Strictly Come Dancing 2021 – Fans FURIOUS as covid-hit Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden 'dodge vote off' after rule change

STRICTLY fans have been left fuming after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden got a "free pass" into the third week of the show after a Covid rule change.

The 36-year-old McFly star and his professional dance partner confirmed yesterday they had both tested positive for coronavirus.

As a result, they will miss this Saturday's live show but have confirmed they will be back with a bang the following weekend.

But Strictly viewers have accused the series of double standards – recalling how the show's first ever same-sex couple were disqualified last year when they tested positive for coronavirus.

Nicola Adams and her professional dance partner Katya Jones were forced out of the competition following their tests.

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest updates…

  • Milica Cosic

    Unjabbed could ruin Strictly

    Anton Du Beke says unjabbed dancers who accidentally spread Covid backstage could cause “the end” of Strictly.

    The new judge, 55, warned a coronavirus outbreak behind-the-scenes would cause the nineteenth series of the hit show to be pulled off air

    Speaking on Good Morning Britain earlier today after The Sun revealed three professionals dancers had refused the life-saving vaccine, Anton said: “In all seriousness I don’t know (who is unjabbed) because I’m not a pro anymore so I’m not involved in the group.

    “Everyone’s keeping their distance and wearing masks and everything’s geared up like we’re in the grip of the pandemic.

    “It’s all taken seriously and everyone’s following government advice. If something spreads through the group then it’s the end of the show.

    “Everyone wants it to work because of all their hard work. I can’t wait for the first show.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Who performs the songs on Strictly Come Dancing?

    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.

    David 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 productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

  • Milica Cosic

    ‘Never say never’

    GARY NEVILLE has left the door open to an outing on Strictly Come Dancing – vowing 'never say never!'.

    The former Manchester United hero took part in a Q&A with fans on Monday, revealing his Strictly stance and a handful of other curious points of conversation.

    Ex-rugby star Ugo Monye and Olympic swimming king Adam Peaty are competing in this year's series.

    Neville, 46, did not dismiss the idea of following in their footsteps during the Q&A.

    Responding to a tweet asking if he would ever do Strictly, he wrote: "Never say never!"

    Fans following Neville were very keen on the idea, Twitter user Michelle laughing: "I've never watched that show, but I'd have to watch it just to see you dance."

  • Milica Cosic

    “The narrative they push is so dangerous”

    Strictly’s anti-vax dancers told not having jab is ‘killing people’ after man loses parents and brother to Covid.

    Francis Goncalves lost his brother, Shaul, 40, dad Basil, 70 and mum Charmagne, 65, within a week after they caught the virus at a family dinner.

    Francis, 43, slammed the Strictly dancers’ decision.

    He blasted: “It’s so damaging when you have people who can influence millions of people who are taking this stance.

    “They’re making decisions without looking at the facts.

    “It’s such a selfish attitude and it’s very irresponsible.

    “These people think the world revolves around them.

    “The narrative they push is so dangerous and it’s killing people.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Fan fury at ‘free pass’

    Strictly fans have been left fuming after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden got a “free pass” into the third week of the show after a Covid rule-change.

    The 36-year-old McFly star and his professional dance partner confirmed yesterday that they had both tested positive for coronavirus.

    As a result, they will miss this Saturday’s live show but have confirmed they will be back with a bang the following weekend.

    But Strictly viewers have accused the series of double standards – recalling how the show’s first ever same-sex couple were disqualified last year when they tested positive for coronavirus.

    Nicola Adams and her professional dance partner Katya Jones were forced out of the competition following their tests.

    Taking to Twitter, one angry fan wrote: “Nicola being kicked off but Tom getting to stay another week doesn’t sit right with me.”

    Another echoed: “Why was Nicola kicked off but Tom gets to stay despite both testing positive for Covid? Seems a bit unfair.”

    A third agreed: “Last year Katya and Nicola was kicked off #Strictly so why doesn’t the same rules apply to Amy and Tom this year?”

  • Milica Cosic

    Do the winners collect the same trophy each year?

    As the celebrities have to hand it back each year, the same trophy is used.

    Each year the winner’s name is added to the gold plague on the front of the Glitterball.

    It is believed the same trophy has been used since Strictly started back in 2004.

    The Glitterball was slightly changed back in 2019 for the 17th series of the show.

    The BBC confirmed that they altered the trophy so that it will be a mounted on a bigger base.

  • Milica Cosic

    Explained: Is Tom Fletcher leaving Strictly?

    Strictly was plunged further on September 26 as celebrity dancer Tom Fletcher and his professional partner caught Covid – and may have to drop out of the competition.

    It’s uncertain if he will have to leave the show but the blow means that the McFly singer will have to miss next week’s show as he goes into ten days of isolation.

    And Tom, 36, who’s partnered with Amy Dowden, will only be allowed back on the show if he tests negative in time for the following week.

    A BBC spokesman told The Sun: “Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden have tested positive for Covid-19.

    “The pair are now self-isolating separately following the latest government guidelines.

    “While they will both miss Saturday’s live show, Strictly Come Dancing protocols mean that all being well, they will return the following week.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Strictly’s unjabbed pro-dancers BACKED by BBC

    The BBC has backed Strictly Come Dancing‘s unjabbed dancers after mounting pressure to be vaccinated to stay in the series.

    It’s after The Sun revealed a trio of professionals embroiled in the anti-vax storm have said they would rather quit than be jabbed.

    Ahead of the first live show this weekend, the BBC has released a statement making clear they are NOT enforcing stars to be vaccinated in order to compete.

    Read the article in full here.

  • Milica Cosic

    Returning with a tan

    RYLAN Clark-Neal prepared for his It Takes Two return with a spray tan as he focused on work amid his “divorce” from husband Dan.

    At the weekend, it was reported that the 32-year-old star had called time on his six-year marriage after efforts to save it fell flat.

    Taking to his Instagram Story, Rylan told fans: “Tanned and sticky… Ready for Strictly!!”

    He enjoyed a tipple with his new co-host Janette Manrara on Saturday night as he welcomed her to the team, with former Strictly pro Janette replacing Zoe Ball on the programme.

    Rylan returned to work earlier this month after a five-month-long absence from the limelight amid his marital troubles.

  • Milica Cosic

    “We love you”

    The BBC dance competition was plunged further into crisis yesterday as celebrity dancer Tom Fletcher and his professional partner caught Covid – and may have to drop out of the competition.

    The blow means that the McFly singer will have to miss next week’s show as he goes into ten days of isolation.

    And Tom, 36, who’s partnered with Amy Dowden, will only be allowed back on the show if he tests negative in time for the following week.

    In the meantime, their Strictly co-stars reached out to send their love to the popular pair.

    Under Amy’s Instagram announcement, current Strictly stars Oti Mabuse and Katie McGlynn wrote messages of support, while former Strictly pro AJ Pritchard also reached out.

    Oti commented: “We love you can’t wait to see you soon ❤️,” while Dianne Buswell added: “Love you ❤️xxx see you back in the d floor soon x.”

    Katie shared a sad face and love heart emoji, and AJ wrote, “Sending love & so sad to hear.. ❤️ can’t wait to see you back on the floor..”

  • Milica Cosic

    Inside Nikita Kuzmin’s relationship with girlfriend Nicole Wirt

    She proudly states that she is a professional dancer, based in Frankfurt, Germany, in her Instagram bio.

    She is also an ambassador for an independent clothing brand named @atelier_gaby.

    Her Instagram account, followed by more than 2K users, is mostly made up of snaps and selfies taken on her travels as well as pictures in which she shares the spotlight with Nikita.

    The couple was first paired up on the dance floor in August, 2016, finishing first place after their first ever competition together in Amateur Latin as stated by an Instragam post shared at the time.

    Read more here.

    Both Nicole and Nikita frequently share loved up snaps on their Instagram accounts Credit: Instagram
  • Milica Cosic

    Does the Strictly winner get to keep the Glitterball Trophy?

    So the answer is yes, and no – as it’s not as straight forward as you think.

    After the Strictly winner gets handed the Glitterball by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, they have to hand it back after pictures are taken.

    Instead both the celebrity and their professional dance partner are handed smaller versions of the trophy.

    Chatting on Sunday Brunch, 2011 winner Harry Judd explained: “They give you the big [Glitterball] and then they take it straight off you and give you this tiny little one.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Lowest rating

    The couples’ first performances in the BBC1 contest took place on Saturday when a peak of 8.39m people tuned in compared to 10.1m last year – a drop of over 1.7m viewers.

    It comes as the show’s launch was overshadowed by the revelation that three mystery pros hadn’t received their Covid jab and the celebrities were unaware they were dancing with them.

    A TV insider said: “The surprisingly low viewing figures couldn’t have come at a worse time for bosses at Strictly who are already reeling from the anti-vax crisis that’s developed over the past ten days.

    “They will also feel disappointed with the dipping ratings as they’ve gone to such great lengths to deliver a full series of the Saturday night favourite as safely as possible.

    “It was still the most watched show of Saturday night, but with Strictly the expectations are incredibly high.”

    Read the article in full here.

  • Milica Cosic

    Who are the Strictly judges this year?

    • Motsi Mabuse – On July 22, 2019, Motsi Mabuse was revealed as Darcey's replacement on the hit show.
    • Shirley Ballas – Shirley is a ballroom dancer from Merseyside. She made her first appearance on the Strictly panel in 2017 as head judge, taking over from Len Goodman.
    • Bruno Tonioli – He is an Italian dancer and choreographer from Ferrara. He has been a judge on Strictly since the show aired its first series in 2004.
    • Craig Revel Horwood – Craig Revel Horwood, 54, was born in Victoria, Australia. He is one of the shows original judges along with Bruno.

    Recap: Who won Strictly last year?

    Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse won Strictly Come Dancing 2020 beating HRVY, Maisie Smith and Jamie Laing in the grand final.

    The 55-year-old comedian made history as he became the oldest contestant to take home the Glitterball trophy.

    And Oti became the first-ever professional dancer to win the show two years in a row.

    Host Tess Daly announced the result as the nine-week series came to an end early because of coronavirus.

    Bill, HRVY and Maisie all finished top of the leaderboard with a total of 88 points from three dances.

    They were followed by Jamie in last place, with 84 after failing to land a ten from Craig Revel Horwood.

    • Milica Cosic

      Breaking the silence

      Strictly pro Nikita Kuzmin’s girlfriend has broken her silence after he was spotted enjoying a cosy night in with his celebrity partner Tilly Ramsay.

      Stunning dancer Nicole Wirt, who has been dancing with Nikita since 2016, took to Instagram on Saturday night to show her support for the pair.

      She described their debut dance as “mesmerising”, before adding she was “cheering for my faves” as they performed a romantic waltz.

      The dance comes after The Sun revealed Tilly invited Nikita back to an apartment during the week. 

      The grinning pair arrived in separate cars before TikTok star Tilly opened the door and Nikita, 23, dashed inside.

      The pair’s rendezvous on Thursday followed a “doe-eyed” TV appearance that morning — with viewers claiming Tilly clearly had a crush on Nikita.

      Read the article in full here.

    • Milica Cosic

      Rose Ayling-Ellis makes history

      The EastEnders actress performed her first routine – a jive to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off – this Saturday evening alongside pro partner Giovanni Pernice. 

      At the end of the high-energy routine, the entire cast and crew were seen on their feet using the sign of ‘applause’ with Tess Daly continuing their breakdown by continuing to speak to them using British Sign Language. 

      ​​She told Rose: ”Congratulations, you really do make a great team.”  

      The actress was also seen teaching Giovanni how to talk to her by teaching him a few words in sign language. 

      Fans were emotional by the effort the team had gone to to make sure that Rose feels as included as possible. 

      Speaking on Twitter, one fan wrote “The effort everyone is making to sign for Rose on [Strictly] is lovely. She was incredible and I love her partnership with [Giovanni] I do think having the interpreter visible for all of us would show more inclusivity.” 

      “Big fan of people other than Giovanni learning some basic sign to talk to Rose, that’s how it should always be,” said another. 

      A third added: “So impressed with Rose and so important to see sign language on TVs biggest show!” 

      Rose made history as the show's first deaf contestant Credit: BBC
    • Milica Cosic

      Fan fury at 'free pass'

      Strictly fans have been left fuming after Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden got a "free pass" into the third week of the show after a Covid rule-change.

      The 36-year-old McFly star and his professional dance partner confirmed yesterday that they had both tested positive for coronavirus.

      As a result, they will miss this Saturday's live show but have confirmed they will be back with a bang the following weekend.

      But Strictly viewers have accused the series of double standards – recalling how the show's first ever same-sex couple were disqualified last year when they tested positive for coronavirus.

      Nicola Adams and her professional dance partner Katya Jones were forced out of the competition following their tests.

      Taking to Twitter, one angry fan wrote: "Nicola being kicked off but Tom getting to stay another week doesn't sit right with me."

      Another echoed: "Why was Nicola kicked off but Tom gets to stay despite both testing positive for Covid? Seems a bit unfair."

      A third agreed: "Last year Katya and Nicola was kicked off #Strictly so why doesn’t the same rules apply to Amy and Tom this year?"

    • Milica Cosic

      Recap: Best bits of Week One

      • Strictly's AJ Odudu tops leaderboard on week 1 after 'best jive ever'
      • First all-male pair score a standing ovation
      • Adam Peaty goes for gold – scoring an impressive 30
      • Fans complimented Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin's chemistry

      Who performs the songs on Strictly Come Dancing?

      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.

      David 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 productions of the Royal Variety Performance show on ITV as well as shows like Popstar To Operastar.

      Rylan Clark-Neal prepares for return

      Rylan took a huge step back from the public eye in May, telling The Sun that he was "seeking help" and "not in a good place".

      He said in a statement at the time: "I have made a number of mistakes which I deeply regret and have inevitably led to the breakdown of our marriage.

      "I have taken time away from work as I am not in a good place at the moment and am seeking help.

      "I am trying to take each day at a time and would like to say thank you to everyone for their support and for respecting our privacy at this time.”

      At the weekend, it was reported that the 32-year-old star had called time on his six-year marriage after efforts to save it fell flat.

      However, the TV favourite is refusing to dwell on it, and took to his Instagram Story to share his excitement at returning to Strictly's sister show.

      Read more here.

      • Milica Cosic

        “The narrative they push is so dangerous”

        Strictly’s anti-vax dancers told not having jab is ‘killing people’ after man loses parents and brother to Covid.

        Francis Goncalves lost his brother, Shaul, 40, dad Basil, 70 and mum Charmagne, 65, within a week after they caught the virus at a family dinner.

        Francis, 43, slammed the Strictly dancers’ decision.

        He blasted: “It’s so damaging when you have people who can influence millions of people who are taking this stance.

        “They’re making decisions without looking at the facts.

        “It’s such a selfish attitude and it’s very irresponsible.

        “These people think the world revolves around them.

        “The narrative they push is so dangerous and it’s killing people.”

      • Milica Cosic

        Unjabbed could ruin Strictly

        Anton Du Beke says unjabbed dancers who accidentally spread Covid backstage could cause “the end” of Strictly.

        The new judge, 55, warned a coronavirus outbreak behind-the-scenes would cause the nineteenth series of the hit show to be pulled off air

        Speaking on Good Morning Britain earlier today after The Sun revealed three professionals dancers had refused the life-saving vaccine, Anton said: “In all seriousness I don’t know (who is unjabbed) because I’m not a pro anymore so I’m not involved in the group.

        “Everyone’s keeping their distance and wearing masks and everything’s geared up like we’re in the grip of the pandemic.

        “It’s all taken seriously and everyone’s following government advice. If something spreads through the group then it’s the end of the show.

        “Everyone wants it to work because of all their hard work. I can’t wait for the first show.”

      • Milica Cosic

        Who is Tom Fletcher?

        Tom Fletcher was born on July 17, 1985, and grew up in Harrow, North West London.

        The 36-year-old attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School, in Marble Arch.

        Tom’s younger sister, singer Carrie Hope Fletcher, starred as Eponine in Les Miserables – and is now producing vlogs for YouTube.

        Tom’s first big break came when he was 10 – and starred in Oliver! at the London Palladium.

        He then joined band McFly in 2004 and they quickly rose to success.

        Tom has written the majority of the group’s songs, and has also penned hit singles for One Direction, The Vamps and the London 2012 Olympics.

        In 2013, it was announced that McFly and Busted (minus Charlie) would join forces and tour as McBusted.

        The group lasted two years before parting ways, while McFly returned to the stage in September 2016.

      • Milica Cosic

        John Whaite's 'annoying habit'

        Johannes Radebe and John Whaite have made history as the BBC show's first all-male couple, and will take to the floor tonight for the first time.

        While Johannes and John are thrilled to be paired up, Johannes admitted in a chat with The Sun's TV Mag for its 80-page Strictly Special that John could have a habit that will become a bit wearing.

        He said: "I’ve got to be honest, he did say that he thinks he’s going to drive me bonkers.

        "We’ve just sat outside for a few minutes waiting to talk to you and he hasn’t stopped counting and clicking."

        The pair are making history as the show's first all-male couple Credit: BBC

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