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'Strictly Come Dancing': Will Young Will NOT Be Replaced, Despite Calls For Tameka Empson's Return

Fans want 'EastEnders' star Tameka back on the show.

11/10/2016 22:02 | Updated 12 October 2016

Strictly Come Dancing’ bosses have confirmed Will Young will NOT be replaced, following his decision to quit the show

The announcement comes despite fans calling for the return of axed contestant Tameka Empson, who was eliminated on Sunday (9 October). 

BBC Pictures
Will Young has quit 'Strictly Come Dancing'

Will revealed he was leaving the BBC ballroom competition on Tuesday evening, citing “personal reasons”, with spokesperson now telling The Sun nobody will be stepping into his dancing shoes. 

They said: “The series will continue as planned with an elimination every week until the grand final.

“The previous eliminated contestants will not be returning to the competition.”

This will be a blow for those hoping to see Tameka back on the show, as many had voiced their support for her on social media in the wake of Will’s news. 

The ‘EastEnders’ actress and parnter Gorka Marquez were voted off after landing in the bottom two alongside Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice, in what was a shock results show.

BBC
Fans had hoped to see Tameka Empson return

Tameka later said on spin-off show ‘It Takes Two’ that she didn’t think she deserved to leave, claiming she still had “more to give” to the competition.

“Not being big-headed but I really thought I put all the right moves in,” she said.

“I didn’t put a foot wrong, and just really being in that character. I had a bit of pain in my back but I used that pain to drive through.”

In a statement issued via the BBC, Will, who was partnered with Karen Clifton, 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.”

BBC
Will is leaving 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.

BBC
Will clashed with head judge Len Goodman

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.

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