STRICTLY Come Dancing fans were 'already in tears' just minutes into the 2021.
Soap star Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner Giovanni Pernice and baker John Whaite and partner Johannes Radebe are going head-to-head for the Glitterball trophy.
The final kicked off with John and Rose looking back on their journey through the Strictly series, before joining the professional cast in an opening dance.
But even before things could really kick off, Strictly fans were 'already emotional'.
Viewers reflected on the tumultuous 2021 series plagued with disruptions due to Covid and injury.
"I’m already emotional and it’s only just begun. Not ready to say goodbye to this cast," wrote one fan on Twitter.
Another added: "Don’t think I’ve even been more emotional for a #Strictly final… Cracking opening number!"
And a third wrote: "Oh blimey I'm emotional already."
Only two finalists are battling it out tonight after AJ Odudu was forced to pull out of the BBC competition.
AJ was left devastated on Friday as she announced her withdrawal due to suffering a nasty injury, which left her on crutches and unable to dance.
She was due to perform three dances with Kai Widdrington in a bid to win the Glitterball Trophy.
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Her withdrawal means just two pairs will compete in the final, and will perform three routines each.
Among the dances that will be performed will be Rose's widely praised couple's choice routine, about her experiences as a deaf person.
Either John or Rose would make history as winner of the show – John as part of the show's first male same-sex couple or Rose as the first deaf contestant.
The series went ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, with strict measures backstage to keep the cast and production crew safe.
However, judge Craig Revel Horwood, dancer Amy Dowden and contestants Judi Love and Tom Fletcher have all tested positive for coronavirus over the series.
Judge Motsi Mabuse was also absent for a week after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Comedian Robert Webb and partner Dianne Buswell withdrew from the show over the TV star's ill health, while former rugby player Ugo Monye was sidelined by a back injury.
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