Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news – Craig Revel-Horwood’s shock replacement REVEALED as judge forced off by covid

STRICTLY Come Dancing judge Craig Revel-Horwood will be replaced by award-winning singer and actor Cynthia Erivo as he recovers from Covid-19.

The show confirmed today in a statement that the Tony Award winner, 34, will join Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Anton du Beke on the judging panel for this weekend's musicals week.

Star of stage and screen Cynthia said: “I’m so delighted to be joining the Strictly judging panel for Musicals Week. Musicals have a unique place in my heart, it’s such a special way of connecting all art and making it one.

"I’m excited to bring my experience to the show and I can’t wait to see what the couples have in store this weekend."

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest news and gossip…

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    Knee to the face

    Strictly Come Dancing’s Dan Walker was left with blood pouring from his mouth after being KNEED in the face by his partner.

    Dan, 44, said he and Nadiya Bychkova were attempting a lift ahead in rehersals when disaster struck.

    With the pair lying side-by-side on the floor of the rehearsal studio, he told BBC Breakfast: “We’re celebrating the end of our training session with a chocolate digestive.

    “The Charleston this week – it’s good fun and I can swivel. That’s the high point of the week.”

    Pointing at his face, he added: “The low point is, can you see? There’s still a bruise here where I got kneed in the face by the Ukrainian queen here.”

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    Recap: Who has left so far?

    • Week two: Nina Wadia and Neil Jones
    • Week three: Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez
    • Withdrawn: Robert Webb and Dianne Buswell
    • Week four: Greg Wise and Karen Hauer
    • Week five: Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse
    • Week six: Judi Love and Graziano di Prima
    • Week seven: Adam Peaty and Katya Jones
    • Week eight: Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec

    All change?

    Strictly is facing an exodus after it emerged Oti Mabuse and Aljaz Skorjanec have both told pals they plan to quit the hit show next year.

    The pro dancers will hand in their notices after this series for projects away from the ballroom, sources say.

    Oti, 31, is the show’s most successful pro having won twice, with Kelvin Fletcher and Bill Bailey.

    Aljaz, 31, won with Abbey Clancy in 2013 and is the longest-serving male professional still competing.

    It is thought the pair have not yet told the BBC.

    Katya, 32, is also rumoured to have threatened to leave but it is not know if she has any serious plans.

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      What has Craig said about the diagnosis?

      Craig double vaccinated and, in the same series that it emerged three pros hadn’t been jabbed, criticised anyone who turned it down.

      Although he hasn't spoken about his current diagnosis, in September 2021 he said: “This is no different a vaccine to the flu or anything, and why people are up in arms about it I have no idea.

      “I think it’s ridiculous. I do know someone that is refusing to have it and that drives me nuts.”

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      Having a purpose

      Before the show started, Rose Ayling-Ellis said she wanted to raise awareness about the reality of life as a deaf person – and just what they are capable of.

      Rose said: “I feel like I have a purpose.

      “Being the first deaf person on Strictly I felt it would be a good chance to break the stereotype of what deaf people can and can’t do.”

      She and her partner Giovanni have been hailed for their routine last weekend when they performed in part-silence.

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      Explained: Who were Giovanni’s previous girlfriends?

      Giovanni has previously dated stars including Ashley Roberts, Jess Wright and Georgia May Foote.

      Giovanni met Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts in 2018, when she appeared on Strictly.

      They went on to date for a year. before calling time on their romance in January 2020.

      And ex Coronation Street actress Katie was romantically linked to the Italian stallion five years ago.

      The Italian dancer, after splitting from Katie’s Corrie co-star Georgia May Foote in 2016, was reported to have dated Katie in 2017.

      He then went onto be in a relationship with Maura Higgins for several months this year before splitting in October.

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      Recap: What advice did Rose get from her Eastenders co-stars?

      Rose has followed in the glittering footsteps of many of her EastEnders co-stars including Natalie Cassidy, Kellie Bright, Scott Maslen and Maisie Smith.

      Ahead of the Strictly launch, Rose revealed how her co-stars who had taken to the dance floor before her have given her some tips.

      She said: “I have had advice from Natalie, and she said always be comfortable in what you wear.

      “So if anything feels long, always say ‘can I have it a bit shorter’. Emma [Barton], she told me just to be myself.

      “Just be who I am, if I’m shy, if I’m being awkward, just definitely be myself.”

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      Explained: Who is Giovanni Pernice?

      Giovanni is a 31-year-old professional dancer who joined Strictly in 2015.

      He was born in Sicily and started dance lessons at a young age.

      The talented dancer is yet to win Strictly, and says his greatest achievement to date is winning the Italian Championships in 2012.

      Giovanni says his favourite dance is the jive, as it reflects his cheekiness.

      Outside Strictly, he is perhaps most known for his relationship with Love Island star Maura Higgins – who split with in October, fuelling rumours that he has his eye on dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis.

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      Defying the Strictly curse

      Janette and Aljaz have been loved-up since 2009, tying the knot in 2017 and consistently avoiding the infamous Strictly Curse despite both being stars of the show.

      In fact, Janette actually credits the hit BBC show for saving their relationship as they were on the verge of splitting before being snapped up by bosses in 2013.

      The couple first met while performing in Broadway’s Burn The Floor, and toured the world together – but with the tour drawing to a close the couple faced a difficult long-distance relationship.

      While she prepared to jet back to LA, Aljaž was going to return to Slovenia – until they both got the call to join Strictly.

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      'Started something big'

      Strictly Come Dancing professional Katya Jones has said she hopes her stint on the dancing series with Nicola Adams “started something big”.

      The professional dancer, 32, made history as part of the show’s first same-sex pairing alongside boxer Adams last year, but their journey was cut short after Jones tested positive for Covid-19 and they were forced to leave the series early.

      Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Jones said: “We only did three weeks… But I’d like to think it started something big.

      “And the message that she (Nicola) wanted to deliver was heard, and now John and Johannes (have) taken over.

      “For me, I think what’s exciting to see is because we didn’t get to do many different dances, but they are doing so well."

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      Anton du Beke thinks the judges should be MEANER

      Anton du Beke has slammed his fellow judges for not being harsh enough with their scores.

      The Strictly Come Dancing judge and veteran dancer, who has stepped in to replace Bruno Tonioli in this series, says they give "willy-nilly" 10s out too easily.

      He said: "The show is in its 18th year and I have been a dancer for 15 years."

      Speaking to The Mirror, went on to say it took him 15 years to get a 10, but his fellow judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, and Motsi Mabuse are very giving with their votes.

      "It took me 15 years to get a 10 with Emma Barton. They are giving them [10s] out willy-nilly this year," Anton said.

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      Waltzing to the West End?

      Strictly’s John Whaite could be about to show he has got another trick up his sleeve – and could be heading to the West End.

      The star rose to fame by winning Bake Off in 2012 but could now be set for a whole new career after dazzling people with his moves on the show.

      A TV insider said: “It’s not just his moves on Strictly that have caught the attention of directors, it’s also the charisma and confidence he’s shown as he finds himself in the spotlight.

      “Being in the show’s first same-sex partnership with Johannes Radebe could have been an intimidating prospect, but far from being a shrinking violet he’s been a shining star.”

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      Inspired to change

      Giovanni, who recently split from Love Island’s Maura Higgins, is said to be a changed man after meeting Rose.

      A source told Heat: “Giovanni has really changed since meeting Rose, and for the better.

      “He’s seen the obstacles Rose has had to face in life and he’s just in awe of her.

      “She’s one of the first women who he’s met who’s not taken in by his charms, and she isn’t afraid to challenge him or take the p**s out of him, which he loves.”

      However, if he is hoping to woo her he may be in for a challenge – Rose currently has a long-term boyfriend.

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      Recap: Who is still in the running?

      • AJ Odudu 
      • Dan Walker 
      • John Whaite
      • Rhys Stephenson 
      • Rose Ayling-Ellis 
      • Tilly Ramsay
      • Tom Fletcher 

      Not one thinks Rose will go

      Ladbrokes says that no one has placed a bet on Rose, AJ or John leaving Strictly this week.

      According to their odds, Rose and Giovanni are 1/5 to lift the Glitterball.

      Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "It's significantly more likely Rose and Gio will score 40 this weekend than face elimination, and it looks like John and AJ can also breathe a sigh of relief." 

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        Strictly to get 2022 special

        Strictly will get a 2022 special as part of the BBC's programming to celebrate its centenary.

        The British Broacast Corporation began on radio on 18 October 1922.

        Variety shared a statement from BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore who said: "Our centenary year will be a huge treat for audiences of all ages from massive sporting events, comedy, entertainment, drama, arts and music, to documentaries assessing all aspects of the BBC's history.

        "BBC 100 will celebrate and reflect on the unique role the BBC plays in the lives of audiences across the UK as our much-cherished national broadcaster from its creation right up to the present day."

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        What time is Strictly on tomorrow?

        Strictly continues tomorrow at 6.35pm on BBC One.

        The results will then be read out the following day (November 21, 2021) at 7.15pm.

        If you miss any of the action, you can catch up on the BBC iPlayer.

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        Who performs the songs on Strictly?

        Strictly Come Dancing is not just loved by audiences for the brilliant dancing, but also for the great live music.

        Musical director and arranger Dave Arch is the man in charge of the band.

        He is a British pianist, conductor, arranger and composer who has enjoyed a prolific career covering a broad spectrum of the music business including albums, films, and commercials, live and television work.

        He is also the Musical Director for recent productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

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        Dan is for the boot

        According to Ladbrokes, Dan is the one most likely to be sent packing this week after weeks of avoiding the dance off.

        Dan is favoured at 5/4 to leave the competition, followed by Tilly on 6/4.

        Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "Dan's had more lives than a cat avoiding the dance off every week, but it looks like his time is finally coming to an end on Strictly."

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        Betfair's latest odds on who will leave tomorrow

        • Dan Walker 6/5
        • Tilly Ramsay 6/4
        • Tom Fletcher 7/2
        • Rhys Stephenson 11/1
        • AJ Odudu 33/1
        • John Whaite 66/1
        • Rose Ayling-Ellis 100/1 

        Betfair's latest Strictly winner odds

        Let's face: it's Rose's to lose.

        • Rose Ayling-Ellis 2/9
        • John Whaite 6/1
        • AJ Odudu 8/1
        • Tom Fletcher 20/1
        • Rhys Stephenson 50/1
        • Dan Walker 50/1
        • Tilly Ramsay 80/1 _
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          Explained: When is Craig back?

          Craig is now in isolation for ten days and will only return to the show if he tests positive next week and is back in good health.

          A Strictly spokesperson said: “Craig Revel Horwood has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating following the latest government guidelines.

          "While Craig will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend, all being well he will return the following week.”

          He was double vaccinated and, in the same series that it emerged three pros hadn’t been jabbed, criticised anyone who turned it down.

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          Explained: Who is Cynthia Erivo?

          London born Cynthia has starred in numerous theatre productions on both sides of the pond, including Broadway’s revival of The Colour Purple, the Sister Act UK Tour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

          The British star played Aretha Franklin in the third series of Genius, the title role in acclaimed biopic Harriet and is currently filming for the new Luther movie.

          Following her stint on Luther, Cynthia was recently cast as Elphaba in the highly anticipated film adaptation of musical, Wicked.

          The acclaimed star has won a Daytime Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Tony Award, and been nominated for two Oscars.

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          Guest judge revealed

          Strictly has announced Oscar nominated actress Cynthia Erivo will stand in as guest judge this week while Craig Revel Horwood is out with Covid.

          The series confirmed today in a statement that the Tony Award winner, 34, will join Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Anton du Beke on the judging panel for this weekend's musicals week.

          Speaking of her delight to join the BBC ballroom stalwart, star of stage and screen Cynthia said: “I’m so delighted to be joining the Strictly judging panel for Musicals Week. Musicals have a unique place in my heart, it’s such a special way of connecting all art and making it one.

          "I’m excited to bring my experience to the show and I can’t wait to see what the couples have in store this weekend."

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          Tongues wagging

          Pointless host Richard Osman revealed he knows all the naughty secrets from backstage on Strictly.

          The BBC game show shares makeup artists with Strictly, and Richard, 50, said they give him all the juicy behind the scenes gossip.

          “Our makeup artists on Pointless are the same makeup artists who work on Strictly, so we get every single piece of gossip,” he told Jamie Laing’s Private Parts podcast. 

          The in-demand host, who recently released his second novel, added he’s too busy for a Strictly romance.

          He went on: “I don’t have time to do all the training and have an affair… so we get every single piece of gossip, that includes who’s banging who, but also who’s nice.”

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