Aliona Vilani voted the most popular Strictly Come Dancing professional ever

Over 11,000 voted for their favourite Strictly professional, and a dearly departed 2015 winner came out top...

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Strictly Come Dancing celebrities come and go, but it’s the professional dancers who really keep the show on its toes, putting generations of hapless contestants through their paces and turning them into twirling superstars.

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So it’s little wonder that when we asked you to name your favourite Strictly pro ever, you voted in your thousands. Over 11,000 votes were cast for the favourite male and female pro dancer… and there was one clear winner.

Step forward Aliona Vilani, 2015 winner with Jay McGuiness.

The Strictly pro won both the series 13 Glitterball AND the 2015 Christmas special with The Wanted star, but announced soon after that she would not be returning for this year’s series

She’s clearly dearly missed, coming top overall in our poll of Strictly pros past and present. Having been on the show for seven years, she chose not to appear with this year’s crop – although the good news is, she and Jay are back in the Strictly rehearsal room preparing for the Keep Dancing live tour.

Current pro Natalie Lowe, who’s partnered with Olympic star Greg Rutherford this year, came in second place, while the most popular male pro dancer was former pro Tristan MacManus, who just edged out current pro partner Aljaz Skorjanec.

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With a new series just beginning and new dancers to get to know, will we see a new pro partner rise to the occasion? Tune in this Saturday evening to find out.

Strictly Come Dancing 2016: meet the pro dancers

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Oksana
Platero

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Karen
Clifton

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Pasha
Kovalev

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Joanne
Clifton

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AJ
Pritchard

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Oti
Mabuse

118500

Katya
Jones

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Janette
Manrara

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Gorka
Marquez

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Natalie
Lowe

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Kevin
Clifton

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Giovanni
Pernice

118515

Brendan
Cole

118517

Anton
Du Beke

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Aljaz
Skorjanec