DEAF actress Rose Ayling-Ellis is hot favourite to win Strictly after a part-silent performance heralded as the greatest in its history.
Her spellbinding routine with Giovanni Pernice saw the music stop halfway through as the couple continued to dance.
Viewers were reduced to tears as EastEnders star Rose, 26, the show’s first deaf contestant, gave them a “beautiful” insight into hearing loss.
Giovanni, 31, yesterday posted a pic of the dance, adding: “A moment that will remain forever in my heart. You really are a role model.”
At the end of their routine on Saturday night, the Italian told Rose he “loved her” before they received a near-perfect 39 out of 40.
Rose beamed afterwards: “Being deaf, there’s nothing wrong — it’s such a joy to be deaf.”
Judge Anton du Beke fought back tears as he declared: “That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on the show. Congratulations.”
Head judge Shirley Ballas stood up and said it took her to a “much deeper place”, adding: “I’m sure the deaf community will be so proud of you. This is a number that will be etched in my heart for a long time, it was absolutely beautiful.”
It also led to floods of tears in homes around the country. One fan posted online: “No dance on Strictly has ever made me cry so many tears.”
Another wrote: “Rose and Giovanni’s dance has pretty much broken me.”
Before, Maidstone-born Rose took Giovanni to the theatre where she performed as a child, and told how she was dedicating their Couples’ Choice dance to the deaf community.
She told actors at Deafinitely Theatre — the only deaf theatre in the UK: “Acting is changing and it will hopefully have more diversity.”
Rose’s mum Donna said: “To know that my daughter is inspiring others, that makes me emotional because I think that’s amazing.”
🔵 Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest updates
Rose and Giovanni previously scored a perfect 40 for their Halloween-themed tango last month.
Betfair’s Sam Rosbottom told The Sun: “Rose Ayling-Ellis is the overwhelming 3/10 odds-on favourite to win.
"Her closest competition is AJ Odudu, way back at 9/2, suggesting punters think the actress has one hand on the Glitterball trophy.”
‘The media is becoming more inclusive’
By Teri Devine, Associate Director of Inclusion at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People
IF anyone doubted that deaf people can dance, they don’t any more after watching Rose Ayling-Ellis on Strictly.
The media is becoming more inclusive. But there are many improvements needed in the entertainment industry.
The need is there because one in five adults in this country have some form of hearing loss.
Terrestrial TV channels are required to provide subtitles.
But on-demand ones, such as Netflix, don’t and we’re asking people to sign a petition demanding the Government to turn the law into action so all channels offer the option of subtitles.
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