Mike Bushell became the seventh celebrity to be eliminated on Strictly Come Dancing following weeks of ‘fix’ claims.
The BBC Breakfast host was unanimously voted off the show after he and partner Katya Jones took on Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice in the dance-off during Sunday’s result show.
Mike failed to impress with his Paso Doble, in comparison to Michelle’s American Smooth, sending him crashing out of the competition the week before Blackpool.
It’s over: Mike Bushell became the seventh celebrity to be eliminated on Strictly Come Dancing following weeks of ‘fix’ claims alongside his professional partner Katya Jones
Craig Revel Horwood praised Mike, 53, and Katya, 30, for their efforts, but ultimately chose to save Michelle, stating: ‘One couple put up a very good fight but the couple I’d like to save is Michelle and Giovanni’.
Motsi Mabuse was in agreement, noting: ‘I have to say I have seen the best performance from both couples.
‘I really, really mean that but one couple was the clear winner of the dance off and I am going to save Michelle and Giovanni.’
Following the other judges’ lead, Bruno Tonoili concluded: ‘Well with all due respect to all of you, I have to save the couple that really performed to the highest standard and to me that couple is Michelle and Giovanni.’
Victorious: The BBC Breakfast host was unanimously voted off after he and partner Katya took on Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice in the dance-off during Sunday’s result show
Although her vote would no longer have made a difference, Head Judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too would have also chosen to save Michelle and Giovanni.
When asked by Tess Daly about his time on the show, Mike said: ‘I have had the most amazing 9 or 10 weeks since we started training.
‘I have lost a stone and half. I’m a guy in his 50s, I’m mentally sharper, I feel able to deal with pressured situations – thanks to the dance-offs! It has changed me completely and honestly I’m not going to stop dancing.
‘My wife Emily has supported me all the way through and my daughters. My dad’s going to take up ballroom dancing and my mum has started Zumba.
Friends for life: Chris Ramsey and Kelvin Fletcher rushed over to commiserate Mike
‘I want to thank all my family and the judges. I have all the comments framed around the house. Every moment has been an absolute honour and a joy.’
Despite not making it through to Blackpool Week, which will see the contestants perform at the Tower Ballroom, Mike insisted he’d be there to show his support.
He continued: ‘I didn’t think I’d get this far so I have already booked a hotel in Blackpool, so I’m still coming along.’
He then turned his attention to partner Katya, gushing: ‘This amazing teacher, Katya, I can’t tell you the dedication that she puts in. She’d make the greatest sporting coach ever, she makes you believe that anything is possible.
‘She hasn’t taken it easy on me. We’ve had some difficult routines and I can’t believe the miracles you’ve performed. There’s so many memories.’
Head to head: Mike and Katya first found themselves in the bottom two in Week 5, but instead former England footballer David James and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated
Katya responded: ‘Honestly I’m so proud of him and I think after even this dance which I think was your best dance you can leave with your head held up honestly; and in my eyes you’re the winner.
‘The only thing he has lost is weight. He came in every single day giving his heart, soul, everything, 200% no matter what after every single dance off and thank you so much. I’m so sorry I couldn’t take to Blackpool.’
Mike’s elimination comes after fans claimed the show was ‘fixed’ to stay in after he previously survived three dance offs in a row.
Booted: The pair then found themselves in the bottom two during Halloween Week against Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and partner Johannes Radebe
Mike and Katya first found themselves in the bottom two in Week 5, after their Salsa to Jump On It to The Sugar Hill Gang fell felt with viewers.
However, the dancing duo were spared and instead former England footballer David James and his professional partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated.
The pair then found themselves in the bottom two during Halloween Week when the tango did little to rouse fans alongside Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and partner Johannes Radebe, who were ultimately given the boot after Shirley had the deciding vote.
Back again: Last week, Mike faced the dance off for a third time, where he triumphed over Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec
Last week, Mike faced the dance off for a third time, where he triumphed over Viscountess Emma Weymouth and her partner Aljaz Skorjanec.
North Yorkshire native Mike – who even received vile death threats over winning dance-offs – defiantly appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend his position on the show earlier this month.
He said: ‘It’s an entertainment show, we’re all trying our best, you’re not really competing against anybody else, you compete against yourself to try and learn to get better and better each week, even if its just learning a couple of new steps.
Strictly Come Dancing returns for the Blackpool special on Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One.
Defence: Mike – who has even received vile death threats over winning dance-offs – defiantly appeared on BBC Breakfast to defend his position on the show earlier this month