'Strictly' has voted out its first celebrity and fans are completely unsurprised at the result

Katie Archer
Contributor

There were no surprises in Strictly Come Dancing’s first elimination of the 2019 series, as James Cracknell was sent home after a unanimous vote from the judges.

Olympic rower Cracknell went up against former footballer David James in the dance-off, but Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Bruno Tonioli all chose to keep the ex-goalie in the competition, and head judge Shirley Ballas said she would have agreed if she had been called on to vote.

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The celebrities were the bottom two on the leaderboard after a combined score from week one and week two, with neither saved by the public vote after Saturday night’s show.

Cracknell and his partner, Luba Mushtuk, were the bookies’ favourites to leave first after coming bottom on the leaderboard for the first two weeks, scoring just 11 points in their week one tango and 13 for their jive on Saturday night.

Talking about his time on Strictly, he told host Tess Daly: “I’m a way better dancer than I was two weeks ago.

“Luba’s been amazing with being so patient with a couple of left feet.”

Mushtuk said to Cracknell: “I would like to say a huge thank-you with all my heart to make this journey so amazing. You inspired me every day and I hope you inspire many more other people to start dancing.”

The pair were outdanced by James and his partner Nadiya Bychkova, who performed a repeat of their paso doble and got much better feedback the second time around.

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In the judges’ vote, Tonioli said: “I have to save the couple that really showed to me how you apply and you work on the comments of the judges and deliver a performance that is almost night and day from one day to the other – David and Nadiya.”

Cracknell had been widely expected to leave the competition first after the judges had criticised his performances for being “hunched” and “stompy”.

Meanwhile, Karim Zeroual was riding high at the top of the leaderboard with a combined score of 63 points, closely followed by Michelle Visage on 62 and Kelvin Fletcher on 60.

They may have been hanging around the middle of the leaderboard, but it looks like Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer are early favourites with the viewers, who couldn’t have been more pleased to see them go through to week three, and they also managed the highest week-on-week climb in points in Strictly ever.

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One on Saturday, October 5 at 7.10pm.