Strictly Come Dancing viewers were utterly SHOCKED when bookies’ favourite Aston Merrygold was eliminated on Sunday night.
And apparently the shockwaves have continued behind the scenes, with fresh claims even production staff were “horrified” to see the JLS star go home.
A source told The Sun: “Behind the scenes, the crew were left open-mouthed by the decision and feared it would spark a bad reaction from fans.
“Some of the production team were totally horrified and even annoyed to see such a good dancer get the boot when there is so much more of the series left.
“It’s the biggest shock in the show’s history, without a doubt.”
Aston was given his marching orders after ending up in the dance-off against Saturdays star Mollie King.
It was a shock early exit for the boybander, who had wowed the judges and viewers alike with his incredible moves.
But it all went wrong for him over the weekend, after judge Craig Revel Horwood scored him and partner Janette Manrara just FOUR out of a possible ten points for their Viennese Waltz.
When it came to the dance-off, Craig chose to save Mollie, while Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli both wanted to save Aston.
Head judge Shirley Ballas used her deciding vote to send Aston home and save Mollie.
Of course, that’s now led to the inevitable FIX! allegations with outraged viewers accusing Shirley of “favouritism” in choosing to save Mollie and her pro partner AJ Pritchard.
“Shirley was clearly showing favouritism there, you should have won,” one irate fan told Aston.
Another said: “Strictly lost a viewer with Aston’s elimination. Outraged at the clear favouritism Shirley had and Craig’s 4 was ridiculous!”
A third suggested Shirley wanted Debbie McGee to win, writing: “This is DEFINITELY A FIX! Shirley knew Aston was favourite to knock her mate Debbie off her perch!”
And a fourth said: “Shirley needs stronger glasses! Obviously doesn’t know a good dancer when she sees one! What a fix!”
A fifth added: “Aston should have been in the final. Can the public vote judges out – Craig and Shirley please? Total fix.”
However, others defended Shirley against the allegations.
One pointed out: “Mollie’s been criticised by Shirley as has every single other celebrity on there. I haven’t noticed any favouritism.”
And another said: “It isn’t a ‘fix’- the public didn’t vote for him, sadly. Shirley just did her job.”
Either way, Aston has taken his elimination like a true gent, focusing on the positives of his Strictly experience.
In a lengthy post to social media overnight, he said: “Strictly, thank you so much for letting me be apart of such a great year I’ve made some amazing new homies!! Class of 17 you are all brilliant, can’t wait for our catch up night out.. good luck to you all!!
“Every single person that commented, posted, voted every week thank you so much for the love and chance to do what I love to do most.. ENTERTAIN!!
“All you Strictly pros.. you are all ridiculously talented and I’ve loved watching and learning from you all. But the biggest shout out and thank you to my dance partner Janette, also known as the Latin sensation!
“You have made this whole experience perfect! From AMAZING routines every week, to fun and help in rehearsals, to being a great friend.
“Guys life is great I’m gutted obviously but… I’m not sad that it’s over, I’m happy that it got to happen!”