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Strictly Come Dancing's Artem forced out by back injury

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Artem Chigvintsev has been forced to pull out of performing on this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing because of a back injury.

Doctors say he will have to rest this weekend after damaging a joint in rehearsals last Friday.

Brendan Cole will partner Holly Valance on Saturday night's show.

"Artem was initially diagnosed with a transverse process fracture of the lumbar spine," a Strictly Come Dancing spokesperson said.

"However, the latest medical advice from a spinal specialist following further scans is that he is suffering with a combination of joint and soft tissue injury.

"While this medical advice is more encouraging he will still need to rest, so will not be dancing this Saturday. Brendan Cole will partner Holly in this Saturday's show."

Former Neighbours actress Valance, 28, and Chigvintsev, 29, scored 34 out of 40 with their jive at the weekend, the second highest of the night.

Artem Chigvintsev won Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One last year with former EastEnders actress Kara Tointon.

'Dancing shoes'

The injury was initially diagnosed as a strained muscle but medical tests later suggested he had fractured his spine.

Artem Chigvintsev said: "Thanks to everyone for all the messages and tweets of support, it really means so much.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionBrendan Cole is stepping in for Artem Chigvintsev on this weekend's show

"I'm sad not to be dancing with Holly this weekend, but I'm grateful that Brendan is quickstepping in to fill my dancing shoes, and the two of them will be fantastic.

"I've worked with them all week choreographing the routine, and it will be a great one to watch on Saturday."

Holly Valance added: "I'm obviously disappointed I won't be dancing with Artem this weekend, but his wellbeing is very important to me, and Brendan is an awesome guy and we're working hard to bring something new and exciting to this Saturday's show."

This weekend Holly Valance and Brendan Cole will dance a rumba to Will Young's Leave Right Now.

The Kiwi dancer was knocked out of the competition with partner Lulu last week.

"I'm extremely happy to be asked by Artem to stand in for him this week," said Brendan Cole.

"It is never nice under the circumstances but I'll do my utmost to help him and Holly out and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to dance with Holly."

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