Ellie Simmonds has been eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing.
The Paralympic swimming champion said her time on the BBC ballroom show has been "life-changing" as she became the sixth contestant to be eliminated from the competition. But before facing the judging panel for a final time, viewers also picked up on a sweet three-word message from Ellie to her dance partner Nikita Kuzmin.
The 27-year-old performed a lively Charleston on this week's BBC show. And as Ellie hugged her professional dancing partner after they had finished the routine, she turned to him for some reassurance ahead of the judges' comments.
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The Paralympian was caught asking him: "Was that okay?" Nikita was seen smiling and nodding in response as they continued to hug.
However, winning the competition was not to be for the Paralympian. It was a unanimous decision by the judges to save Molly Rainford, sending Ellie and Nikita packing.
Craig Revel Horwood said: "Well the couple I'd like to save are a couple that I think danced better than they did on Saturday night in this particular dance-off, and that couple is Molly and Carlos." Motsi Mabuse praised both couples, saying they "danced exceptionally well", and Anton Du Beke said it was a "terrific dance-off", but both felt Molly and her partner had the edge.
With three votes to Molly and Carlos Gu, it meant they had won the majority vote and would be staying in the competition regardless, but head judge Ballas also said she would have saved the pair. She said: "Well it was one of the best dance-offs I think I've ever seen, but again the performance was a little bit stronger in this dance-off and I would have awarded it to Molly and Carlos."
Reflecting on her time on the show, Simmonds 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."
She praised the Strictly team, including the professional dancers and those behind the scenes, saying: "I've literally loved waking up every single day and dancing, I'm going to dance forever."
Turning to her partner, she added: "He's (Nikita) changed my life. We've had the most amazing days. We've had not just dancing days - but days we've just spoken for hours.
"And the confidence you've given me - I seem confident but you know what I'm like, I worry about everything so, so much and we've literally represented everything. We went out there and danced our life out every single night and I loved it so much."
Nikita 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 said: "She has taught me so, so much, so much empathy, just so much, I've learnt so much in these seven weeks.
"I really wanted to go with you to Blackpool, I think we should go there for the rides? I love you Els, I just want to tell you every single person in this room loves you.
"That is just to say how much of a beautiful human you are, you spend time to go to each person inside this room, you care about everybody, you are just such a wonderful human and I am so glad I've had the chance to dance with you."
The remaining nine couples will take to the dancefloor next when Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 6.55pm, with the results show on Sunday at 7.20pm on BBC One.
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