Strictly Cha Cha proves a challenge strictly too far for Ed Balls
Ed Balls declared 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 49-year-old former shadow chancellor 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 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 plotting to get rid of the ex-politician by organising a Cha Cha Challenge, as well as the usual routine.
He came last in the challenge and 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, with dance partner Katya Jones, 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 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 commented. He said the judges had been "right" in their decision and that he "couldn't quite match the standard needed to stay in".
He also thanked fans for keeping him in the show until now.
The remaining five couples will return in the quarter final of the competition on Saturday.