Strictly 2018: Lauren Steadman exits and makes surprising dig at pro partner AJ

Lauren Steadman narrowly missed out on the Strictly Come Dancing final this evening after landing in the dance-off with Ashley Roberts.

But the paralympian, 25, surprised some viewers as she made a bit of a dig at her pro partner AJ Pritchard during her exit speech.

Lauren and AJ sat at the bottom of the leaderboard after performing both of their dances this evening.

The pair had to dance their Tango to Nutbush City Limits by Tina Turner in a bid to get the judges to send them through to next week.

Meanwhile Ashley and partner Pasha performed their American Smooth again to Ain’t That A Kick In The Head by Dean Martin.

Strictly 2018: Lauren Steadman exits and makes surprising dig at pro partner AJ

(Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

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  • Strictly 2018: Ashley Roberts’ reaction shocks fans as she lands in the dance-off

All four judges chose to save Ashley and Pasha for the third week running.

Delivering the deciding vote was Bruno, who said: "Well first I would like to say that all of you should be very very proud of what you have accomplished so far, you really did very very well. I have to choose a dance that is more accomplished overall so I will go for Ashley and Pasha."

Afterwards, Lauren said that she had "absolutely loved" her Strictly journey and described it as "magical".

She told host Tess Daly: "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."

Strictly 2018: Lauren Steadman exits and makes surprising dig at pro partner AJ

(Image: PA)

Strictly 2018: Lauren Steadman exits and makes surprising dig at pro partner AJ

(Image: PA)

Meanwhile AJ described Lauren as being "fantastic", saying: "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."

But Lauren added that AJ could be "a bit hard" at times on the outside.

She said: "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.

Strictly 2018: Lauren Steadman exits and makes surprising dig at pro partner AJ

(Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly 2018: Lauren Steadman exits and makes surprising dig at pro partner AJ

(Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

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"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."

The remaining four couples will return for the last time next weekend for Strictly Come Dancing: The Final , where it will be down to the viewers alone to decide who wins.

Each couple will perform three dances and Tess and Claudia will announce which couple will be crowned the Strictly Come Dancing champions of 2018.

*Strictly airs next Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One

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