Sergeant told a press conference he was quitting because there was “no viable ‘stop Sergeant’ candidate”. He said dancing on Strictly Come Dancing was “a wonderfully enjoyable thing”, particularly with his partner Kristina Rihanoff.
“But if the joke wears thin, if in fact people begin to take it very seriously, and if people really are getting so wound up that it’s very difficult to carry off the joke, then I think it is time to go. It’s like when you decide when you leave a party, and the time to leave a party is before the fight starts, and I think that’s really what’s happened on this occasion,” Sergeant explained.
When Sergeant quit the show he was a winner in the public eyes. Rupert Adams, of bookmaker William Hill, revealed that Sergeant had gone from being a 66/1 outsider to win the series on Saturday morning, to a 10/1 shot by Wednesday morning.
“After Saturday night’s programme, people realised that he was a genuine contender,” he said.
Sergeant was now 6/1 to change his mind and rejoin the show by Saturday night, he added.
The programme’s co-host legendary Bruce Forsyth said he felt “very sorry” for Sergeant.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips said: “I’m always sad if a contestant leaves of choice, because you are always expecting to let the public vote them in or out – but John is his own person and he has his own reasons for doing this.
In the Strictly Come Dancing series 2007, GMTV presenter Kate Garraway defied the judges, while ex-EastEnders actor Christopher Parker made it to the final in spite of negative feedback.
Mirror.co.uk reported that high profile stars including Hollywood legend Steve Guttenberg, Bonnie Langford, Bradley Walsh and former contestant Louisa Lytton are backing John to rejoin Strictly Come Dancing like many other fans of Sergeant.