‘It is his choice’ Giovanni Pernice reacts to Aljaž’s decision to quit Strictly

Strictly: Giovanni says ‘I love you’ to Rose Ayling-Ellis

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Giovanni Pernice is one of the professional dancers lined up to star in this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing. The Italian dancer and EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis were crowned the winners of last year’s series and they reunited on the red carpet for the Royal Television Society Awards on Tuesday night. During the glittering event, Giovanni shared his views on his co-star Aljaž Škorjanec’s quitting the show with Express.co.uk insisting it was the pro’s choice on whether he would return.

Rose and Giovanni won the hearts of the nation with their silent dance routine to Symphony by Clean Bandit during their time in the BBC ballroom competition. 

The pair went on to take home the Glitterball Trophy in a historic win as Rose was the first deaf contestant to compete on the show. 

They have been nominated for a BAFTA for the TV Must-See Moment Award for their silent routine. 

Rose, 27, and Giovanni, 31, attended the Royal Television Society Awards on Tuesday evening in Mayfair where they discussed the nomination as well as Aljaž’s exit.

Speaking to Express.co.uk at the event held at JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Giovanni said: “Aljaž has been an amazing part of the show for nine years and it is his choice to leave the show.”

The Strictly Come Dancing winner went on to say: “He will definitely be missed.”

Aljaž, who won the show in 2013 with model Abbey Clancy, announced his departure on Monday to his social media followers. 

It comes after his wife Janette Manrara decided to quit the BBC ballroom show in 2020.

Opening up about his and Rose’s BAFTA nomination, Giovanni added: “It’s just the cherry on the cake, it’s more than just dance as we wanted to send a message and the message definitely landed to everybody.

“It’s a privilege to be nominated and it would be a privilege to win, but I think we sent a message.” 

Rose also discussed the nomination saying: “It’s an honour, it’s very lovely. 

“It’s nice that our dance, there was a reason behind our dance.” 

“It’s nice to be recognised in that way and I think it’s really important,” she continued. 

“It was a dance for the whole deaf community. It’s a dance to raise so much awareness, it’s a dance that makes an impact.” 

Following the red carpet interview, Rose and Giovanni were thrilled as Strictly Come Dancing won the Judges’ Award at the Royal Television Society Awards. 

A statement from the judges read: “Rose’s silent dance with her partner Giovanni Pernice was a genuine moment of landmark television: we looked on in awe at her skill, grace and determination. 

“In dancing her way to becoming the first-ever disabled winner of the glitterball trophy, Rose demonstrated just what’s possible when the barriers to opportunity are removed – and talent is allowed to flourish and shine.” 

Strictly bosses announced which professional dancers would be returning this autumn for the 20th series of the show. 

The line-up includes Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 will air on BBC One later this year at a date yet to be announced. 

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