Friday 30 September 2016

All over for Aliona as Strictly star bows out a winner

Published 22/12/2015 | 11:16

Aliona Vilani's triumph at the weekend with Jay McGuiness marked the second time she has claimed the Glitterball trophy
Aliona Vilani's triumph at the weekend with Jay McGuiness marked the second time she has claimed the Glitterball trophy

Strictly Come Dancing professional Aliona Vilani will not be returning to show, despite winning this year's competition with singer Jay McGuiness.

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The Kazakhstan-born dancer joined Strictly in 2009 and is the only professional to win the show twice: in 2011 with McFly's Harry Judd, and leaving on a high with the Glitterball Trophy in 2015.

She tweeted: "Going into this Strictly Come Dancing Series 13, I decided that no matter what would happen, it will be my last one," with a heart emoticon at the end.

She added: "After 7 years on Strictly Come Dancing, as my finale, this has been my best Strictly experience ever by a long way!"

She accompanied the tweets with images of her and McGuiness holding their trophy aloft.

Vilani and The Wanted star McGuiness became hot favourites for the title early in the show after they achieved the series' first score of 10 from a single judge (Bruno Tonioli) with their Pulp Fiction-themed jive to Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell.

Despite placing third on the judges' leaderboard in the final, the pair beat EastEnders actress Kellie Bright and Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote in the public vote.

In seven years on the show, Vilani has also been partnered with Rav Wilding, Matt Baker, Tony Jacklin, Gregg Wallace, and - briefly - with Johnny Ball, before Vilani was forced to exit the competition following an injury.

She also won last year's Christmas Special with gymnast Louis Smith, earning a perfect score of 40 for their quickstep to Jingle Bells.

She is the second professional dancer who has ruled out a return to the dancing competition next series as Ola Jordan also left the show.

Press Association

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