Krishnan Guru-Murthy has admitted he was "heartbroken" to leave Strictly Come Dancing this past weekend after losing out in the dance-off.
After finishing at the foot of the leaderboard on Saturday evening, the result of the public vote landed him in the dance-off alongside 79-year-old Angela Rippon.
Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton du Beke opted to save Rippon and her pro partner Kai Widdrington at the expense of Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley - although head judge Shirley Ballas admitted she would've saved him.
The result sparked controversy among BBC viewers despite Guru-Murthy finishing bottom of the leaderboard as a number have claimed Rippon has received preferential treatment - some even going as far to call it a "fix".
Among the uproar caused by the judges' decision was one X user who fumed: "Twice in a dance off and twice making mistakes yet she still goes through? I'm sorry, I love Angela, but if that was anyone else they'd have gone last time. They clearly want Angela at Blackpool no matter what. Krishnan was robbed #Strictly."
While a second echoed the thoughts of many as they weighed in: "I don’t usually go for the #strictly fix narrative, but clearly the BBC wanted to keep Angela in for Blackpool. There’s no other explanation. Krishnan was robbed."
Krishnan Guru-Murthy shared a snap with Lauren Oakley in his exit post
INSTAGRAM/KRISHNAN GURU MURTHY
But Guru-Murthy avoided the controversy as he penned in a farewell statement on Instagram: "That’s all folks. Heartbroken. Thanks for the love and support - I’m so delighted that so many people enjoyed watching us. @bbcstrictly brought me more happiness than I ever imagined.
"It has been life changing and life affirming. There is something about taking big risks, performing, giving it everything, making yourself totally vulnerable and shedding the armour you normally use to survive that is exhilarating, liberating and inspiring.
"Dancing is physically and emotionally unique. I had more fun than should normally be allowed on television. I owe the vast majority of it my stunning dance partner @laurenmayoakley who is brilliant in every way, funny, clever, caring, gorgeous and wise."
Continuing to laud his Strictly partner, he went on: "She taught me with patience and trust, boosted me when I doubted, picked me up when I crumbled.
"If you want to understand the kind of person she is : when dance performance shut down during the pandemic Lauren worked in a care home, she dreams of running an animal sanctuary and she’s so fun she really ought to be presenting children’s (and family) television.
"She is an incredibly talented dancer, choreographer and producer. When we met she said she had one aim : to make me love dance. She succeeded in week one. And somehow we made it to week eight."
Addressing his exit, Guru-Murthy showed there was no bad blood as he added: "It had to come to an end sooner or later - the others were just too good. They’re all lovely and talented. It was a very special team of people to be part of and we look after each other.
"The Strictly production team are the best in entertainment. I’ve never felt more safe in other peoples’ hands. Going to wardrobe (especially wardrobe) and makeup and hair was always a joy. My beautiful wife Lisa supported me perfectly throughout, after being the first person to convince me to do the show. My talented daughter Jasmine cheered me on as only she can, my sceptical rockstar son Jay learned to love Strictly (and Claudia) almost as much as I did.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley lost in the dance-off to Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington
"I don’t quite know what happens now. Re-entry to normal life ain’t easy after something like Strictly. Especially when normal life is something as extraordinary as C4 News. The team there put up with me being semi-detached (to put it mildly) for the last two months. Thanks everyone. See u soon. Xx." (Sic)
Rippon will now join the remaining cast of Strictly 2023 for Blackpool Week this coming weekend in the hopes she'll avoid the dreaded dance-off for a third time.
In response to Guru-Murthy's statement, a number of Strictly stars flocked to the comments to share their messages of support.
Amanda Abbington - who quit the show for "personal reasons" - replied: "You were and are fabulous! Loved watching you both! See you soon for that much anticipated glass of wine. Congratulations on some incredible dancing my friend."
While Angela Scanlon and Ellie Leach both penned the same message as they replied: "We love you," followed by a series of love heart emojis.