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Strictly star Aljaz Skorjanec was floored by wife’s exit

Remembering Fred tour
Remembering Fred tour


STRICTLY favourite Aljaz Skorjanec has revealed the moment that left him an emotional wreck on last year’s series.

It wasn’t missing out on picking up the prized glitterball along with celebrity partner Gemma Atkinson in December’s thrilling final.

Instead, it was seeing his wife, fellow professional dancer Janette, make a shock early exit with her celebrity, singer Aston Merrygold.

The pair had been hotly tipped to win the series and their departure after just a few weeks was one of Strictly’s biggest-ever shocks.

Aljaz and Gemma had just been safely voted through, but as they sat waiting to chat to host Claudia Winkleman, the Slovenian dancer was distracted and close to tears.

“It was almost tougher than going out myself,” Aljaz told iN10.

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“Janette and I choreograph together and it doesn’t matter if it goes into her routine or mine.

“On a very personal, emotional level, when something like that happens to my wife then it really hurts me. So I was extremely upset.

“We’re both really passionate about what we do and you have to care.

“And if Janette does an amazing routine I’d never for a second worry about it as competition. I’m just really proud.”

The early exit was a major surprise, with some saying the routine may not have been quite the right fit for the former JLS star.

But Janette is quick to counter any criticism.

“Some people loved it, some hated it, some blamed the choreography, some blamed the music,” said Janette.

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“I always try to push boundaries and take risks and when you do that the you have to be open to everyone having their opinion.

“It’s not nice to hear criticism but it’s an art form so there’s no right or wrong in what we do. And Aston was really on board with me about what we were doing.”

Even though her celebrity was knocked out early in the series, Janette was still one of the pros invited along on the hugely successful Strictly Live tour.

It gave Aljaz and Gemma a fitting swansong and even though he didn’t repeat his glitterball-winning success with Abbey Clancy, he has no regrets.

“It was an incredible series for Gemma. Having absolutely no dance background, she did so well to get to the final.

“I was so proud that we were one of the four couples that made it all the way.”

Barely had the Strictly Live tour finished than Janette and Aljaz were finalising plans to get back out on the road again.

This time it was their hit Remembering Fred tour, returning for a new 46-date run after the previous successful tour. It runs through to the end of May and includes dates in Inverness, Perth and Edinburgh.

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It’s an all-singing and, of course, all-dancing tribute to Hollywood legend Fred Astaire with Janette and Aljaz performing to classics from the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter.

“I really got into Fred Astaire when I was doing the Burn The Floor show about eight years ago,” revealed Aljaz.

“Now, whenever I need inspiration or I’m looking for something special, it’s always Fred I turn to.

“The thing about him is that, if you’re not a trained dancer, it looks really easy. He doesn’t even look as if he’s trying but I have gone through some of those routines and, trust me, they are extremely difficult.”

The big shock after Strictly finished was the revelation that ever-present pro Brendan Cole wasn’t being invited back this year.

“We’re really going to miss him,” admits Aljaz. “He’s been one of the pillars of Strictly and he was always there to give us advice.”

Like the remaining pros, Janette and Aljaz are waiting with fingers crossed to hear if they’ll be returning.

“They don’t really confirm anyone until the summer so we just have to wait,” added Janette.

“We really hope we are as we both love it.”

Remembering Fred

Inverness Eden Court April 9, 10

Perth Concert Hall May 4

Edinburgh Usher Hall May 5