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Strictly's Karim Zeroual breaks his silence after finding himself in the bottom two with Amy Dowden

AJ Pritchard and Saffron Barker were the ninth couple to leave Strictly

Sharnaz Shahid

Strictly Come Dancing star Karim Zeroual has put away his heartache to one side to thank his fans for their ongoing support as he continues to compete on the BBC show. The 26-year-old presenter and his dance partner Amy Dowden were left heartbroken after they found themselves in the dance-off alongside Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard on Sunday night. "I don't even know where to start with this but first thank you to everyone who has supported me so far," Karim wrote on Instagram. "All of your messages and love literally keeps me going so thank you! Really, from the bottom of my heart."

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Amy Dowden and Karim Zeroual found themselves in the dance-off

On Saturday night, the TV star and his partner had topped the leaderboard with 38 points thanks to their couple's choice (contemporary), which they performed to Drops Of Jupiter by With Confidence. Discussing his emotional routine, which was a tribute to his mother and sister, Karim added: "My contemporary dance meant so much to me, not only for the beautiful choreography but for the backstory too. It was my pleasure to share my moment with you all."

READ: Strictly's AJ Pritchard and Saffron Barker react to surprise elimination

He added: "A huge thank you to @lukas_mcfarlane who has been a massive inspiration to me and I’m so grateful and humbled to of worked with you and thanks to @amytomtom for helping us and being the best. You two are a force to be reckoned with!" Turning his attention to his professional partner, Karim shared: "@amy_dowden, you are just the greatest friend ever. Your work ethic is just astounding and you shined like a star in this dance."

Watch Oti Mabuse and Kelvin Fletcher play Hello/Goodbye!

Despite making it through to the quarter-final, Karim revealed he was sad to see his "best friend" Saffron leave the series. "Having to be in the dance off with one of my bestie’s was awful," he said. "@saffronbarker you know how much love I have for you. You are crazy talented and the most amazing role model and you smashed every single dance with @aj11ace." He then concluded: "Again, thank you to all of you for having my back. Your kind words and love means so much. Sending love, energy and vibes right back at you."

MORE: Strictly star Giovanni Pernice pokes fun at Oti Mabuse's voice struggle

Amy has also shared her thoughts on Sunday's show, telling her followers: "Emotional weekend for myself and lovely partner @karim__zeroual. Karim you couldn't have done anymore, you were YOU on that floor and I'm so proud. We challenged ourselves and pushed our limits this past week and I loved every second of it and again want to thank the creative and talented @lukas_mcfarlane and @amytomtom."

"Being in a dance-off is so tough and I’m so proud of your focus and emotional but determined performance," she added. "Thank you to the judges for saving us, we are so grateful to be back performing in the quarter-final. Musical special next weekend." The pro dancer concluded: "It's so bittersweet, so sorry to see the beautiful @saffronbarker and @aj11ace leave the competition tonight. You guys brought so much fun and energy to the competition."

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