The professional dancer starred on the BBC show for four years, reaching the semi-finals on three occasions with Claudia Fragapane, Mollie King and Lauren Steadman.
AJ left the show following the 16th series in 2018, where he was partnered with Saffron Barker, but revealed on the Monday Mile with Aimee Fuller podcast that he was relieved to have never progressed to the showpiece event.
“I didn’t make the final, but what I tell myself deep down, which is quite funny, is if you don't make the final, technically you get more airtime,” he began. “If you make the final and you come fourth or third you are kicked out, so you don't get It Takes Two.
“Whereas if you actually make the semi-final, and you get kicked out, you get the whole of It Takes Two on the Monday. They make a fuss of you, then for all the returning celebrities [they go]: ‘Here are all the celebrities that had a go and didn't make the final.’
“[They] make a big thing about the person that just missed out on the final. So, I’d always get that kind of starring role there, so you see, I’m somebody that turns every negative into a positive.”
Whilst AJ left Strictly a while back, the current series recently passed through Blackpool as the couples took to the Tower Ballroom, with Angela Rippon revealing that her elimination from the show represented something of a “full circle” moment.
“It was lovely to be back,” she said, in reference to her stint as a presenter for Come Dancing. “It was quite fun to relive those memories. It was fascinating to get that full circle – having been a presenter in Blackpool I was now a dancer there.”
Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturdays and Sundays on BBC One, while spin-off Strictly: It Takes Two airs on weeknights on BBC Two. Both shows are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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