Seann Walsh escapes elimination as third celebrity leaves Strictly
TV presenter Katie Piper and her partner Gorka Marquez lost out in a dance-off against Charles Venn and Karen Clifton.
Katie Piper is the third celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing – despite Seann Walsh being the bookies’ favourite to leave this weekend.
TV presenter and acid attack survivor Piper was in the bottom two with Casualty actor Charles Venn following the public vote.
Piper and her partner Gorka Marquez danced their jive to Why Do Fools Fall In Love by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers in the dance-off, while Venn and Karen Clifton repeated their salsa to Use It Up And Wear It Out by Odyssey.
However, all four judges opted to keep Venn and Clifton in the competition, with Dame Darcey Bussell saying theirs was the “stronger performance”.
Piper, who came bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday night with 18 points, said: “I have taken a lot from this experience and it has all been really positive, and I’ll never forget this journey.
“Charles was the better dancer out of us two and there are some brilliant dancers in this competition and sadly I don’t think I was one of them.
“But I have had a great experience you know, and I feel really privileged to have been here and thanks for your advice and thank you [Gorka] for all the hours.
“One thing as well all the public not just the audience here but the general public have been so supportive online and have voted for me the other weeks so I feel thrilled to have been here for four weeks. So thank you to everyone.”
Piper’s exit may raise eyebrows, as comedian Walsh and his dance partner Katya Jones were the top choice to leave following their kiss scandal.
Bookmakers including Coral and William hill said the controversial couple prompted fresh bets from punters, and were the favourites to waltz away from the dancefloor.
Coral said that the “public uproar” over their illicit kiss – which they both apologised for after being pictured in The Sun – made them 5/4 favourites to be eliminated on Sunday.
William Hill said they were at 1/3 odds of being in the bottom two, with 11/8 odds to leave the show.
However, Walsh and Jones were awarded the fourth-highest score by the judges on Saturday, with 28 points for their Charleston.
That, combined with votes from the public, has kept them in the BBC One show for at least another week.
Piper’s exit from the competition comes days after Stefan Sylvestre, the man who threw acid over her 10 years ago leaving her with life-changing injuries, was released from prison.
Sylvestre was given a life sentence in 2009 for the attack – arranged by Piper’s obsessive ex-boyfriend Daniel Lynch – and was told he must serve a minimum of six years before he would be eligible for parole.
He was reportedly released from a jail in Suffolk on Wednesday.
Marquez told Piper: “Thank you, for being such a wonderful human because you know everyone knows how much you have been through and everything but to get the chance to know you and be working with you and get to know how strong you are, how always wanting to be better and improve.
“For me that’s my lesson and what I learnt from you.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6.45pm on BBC One.