Maisie Smith is to replace AJ Odudu on the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 live tour.
AJ has been forced to depart the tour ahead of its opening night on medical advice following an injury to her foot last December.
Strictly 2020 finalist and former EastEnders star Maisie Smith has been announced as her replacement on the celebrity line-up for the live arena shows.
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.”
AJ Odudu added: “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.”
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.
The Strictly live tour opens in Birmingham on 20 January with tickets on sale now here.
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.
Janette Manrara will host the tour with a judging panel of Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.
AJ was previously forced to quit 2021’s final as a result of her injury.
Speaking about her exit, AJ tearfully shared: “It wasn’t the way we wanted to come out.”
However we may see AJ & Kai dance one last time with reports that the pair will be invited to perform in next series’ launch show.