Mollie King has admitted she was “heartbroken” to end up in last week’s Strictly Come Dancing dance-off against pal Aston Merrygold.
The Saturdays star survived to dance another week after head judge Shirley Ballas used her deciding vote to send JLS singer Aston home – much to the shock of viewers, who had seen him as a frontrunner to win.
It led to inevitable cries of ‘FIX!’ among fans, and, of course, allegations that Shirley and fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood – who scored Aston and Janette Manrara just four points – had displayed favouritism.
Breaking her silence on the controversial dance-off, Mollie told Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two that it was a difficult position to be in.
“It felt like a lose-lose situation,” she said.
“To be in that dance-off with Aston, he shouldn’t have been in the dance-off. I’ve known Aston for nearly ten years. I obviously didn’t want to go home and didn’t want him to go home.
“It was a really emotional weekend. You have to try and pick yourself up. And that’s what (my partner) AJ is amazing at. Saying, ‘We have to keep going and be positive and keep dancing’.”
Reflecting on the moment she and AJ Pritchard landed in the dance-off, she said: “It’s heartbreaking, to be honest.
“We are loving our journey and I’m loving learning how to dance and a new skill each week. When that red light goes on, you think, ‘This is the end of our journey’. You can’t help but think that. You’re really sad. I’m like, ‘Please, no, not the red light!'”
Mollie said that she and AJ are now focused on their next dance – a Paso Doble to Derek and the Dominoes’ Layla.
Their ultimate goal now is reaching Blackpool.
“More than anything we want to go on now and show how grateful we are they put us through and how much we want to be there,” said Mollie.
“More than anything we want to get to Blackpool and stay in as long as we can.”
AJ agreed: “This week we are focused. We know what we want to do – get to Blackpool. We are here, we mean business and we are going to show you!”
Aston and Janette, meanwhile, have also spoken out this week about their early exit from the competition.
“I’m honestly gutted but, I mean, you have to take it on the chin as it’s such a brilliant show and, as I’ve said from day one, if I ever was to leave, I’m just happy I got to do it in the first place,” said Aston .
“And to do it with Janette was such a pleasure. I’m just happy to have done the show.”
Janette added she was unhappy about Craig’s decision to score them a four, but said: “Everyone is entitled to an opinion and those scores and the judges’ critiques are just that: opinions.
“I do not agree with the score Craig gave us, but you have to respect his opinion and his number and his thoughts and take it as it comes.
“More than ever, and especially this season and seeing what happened to Aston, you have to vote for your favourites.”