Strictly 2021: Judges touched by Judi Love’s moving waltz for parents

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Shirely Ballas and Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing

The judges praised Judi’s different direction with the sensitive dance (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

Judi Love dedicated her moving waltz with Graziano Di Prima on Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing to her ‘heroes’ – her late parents.

Her ‘beautiful’ performance and the level of sentiment she was able to bring across were both praised by the judges, all of whom were visibly affected by her and Graziano’s routine to Mariah Carey’s Hero.

In the introductory VT, 41-year-old Judi shared the inspiration she got from her parents as she said: ‘They loved their dancing, they loved their music – they are my heroes.’

The comedian lost her mum 11 years ago and her dad just five months ago, during the pandemic.

She shared: ‘My mum, she brought so much light. Unfortunately, she had many strokes and she had dementia – it takes away all that personality and I think that’s what I struggled with.’

Ahead of taking to the floor, Judi added: ‘I’m just so honoured that I’m able to do this dance on TV and to honour all of our heroes.’

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Judi Love, Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing with their week four waltz

Judi and Graziano’s waltz was a change of pace for the normally exuberant comedian (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing

The pair embraced and took a moment together at the end (Picture: BBC)

Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing

Judi was visibly moved afterwards (Picture: BBC)

Following her and Graziano’s performance, which was watched by her sister and niece in the audience, judges Shirely Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse all complimented the level of emotion Judi had been able to bring across.

Head judge Shirley said: ‘I felt your emotion and I felt your pain, and I felt that you gave all that you had there for your parents – I think that was just absolutely beautifully executed.’

She added: ‘You are one unique, beautiful human being – you are lovely, inside and out.’

Shirley Ballas on Strictly Come Dancing

Shirely was full of praise for Judi (Picture: BBC)

Claudia Winkleman, Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima on Strictly Come Dancing

Judi wiped away a tear ahead of the judges’ scores being revealed (Picture: BBC)

Anton praised the connection between the dance, the music and the sentiment, which was ‘absolutely lovely’.

Adding that he ‘loved this side of you’, he continued: ‘It’s such a change from what we’ve had these past couple of weeks.’

Even Craig saved any of his fierce criticism, although he did later mark the couple with a four.

‘It’s my job to judge and score on technique,’ he said. ‘I’m not going to go through the list of things that were wrong with it. I thought you danced with an innocence, I thought you danced with great intent, I thought you danced it beautifully. And it was a wonderful, wonderful sentiment.’

Motsi thanked Judi for sharing it and ‘being vulnerable’ as it ‘connects us all’.

The dance scored 24 over all, placing Judi and Graziano second from bottom on the leader board, above Greg Wise and Karen Hauer on 19.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Sunday from 7.10pm on BBC One. 

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