Lauren Steadman has left 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard

The British Paralympic athlete and her professional partner AJ Pritchard have left the BBC One latin and ballroom show, just narrowly missing out on a place in next Saturday's final (15.12.18).

Speaking to host Tess Daly after her exit, she said: "I have absolutely loved my Strictly journey and it has been so much more than anyone ever tells you it's going to be and that you thought it would be. Down to the smallest things; I mean outfits, hair, makeup, this man AJ, the judges, all the choreographers. It's just ... I can't tell you just how magical it is ...

"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."

And whilst AJ admitted he never thought they'd ever get this far, he is grateful for all the experiences he's shared with Lauren.

He added: "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. You have changed so many people's opinions and it has always been about ability not disability. You have attacked everything, you have always been stubborn, you have always been 'I will be able to get this lift' even though it's not going to work but we'll get there somehow by Friday and Saturday. But for me honestly it's been a fantastic journey and you've done yourself proud."

Lauren and AJ faced Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev in the dreaded dance-off, with Lauren choosing to re-perform her Tango and Ashley opting for her American Smooth, which earned her a perfect score of 40 on Saturday night (08.12.18).

All the judges - Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Shirley Ballas - opted to save Ashley and Pasha, meaning the duo will now head to the final alongside Joe Sugg, Faye Tozer and Stacey Dooley.

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