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Strictly Come Dancing loses its first contestant of 2023 in ‘surprise’ elimination

Les Dennis has become the first celebrity to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing 2023.

The second Strictly live show took place on Saturday (30 October), with all 15 celebrity couples dancing again.

As nobody was eliminated in week one, the scores from both dances were combined, with Dennis at the bottom of the leaderboard. You can find the week two leaderboard here.

During Sunday (1 October) night’s results show, it was Dennis who found himself in the bottom two, where he faced off against radio presenter Nikita Kanda.

Both couples danced again, with Dennis and partner Nancy Xu performing their Samba and Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez dancing their Charleston once more.

The judges then unanimously voted to save Kanda, who they praised for giving an “extremely” improved performance.

Speaking on his elimination, Dennis, 69, told host Tess Daly: “I’ve had the best time, this lady has been amazing, a great teacher, she’s really put me through my paces... I hope I’ve entertained, that’s what I came here for. Strictly is the best and the people who put this on, you’re just all amazing!”

Dennis and Xu were eliminated from the competition (BBC/Guy Levy)
Dennis and Xu were eliminated from the competition (BBC/Guy Levy)

Addressing Xu, he added: “I did as well as I could for you, I hope! That lot up there, I’m going to miss you so much.”

Xu told her celebrity partner: “It’s been a journey. This is such a short but a sweet journey. A lot of challenges we all know, but to see you every day improve yourself, I respect you so, so much.

“I just want to say thank you to the judges and all my fellow friends. Thank you Strictly Come Dancing for all of your support. Thank you Les.”

Earlier on Sunday, Strictly fans had shared their frustration after the results from the bottom two leaked online.

The results show is pre-recorded following the main episode on a Saturday, with the identity of the departing celebrity kept secret until the time of broadcast. However, it often leaks to dedicated blogs before the show is broadcast.

When Dennis’s name leaked earlier in the day, fans had shared their “shock” and “surprise” at the national treasure getting the cut.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 7 October at 6.20pm on BBC One.