Pasha Kovalev bid farewell to Strictly Come Dancing as he performed on air for the final time alongside his “Strictly family” on The Greatest Dancer.
The Latin and ballroom expert competed in four finals and lifted the glitterball trophy once, with Love Island host Caroline Flack in 2014.
But on Wednesday the Russian announced his departure from the BBC One show, telling fans it was “time for me to find a new challenge”.
In a high-octane routine ending Saturday’s penultimate episode of the series, Kovalev danced alongside fellow professionals Dianne Buswell, Neil Jones and Graziano Di Prima.
After the routine, Kovalev was asked by host Jordan Banjo: “Pasha, obviously this was a very special performance for you tonight. Why is that? Let everyone know?”
He replied: “Oh yes, of course. As you might know, 2018 was my last year of Strictly but I am so, so excited to be here and share the stage with my Strictly family for one more time.”
They were joined by The Greatest Dancer’s dance captains: Cheryl, Matthew Morrison and Strictly professional Oti Mabuse.
The medley featured songs such as Dance Off by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Idris Elba and Run Boy Run by Woodkid.
It culminated in a Latin-style solo by Kovalev and Cheryl.
Kovalev will not return for this year’s series of the flagship BBC One programme but will appear on the Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals tour this spring.
Two acts – Frobacks and the Dane Bates Collective – were booted off the show this week in a double elimination.
Next week each act will dance twice with one of those dances involving their dance captain.
The winner of the show will have the chance to perform on the next series of Strictly.