Throughout the programme Dec was supported by Davina McCall, Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern, with the star addressing Ant's absence at the beginning of the show.
Speaking about going it alone, Dec said in a statement: "Whilst I never thought I'd be in this position, after much discussion and careful consideration we've decided that the remaining two shows of this series of "Saturday Night Takeaway" will go ahead".
Scarlett Moffatt in the Saturday Night Takeaway finale trailer. Pic ITV
He thanked the audience for giving him a "very, very warm welcome" after an extended standing ovation and he joked with guest Stephen Merchant, the comedian, who asked if he needed a hand presenting as there was "a little bit of space on the stage". He appeared in the opening titles and also in the continuation of pre-recorded sketch Saturday Knight Takeaway which also starred Joanna Lumley in her regular role.
"Its weird to see only Dec's name but anyways All the best Dear Dec. Ant we will miss you.Get well soon Dear".
Once he was in his stride - and perhaps had caught a glimpse of the avalanche of love coming his way on social media - Dec well and truly smashed it.
O'Leary wrote on Twitter that Dec had "nailed it" - a call echoed by a number of other broadcasters including Rylan Clark and Gok Wan.
Hundreds of viewers agreed saying he had done Ant "proud".
"I've got twice the amount of work to do, so we're going to crack on", Dec said, before moving on quickly to explain what tonight's show has in store. "I knew he would be incredible, well done @antanddec!" "Here's hoping that he will do as great a job at Florida next week".
Heavy snow forecast for Sheffield for Bank Holiday
Where is it going to rain? The morning will be dry, with increasing clouds and the chance for rain/snow showers in the afternoon. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for heavy snow over parts of the region on Bank Holiday Monday.
Ricciardo hit with grid penalty
The Australian aborted his lap but was too quick returning to the pits, failing to stay above the minimum delta time on his dash. Ricciardo, who did not finish in last year's Melbourne race, can not now start Sunday's race any higher than fourth on the grid.
How many Easter eggs should a child get?
The event ended with a picnic with grilled food and snacks. "The eggs are vacuumed up in two to three minutes", he said. Special guests will include the Easter Bunny and the William Penn University mascot, Willy P.
Arizona cops release video of fatal self-driving Uber collision
So says Marta Thoma Hall, president of the company that supplied the car's lidar sensors, Velodyne Lidar Inc., reports Bloomberg . However, there is a way back. "The problem of complacent safety drivers is going to be a problem for every company", she added.