Under-spiced salsa birthday blow for Paralympic champion Jody Cundy

Paralympic champion Jody Cundy said he’s had an “absolute blast” on Strictly Come Dancing, as he became the third star to be eliminated.

The athlete, who celebrated his 45th birthday during Saturday’s live show, last night ended up in the dance-off against 40-year-old comic Eddie Kadi.

His salsa with professional partner Jowita Przystal was filled with dramatic lifts and flips, soundtracked by Bellini’s Samba de Janeiro. But it received a lacklustre 19 points from the judges.

Eddie and his partner Karen Hauer performed an American Smooth to Sir Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb – and after the dance-off, the panel unanimously decided to keep them in the contest.

Craig Revel Horwood praised their “improvement and musicality”, while Motsi Mabuse said she felt they were the “much stronger” couple.

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Anton Du Beke said: “I thought one couple danced very well and one couple had a bit of an off night, there were a couple of mistakes there.” Head judge Shirley Ballas then cast her vote for Eddie and Karen, too.

Eight-time gold medal winner Jody said: “When I signed up for this I thought, ‘What an earth am I signing up for?’

“But I loved just being able to dance and do something I’ve never done before and get completely out of my comfort zone and with this amazing person.”

He praised his dance partner for having “so much energy” during rehearsals and never “losing faith” in his ability. Polish dancer Jowita, who won last year’s series with Hamza Yassin, said: “I can’t even describe how proud I am of you Jody because from day one till now, it’s enormous improvement.

“And I hope from now on, when you go out, when you hear the music, you’re not going to hide anywhere. You’re going to go on that dancefloor and you’re going to give it your all.”

Cyclist Jody had revealed “fears” he might have to pull out of the show after a leg infection two weeks ago.

Actor Layton Williams broke a score record for the series so far, earning 37 out of 40 on Saturday.

  • Strictly returns with 12 couples left next Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.

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