The cast of Strictly 2022 returned to the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom following a three-year hiatus, and the judges branded it one of the closest-fought dance-offs in the show’s history, with both couples’ dances originally scoring 35.
The Kiss FM DJ and professional partner Dianne Buswell performed their Salsa to a megamix of KC & The Sunshine Band’s greatest hits, while singer Molly and partner Carlos Gu danced their Jive to Bandstand by Barry Manilow once more in a week where Fleur East topped the leaderboard with the first perfect score of 40.
After both couples had performed again, the judges gave their verdicts, which ultimately saved Molly and Carlos, leaving fans gutted for Tyler and Dianne.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who had made an unpopular dig at Tyler on Saturday night, admitted: ‘Wow, both couples danced so much better, they really did. Tyler, incredible hips this time round, amazing. Molly, lighter, brighter, much more precise.
‘I am finding this really difficult for the first time this season, but I would like to save Molly and Carlos.’
Motsi Mabuse added: ‘Yes, both couples were better in this performance, I’ve based my decision because [sic] of technique, styles and presentation and I am going to save Molly and Carlos.’
Anton Du Beke, however, opted to save Tyler and Dianne in the series’ first split decision.
‘This is a testament to how incredible all the couples are, at this point of the competition,’ he commented.
‘We have a situation here, where neither of these couples in competition deserve to be here, whereas they could have easily made the final. For me, brilliant performance by both the couples, but one of them was more dynamic, so the couple I would like to save is Tyler and Dianne.’
With two votes to Molly and Carlos, the final decision was in the hands of head judge Shirley Ballas and her casting vote.
Shirley said it was ‘one of the most difficult dance-offs that we’ve ever, ever had to choose [between]’, before opting to save Molly and Carlos.
When asked by presenter Tess Daly about his Strictly journey, Tyler said: ‘I’m more than a two step now! When you watch the show at home, you wonder what it must be like to dance on it, it’s everything and more, it’s changed my life.’
Addressing his partner Dianne, he continued: ‘This girl here, has changed my life. To think I was some shy kid who never used to talk to anyone, to dancing in front of millions, I can’t put it into words. It’s my mum’s favourite show, I bought her to Blackpool, my nan bless her was always watching over me on this journey.
‘But more importantly this show has changed my life in the sense it’s given me confidence, a new found family as well, every dancer, everyone in hair and make-up, costume.
‘Even the judges as well, it’s been amazing to dance in front of you every week, I genuinely mean that. But this girl here, I have been blessed with the best, she is what Strictly is about and she’s changed my life, I have no doubt she will be in in my life forever.’
Fans were devastated to see Dianne and Tyler go after such a strong run on the show and a fabulous original performance on Saturday, which earned them a clutch of 9s.
‘Tyler was robbed. Definitely final material,’ tweeted one fan, while another added: ‘Sorry to see him leave – I had him in the final.’
‘Ohhhhh I really wanted TyDi to get to the final,’ shared another viewer rooting for them.
‘Going out after a 35 though, this series is RIDICULOUS. I hope he’s as proud of himself as we all are watching at home. Keeeeep dancing!’
A tearful Dianne also issued some kind words for Tyler as they exited the show, hailing him an ‘absolute joy to work with.’
‘You are such a talent, you really are and you should feel so proud,’ she said.
‘I am so proud of you, your family are so proud and your nan is so proud of you. Thank you so much for everything.’
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 7.15pm on BBC One.