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Strictly’s AJ and Kai hit back at ‘cheating’ claims after dance-off change

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington have spoken out about the change to their dance off on Strictly Come Dancing that led some fans to accuse them of cheating.

The couple appeared on Strictly’s sister show, It Takes Two, on Tuesday after finding themselves in the dance off on Sunday against Dan Walker and Nadia Bychkova who were the tenth couple to leave the show.

On Saturday night, AJ and Kai found themselves at the bottom of the leader board after the radio presenter got stuck on her professional partner’s shoulder during a complicated lift.

However, when it came to the couple performing their dance again, many fans were left baffled by how different their routine was, with some asking if they had cheated by changing the dance steps.

Speaking to Rylan Clark-Neal on the It Takes Two sofa, the duo explained that they performed the lift perfectly in the dance off, after the disastrous first attempt on Saturday night.

When discussing their first dance on the live show, AJ began: "I felt like a star, but then it all went downhill. I got tangled up, just a cheeky little tangle."

Kai added: "We had incredible choreography last week but I said to them, we don't want to leave it to chance and we would be doing an injustice to AJ if we didn't push the boundaries.

“You would feel the same way because you want to push the boundaries, you want it to be memorable, you don't want it to be just 'okay'."

In spite of their mistake, the pair emphasised that their dance had to be challenging in order to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

AJ said: "We've never once played it safe. Every single dance has been outside of my comfort zones for sure and I know that it's a tough routine because it was challenging for Kai as well. That's when you know, when the pro finds it hard.

"But genuinely I would much rather stumble going for it than just having the ride."

On Saturday night, AJ performed a cartwheel lift, before she put her leg up to Kai to start another lift and it went horribly wrong. AJ ended up hanging upside down with her leg over Kai’s shoulder as he struggled to put her down safely.

When it came to the dance off on Sunday evening, AJ landed the cartwheel lift and then danced away, which led many fans to suggest that the couple had changed their routine to avoid the difficult lift that led to their low scores.

Rylan quizzed the couple about that awkward moment, he asked: “Why were AJ's legs wrapped round your neck, babes?… What actually happened?"

Kai replied: "There's a moment when you're supposed to prep, you're supposed to go out, then roll in.

"And there was no out, so I realised if I tried to put her down she would hit her head so I'm just going to wait for her to climb off my shoulder and then usher her back to her end position."

AJ then confirmed that the couple did the lift perfectly on Sunday night, to her relief.

Rylan said: "But, red light treatment, and you got to do it all again, and you did it and you executed the lift."

AJ added: "It was stressful, I was nervous going into that final lift, so to be able to execute it and show everyone 'this is what it was meant to look like', I was really pleased, I was."

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