The secret tension between Strictly’s Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard revealed

We’re so used to the barrel-loads of gush and intimate hugging and body language displays from the Strictly dance partners, announcing they will be ‘best friends for the rest of our lives’ as they make their exit from the show that the slightly more formal poses from Lauren and AJ did come as a bit of a shock.

The pair had achieved so much and worked so hard that there was a point where it actually looked possible that Lauren might even win the show.

However, her series of mistakes during her second dance – plus the way they were pitted against step-perfect Ashley in the dance-off must – have meant bitter disappointment for the hugely competitive AJ who would have felt the glitterball trophy slipping out of his grasp at the last minute through no fault of his own.

The secret tension between Strictly's Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard revealed

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard react to leaving Strictly Come Dancing
(Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

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His body language took on an air of formality as he motioned Lauren towards Tess and hung back himself.

He stood with one arm behind his back rather than performing the normal ritual of intense touching, stroking and hugging and a series of tongue-pokes from him signalled displeasure that they were out of the contest.

The secret tension between Strictly's Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard revealed

Lauren and AJ couldn’t match the high level of skill of Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev
(Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

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Lauren’s small speech about him had some curious moments as she leant back to look at him and with an assertive tone and eye contact told him: "Everybody can think you’re an amazing dancer and sometimes a bit hard on the outside", at which point AJ performed a rather awkward laugh before turning his head away and tilting it back with his mouth open.

When he listened later, he had pursed lips and although Lauren went on to say he was like marshmallow inside, it was a slightly odd moment in amongst an unusually formal and gush-free display of body language from the pair.

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