Nikita Kuzmin has been flooded with praise as he paid tribute to Ellie Simmonds following their exit from Strictly Come Dancing. The professional dancer broke his silence on Sunday night (November 6) after they became the sixth couple to be eliminated from the BBC One dance contest.
Paralympic swimming champion Ellie and pro Nikita once again performed their lively Charleston to Too Darn Hot from Kiss Me Kate in a bid to impress the judges and stay another week in the competition.
The pair were up against singer and CBBC star Molly Rainford who found herself in the bottom two again alongside professional partner Carlos Gu despite receiving an impressive 35 out of a possible 40 points from the judges on Saturday night.
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The couple fell under the dreaded 'red light of doom' and had to reprise their foxtrot to You Make Me Happy by My Sun and My Stars.
And despite securing a solid score of 33 on Saturday night with the audience and some of the judges on their feet following the routine, which had multiple spins and lifts, Ellie became the sixth contestant to be eliminated from Strictly 2022.
Reflecting on her time on the show five-time Paralympic gold medallist and broadcaster Ellie said: "I’ve literally had the time of my life. It’s been the most incredible experience – life-changing really. I want to thank Nikita ever so much. I’m going to miss him – he’s changed my life and confidence."
There were then tears as an emotional Nikita paid tribute to his 2022 dance partner. He admitted he was "a bit disappointed" to be leaving as he wanted Ellie to have more time on the show, but added that he was "really happy" that this journey had been with her.
He then took to social media to see a string of photos of the pair from during the competition, backstage and at recent award nights they attended together while Ellie stayed silent on their exit. "Didn’t want to write this so early, but here we go…" Nikita started his post.
"Our Strictly journey came to an end. Earlier than we wanted, but boy I’ve loved every single moment with you. You’re the most beautiful, pure, sincere, genuine, loving human. I may have taught you dancing but you taught me so much about compassion, sincerity, love and so much about about life. Keep doing incredible things the way you do.
"This has been without a doubt one of my most special times in my life. You’ve inspired me as a choreographer as well as inspiring me in life. I am beyond grateful for every single second that I got to spent with you. Not sure what I’ll do without you talking to me non stop for a whole day."
Adding more bolstering words, the Ukrainian dancer typed: "REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE SIMMONDS! KEEP PROVING EVERYONE WRONG THE WAY YOU LOVE TO DO IT. I will miss you so much and I love you @elliesimmonds #teamelita."
The compliments and love soon came flooding in for the pair and Nikita in particular was praised with an echo of the same comments. Gorka Marquez said: "You guys were a joy to watch!! @nikita__kuzmin i am so proud of you and what you did this series!! You are a talented man and a true gentelman!"
Katya Jones wrote: "Beautiful words Nikita!!!! You two have pushed boundaries beyond expectations. And yes we all love you @elliesimmonds!" Head judge Shirley Ballas posted: "@nikita__kuzmin so proud of you and the joy you bought to @elliesimmonds you both danced so beautiful and showed the world dance is for everyone."
Amy Dowden penned "So proud of you @nikita__kuzmin you and @elliesimmonds made such a beautiful partnerships and performances."
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