AJ Odudus Strictly victory sealed as judge exposes injury advantage: Could win hearts

Strictly: Craig argues AJ Odudu could win despite injury

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AJ Odudu suffered a “traumatic” foot injury on Monday which has left her unable to walk without crutches. However, the 33-year-old and her professional partner Kai Widdrington are still hopeful about taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday. Judge Craig Revel Horwood appeared on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain to give an update on AJ’s condition, hinting she may have an advantage over her competitors. 

The TV presenter broke down in tears on It Takes Two earlier this week about her foot injury which left her unable to stand without the aid of crutches.

On Wednesday, AJ confirmed she’s been unable to train due to ligament damage she suffered while rehearsing with Kai on Monday.

Despite the massive setback, AJ and Kai have said they are still hoping to perform in the final alongside John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice.

Strictly judge Craig was interviewed by Ben Shephard and Charlotte Hawkins on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain to talk about the highly anticipated final and AJ’s health.

The 56-year-old former professional dancer told ITV viewers: “I spoke to the BBC this morning and she had treatment yesterday, and I think she’s going to get through it, and like any sporting person, you soldier on.

“She worked for months, and months, and months to get to this point and suddenly an injury can occur.”

Ben asked what type of injury AJ had sustained during her training with Kai.

Craig replied: “I think she just went over on [her foot] and then hurt a ligament, but I have been through this myself with my shoulder and I had an injection to get through the actual performance and then I was fine.”

The outspoken judge told Ben and Charlotte he thought it was possible for AJ to perform in this weekend’s final and explained she will be missed if she cannot compete. 

Charlotte asked Craig if he will need to take AJ’s injury into account when judging her performance this weekend if she makes it to the final. 

However, he explained: “The point about the judging on the final is we don’t actually have any power at all and it’s up to the audience alone to decide. 

“I mean AJ could win the hearts and minds of the nation and sail through to the Glitterball Trophy, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.” 

Ben interjected: “Well fingers crossed she makes it and she can perform as well because that’s the most important thing.”

In last weekend’s semifinal, AJ scored her first perfect 40 for a Quickstep.

The stellar performance placed her joint top on the leaderboard alongside Rose and Giovanni.

The EastEnders star and Giovanni are currently tipped by the bookmakers as the favourites to win the series.

AJ tearfully opened up about her injury on Wednesday’s It Takes Two, telling host Janette Manrara: “I’m upset because I have suffered an injury, I don’t know when it happened but essentially I’ve got issues with my joint and I’ve suffered some traumatic injury to my ligaments.

“There’s a lot of inflammation and yes, I can’t pinpoint when it happened during training.

“In fact, we felt really positive after training on Monday, and I felt fine but the pain came on so suddenly and acutely that I actually projectile vomited.”

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV, while the Strictly Come Dancing final airs on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.

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