'Strictly' gets its first shock exit of the series as a show favourite goes home, and fans are furious

Katie Archer

Strictly Come Dancing has recorded its first shock elimination of the 2019 series as competition favourite Dev Griffin was sent home, leaving his dance partner Dianne Buswell in floods of tears as the show ended.

The BBC Radio 1 DJ had earned consistently high scores across the first few weeks, even coming second on the leaderboard last weekend with 36 points for his Aladdin-themed couple’s choice routine, which judge Motsi Mabuse called “one of those dances we will remember forever”.

Read more: David James and Mike Bushell’s ‘night of miracles’

So fans couldn’t believe that Griffin landed in the dance-off with his partner Buswell tonight, and that they were the judges’ unanimous choice to send home.

The judges admitted to being surprised that Griffin was in the bottom two ahead of his dance, with Craig Revel Horwood telling him: “I am truly shocked, I really am.”

Griffin and Buswell were up against Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec, another surprise pair for the bottom two as judges had praised their Saturday evening Jive for being a huge improvement on previous performances.

Both couples had been in a risky danger zone, with Griffin and Weymouth fourth and fifth last on the leaderboard respectively, but viewers thought high scoring of poorer couples was to blame.

Revel Horwood, Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and Shirley Ballas all decided that Weymouth was more focused and made fewer mistakes than Griffin in his Cha Cha.

Griffin, clearly devastated at the result, said: “I’m not going to lie I am absolutely gutted, but learning how to dance, hanging out with Dianne and the other pros and celebs… I’ve absolutely loved it.”

Buswell added: “Dev has been absolutely amazing. His work ethic is insane. I see him everywhere practising and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Thank you so much for all your time and your effort.

“This boy has so much talent, I’m really sad he won’t be able to show you guys any more of it.”

Read more: Alfonso Ribeiro will replace Bruno Tonioli on next week’s Strictly

Griffin’s previous scores had included a 30 and a 27, and although Weymouth’s were consistently lower, neither of them were expected to be in the bottom two as they had received plenty of encouragement and constructive comments from the judges.

Ex-footballer David James, who has been in both of the previous dance-offs, upped his game on Saturday with a vast improvement which saw him score 28 points, and his fellow celebrities looked thrilled for him that he’d avoided a third week at the bottom.

Sports presenter Mike Bushell also got serious about the contest and scored 32 – including a surprise nine points from Mabuse.

There were some complaints from Strictly fans that the judges’ high scoring of Bushell had carried him through ahead of better dancers.

Alex Scott and Neil Jones swerved being in the dance-off despite getting the lowest judges’ scores of the week.

Karim Zeroual and his partner Amy Dowden were the highest scorers of the weekend with 38 points for their Tango, including two 10s from the judges.

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday, October 19 at 6.40pm on BBC One.

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