Strictly Come Dancing contestant AJ Odudu has pulled out of the show's live tour due to an injury she sustained in December.

The Blackburn presenter will be replaced by EastEnders actress and Strictly Come Dancing 2020 finalist, Maisie Smith, who will dance with Strictly pro, Kai Widdrington.

AJ made it to the final of the 2021 competition which aired in December - but a torn ligament meant she was unable to perform in the final episode.

Lancashire Telegraph: AJ Odudu (Ray Burmiston/BBC)AJ Odudu (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

Clearly, the injury is still a problem for AJ as she withdrew from the Strictly Come Dancing Live UK tour which kicks off on 20 January for 33 shows across the country.

During the tour, she was meant to give audiences a chance to see a never-before-seen showdance, performed to Naughty Boy’s 'Runnin’.

AJ Odudu said: “I’m devastated not to be able to take part in the Strictly tour due to injury. I had hoped for one last dance with Kai, but I must obviously follow the medical advice.

“I wish my Strictly family the very best of luck on the road and I’ll definitely be there to cheer them on."

Taking to Instagram, AJ posted an update video explaining her decision to leave the tour.

In the video she said: “Turns out I can't go straight from wearing a medical moon boot to performing in three inch heels. Who knew?

“I have to be able to walk again before I can dance again and that’s going to be the next phase of this rehabilitation process in order for my ankle to continue to heal well.

“Any dancing is going to do more harm than good. I’m gutted I’m not dancing with Kai again and I’m sad I’m not going to be reunited with all of my Strictly pals – but go and enjoy the show!”

Maisie said: “I’m thrilled to be asked to restart my Strictly journey on this year’s arena tour.  Kai and I will be dancing the Quickstep and the Samba – I can’t wait for rehearsals to start next week.

“It will be a joy to dance with everyone and so great to see my EastEnders friend Rose again.  I wish AJ a speedy recovery.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Kai Widdrington and Maisie Smith (BBC/PA) Kai Widdrington and Maisie Smith (BBC/PA)

Maisie and Kai will join Strictly 2021 winners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, alongside Sara Davies and Aljaž Skorjanec, Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin, Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and Max George and Katya Jones.

As well as the couples’ dances, fans will have the chance to see some breathtaking group performances throughout the show. Professional dancers Nadiya Bychkova, Amy Dowden, Neil Jones, Jake Leigh, Cameron Lombard, Luba Mushtuk and Jowita Przystal will be bringing even more wow to this super-sized dance extravaganza, which features live music from the Strictly singers and band.

The previously announced Live Tour judging panel of Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli; together with new tour host Janette Manrara, make this a sparkling line-up for the whole family not to be missed.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour – full list of dates and venues

2023 January              Birmingham Utilita Arena                                  

(Thursday 20th at 7.30pm, Friday 21st at 7.30pm, Saturday 22nd at 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 23rd at 1.30pm & 6.30pm)

25-26 January               Leeds First Direct Arena                                      

(Tuesday 25th at 7.30pm, Wednesday 26th at 7.30pm)

27-28 January               Newcastle Utilita Arena                                      

(Thursday 27th at 7.30pm, Friday 28th at 2.30pm & 7.30pm)

29-30 January               Manchester AO Arena                                         

(Saturday 29th at 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 30th at 1.30pm & 6.30pm)

01-02 February             Sheffield Utilita Arena                                         

(Tuesday 1st at 7.30pm, Wednesday 2nd at 7.30pm)

03-04 February             Liverpool M&S Bank Arena                                

(Thursday 3rd at 7.30pm, Friday 4th at 2.30pm & 7.30pm)

05-07 February             Glasgow The OVO Hydro                                                  

(Saturday 5th at 3.00pm & 8.00pm, Sunday 6th at 1.30pm & 6.30pm, Monday 7th at 7.30pm)

09-10 February             Nottingham Motorpoint Arena                        

(Wednesday 9th at 7.30pm, Thursday 10th at 2.30pm & 7.30pm)

11-13 February             London The O2 Arena                                                        

(Friday 11th at 7.30pm, Saturday 12th at 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 13th at 1.30pm & 6.30pm)     

Tickets: £35 - £95 (price bands vary at each venue) 

All ticket prices are subject to a booking fee and may be subject to a venue facility fee

For more information and to book tickets, visit: