Tameka Empson makes a surprise exit from Strictly Come Dancing

EastEnders actress Tameka Empson became the second celebrity to leave Strictly 2016, but judge Len Goodman said she shouldn't have been in the dance-off

There is to be no happy Hollywood ending for Tameka Empson as she became the second celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing after giving it her all during Movie Week.

The EastEnders actress and her professional partner Gorka Marquez were in the bottom two, along with TV presenter Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice, after their scores from the judges were combined with results of the viewer vote.

Tameka said it ‘feels gutting’ to leave the competition in the third week, and she was ‘really enjoying’ the experience.

Tameka Empson
Tameka Empson on Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC)


She said: “I did have injuries today but I didn’t really want to focus on that, but it was always going to be tough in the whole competition, but I’m really gutted that I’m leaving today.”

Tameka and Gorka again performed their Movie Week dance, a tango to The Heat Is On from Beverly Hills Cop, while Laura and Giovanni repeated their salsa to Moulin Rouge’s Rhythm Of The Night.

The judges were left to make the final decision, with Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman opting to keep Laura in the show.


Darcey Bussell voted in Tameka’s favour, although she praised both couples for ‘cleaning up’ their dance routines.

She said: “For me, because it was a stronger focus and intent into the performance, I am going to save Tameka and Gorka.”

Craig struggled to choose between Laura and Tameka, who were in fifth and sixth place on the leader board respectively.

He said: “This is a little bit of a nightmare. To be honest I can normally make a very clear decision, but both couples were extraordinary. One couple really flew through the routine better than they had previously and the other couple I thought even bettered that. And the couple I thought bettered that was Laura and Giovanni.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice (Guy Levy/BBC)


Bruno praised the women as ‘fantastic’, but said Laura’s dance was a ‘standout’ out of the two performances.

Len said that, in his opinion, ‘neither should be in the dance-off’, before casting the deciding vote to save Laura.

Tameka told presenter Tess Daly: “I have enjoyed my time immensely, I really have. The costume, the hair, everybody. There are just so many people.

“Every department shows a lot of love, and you guys watch it at home, but it’s really lovely to be a part of it and I’m grateful, so thank you.”

This was the first time in the current series that there has been a dance-off. Last week’s episode saw radio DJ Melvin Odoom leave the show after receiving the fewest public votes.

Fellow bottom two contender Anastacia was forced to pull out of the dance-off due to sustaining an injury during her earlier dance.

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Tameka and Gorka (Guy Levy/BBC)


The results programme also included a performance from singers Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, with a rendition of West Side Story song Somewhere.


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