Neil Jones 'defeated' and 'rejected' as he's set to miss out on Strictly celeb partner AGAIN

Neil Jones

Neil Jones is set to miss out on a pro partner for this year's Strictly

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 09/09/2023

- 08:00

The professional dancer has only had two celebrity partners since joining the cast seven years ago

Strictly dancer Neil Jones is reported to have missed out on the chance of performing with a celeb on this year's series.

Despite impressing as part of the Strictly group routines and as the partner to Nina Wadia and Alex Scott in the past, Jones has reportedly been left "gutted" to be left out.

A source told the Mirror that Jones found the news "disappointing" but now he's focussing on the imminent arrival of his first child with girlfriend Chyna Mills.

Jones will remain part of the show as a reserve dancer and as part of the show's group routines.

However, speaking exclusively to GB News, two former Strictly pros and friends of Jones have revealed that won't stop him feeling "rejected" by the snub from BBC show bosses.

When asked what it's like to miss out on a celebrity partner when on the show, former pro Vincent Simone told GB News: "You feel very defeated.

"Because even when you are in the show - I remember I've been out in week one twice, one with Stephanie Beacham and one with Edwina Currie, even that itself, the fact that you're still involved in the show, you're still doing the group numbers, but you are out of the competition, it's quite defeating.

Neil Jones and Alex Scott

Neil Jones and Alex Scott performed together in 2020


"You know, because at the end of the day, we're all professionals (and) ex-competitors, so we have that in our system.

"And the fact that you don't even have the chance to be part of such an amazing competition, it's not a nice feeling.

"It feels like a rejection," Simone admitted. "Even though Neil Jones is one of the best guys because he's the only world champion out of all of them.

"So on paper, he's the best male dancer," the dancer added. "So imagine how he feels."

Praising Jones further, Simone admitted he was dumbfounded as to why exactly it looks like Jones is set to miss out once more.

"He's lovely," Simone praised. "He's lovely with the celebrities. So unless you're not really compatible with someone, I wouldn't see why (he's left out).

"He's got a character, he's got a personality, and he's got a specific look.

"It's just a shame because he's a friend of ours as well," Simone added, referencing fellow pro dancer and current touring partner Ian Waite.

When asked if it's time the BBC ditch the current format of having more dancers than celebrities, Simone replied: "I don't think there's any need (for the current set-up).

"I mean, from a covering part of it, if someone gets injured, you have some extra professionals, which are already known roughly by the public so you don't get like a full-on stranger jumping into the show in for injury purposes.

"But otherwise, I mean, our group numbers back in the days, it was quite intimate, you know, it was like three couples, four couples.

"But now the dance floor is packed, which is amazing, you know, looks spectacular, but it could just employ (standby) dancers."

Waite weighed in to suggest another way the Beeb could prevent such scrutiny on the Strictly professionals when they're left out of pairings.

"My personal opinion is that they should have a very big pool of dancers and they change it up every time," he began.

Waite explained further: "So you have 30 dancers and you're going to change it up every time depending on which celebrities you get.

Chyna Mills and Neil Jones

Chyna Mills and Neil Jones are expecting their first child together


"I think that is a much better idea than kind of keeping the same pros year after year after year.

"And I just think that way - because it gets really hard if you're doing it year after year and touring, and it gets hard.

"So it would be nice for certain pros to have a year off, let's say Giovanni [Pernice], have a year off, and then come back next year and feel fresh and to do it again.

"And I'm sure if they were given the option, somebody like Giovanni, would say, 'Yes, please, I'll take a year off this year and come back next year.'

"But the BBC are renowned for not bringing pros back," Waite claimed. "I don't think we've ever seen any pros being dropped one year and then brought back the year after which is unusual because in America they do and in Australia they do.

"It's just one of those things," Waite conceded.

Since leaving Strictly, both Waite and Simone have continued to work with the BBC show - Waite on It Takes Two and Simone behind the scenes with the choreography team.

But now, the duo are currently embarking on a tour titled The Magic of Dance.

Teasing what fans can expect from the tour, Simone told GB News: "For me, it's the perfect night out. I mean, we've done already three shows and the audience loves it!

"It's a variety show, so you get amazing dancing, then we have an amazing singer, Jai McDowell, who is an ex-champion of Britain's Got Talent - we're very lucky and blessed to have someone like him!

"But then also we bring comedy, myself and Ian, we have a bit of storytelling from the past, we do have some funny numbers when one of us is going to dress up and mix and match.

"So all in all, the audience gets real entertainment and it's an amazing night out - ever for the husbands. So ladies, please bring your husbands."

The pair are touring throughout September across the country with dates confirmed for venues in Cowes, Exmouth, Gravesend, Chelmsford, Chesterfield, Rhyl, Blackpool, Blackburn, Lancaster, Rugby, Newbridge, Stamford, Darlington, Burton-on-Trent, Eastbourne, Middlesbrough, Barnstaple, Epsom, and Felixstowe.

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