Rose Ayling-Ellis was chosen as the winner of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing in an emotional final.
EastEnders actress and her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice beat former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe to the Glitterball during Saturday’s live show.
Rose, who made Strictly history as the show’s first deaf contestant earlier this year, lifted the trophy after both she and John performed three exercises.
It was one of the most competitive finals in the show’s 17-year history as both couples finished with the same number of points on the jury’s ranking.
Rose and Giovanni and John and Johannes scored 119 points out of a possible 120 after dancing their favorite routine of the series as well as the jury selection before performing a special show dance.
In response to her victory, Giovanni said, “Unbelievable. I have to thank this beautiful young lady who made all of my dreams come true.
“It took me seven years to get this thing and you became the best dancer, the best teammate I could have asked for. You are a dream so thanks for everything.”
Rose said to him, “I just want to say that you are so great, you made me believe in myself more than I believed in myself.
“You are an amazing teacher and wonderful friend and we have been through a lot and I just want you to know that you always have a piece of my heart.”
Earlier that evening, Rose and Giovanni decided to repeat their breathtaking couple’s choice routine with Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson’s Symphony, which danced a section in tribute to the deaf community in silence, as well as their quickstep to Love Is An Open Door by Frozen once again.
In the meantime, John and Johannes have repeated their rumba to Stings Shape Of My Heart as Judges’ Pick and their Paso Doble with the theme Pirates Of The Caribbean from Movie Week as their favorite dance.
After Rose and Giovanni’s victorious Romeo and Juliet-inspired show dance to Bette Middler’s The Rose, Senior Judge Shirley Ballas said, “She melted my heart, the love you have for dancing and for one another will last a lifetime. It will shape my heart forever, thank you for taking part in this competition. “
Anton Du Beke held back tears when he said: “I can’t speak, it’s so beautiful. Forgive me for not looking at you or I’ll cry. “
Finalist AJ Odudu was particularly absent from the final after she and her partner Kai Widdrington had to be eliminated from the competition at 11 a.m. due to an injury to AJ’s foot.
The couple joined all of their competitors from the series in the studio and compared leaving the show to the end of a relationship during a tearful interview with co-host Claudia Winkleman.
Strictly Come Dancing returns on BBC One on Christmas Day at 5:10 p.m. with a special festive episode that will see six brand new celebrities take the floor.
‘Strictly Come Dancing’: All winners