Strictly: Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec are voted off the show
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Strictly Come Dancing will return tonight and will see another group of 15 enthusiastic celebrities eager to learn the art of ballroom and Latin. As the line-up changes every year, the cast of professionals mostly stays the same with the occasional new addition or loss. Sadly, 2022 will be the first year without happy-go-lucky fan-favourite dancer Aljaz Skorjanec.
Why has Aljaz Skorjanec left the Strictly Come Dancing professionals?
Strictly veteran Aljaz Skorjanec had been on the iconic dance show for nine years and had been known for his abundance of energy.
He managed to win the show with model Abbey Clancy back in 2013, lifting up the Glitterball trophy for the first and last time.
Aljaz did make it to the final again in 2017 with actress Gemma Atkinson, but they were pipped to the post by Holby City actor Joe McFadden and Katya Jones.
Nevertheless, the 32-year-old Slovenian dancer always had a smile on his face, win or lose.
Fans were stunned earlier this year when Aljaz announced he wouldn’t be returning to Strictly Come Dancing.
He didn’t give too much away but Aljaz did tease that he did have some other projects in the pipeline.
Taking to Instagram, Aljaz explained: “A little while ago I made the tough decision that Strictly 2021 would be my last.
“The show has given me an opportunity and freedom to create and express myself in front of millions of people every weekend for the last 9 years.
“I have lots of exciting stuff planned that I will fill you in on soon. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”
Aljaz is married to fellow former Strictly star Janette Manrara who left the series in 2021.
She isn’t too far away from the dazzling dancefloor though as she presents the spin-off series It Takes Two with Rylan Clark.
Janette shared her own message at the time of his announcement, paying tribute to her husband of five years.
She said: “He makes every single person he encounters feel absolutely special; ask any of his partners throughout the years.
“He IS STRICTLY and what Strictly is all about; taking someone who wants to learn to dance, and making them truly fall in love with it.”
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Aljaz, who has been dancing since he was five years old, has won 19 Slovenian championships in ballroom and Latin so has plenty of achievements away from Strictly.
He hasn’t revealed any more details regarding what he will be up to next so fans are just going to have to watch this space for now.
But the show must go on with a new batch of famous faces ready to learn all they can about the world of dance.
Along with many of the usual cast of professionals, there will be four new dancers waiting in the wings.
Vito Coppola has been winning Italian Latin American championships since he was 10 years old, and will now be paired with X Factor star Fleur East for the live shows.
Michelle Tsiakkas was the undefeated Latin dance champion in Cyprus, winning national titles consecutively from 2001-2011 before moving to London.
Lauren Oakley from Birmingham was the Under 21 British National Champion before dancing with Giovanni Pernice and Anton Du Beke on their national tours.
Finally, Carlos Gu is the Chinese National Champion who was third at the German Open Championship and became Amateur Latin Rising Star Runner Up at the 2017 UK Open.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday, September 24, at 6.45pm on BBC One.
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