Belfast Telegraph

That's a wrap for Tameka Empson as actress leaves Strictly during Movie Week

There is to be no happy Hollywood ending for Tameka Empson as she became the second celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing after giving it her all during Movie Week.

The EastEnders actress and her professional partner Gorka Marquez were in the bottom two, along with TV presenter Laura Whitmore and professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, after their scores from the judges were combined with results of the viewer vote.

Empson said it "feels gutting" to leave the competition in the third week, and she was "really enjoying" the experience.

She said: "I did have injuries today but I didn't really want to focus on that, but it was always going to be tough in the whole competition but I'm really gutted that I'm leaving today."

Empson and Marquez again performed their Movie Week dance, a tango to The Heat Is On from Beverly Hills Cop, while Whitmore and Pernice repeated their Salsa to Moulin Rouge's Rhythm Of The Night.

The judges were left to make the final decision, with Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman opting to keep Whitmore in the show.

Darcey Bussell voted in Empson's favour, although she praised both couples for "cleaning up" their dance routines.

She said: "For me, because it was a stronger focus and intent into the performance, I am going to save Tameka and Gorka."

Revel Horwood struggled to choose between Whitmore and Empson, who were in fifth and sixth place on the leaderboard respectively.

He said: "This is a little bit of a nightmare. To be honest I can normally make a very clear decision, but both couples were extraordinary. One couple really flew through the routine better than they had previously and the other couple I thought even bettered that. And the couple I thought bettered that was Laura and Giovanni."

Tonioli praised the women as "fantastic", but said Whitmore's dance was a "standout" out of the two performances.

Goodman said that, in his opinion, "neither should be in the dance-off", before casting the deciding vote to save Whitmore.

Empson told presenter Tess Daly: "I have enjoyed my time immensely, I really have. The costume, the hair, everybody. There are just so many people.

"Every department shows a lot of love, and you guys watch it at home, but it's really lovely to be a part of it and I'm grateful, so thank you."

This was the first time in the current series that there has been a dance-off.

Last week's episode saw radio DJ Melvin Odoom leave the show after receiving the fewest public votes.

Fellow bottom two contender Anastacia was forced to pull out of the dance-off due to sustaining an injury during her earlier dance.

No contestants left the competition in the first weekend of Strictly.

The results programme also included a performance from singers Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, with a rendition of West Side Story song Somewhere.

Empson and Marquez will join Zoe Ball on Strictly spin-off It Takes Two on Monday October 10 at 6.30pm on BBC Two.

:: Strictly Come Dancing returns next Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One.


From Belfast Telegraph