Strictly’s sweetest pair pay tribute to their time together ahead of the final

In this week’s instalment of things that make us go ‘Awww!’, Strictly Come Dancing professional Giovanni Pernice told press that working with his partner, actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, has been “joyful”.

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‘For me, the highlight has been spending every single day in the studio with Rose because of the positivity and the happiness I’ve had every single day for 14 weeks,’ he said. ‘It’s the first time I’ve said I don’t want this to finish,’ he added, referring to the series coming to an end this weekend with the final tomorrow night (Saturday 18th December). 

As the first deaf contestant to take part in the dance competition, Rose has not only made history, but she’s also inspired many to take up sign language and many more to try things they thought were outside their capabilities, challenging the misconceptions that deaf people can’t enjoy music, keep a beat or dance.

‘Rose really wants to learn the dance, she really wants to get the dance right – it’s fantastic and rewarding,’ says Giovanni of her determination. ‘When I watch it back, I forget that she’s deaf because of how she dances – like a professional right now. So I am a very, very proud teacher, but more than anything I am happy that I discovered a fantastic friend for life.’

Rose also praised Giovanni’s approach to her training, which he admitted early in the series was unlike anything he’d had to do before. ‘He’s learned so much, he’s literally come to my world and accepted who I am and how I learn things, and adjusted his teaching around that and it worked so well,’ she said. ‘Sometimes when things don’t work, he solves them and goes “OK, that didn’t work, let’s try something else” rather than trying to get me to work. He adjusts it and I think that’s why he’s a fantastic teacher.’

This weekend, they will be up against  John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe, after AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington were sadly forced to pull out. On Tuesday, host of Strictly It Takes Two Rylan Clark hinted that Rose and Giovanni will be performing their moving ‘couple’s choice dance’ – in which viewers were moved by the music cutting out and the dance carrying on – once again for the final.

It’s been a tough week for contestants: as well as AJ’s injury, the first same-sex couple to make the final, John and Johannes have been the victims of ongoing homophobia and Tilly Ramsay has had to drop out of returning for the group dance after testing positive for Covid-19. But – as they say – the show must go on, and we can’t wait to see this much-loved Strictly couple back on the dance floor.