The Paralympic athlete – who was tonight eliminated from the BBC One dance show – told the pro he could be "hard".
During the semi-final results show this evening, the 25-year-old star became the latest celebrity to leave the competition after the judges chose to save Ashley Roberts in the dance off.
Lauren said some final words after discovering she wouldn't be making it to next week's grand final.
Turning to AJ, 24, she revealed: "I think it goes without saying that for you AJ everybody can think you’re an amazing dancer and sometimes you’re a bit hard on the outside but you’re so squishy and marshmallow like on the inside.
"I’ve got a lot of resilience and determination but I’ve never met somebody quite like you.
"As a pair I didn’t think we would be partnered and I’m so grateful I got you as a partner, words can’t explain how much I appreciate it.”
AJ was himself gushing in his praise for Lauren.
He said: "Lauren has been fantastic. Honestly at the beginning of the series I couldn’t have expected to make the semi-final which was just beautiful but honestly I’m so proud of you as a person.
"You have changed so many people’s opinions and it has always been about ability not disability."
It comes as Strictly fans slammed the judges' decision to save Ashley in favour of Lauren in the dance off.
Viewers branded the semi-final result a "fix" as the ex-Pussycat Doll made it through to the final while the Paralympic athlete was eliminated from the popular BBC One dance show.
Tonight's episode saw both women forced to compete for a second time after receiving the fewest votes.
After their performances, Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli ultimately gave the former pop star, 37, another chance for her impressive American smooth with dance partner Pasha Kovalev.
Lauren was seen looking saddened as she stood beside dance partner AJ Pritchard as the verdict was revealed.
It appears viewers – some of whom have previously criticised the decision for trained-dancer Ashley to appear in the show – shared her disappointment.
Those watching at home took to Twitter to complain as soon as they heard Ashley was in the bottom two and said Lauren was bound to go.
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