Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell has become the third celebrity to waltz out of Strictly Come Dancing, but says it was “the right time for me to go”.
O’Donnell, 53, and his partner Kristina Rihanoff faced sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher and Brendan Cole in the dance-off, but mistakes in the routine saw O’Donnell being sent home.
He and Rihanoff performed the American Smooth to Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon and the star admitted: “I forgot everything in the dance-off, my feel stuck to the floor.
“I’ve had a great time, I have enjoyed the show, to have been asked to go on it was amazing,” he said.
“And to just have taken part, it’s going to be lovely to look back and say ‘I was on that show.’”
He admitted his nerves got the better of him, and said he was surprised at how nervous he got each week.
“I’ve done shows for so many years and have been on stage, it kind of took me by surprise, but I suppose I was out of my comfort zone and that’s why I felt so nervous,” he explained.
Fans from Ireland can’t vote for Strictly Come Dancing contestants, but O’Donnell didn’t feel that was a contributing factor to him leaving.
“I don’t think there’s any issue there at all, the show is based in the UK, you know it’s based here in the UK and it’s a UK show. If anything I suppose it would be unfair if one person from Ireland was in a show and everybody else was from the UK and all of the votes, or most of the votes (from Ireland) were going for me,” he said.
Earlier in the week, Rihanoff blasted a report that claimed she’d branded O’Donnell “an old man” and said he was unlikely to win.
She wrote on Twitter: “Everyone knows how much we enjoy working together! Rude journalism.”
Talking about the incident, O’Donnell said: “What can you do, things are going to be written - it certainly didn’t affect Kristina and myself at all, we just enjoyed learning the dance, doing the dances, and I suppose I would have loved to be able to do better. Somebody has to go every week and this week it was my turn.”
He also added light-heartedly: “I don’t think I’m old!”
In Saturday night’s show, professional dancer Gleb Savchenko whipped his top off, but O’Donnell joked he was “delighted” he’d not be getting his off soon.
“I think I’m doing the world a favour, or maybe the lack of votes is doing the world a favour,” he said.
After dancing off against Gallacher and Cole, who performed their Paso Doble to U2s Beautiful Day, judge Craig Revel Horwood said: “One couple did really, really well in the dance-off and one couple I am afraid made a lot of mistakes.
“I am going for the couple that was the most powerful, and that was Kirsty and Brendan.”
Judges Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli agreed, saying: “I would like to keep the couple that committed less mistakes tonight, and that is Kirsty and Brendan.”
The latest ratings figures show that Strictly continues to dominate Saturday night TV, with the show peaking at 10.6 million viewers, with an average of 9.7 million tuning in.
The remaining 12 couples will take to the dancefloor once more next week when Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 24 October at 6.35pm, with the results show on Sunday 25 October at 7.15pm on BBC One.