Strictly pair left shocked by Will Young's sudden departure


Strictly Come Dancing couple Claudia Fragapane and AJ Pritchard were left shocked by Will Young's surprise withdrawal from the show earlier this week.

The 37-year-old released a statement on Tuesday evening announcing that he was quitting the show for "personal reasons", just days after viewers saw him butt heads with veteran judge Len Goodman.

Olympic gymnast Claudia, 18, and her professional partner AJ, 21, were unaware of the former Pop Idol winner's decision until they saw the news break online.

Will Young and Karen Clifton
Will Young, pictured with pro dancer Karen Clifton, quit Strictly Come Dancing earlier this week (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

The show's youngest competitor said: "We saw it on the internet and it was really sad, but we don't know anything or what happened."

Bristol-born Claudia - who wowed viewers last week with an impressive Charleston that collected 36 points from the judges - said despite the shock news she was concentrating on Saturday night's show.

Se added: "Me and AJ just said to each other, let's keep focusing on our dancing and, you know, keep enjoying it."

The professional dancer called the departure a "shock", adding: "We'll miss him."

On Wednesday, Will insisted he is "absolutely dandy", but did not elaborate on why he had decided to withdraw.

In a text to the Radio 2 breakfast show, read out by DJ Chris Evans, Will said the reasons for his departure were "all very undramatic".

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Claudia and AJ have impressed the judges on Strictly (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

"Here's the thing. I'm absolutely dandy, thanks," his message said, adding: "It's all very undramatic really. I've done my statement and others can say what they want to say. I never read what they say anyhow."

The singer's exit came after veteran judge Len told him to "turn up, keep up, shut up" as they clashed over the number of salsa moves in Saturday night's dance.