Ed Balls finally gets the boot from Strictly Come Dancing
Ed Balls declared that he has gone out on a high - and been on a journey of self discovery - after finally getting the boot from Strictly Come Dancing.
After weeks of defying the judges' poor scores, the former shadow chancellor, 49, exited the BBC1 show following a dance-off with Judge Rinder.
All the judges - Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood - chose to give Balls the push.
The unlikely Strictly star said that he had no idea what his future held but vowed to keep dancing after becoming the 10th celebrity to leave the show.
His ejection came after show bosses were accused of staging a plot to get rid of the ex-politician by organising a Cha Cha Challenge, as well as the usual routine.
Balls came last in the challenge and his scores were combined with the results of the couples' dance and the viewers' vote.
This time, the votes from viewers were not enough to save him.
Balls, who has entertained viewers with his routines to Gangnam Style and Great Balls of Fire, said afterwards: "The most important thing for me was to always leave on a high, not on a low....
"I so enjoyed myself and got so much further than I ever thought I could and I am going out on a high."
The ex-politician said that the show had been a journey of self-discovery.
"It has been much more than I ever thought it would be ...The warmth and generosity of the family and fans and the amount I've learnt about myself and performing and what I can actually do is way beyond anything I would ever have imagined," he said.
He said that the judges had been "right" in their decision and that he "couldn't quite match the standard needed to stay in".
"I started off as a novice and I've worked hard to improve but the longer the competition went on the higher the standard, the judges were looking for more and more and although I worked hard I just couldn't match that," he said.
Balls said that he would "miss" his dance partner Katya Jones, while she added: "I absolutely love this man."
And he vowed to "keep dancing", saying that wife "Yvette (Cooper) is absolutely clear that she wants to learn the Charleston, Foxtrot and Jive".
Asked what was next, he said: "I don't know at all and that's great - I have no idea. It means next Saturday I can go and watch Norwich v Brentford as I've missed three games."
Balls thanked fans for keeping him on the series and showed he held no hard feelings against the judges, calling them "the best in the world".
He said: "I am sad not to do the Rumba and I would have loved to have gone to the final."
But he added: "It feels like a victory to me not a defeat. Blackpool was my Wembley and we won at Wembley, so that's great."
Revel Horwood saved Judge Rinder and Oksana Platero for "a more technical performance" while Bussell also cited the couple's "better technical ability".
Tonioli added: "Well I have to choose the better dancers, Judge Rinder and Oksana" and head judge Goodman concurred: "I agree with my colleagues."
The remaining five couples will return to the dance floor in the quarter final of the competition on Saturday December 3.