ENTERTAINMENT
09/12/2018 19:59 GMT | Updated 10/12/2018 09:29 GMT

'Strictly Come Dancing' Finalists Revealed As Lauren Steadman Leaves Competition

It was her first time in the bottom two, but the judges chose to send the Paralympian home.

This year’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ finalists have now been revealed, following Paralympian Lauren Steadman’s elimination from the competition.

Next week, documentary presenter Stacey Dooley, Steps singer Faye Tozer, YouTube vlogger Joe Sugg and former Pussycat Dolls performer Ashley Roberts will battle it out for the Glitterball Trophy, after Lauren was chosen to leave the show by the judges panel.

The judges’ decision was not a particularly surprising one, as Lauren and professional partner AJ Pritchard had been at the bottom of the leaderboard for the past four weeks, while her competitor Ashley had bagged a perfect score for her American Smooth routine in Saturday’s live show.

Guy Levy/BBC
Lauren's Samba routine failed to impress the judging panel

Lauren 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, make-up, this man [her partner, AJ], the judges, all the choreographers. It’s just… I can’t tell you just how magical it is.

On dancing with AJ, she added: “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.”

Her partner AJ added: “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.”

This latest dance-off marked Ashley’s third time in a row in the bottom two, despite having been consistently near the top of the leaderboard, including in Saturday night’s show, where she and Faye had the joint highest score of the evening.

Guy Levy/BBC
Ashley and her partner Pasha Kovalev

Earlier this week, Ashley told HuffPost UK she was feeling “deflated” about repeatedly being in the dance-off, admitting she didn’t fancy her chances at winning.

Find out who succeeds Joe McFadden as this year’s ‘Strictly’ winner in Saturday night’s live final, kicking off at 6.30pm on BBC One.