Welwyn Garden City’s David James takes his last dance on Strictly Come Dancing
- Credit: BBC/Guy Levy
Welwyn Garden City’s former England goalkeeper David James was finally shown the red card on Strictly Come Dancing tonight after facing another dance-off.
The 49-year-old former Watford, Aston Villa, Liverpool, West Ham United, Portsmouth and Manchester City footballer finished bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday night.
He scored just 16 points from Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro for his jive to Such A Night by Michael Buble.
And when the public vote was added to the judges' scores, James and pro partner Nadiya Bychkova found themselves facing the dreaded dance-off for the third time in four weeks in tonight's Sunday results show.
Also finishing in the bottom two after Saturday's fifth live Strictly show of the 2019 series were BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell and Katya Jones.
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They scored 21 for their Samba to Jump On It by The Sugarhill Gang.
However, Mike and Katya did enough in the dance-off for the judges to save them.
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That meant the judging panel finally gave WGC's ex-international footballer David James the boot, and he took one final twirl on the dancefloor with Nadiya before saying farewell to Strictly.
Paying tribute to her dance partner on the show, Nadiya said backstage: "I learnt so much from you.
"It was... it was a pleasure to be your partner."
David replied: "Well, I can't... I can't thank you enough."
He added: "It would have been nice to have been the amazing student who got to the final, but..."
Nadiya replied: "You were an amazing student, and it's not only about the final, it's about the journey, and ours was beautiful."
Posting on her Instagram page, Nadiya later wrote: "What an amazing man. Thank you so much @davidjamesofficial for such a beautiful journey.
"I loved every moment of it, our long long hours of rehearsals. Loved every chat we had, I learned so much from you.
"Loved watching you improve and falling in love with dancing. Loved watching you enjoying the dances you were so scared of.
"The improvement you showed on @bbcstrictly was absolutely amazing and this is what this show is about.
"I'm so so proud of you, it was an honour to have you as a partner. Thank you for everything. Love, Nadiya"
David James also posted an emotional message on his Instagram page davidjamesofficial saying dancing on Strictly had given him the "confidence" to perform in front of millions.
He wrote: "Thank you @bbcstrictly and especially @nadiyabychkova, you were the best partner and best teacher.
"You got me to fall in love with dancing, giving me confidence to perform in front of millions, with a smile on my face.
"I felt so bad that I was unable to take you further in the show, I know how much it means to you too.
"Remember this, I was scared to do things, you had faith and belief in me, I can't thank you enough.
"Our journey was beautiful."
After the dance-off, David James' dance-off rival Mike Bushell said: "I really feel for David and Nadiya.
"They did brilliantly, and it could have been either of us."
Fellow contestants and pro dancers also congratulated David on his Strictly journey from a complete beginner.
Professional Amy Dowden said: "He's a true gentleman, and Nadiya just did such a brilliant job.
"She really transformed him into the dancer he is."
Former Arsenal footballer Alex Scott said: "I've known him from football, in that environment, so to be in this dancing arena with him, seeing him giving it his all... he loved every moment of it. He did."
She added: "I'm just going to miss my teammate being around."
David James also receive support from former Spanish international footballer Gaizka Mendieta, who said "you did great", and retired French international Christian Karembeu, who posted "I am proud of you jammy!!!".
While Hertfordshire pair Mike Bushell and David James faced a shoot-out for survival on tonight's show, ex-England Lionesses defender Alex Scott and professional dance partner Neil Jones scored their highest marks of the season last night.
They totalled 33 points for their Charleston to Pump Up the Jam on Saturday's live show.
That placed former Welwyn Garden City resident Alex joint fourth on the leaderboard alongside ex-Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse.
Social media star Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard's Foxtrot to New York, New York by Frank Sinatra topped last night's leaderboard with 38 points from the judges, including a maximum 10 from guest Alfonso Ribeiro, who stood in for Bruno Tonioli.
In joint second place with 36 points were CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual and Welsh pro Amy Dowden with their canine-inspired Salsa to Who Let the Dogs Out by Baha Men, and Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaž Skorjanec, who Viennese Waltzed to Whitney Houston classic Saving All My Love for You.