her commitment and love of dance shining through as it has all series long.

Strictly AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington

The presenter then went on to praise her dance partner, admiringly describing how Kai was prepared to be her “human crutch” for the final. 

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’, AJ revealed. ‘You're the best @kaiwidd and I know you were ready to be my human crutch on that dancefloor come tomorrow night. Gutted! ❤️

The star also thanked everyone involved in the hit BBC show for their support and for the experience, as well as the medical team for doing everything they can to help her. 

She wrote, ‘I want to say a huge 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 watching and supporting. You've made this experience one to remember and I couldn't be more grateful for your well wishes. Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream of mine and I'm glad it came true. ✨

‘Good luck to my partners in dance, @john_whaite & @Johannesradebe and @Rose.a.e and @perniceGiovann1. I will be cheering you all on (on one leg). 😆🎉🎉’, her announcement ended powerfully. 

Fans will hugely miss AJ and Kai in tomorrow's Strictly final after what's been an incredible series for them both. Though it's important that AJ has put her health first and they will likely be cheering on John and Rose as they take to the ballroom for the last time.

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home,, and My Imperfect Life.