Presenter Richie Anderson and his professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice have become the second couple to depart the new series of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One.

After the public vote, the duo lost out to singer Fleur East and her professional partner Vito Coppola in the dance-off.

Dressed as characters Timon and Pumbaa, Anderson and Pernice had danced their head-turning Samba to Hakuna Matata from the much-loved Disney movie The Lion King in a bid to stay in the competition.

(L-R) Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice danced the Samba to Hakuna Matata from Disney classic The Lion King

Former X Factor contestant East and dance partner Coppola again performed their American Smooth to Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood commented: "I would like to save the most accomplished technician, and that is Fleur and Vito."

Fellow judge Motsi Mabuse said: "I think it's heartbreaking actually because I think both of you do not deserve to be here, but this is how the public voted, and based on this dance-off, I'm going to save Fleur and Vito."

Fleur East and Vita Coppola performed the American Smooth to Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid

Colleague Anton Du Beke also opted to save East and Coppola, saying: "Well, I thought that was a well-danced dance-off. I thought both couples performed well. I thought one couple was a bit more sure-footed about their performance and had a slightly better level of artistry about what they were doing, so the couple I would like to save is Fleur and Vito."

After receiving three votes, giving them a majority, East and Coppola were safe - but head judge Shirley Ballas said she would have opted to save Anderson and Pernice.

Reflecting on his departure, Anderson told host Tess Daly: "As a Strictly fan, I always thought it was a magical thing to be a part of, and being here it really is. And it's not just the people that you see on camera - the judges, and you and (co-host Claudia Winkleman) Claud and the amazing people that I've got to meet on this show.

Host Tess Daly hears from Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice after the result

"The people behind the scenes in hair, make-up, costume, Tasha our runner, Stef, Jas, everybody. I also want to thank this guy (Giovanni) as well. He's been so amazing, and I feel so lucky that I've got to dance with you every day.

"Not only are you a fantastic dancer, but you are also a fantastic guy on top of that. I want to thank all my family and friends and my other half Dean, who is in the audience, I love you so much."

Pernice added: "I have to say, it's been an honour to be able to dance with you because I know how much you love Strictly Come Dancing. You really are a superfan.

Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice celebrate their Strictly story

"I'm glad that you got to do this experience and glad that I got to do it with you. It's been a shame it's been too short for us, but I hope you've enjoyed every single second of it and it stays in your heart forever.

"Look at us: we've gone out dressed as Timon and Pumbaa. So lovely jubbly, well done Richie."

The show continues on BBC One on Saturday.

Source: Press Association

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