Ashish Gangapersad: "The negativity is very disheartening"

It's no secret that the former Isidingo star has been at the centre of much criticism on Strictly Come Dancing.

Two weeks ago, eyebrows were raised when Ashish responded to judge Michael Wentink negative remarks by saying,  "the reason people vote for us is because they can see that we have to work twice as hard to be half as good as any of the other contestants."

This didn't sit well  with other contestants, who hit back at Ashish on the show last week.

However, Ashish told The Juice that he was actually paying the other contestants a compliment, but it was misunderstood. "I was admitting that I know I'm not the best dancer, but still give each performance 150% each week," he explained.

He added that his journey on the show so far has been crazy, emotional, beautiful and painful -  but most of all, enjoyable, despite all the negativity. "When this is over I know I will be taking away a set of skills that I didn't have."

When asked about the tension between him and judge Michael, Ashish admitted that they "haven't seen eye to eye" since the start.

"I feel like it's a direct hit on me because Michael has never had a single positive thing to say about our performances. Every other couple gets negative comments mixed with the positive, but there's no record of that when it comes to me," he explained.

Ashish added that it was frustrating to enter each week with an "emotional beating."

"I'm beyond grateful to the people voting for me and as long as I'm in this contestant, I will continue giving off more than 150% for them. I feel like I represent the losers, who were always told that you can't do something. This motivates me to prove that you can do anything you set your heart on."

The former soap star also revealed that he did not agree that people were voting for him based on popularity or sympathy. "I believe people can see that I refuse to give up, despite being beaten into the ground week after week."