Entertainment & Arts

Strictly: Aston's exit shocks fans but who's to blame?

Janette Manrara and Aston Merrygold
Image caption Aston had enjoyed some of the highest scores of the series in previous weeks

Strictly fans are calling it the biggest shock in the show's history following the exit of Aston Merrygold on Sunday's show.

Aston landed a score of four from judge Craig Revel Horwood and found himself second bottom on the leaderboard with partner Janette Manrara.

After the public vote, the pair ended up in the dance-off alongside Mollie King and partner AJ Pritchard.

Head judge Shirley Ballas chose to save Mollie and AJ.

Aston and Janette performed a Viennese waltz, while Mollie and AJ danced the foxtrot.

Who's to blame?

Despite the public vote being responsible for who ends up in the dance-off, fans took aim at Craig, Shirley and Janette for Aston's early demise.

Former judge on the show, Alesha Dixon, was one of those fans.

Shirley also came in for criticism, with some saying: "I reckon #ShirleyBallas may be finishing off the show for good! We need #Len AGAIN!" although others defended her, with one fan describing the head judge as "a class act."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Shirley replaced Len Goodman as head judge earlier this year

Some pointed out that people couldn't moan if they hadn't bothered to vote.

One fan questioned the "lousy choreography" of Aston and Janette's dance and the decision to do a "Viennese waltz in a Michael Jackson costume".

But others laid the blame firmly at Aston's door.

Strictly champion Harry Judd wrote that while a score of four from Craig was too low, Aston didn't do himself any favours.

Gabby Logan empathised with Aston - she caused a stir when she was sent home from the show back in 2007 after a dance-off with Penny Lancaster.

Aston himself has been upbeat about his exit, saying "life is great, I'm gutted obviously but... I'm not sad that it's over, I'm happy that it got to happen!"

But BBC reporter Betty Redondo said: "There was a palpable shock among all the other contestants,".

The official BBC Strictly Twitter account even posted: "Gone too soon", and ran clips of the other celebrity contestants, seemingly bewildered by the decision.

"I was crying my eyes out... I can't believe they're gone," said fellow contestant Debbie McGee.

Alexandra Burke's dance partner Gorka Marquez admitted he was "heart-broken" to see the pair leave.

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