We’ve lost count of the amount of couples who have found love on the dance floor since Strictly Come Dancing hit our screens and AJ Pritchard has said he is the latest dancer to fall foul of the Strictly curse.
But rather than ruining a relationship – like Seann Walsh – or falling deeply in love with his celebrity partner, Lauren Steadman, the dance pro says he has his own version of a Strictly curse – falling at the semi-final hurdle for the last three years.
Read more: Neil and Katya won’t be on the Strictly tour
The 24-year-old told MailOnline: “I am hoping that this year will be a case of third time lucky. I always want to get to the final and to win. But this one’s hard because I ‘extra’ want it. But not just for me for Lauren too.”
AJ, who was previously partnered to Mollie King, who he came fifth with in 2017 and Claudia Fragapane, who he took fourth place with in 2016, is hoping he can go all the way with his Paralympian partner.
As always there have been rumours romantically linking AJ to Lauren, 25, but he insists it’s a purely professional relationship.
He explains: “We are focusing on just ourselves. I am focused on my role with Lauren. My job is to dance and choreograph. I’m so focused on my job as a pro.
“So I don’t even let scenarios like that get into my head – not inside or outside the dance studio. Without focus we won’t make the final.”
Lauren agrees, adding: “There are just two more dances between this and the final. But honestly I think it’s 50 per cent nerves and 50 per cent pressure.”
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Words cannot describe how I am feeling right now.. We are through to the Semi-Final of @bbcstrictly Just Overwhelming #weloveyou #fans #thankyou 😄😁😆- @laurensteadmann I could not be prouder of you. (📸 Photo from Friday morning, Loving Life before our camera blocking.. We are always Smiling 😃)
Read more: Strictly couples to tackle two dances in this weekend’s semi-finals
The pro dancer has also refused to reveal his sexuality when pressed in interviews, insisting he prefers to “live his life”. He told The Sun: “I don’t think I should have to define it. But the support from the gay community is always fantastic. I love being around gay people and going to gay clubs.”
AJ isn’t the only celeb to have been romantically linked to his partner this year. Stacey Dooley hit out at claims her close relationship with dance partner Kevin Clifton was putting strain on her relationship with her boyfriend Sam Tucknott. Joe Sugg has also been linked to his partner Dianne Buswell, although he has insisted they are “just friends”.
Who do you want to see foxtrot into the final? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!