'Strictly Come Dancing': Will Young's Dance Partner, Karen Clifton, Breaks Silence On His Exit

'I’m so sad that Will has decided to quit the show.'

11/10/2016 22:32 | Updated 12 October 2016

Will Young’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ partner, Karen Clifton, has expressed her sadness at his decision to quit the show

The singer revealed he was leaving the BBC ballroom competition on Tuesday (11 October) evening, citing “personal reasons”. 

Will Young was partnered with Karen Clifton on 'Strictly'

Following the announcement, professional dancer Karen took to Twitter, claiming it hadn’t been an straightforward thing for Will to decide. 

She tweeted: “I’m so sad that Will has decided to quit the show and I know it wasn’t an easy decision for him.

“It was great dancing with him, he was such fun to work with and I wish him all the very best for the future.”

The BBC have also confirmed the couple will not be replaced, despite fans calling for the return of axed contestant Tameka Empson and partner Gorka Marquez, who were eliminated on Sunday

Fans had hoped to see Tameka Empson return

In a statement issued via the BBC, Will said he was leaving ‘Strictly’ with “joy in [my] heart”. 

“To be a part of Strictly has been a long time ambition of mine. As a performer, a viewer, and a fan of the show, to dance as a contestant was an experience I always hoped for,” he said.

“I have made some great friends, and am in awe of their performances week in, week out.

“I have found a creative partnership with Karen that has been the most wonderful thing to experience. I will be eternally grateful to her for her direction, talent and guiding me through three wonderful dances that I will be able to show my grandkids in years to come.

“Unfortunately, I am leaving the show for personal reasons.”

Will is leaving the show due to "personal reasons"

He continued: “I leave with joy in my heart that I have been able to take part in one of the most loved shows on British television.

“I am so grateful to everyone who works on ‘Strictly’ from the lighting designer to catering to the production team.

“’Strictly’ truly is the most unique family and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And finally thank you to the BBC for supporting me throughout my journey. I wish my compatriots so much luck, and although I am back to being a viewer again, I’m certainly going to ‘keeeep dancing’!”

Will’s decision to leave the show comes just days after he clashed with head judge Len Goodman.

Following his Bollywood-themed salsa routine on Saturday night’s live show, Will was unhappy with one of his critiques from Len.

The head judge told him: “I’d have liked a soupcon more of the salsa, and I got about six or eight bars in the middle.”

Quick to stick up for himself, and his professional partner Karen Clifton, the ‘Leave Right Now’ singer insisted: “There are 24 counts of eight of salsa in the routine.”

As the audience applauded Will for defending the routine, Head Judge Len seemed less enthused, telling him: “Very nice of you to say that to me, Will, but I must say, most of them I didn’t recognise. Probably my fault… and my other little advice is turn up, keep up and shut up.”

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ continues on Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One. 

12 Most Controversial 'Strictly Come Dancing' Moments
Suggest a correction