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- Italian dancer
Strictly Come Dancing finalist Rose Ayling-Ellis has explained why she thought an Italian dancer would be the perfect partner for her as a deaf person.
The EastEnders actor is the favourite to win the BBC One contest this year with pro dancer Giovanni Pernice, who she has developed a close partnership with.
Speaking to Yahoo and other media, she explained why being told she had been matched with Pernice was such good news for her.
She said: "Two things I liked about Giovanni - his track record, and also that he's Italian.
"In the deaf community, we know that Italians are very expressive and they're very direct. When they talk, they say what it is, they don't waffle or use metaphors, because that's just confusing for deaf people."
Ayling-Ellis added that as she got to know Pernice, she realised the match was even better than she'd expected.
She said: "When we paired up, I realised that (Giovanni) is so funny, we've got a similar sense of humour, he's a very good teacher but he can have fun as well."
Pernice said that he continued to be impressed by what Ayling-Ellis could achieve and her perfect timing on the dancefloor, saying she was as good as a pro dancer.
He said: "I think it's remarkable, sometimes after a Saturday night I watch it back and I completely forget she's deaf because the way she dances, it's like a professional."
The pair's highlight of the series was their Couple's Choice routine which included a surprise silent section as a representation of how it felt for Ayling-Ellis to dance.
It will be one of three dances they will perform in Saturday's final, along with their Frozen-themed Quickstep and a new showdance that they said would be "a celebration of our friendship".
They will be competing against John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington.
Odudu is currently battling to recover from ligament damage to the arch of her foot which has ruled her out of rehearsals for much of the week.
Strictly Come Dancing 2021's final airs tomorrow, 18 December at 7pm on BBC One.
Watch: Who is Strictly's Rose Ayling-Ellis?