Mike Bushell has finally been voted out of Strictly Come Dancing after going up against shock dance off competitor Michelle Visage.
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Visage and her partner Giovanni Pernice are hugely popular with viewers and had placed second on the leaderboard with 36 points, so it came as a surprise to see them in the bottom two during Sunday’s results show.
However, they spelled the end of sports reporter Bushell and his partner Katya Jones’ three-week run of being saved by the judges.
There was an awkward moment as Bushell went to lift Jones during their farewell dance but got her stuck on his head, although he managed to style things out with a conga.
Mike doing a farewell conga has made my night 😂😂 #Strictly— Alison Louise 🎃 (@alisonlouise94) November 10, 2019
That ending is THE best goodbye in #Strictly History. Well done Mike & Katya x— Arihat تایرا (@arihat_) November 10, 2019
Seriously concerned that Katya was going to be stuck up in the air on Mike's shoulder forever 😂 #strictly— Whatsoever (@hey_whatsoever) November 10, 2019
All four judges chose to send Visage to next week’s Blackpool round and Bushell home, something that some fans of the show were pleased about after watching Bushell knock out Emma Weymouth, Catherine Tyldesley, and David James in previous weeks.
But many were also pleased that the online abuse he had received would come to an end.
No matter what might've been said about Mike, he went out on a high and his attitude is to be applauded. He seems to have genuinely enjoyed it and what a gent.— hope (@nadiyamushtuk) November 10, 2019
Turning his final dance into a giant conga is an iconic moment and what strictly is all about #Strictly
To give credit to Mike, he gave it his all every single week, enjoyed himself, listened to Katya and took his exit like a true gent. All the death threats him and Katya have received for not leaving a TV dance show is sooner is disgusting. #Strictly— Elliot Gonzalez (@elliot_gonzalez) November 10, 2019
Michelle being saved was the only choice they could make— Sean ferguson (@fergu65) November 10, 2019
I will say mike has taken being in the dance off each week with class #Strictly
Something must have gone wrong with the voting system for Michelle to be in the dance off tonight. Seriously. Judges' votes, public opinion, it makes no sense. At least Mike was eliminated #strictly #bbcstrictly— Monserrate (@colemanbwz1074) November 10, 2019
Visage’s American Smooth had won her some of her best comments so far, so there was shock that she had still ended up in the danger zone with audible gasps as the public vote results were announced and Motsi Mabuse saying how surprised she was.
Not only is it bloody absurd that Michelle was in the bottom two, but I also didn’t get to hear Giovanni shout ‘TANK YEW, TANK YEW, TANK YEW’ down the camera #scd #SCD2019 #Strictly #Strictlyresults #StrictlyComeDancing— Matthew Theobald (@DirtyLyle) November 10, 2019
Well the only good thing about Michelle and Gio being in the dance off was the chance to see it again. #Strictly— Julie Collins♠️🎨👩🏼🎨🖼 (@JuCollins) November 10, 2019
Bushell had also been praised for his efforts in the Paso Doble, but was no match for the competition favourite in the dance off.
After being voted out, he said: “I’m mentally sharper, I feel able to deal with pressured situations – thanks to the dance offs. It has changed me completely and honestly I’m not going to stop dancing.
“My dad’s going to take up ballroom dancing and my mum has started Zumba – I want to thank all my family and the judges. I have all the comments framed around the house.
“I didn’t think I’d get this far so I have already booked a hotel in Blackpool, so I’m still coming along. This amazing teacher, Katya, I can’t tell you the dedication that she puts in. She’d make the greatest sporting coach ever, she makes you believe that anything is possible.”
Jones added: “In my eyes you’re the winner. The only thing he has lost is weight. He came in every single day giving his heart, soul, everything, 200 per cent no matter what after every single dance off.”
Fans of Strictly had been getting increasingly angry at the judges for saving Bushell each week, with insults thrown at him on social media getting so bad that he and his wife Emily had to make public pleas for the abuse to stop.
"I was really disappointed last week with the backlash"@emilybushell80 tells #BBCBreakfast she's glad @mikebreakfast spoke out about abuse over #Strictly, as some people are realising it hurts others. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/muCuv1aSTp— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) November 4, 2019
Jones quit social media a few weeks ago because of the comments, while Bushell’s BBC Breakfast colleague Dan Walker spoke out in defence of his friend earlier this week.
The remaining seven couples will take Strictly on the road next week for the annual episode from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom.
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One.