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John Whaite and Johannes Radebe reveal message behind their semi-final dance

Johannes Radebe and John Whaite in Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC)
Johannes Radebe and John Whaite in Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing pair John Whaite and Johannes Radebe have revealed that their couples choice routine will pay tribute to everyone who has supported them in their journey.

Professional dancer Radebe, 34, and former Bake Off winner Whaite, 32, made history this year by becoming the first all-male pairing on the BBC One dancing series.

They have made it through to the semi-finals this weekend, where the remaining four couples will perform two routines.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Whaite said: “So for our couples choice we’re doing it to Adele’s Hometown Glory, and what Johannes and I realised since we met each other and became dance partners and now lifelong friends is that we share history.

“Growing up with the shame of being gay, the shame of not being accepted by society, by people telling us to be more masculine, you know, people trying to shoehorn us into the notion of being a man and so we wanted to do this dance to say a huge thank you to the people who allowed us to not be shoehorned, to not be silenced.

“The people who supported us and held us up when we needed holding up, the people who have paved the way the older members of the LGBTQ+ community who paved the way to enable two burly blokes, well, burly-ish, to go on Saturday night TV, on primetime television, you know as Johannes said, society has been so progressive, western society at least is so progressive and so we want to dedicate this dance to everybody who made this happen basically.”

Strictly stars Johannes Radebe and John Whaite (Guy Levy/BBC)

During Saturday night’s quarter-final, the couple had a dramatic ending to their salsa routine performed to We Are Family when their final lift went awry.

Radebe gave Whaite the wrong angle of his hand for the lift, meaning it ended with Radebe dropping to the floor with more force than intended.

Whaite told BBC presenters Dan Walker and Sally Nugent: “I think I’m still traumatised from it actually I can still, when I close my eyes, I can still hear Johannes hit the floor with an almighty thud… I can still feel the vibrations in my knees.

“I think I always panic that if something like that happened on Strictly I would just crumble into a devastated mess. But actually it was so funny.

“And you know, it shows that we are humans, we’re taking risks, we’re vulnerable. And people love that, you know, it’s just, it’s a bit daft, isn’t it? That’s the main thing, is (it’s) a bit of daftness on a cold Saturday night for folk at home.”

The pair ended up with a score of 32, leaving them third on the leaderboard, with the top two couples being Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu and Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice on scores of 39.

Walker and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were sent home after landing in the dance off alongside AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington.

– The Strictly Come Dancing semi-final airs on December 11 at 7.05pm, with the results show on December 12 at 7.20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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