Who is Aljaz Skorjanec, Strictly Come Dancing pro?

Aljaz has danced on the Strictly dancefloor since 2013 – and has even lifted the Glitterball trophy. Here’s what you need to know about him.

Aljaz won Strictly at his first attempt, lifting the Glitterball trophy alongside celebrity partner, model and Britain’s Next Top Model host Abbey Clancy, in 2013.

The 2017 series has partnered Aljaz with soap star Gemma Atkinson and the pair have made it to the grand final, where Aljaz will be fighting to reclaim the trophy.

Here’s what you need to know about him:

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Who is Aljaz Skorjanec?

Born in Ptuj, Slovenia, Aljaz started to dance at five years old. Before joining Strictly in 2013 – where he made an instant impact - Aljaz represented his native country in dance competitions all over the world as well as appearing on Slovenia’s Dancing With The Stars.

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Aljaz also won 19 Slovenian titles in Ballroom, Latin and ‘10’ dance (five Ballroom dances, five Latin dances). Like many other Strictly dancers, Aljaz has appeared in touring show Burn The Floor.

He married his Strictly co-star Janette Manrara in front of many of their Strictly co-stars on July 15, 2017. The couple told Hello! they were most looking forward to – surprise, surprise – their first dance.

“We haven't decided what the first dance will be yet, but I think it will be something really simple, pretty and intimate," Aljaz said. "It's just going to be a lovely day dedicated to celebrating our love."

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Janette and Aljaz have recently toured the UK for a show celebrating the work and genius of Fred Astaire.

Although it originally looked as though Janette would be the more successful of the husband and wife in 2017's contest, a shock exit for her and partner Aston Merrygold in week seven left Aljaz and his partner Gemma Atkinson out in front.

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Gemma and Aljaz have had a gradual rise up the leaderboard, gaining by far the highest score for their American Smooth with 38, but have won the hearts of viewers.

It's fair to say that the couple are the outsiders going into the final, but as Strictly fans know, anything can happen in that last show.

Favourite dance: The Paso Doble and the Foxtrot.

Best-ever finish: Aljaz won Strictly in his first year alongside model and TV host Abbey Clancy. Could he repeat his success with Gemma Atkinson in 2018?

Worst-ever finish: In series 12, Aljaz came 12th with TV presenter Alison Hammond.

Former celebrity partners: Abbey Clancy, Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe.

Did you know? Aljaz started dancing after he signed himself up for dance lessons at his nursery – without his parents’ knowledge.

Celebrity partner 2017: Gemma Atkinson

[Read more: Strictly Come Dancing 2017 final live blog]

Photo credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

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