Strictly Come Dancing star Lauren Steadman shocked fans with a dig at her professional partner AJ Pritchard as they were voted off the dancing show on Sunday night.
Talking with Tess as the pair were eliminated after their dance off against Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev the 25-year-old told AJ: “I think it goes without saying that for you AJ everybody can think you’re an amazing dancer and sometimes you’re a bit hard on the outside, but you’re so squishy and marshmallow like on the inside.”
“I’ve got a lot of resilience and determination but I’ve never met somebody quite like you. “
“As a pair I didn’t think we would be partnered and I’m so grateful I got you as a partner, words can’t explain how much I appreciate it.”
Many viewers were furious that the Paralympian athlete had lost her place in the competition to Ashley because of her perceived previous dance experience.
However, others focused on how well Lauren had made it in the competition. T least Lauren can say she got herself to the semi final with zero dance experience and the pure ability of learning week by week. well done, girl”
While another added: “You may argue Lauren Steadman was long overdue voted off but she has overcome a huge barrier and paved way for more disabled people to take up dancing along with making excellent progression on the show, wonderful lady and role model! #Strictly.”
AJ appeared to brush off the surprise comment insisting he had loved his Strictly experience this year. He said: “Lauren has been fantastic. Honestly at the beginning of the series I couldn’t have expected to make the semi-final, which was just beautiful, but honestly I’m so proud of you as a person.”
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What an experience! And I have loved every moment! Thank you to everyone who voted for us week on week…it really meant the world to us! @aj11ace ❤️ thank you for your patience, commitment, love and determination in making our journey such an incredible one! You are one in a million and I’m a lucky girl to have been partnered with you! We’ve laughed, argued, played and had so much fun…time I will never forget…BUT!!! We still have the tour! 😬 you have to put up with me for a little longer! @bbcstrictly
“You have changed so many people’s opinions and it has always been about ability not disability.”
Lauren also took to Instagram to heap praise on her tough dance partner, writing: “What an experience! And I have loved every moment! Thank you to everyone who voted for us week on week… it really meant the world to us! @aj11ace thank you for your patience, commitment, love and determination in making our journey such an incredible one!
However, she joked with her partner that he hadn’t got rid of her yet, adding: “We’ve laughed, argued, played and had so much fun…time I will never forget…BUT!!! We still have the tour! You have to put up with me for a little bit longer.”
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