John Whaite and Johannes Radebe delivered so powerful a performance and message on Strictly Come Dancing that it brought both the dancers and members of the audience to tears. It also secured them a history-making slot in the finals.
Whaite, winner of season 3 of the Great British Bake Off, and professional dancer Radebe are the first all-male same-sex pair on Strictly, the British equivalent of Dancing With The Stars, and they’ve been wowing the judges and earning cheers from viewers with their performances. But when the couple dedicated their semi-final dance to those who supported them as LGBTQ+ youth growing up, as well as others struggling with their identity who were watching the show, the brought a different emotion into the ballroom.
“I grew up with a great deal of shame and I think if I’d seen two men dancing together on television it would have changed my life,” Whaite said before their dance. “I want to dedicate our couple’s choice dance to the people who perhaps feel a bit afraid in life and I want those people to know it gets better, believe me.”
He spoke of how he came out at the age of 14 to a teacher at his school, who then outed the young lad to his parents. Rather than shaming him, though, they were supportive.
The pair then took to the dance floor and delivered an emotional and powerful artistic interpretation of Adele’s “Hometown Glory,” inspired by the pair’s own experiences struggling with their sexual identities growing up. After the pair had finished their routine, tears could be seen in Radebe’s eyes.
“It’s bigger than the both of us and I know that there are people who are resonating with it right now and that’s all that matters,” said Radebe.
Radebe and Whaite made Strictly history this year as the first same-sex male couple to dance on the show. At the time, Whaite said the reaction to the pairing “has been so positive” and noted the importance of visibility the two men bring to the show.
“Little kids who watch the show, to have same-sex role models will give them a little bit of hope for the future and it won’t make them grow up with the same shame that I grew up with,” Whaite said in a statement.” They also performed a Jive to "high Power" by Coldplay.
The two performances made them the first same-sex couple to make it to the finals of the series.
You can watch the Radebe and Whaite as they dance to Adele’s “Hometown Glory” below.