AJ Odudu has said she would rather “stumble” while giving her all in a routine than have an “easy ride”, after she struggled with her final lift during her performance on Strictly Come Dancing.
The TV presenter landed in the dance-off with her professional partner Kai Widdrington after their salsa to Gloria Estefan’s Rhythm Is Gonna Get You placed them at the bottom of the leaderboard.
The couple secured a coveted place in the semi-final after they performed the routine again and received the majority vote from the judging panel, while BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and his partner Nadiya Bychkova were eliminated.
Speaking on Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two, Odudu said: “At the beginning I felt like a pop star. When I was at the top of those stairs in that beautiful dress, I felt like Jennifer Lopez.
“And I got down the stairs, jumped over Kai, looked into his eyes and I was like ‘Right we’re in, let’s salsa our socks off’.
“And then it just slowly went downhill a little bit. I got tangled up.”
She said she and Widdrington had “never once played it safe” and every week she has pushed herself outside her comfort zone.
She added: “I know that was 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 have an easy ride.”
Widdrington agreed, saying: “I’d rather it go wrong and do that than play it safe. So I think it’s good that we push the boundaries with each other.”
The couple explained that they had missed a step before the lift and this had caused the stumble, which saw Odudu’s legs get tangled around Widdrington’s shoulders.
Widdrington added: “I realised if I tried to put her down she would have hit her head, so I thought, I’m just gonna wait for her to climb off my shoulder, and then I will usher her back to her end position.”
Odudu said she was “genuinely so excited and so relieved” to be in the semi-finals this Saturday.
The couple will perform a quickstep to Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman, as well as a rumba to Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee, a Latin number that Odudu has struggled with over the competition.
However, the TV presenter said: “I’m not worried because genuinely being so close to leaving at the weekend has just made me realise how much fun I’m having.
“This whole experience is so magical. I don’t want to be scared of a single dance. I’m seeing it as an absolute massive opportunity to redeem myself and show that I can do Latin dances as well.”
Strictly Come Dancing’s semi-final is on December 11 at 7.05pm with the results show on December 12 at 7.20pm, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.