Strictly Come Dancing favourite Karim Zeroual has broken down in tears over a routine littered with mistakes that left him in danger of not making it to next week’s Blackpool Tower Ballroom show.
The CBBC presenter is usually a competition leader used to achieving some of the highest scores, but on Saturday night he made a number of mistakes in his Viennese Waltz with Amy Dowden that put him in the danger zone for the dance off.
Judges criticised his efforts, with Craig Revel Horwood telling him: “I think you’ll be disappointed with the two large mistakes and entanglement...a terrible shame tonight.”
As he went upstairs to the balcony to await scoring, Zeroual began to cry at the uncharacteristically bad performance, making fans just as sad as he felt.
Ohhh Karim!! 😭 you are breaking my heart. You do not need to worry, you’ll make it to next week! #strictly— Hannah Campbell (@maria93hannah) November 9, 2019
I can relate to Karim, any emotion at all just results in me crying. Being disappointed in yourself and getting criticism is so tough #strictly— Sarah Quinn (@SLQuinn4) November 9, 2019
karim and amy crying is too much for me to deal with.......please vote for them tonight 🥺 #strictly— karis (@karistbh) November 9, 2019
Seeing tweets about Karim getting tearful. While this is a show it means something to him & tweets like that are exactly why men struggle to talk about things and are fearful of showing their emotions and why there is such a high rate of hidden mental illness among men #Strictly— Lizzielou (@LizzieAllen1) November 9, 2019
Despite harsh criticism, Zeroual and Dowden scored 30 points - although against other much stronger performances, it still placed them third from bottom on the leaderboard, meaning that there would be a good chance they could end up in the dance off in Sunday’s episode.
Whoever is voted out this week will miss out on Strictly’s annual trip up North to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, a highlight of the series, so viewers encouraged each other to vote for Zeroual.
Please vote Karim, he doesn't deserve to go just because the VW was his weakest dance. He's SO much better than that #strictly— Samantha Jane 💎 (@SJSAMMY12) November 9, 2019
Host Claudia Winkleman managed to get him almost smiling again by joking that if he didn’t make it to Blackpool, she’d bring a stick of rock back for him.
Meanwhile, a number of celebrities including Michelle Visage and Emma Barton were given high praise and little criticism, but still missed out on a perfect score.
Saffron Barker and her partner AJ Pritchard did the best, falling just shy of a perfect 40 on 39 points for their Waltz.
Motsi Mabuse told them: “That is the best dance I’ve seen on my first season of Strictly. I have to get up and say thank you.”
Bruno Tonioli added: “I was swept away in a ballroom dream, this was a dance of the highest quality. This will I’m sure guarantee you a first-class ticket to Blackpool.”
Strictly Come Dancing returns for the results show on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.