With one week to go, many are wondering who are the Strictly finalists 2021 and when it will be on our screens.
It’s been a thrilling year for Strictly fans, with the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 contestants treating us to some show-stopping routines, incredible dance talent and of course, plenty of backstage drama too. But sadly, the competition is almost over for another year as this Saturday will unveil this year’s Glitterball champion.
This year’s final of Strictly filmed near London will differ from previous years, with just two contestants competiting for the title. Tragicly though AJ Odudo was a 2021 finalist she and partner Kai Widdrington were forced to pulled out of the Strictly final last minute after sustaining a devastating injury in the last week of training.
Who are the Strictly finalists 2021?
This year’s Strictly Come Dancing finalists are Eastenders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and celebrity chef John Whaite.
The two celebrities and their professional dance partners will be expected to perform three dances in the grand final. This includes both the couple’s and judge’s favourite dances of the series. Plus, they’ll have a pull-out-all-the-stops show dance.
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice
Rose Ayling-Ellis is best known for her role as Frankie Lewis in BBC soap Eastenders. The actress made history this year as the first deaf contestant on Strictly. She is partnered with professional Giovanni Pernice who has been a finalist three times previously, though he has never won.
The two have danced into the hearts of both the judges and audiences, with Rose consistently racking up high scores for her performances. In the semi-final she wowed with an Argentine Tango, that was awarded 40 out of 40 by judges. And she’s enjoyed previous success with her Waltz, Tango and American Smooth too. Rose even praised Giovanni for his “leap of faith” during a daring lift in the latter.
The two partners share a strong connection and chemistry which has led many to wonder if Rose and Giovanni are a couple in real life. Especially with Giovanni sharing with fans that there is “more than just dancing” to their relationship. Though, it seems that Rose has a boyfriend she is keeping away form the spotlight.
“You learn so much about yourself doing the show,” said Rose in an interview with HELLO! “I’ve never done a sport, so I’ve surprised myself at how, every day, I can push myself a bit more and a bit more.
“And my confidence has grown,” she added. “I feel I can just be myself now. Going into a show that’s such a huge platform and being yourself is scary because you’re so exposed. But the response has been so positive, I feel like, ‘Oh, ok, that’s good, I’ll just carry on being me then!'”
John Whaite and Johannes Radebe
TV chef John Waite and his dance partner Johannes Radebe are the third Strictly Come Dancing finalists for 2021.
The 32-year-old shot to fame after winning the third series of The Great British Bake Off in 2012. He’s since released four cookbooks and is a regular on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4. Whilst previous appearances include Sunday Brunch, This Morning and The Alan Titchmarsh Show.
John and Johannes also made Strictly history as the first same-sex male couple to compete on the show. And it’s safe to say the partnership has worked well, turning out mesmerising latin and ballroom routines.
Highlights include a pirate-themed Paso Doble and cheeky Charleston which both received 39 points. And in the semi-final, the duo finally treated audiences to a contemporary Couple’s Choice dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community.
As for a Strictly win, John has vowed to continue dancing “whatever happens on the dance floor.”
“We’ve said it’s not about the competition, it’s not about what the judges think, it’s not about what the public think, it’s about how we feel we’ve done as a partnership because that’s what dance is about,” he told Sky News.
“I think if you become hung up on the glitterball – as wonderful as it would look on my shelving unit, I’m not going to lie – you take your eye off the ball.”
Who went out of Strictly last week?
CBeebies presenter Rhys Stephenson went out of Strictly last week (Sunday 12 December).
Rhys, who was partnered with professional partner Nancy Xiu, made it to the semi-finals. He suitably impressed the judges with two dances – a Tango and Samba – earning a combined score of 74 out of 80.
But sadly, the 28-year-old found himself in the dance-off competing against John Whaite and Johannes Radebe in the results show. And despite his best efforts re-performing the Samba, all four Strictly judges voted to save John instead.
“I might not have gotten to the final, but I learnt so much from just being on this show, from everyone here who’s just supported us in this new family,” said a gracious Rhys, following news of his elimination.
The children’s TV presenter also thanked his dance pro Nancy for her support and “just letting my energy shine” throughout the series.
Fighting back tears, he added: “It’s good to cry, it’s good to feel. Strictly makes you feel things. You feel so much and sometimes it’s overwhelming.”
Who is the favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing 2021?
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice are the bookies’ favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing 2021.
Betting favourites like PaddyPower, Betfair and Ladbrokes have all predicted that the Eastenders star will bag the Glitterball trophy.
PaddyPower have given Rose and Gio odds of 1/8 to win. Whilst John and Johannes are the favourite to finish runner up with odds of 10/1.
“Rose and Giovanni look home and hosed as the 2021 Strictly champions as far as the odds are concerned,” said Ladbrokes representative Jessica O’Reilly.
What time is the Strictly 2021 final on BBC?
The Strictly Come Dancing final airs on BBC One at 7pm, Saturday 18 December 2021.
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back to host the grand final. It will run for just over two hours, finishing at 9:05pm.
Viewers will be able to vote for their favourites during the show. Be it by telephone, text or through the Strictly Come Dancing website.