Strictly Come Dancing’s dance-off has been axed, giving the public vote greater weight than the judge’s scores in Saturday’s semi-final.

Previously the two couples with the lowest combined score would face the judges again for a head-to-head dance-off, with the losing pair booted off the show.

However, this weekend the couple with the lowest combined score will leave the show immediately and, in the case of a tie, the public vote takes precedence.

It could be good news for BBC sports presenter Chris Hollins, who has scored better with the public than with the judges.

However it may be bad for Ricky Whittle, who has impressed the judges, but failed to win over the viewers at home in the past couple of weeks.

The decision was announced on Monday night on BBC2 spin-off show It Takes Two.

Host Claudia Winkleman said: “In a very exciting move on Saturday night there is no dance-off, none.”

Judge Alesha Dixon said: “It takes the power away from us.”

Her fellow judge Bruno Tonioli agreed: “I think at this stage it is actually quite wise because there are only three and the difference is going to be minuscule and I think the public will have a very important say whatever we score them.”

Usually four couples would compete in the semi-final, but with the withdrawal of Olympic athlete Jade Johnson after a knee injury just three celebrities remain.

The third celebrity battling it out on the BBC dance show is The Bill actress Ali Bastian.