Why is AJ not in Strictly 2020 and where is he now?

AJ Pritchard was one of the most popular professional dancers on the BBC dancing show

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Strictly Come Dancing kicked off again this weekend (Saturday October 17 2020) – but viewers missed AJ Pritchard.

Former professional dancer AJ was missing from the Strictly line-up, and viewers demanded to know why.

Here’s everything you need to know about why AJ is not in Strictly 2020.

AJ Pritchard I'm A Celebrity
AJ Pritchard performing with celebrity Saffron Barker on Strictly Come Dancing (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing fans divided over Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey pairing

Why did AJ leave Strictly?

First of all, AJ Pritchard announced he had quit Strictly Come Dancing in March, just weeks after being confirmed as one of the professionals.

The Stoke-on-Trent-born professional dancer took part in the BBC One show for four years.

Furthermore, the dancer revealed he wanted to focus on other projects and “explore opportunities”.

In a statement shared to his social media pages, AJ wrote: “I have some news for you all.

“Please see the below statement from my team. Also sending my love to everyone in this difficult time, please keep safe. AJ.”

What did his statement say?

The statement said: “After four years on Strictly Come Dancing, AJ has decided the time is right to leave the show and follow his dreams.

“To explore opportunities in the presenting world alongside his brother Curtis.

“AJ would like to thank the team at Strictly and everyone at the BBC for giving him such a brilliant opportunity.

“AJ would also like to send his love and gratitude to all who have followed and supported his career.

“He is excited for you all the join him on the next chapter of his journey.”

Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard on Strictly
Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard went far on Strictly 2019 (Credit: BBC One)

What did Strictly say about AJ quitting?

As a result of AJ’s departure, Strictly said in a statement: “We would like to thank AJ for four fantastic years on Strictly Come Dancing.

“He is a brilliant dancer who reached three semi-finals during his time on the show.

“He will be missed by fans and the Strictly family. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Will he miss Strictly?

AJ recently revealed what he’ll miss about the BBC One programme.

He explained: “I miss my friends on set and behind the scenes, but I’m really excited to be a normal person and watch it from home and not have the stress.

“It’s going to be really fun to sit down and watch it and relax.”

He continued: “I was there for four years, and for me I felt like I left on a real high and I feel there’s other things I want to do with my career and other projects I want to push, and things I want to do with my brother.

“So I feel happy that I did the right thing. It’s going to be fun to see it as a normal person, like how fun it was to hear the announcements as a normal person!”

AJ and Curtis Pritchard Lorraine ITV
AJ and Curtis Pritchard appeared on Lorraine to discuss future projects (Credit: ITV)

What is AJ doing now?

AJ and his brother, Love Island star Curtis Pritchard, recently announced they are heading on tour together in 2021.

The pair described AJ & Curtis’ Big Night Out, as “dancing, singing and games on stage”.

“It’s a really new format, obviously we are dancing but it’s like the podcast, it has a lot of our personality and our banter, and that stand-up comedy element. We just love to laugh and have fun,” AJ said.

Likewise, they are also releasing a podcast of their own, AJ v Curtis.

Is he joining I’m a Celeb?

AJ has been linked to his year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

However, he has denied the claims.

Speaking to Christine Lampard on Lorraine today (Monday October 19 2020), he said: “These rumours, no, we’ve got a podcast every single week. We’ve got to keep that up. I’m definitely keeping myself busy this year.”

Who else left Strictly?

Kevin Clifton is another pro dancer who announced his decision to leave the show after seven years.

He said in a statement: “To the entire Strictly family. The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life.

“I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special.”

BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7.25pm.

Will you miss AJ Pritchard on Strictly? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.