Giovanni Pernice ignores ‘upset’ claims as he returns for Strictly final routine

BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Giovanni Pernice thrilled viewers with his return to the show dancing in tonight's live final.

Ignoring reports he was 'upset' ahead of the show's last episode of the series, Giovanni put on a smouldering display in the show's opening dance number. Joined by the other Strictly pros, Giovanni tore across the floor to friendly cheers and then escorted head judge Shirley Ballas across the dance floor to her seat.

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The Italian pro dancer had to leave the BBC show earlier this year when his celebrity dancer partner Amanda Abbington suddenly quit, but returned to the programme on Saturday night for the live final. Giovanni was reported by OK! Online to have taken Amanda's exit from the BBC competition "hard".

During their on-screen partnership they were dogged by reports alleging they didn't see eye-to-eye and clashed behind-the-scenes. Speaking to new! via OK! Magazine, a source said: “Amanda’s exit has been “quite a shock” for Gio, who won the show back in 2021 when paired with Rose Ayling-Ellis and is very popular with its viewers."

Show chiefs are said to have done "everything they could to support" the BBC Sherlock actress and also during her exit – which was reportedly for "personal reasons" – but the magazine source said having to pull out earlier than expected has been “quite hard” for Giovanni. Some viewers had tipped them in the first few weeks to go all the whole way to the final especially as Amanda is an excellent dancer.

They claimed: “Giovanni is obviously upset that he’s no longer in the running for the trophy, but the whole situation has been quite hard for him to take in. He’s devastated.” Some fans optimistically had hoped Giovanni would reunite with Amanda on Saturday evening but hopes were dashed after she reportedly refused to attend the final.

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Amanda broke her silence earlier today (December 16). She posted on Instagram, wishing the finalists taking part tonight “good luck”. She also called them “beautiful humans”. At the time of her exit, Amanda opted to leave Giovanni out of her statement and said: “I’m so sad that I am unable to go any further.”

Amanda told fans on social media: “It is with deepest regret that I had to leave Strictly. I did not come to this decision easily or lightly but for personal reasons I am unable to continue.” Giovanni wrote on social media in the wake of her decision: “I am so sad we can’t continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love."

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