The pair, who performed the paso double to Eye of the Tiger from hit movie Rocky, scored only 19 points from the judges for their routine, which put them one point below their fellow dance-off competitors, chef Ainsley Harriott and Natalie Lowe. Sadly for Anthony, the judges were unanimously in the chef’s corner.
The 26-year-old middleweight boxer, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics and silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, admitted that he had been “half expecting” to be in the drop zone. “I’ll try hard and give it one last effort,” he said after his name was announced, adding: “Hopefully, it might get us over the line.” It didn’t, but Anthony said “he’d had the most amazing time” and Oti declared her partner “awesome and a brilliant friend.”
In the end, Ainsley and Natalie upped their game and the chef remains in the mix for next week. Ainsley admitted there had been mistakes in his routine “that he wanted to put right for Natalie and do justice to her work”.
As Anthony left the ring, however, many of the remaining contestants breathed a sigh of relief, Carol Kirkwood among them. The weather presenter and her partner Pasha had been at the bottom of the leaderboard after a lacklustre quickstep, but Strictly voters kept the sun shining for the BBC Breakfast favourite. Question is: if she faces another tsunami of criticism next week will viewers keep her safe again?