Entertainment & Arts

Will Young quits Strictly Come Dancing

Will Young
Image caption Will Young was partnered with professional dancer Karen Clifton on the show

Singer Will Young has announced he has quit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing for "personal reasons".

The former Pop Idol winner said he left with "joy in my heart that I have been able to take part in one of the most loved shows on British television".

The 37-year-old praised his professional partner, Karen Clifton, saying that the partnership with her had been "the most wonderful thing".

The BBC said the show "fully respects" his decision and wishes him well.

In a statement, Young said: "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.

"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."

Young said he would be "eternally grateful" to his dancing partner for "her direction, talent and guiding me through three wonderful dances that I will be able to show my grandkids in years to come."

He went on: "Unfortunately, I am leaving the show for personal reasons. 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."

The singer did not elaborate further on why he was leaving the show.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Young performed a salsa with his partner Clifton as part of a movie-themed week

Clifton said Young had been fun to work with.

Writing on Twitter, she said: "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."

Other members of the show took to the social media site to express their sadness at the announcement.

Professional dancer Natalie Lowe, who is partnered with athlete Greg Rutherford, wrote: "its been an absolute dream working & getting to know u. Your calm energy, smile & eyes are infectious & Light up the room."

Former Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac said he was "gutted" to lose Young from the show but everyone "fully supported" his decision.

Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph uploaded a photo of herself with the singer and said she was "sad" to hear the news.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dancer Clifton said she was "sad" the singer had quit the show

Young thanked everyone involved in Strictly and described them all as a "unique family".

He said in a statement: "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'!"

The BBC said: "Due to personal reasons, Will Young has decided to withdraw from Strictly Come Dancing. The show fully respects his decision and wishes him all the best for the future."

Young and his partner Clifton were joint fourth on the leader board at the end of week three after scoring 31 points for a salsa dance during a movie-themed week.

He drew criticism from head judge Len Goodman who told the pair he thought there was "not enough salsa" in the routine.

The couple were due to dance the Viennese Waltz to Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera on Saturday's show.

The programme will proceed as normal with a results show on Sunday when the third celebrity will be eliminated.

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