Strictly Come Dancing fans call for Tameka Empson to return after Will Young quits

The #BringBackTameka hashtag has been trending on Twitter since Young announced his departure

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The Independent Culture

Strictly Come Dancing fans have been calling for Tameka Empson to return in the wake of Will Young’s sudden departure.

The EastEnders star was booted off the BBC dancing show last weekend after finding herself in the bottom two with Laura Whitmore. She left after a dance-off with the Irish TV presenter, leading some fans to brand voters “racist” following radio DJ Melvin Odoom’s eviction the week before.

Young, best known for winning Pop Idol in 2002, released a statement on Tuesday night explaining that he would not be continuing in the competition for “personal reasons”. 

The BBC said that the show “fully respects” the singer’s decision and that the structure of the series would not be affected by his sudden exit. “The series will continue as planned, with elimination every week until the Grand Final. The previously eliminated contestants will not be returning to the competition,” a spokesperson said. “There will be a Results Show and elimination this weekend as planned. The Saturday show will be slightly shorter this week, but with twelve dances and a magnificent professional routine there is still plenty on offer for viewers to enjoy.”

There is no “backup celebrity” on standby, but this has not stopped fans (including a certain Sir Matthew Bourne) from launching the #BringBackTameka hashtag:

The celebrities taking part in this year’s Strictly have shared their sadness about Young on social media, with his professional dance partner Karen Clifton wishing him “all the very best for the future”.

Judges Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli have not commented on the news,and nor have hosts Claudia Winkelman and Tess Daly.

However, many of Young's fellow contestants and their dance partners were quick to wish him well, with model Daisy Lowe calling him a “talented superstar” and Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac saying everyone was “gutted”. 

Young and Clifton were due to perform the Viennese waltz to “Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera this weekend.

Strictly Come Dancing airs at 6.30pm on BBC One