Will Young and I remain friends, says Strictly's Karen Clifton
Strictly Come Dancing dancer Karen Clifton has insisted she and singer Will Young remain friends despite reports the pair fell out after his surprise withdrawal from the show.
Will, who was favourite for the prized Glitterball trophy before the series started, quit the popular BBC programme earlier this month due to "personal reasons".
Speaking on the red carpet at the Peacock Theatre in west London for the UK premiere of dance show Burn The Floor - Fire In The Ballroom, Karen said she and Will "have been in touch".
"He is doing OK. I really miss him and it's lovely to still be friends with him."
"It's all well, it's all good," she added.
Last week Karen hit out at speculation that she was behind Will's decision to quit the show, posting on Twitter it was a "shame certain press have to sour what was a great time for me and Will that sadly came to an end."
Will, 37, announced he was pulling out of Strictly earlier this month, days after veteran judge Len Goodman told him to "turn up, keep up, shut up" during the live show.
Karen, who met her husband and fellow Strictly pro-dancer Kevin Clifton while working on Burn The Floor, said it felt like being "home" attending the performance.
She recalled how Kevin - who is partnering Louise Redknapp in this year's competition - proposed to her on stage while performing on Burn The Floor in 2013 at The Shaftesbury Theatre.
"I remember Kevin doing the last couple of numbers and he was forgetting all the routines and I was really upset at him, I was like 'what's going on?' And it was my birthday as well. It turned out he was going to propose so I saw the ring and I said yes."
Discussing last week's performances, Karen said this year's Strictly was "one of the best".
"Ore was an absolute star as was Danny, as was Louise, they are all really giving it.
"Anybody can win", she added.
Asked if anybody included ex-Labour MP Ed Balls who has finished bottom of the leaderboard every week, She replied: "Ed is going to win. He's my winner.
"Ed Balls for the glitterball."
Also on the red carpet were Strictly contestant and TV presenter Laura Whitmore as well as model Daisy Lowe and her professional partner Aljaz Skorjanec.
Katya Jones, who is partnered with former shadow chancellor Ed, was joined by her husband and fellow Strictly professional Neil.
Of Ed's chances of winning the show, she said: "He might try the hardest because he's not the best dancer maybe.
"But he tries so hard. The amount of personality and effort he puts in.
"In that sense you never know. He entertains people and they choose to see him again and again.
"Even those who didn't like him before are actually warming to him," she added.
The pair - who are set to dance an American smooth to Is This The Way To Amarillo by Tony Christie on Saturday - scored the show's lowest points this series on last week's show after an error-prone paso doble.
Katya said: "We want to redeem ourselves. Show that he can actually do proper dancing which he absolutely can so we are working extremely hard.
"It's got little cheeky moves in it so it will be great.
"There's not so much character and personality as The Mask or the Charleston to hide behind but it's a fun dance so it's a good balance."
Strictly continues on BBC One on Saturday at 6.35pm.