Strictly’s AJ Odudu scores a 10 with the crowds at Blackburn Lights Switch On!

Published Monday 28 November 2022 at 11:12

Blackburn TV presenter AJ Odudu wowed record crowds at the Blackburn Christmas Lights switch on.

Television presenter AJ, who was born in the town and whose family still live here, was the special guest at the Blackburn Glitter Ball Christmas Lights Switch On in Blackburn town centre on Saturday.

Speaking on stage, AJ said:

This is brilliant, thank you so much.

It’s so beautiful to be back in my hometown of Blackburn. It’s even better to see all of your gorgeous smiling faces even in this beautiful cold weather.

It’s so surreal. I remember when Atomic Kitten switched on the Christmas Lights in Blackburn. This feels like a real full-circle moment. It’s amazing – and it’s packed!

Before leading the Christmas count down, AJ finished by saying “Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy New Year” as the fireworks were set off.

This time last year, AJ made it to the Strictly Come Dancing final in 2021 – until an ankle injury forced her out of the competition.

She said the last 12 months has “been a whirlwind” and she has had “the time of her life”, thanking the audience for their local support.

She added:

It’s great to be back on home turf where everyone talks like me!

BID Blackburn Glitter Ball 25 – Shuttle

Throughout her career, which included presenting Channel 4’s Big Brother’s Bit On The Side with Rylan Clark and Emma Willis, the former St Bede’s student has always found time to declare her love for her hometown, saying it’s where she got her ‘grit and determination’ from.

AJ told BBC Radio Lancashire’s Sharon Hartley and Nishma Hindocha who hosted the show that she’s filming lots of Christmas specials, but will be back in Blackburn to spend Christmas with her family – many of whom were in the crowd including her mum.

Following a fantastic line up of local bands, theatre and dance schools, and community performers, AJ was interviewed by Sharon and Nishma, answering a series of quick fire questions.

The all singing, all dancing Glitter Ball finale show was introduced by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darren, Councillor Suleman Khonat, and culminated in AJ leading the countdown with the crowd to the switch on and spectacular fireworks display.

Thousands turned out to see the event – with crowds stretching right back to the former Debenhams – and fans of AJ stayed behind after the show for a photo with the guest of honour..

The Blackburn Glitter Ball was organised by Blackburn BID, in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council and The Mall Blackburn.

BID Blackburn Glitter Ball AJ and mum 2 – Shuttl

Catherine Price, Blackburn Town Centre BID manager, said:

It was an incredible event and amazing to see Blackburn town centre come alive with thousands of people filling King William Street.

I’d like to thank AJ for being our special guest, she was brilliant with the crowds and did a fantastic job of switching on our beautiful Christmas lights.

I’d also like to thank all our performers throughout the event – Blackburn is filled with amazing, talented people and I’m so pleased we were able to showcase them on stage.

And this is just a start of the festivities!

On Friday (December 2nd), Blackburn BID launches its Blackburn Christmas Gingerbread trail around the town centre, with trail maps available from the Ask Me Point in the Mall. It will run until 31 December.

On Saturday 17 December, the Blackburn Festival of Light parade will also return. The annual light parade through the town centre will feature amazing community-created lanterns, performers, musicians and light art sculptures.  This year there will also be a light up shop window trail and light installations around the town centre on Friday 16 December as well as event night.

Find out more.

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