‘Really annoyed me’ Naga Munchetty shocked by claims Strictly’s Rose got ‘sympathy vote’

Strictly: 5 Live caller explains impact of Rose Ayling-Ellis win

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Strictly Come Dancing competitor Rose Ayling-Ellis won over the hearts of the public alongside her dance partner Giovanni Pernice on Saturday night. The pair gave three incredible performances and went on to lift the BBC show’s iconic Glitterball trophy. 

This morning BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Naga Munchetty interviewed people who had been moved by the 2021 season, after many branded it Strictly’s “most representative” and “important” final ever. 

Rose was the competition’s first ever deaf contestant, and her win has been an inspiring and momentous achievement for the deaf community.  

Runners-up John Whaite and Johannes Radebe also made waves as the first ever same-sex couple to make it to the final, after Nicola Adams and Katya Jones paved the way last year. 

During her Strictly segment, Naga spoke to mum Claire and her 19-year-old daughter Katie about the final. 

Katie is partially deaf, autistic and suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Sotos syndrome, so seeing the disabled community represented on such an iconic show was very meaningful to both herself and Claire. 

Calling Rose a “brilliant dancer”, Naga spoke to Claire about some of the social media backlash the EastEnders actress had received in spite of her overwhelming popularity. 

“I was going to say it wasn’t the fact… Somebody that I saw on Twitter had put at the weekend that she’d got the sympathy vote,” Claire said. 

“And I went, ‘No, she won because she’s the best dancer on the show!”

“Her dancing was phenomenal so it doesn’t matter whether she was deaf or not. 

“Her dancing spoke volumes,” she concluded, to which Naga responded: “Absolutely.” 

After saying goodbye to Katie and Claire, the BBC Breakfast star could barely contain her anger at the Twitter comment. 

She said: “You know, when Claire just said, ‘Oh well they got the sympathy vote…’ 

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“It really annoyed me that people are saying that.”

Naga went on to praise the BBC for hosting it’s “most diverse” final ever, which included gay dance couple John and Johannes, as well as presenter AJ Odudu before she was forced to pull out due to an injury. 

Blackburn-born AJ previously explained that her humble beginnings meant that her parents could not afford to pay for her to have dance lessons when she was younger. 

The star wowed audiences with her abilities and was a favourite to win the competition, but had to quit just before the final with partner Kai Widdrington after tearing a ligament in her right ankle.

On Saturday night, couples Rose and Giovanni and John and Johannes performed new show dances, as well as two stand-out dances from previous weeks. 

The former duo wowed audiences once more with their incredibly memorable Couple’s Choice dance to Symphony by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson, which featured a moment of silence to show everyone the world from Rose’s point of view.

As Naga interviewed her about the moment, Claire became quite emotional as she admitted the dance allowed her to share her partially-deaf’s daughter experience. 

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special airs Saturday on BBC One at 5.10pm.

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