AJ Odudu: ‘Kai Will Be In My Life Forever’

With tomorrow's Strictly final still in the balance, AJ Odudu talks about the special bond she shares with dance partner Kai Widdrington.

AJ Odudu strictly final

by Katie Begley |
Updated on

‘He's going to be in my life forever, whether he likes it or not!’ laughs AJ Odudu. The man in question is Strictly Come Dancing professional Kai Widdrington. For nearly three months the duo have been igniting the small screen every Saturday night with their chemistry and moves on the dance floor.

It’s clear that no matter who is crowned champion after the final on 18 December, AJ already feels like a winner. The Blackburn-born TV presenter says that the experience of competing on one of TV’s biggest shows has given her a new-found confidence she says she’ll carry into the next stage of her career.

‘It’s a real boost to your self-esteem. Which, throughout the weeks, does take a knock if the dance routines aren’t coming together, you keep getting things wrong or keep falling flat on your face. ‘It’s really scary sometimes, but when it then all of a sudden comes together, you can’t help but feel confident and amazing.’

It’s clear to see that Kai, who joined the show this series has made a big impression on her. ‘First and foremost, we both have the same work ethic, in the sense that we both might want to have a lot of fun, but also work really, really hard,’ she says.

I share a special bond with Kai

‘And its also the first year for both of us; obviously, he’s going to be on [the show] again next year, but this is my one and only opportunity. Us both feeling that we’re lucky has created an extra special bond. In fact, no one can compare to me! I said at the very beginning, “I want to make your first year the year to remember, because I’m your first.” We just have the best time together.’

Strictly has been a mainstay of British TV since its launch in 2004, but this year more than ever it’s touched the hearts of the nation thanks to its inclusivity. From EastEnders’ Rose Ayling-Ellis blazing a trail for the deaf community to Bake Off champion John Whaite smashing stigmas after forming the show’s first all-male couple with Johannes Radebe, the show has grabbed attention for all the right reasons.

AJ says that’s been reflected on the scoreboard and shown that the race to lift the coveted glitterball trophy isn’t set in stone from the beginning. ‘More than any year before, it’s wide open in the sense that, because everybody’s been up and down the leaderboard like crazy, it literally could be anybody,’ she says.

‘I’m so proud to be a part of Strictly this year of all years. What an inclusive year. It’s so memorable. So fantastic. It’s a show that means so much to so many people.’

So what will she do when it’s all over and she has to leave all the sequins behind?

‘I am throwing the biggest, most extravagant party ever!’ she explains. ‘I think I’m going to party for a month. It’s going to be amazing.

‘I’m going to be showing off all my brand new dance moves on every single dance floor across the country.’

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Photographer: Danika Magdelena, Stylist: Justin Hamilton, Stylist Assistant: Gavrielle Weiss, Photographer Assistant: Thomas Porter, Hair: Stefan Bertin at The Wall Group, Makeup: Thembi Mkandla at Creatives agency using NARS Cosmetics, Nail Technician: Kim Gorse-Macias at Gary Represents

Full look: Saint Laurent, Earring: Givenchy, Choker: Stylist Own

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