Neil Jones speaks out on Strictly snub as star set to miss out on celeb partner in 2023 series

NEil Jones and Alex Scott

Neil Jones has only had two celeb partners - including Alex Scott (pictured)

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 12/09/2023

- 00:01

The professional dancer is reported to have missed out on a celebrity partner yet again this year

Despite being part of the Strictly Come Dancing furniture for eight years as of 2023, dancer Neil Jones has only ever been paired with two celebrities.

With Alex Scott in 2020, Jones made it all the way to the final five couples while a year later, he was the first pro to be sent packing alongside actor Nina Wadia.

The 15 celebs taking part in this year's series have all been unveiled but while their professional partners' identities remain a mystery, it's been reported Jones won't be involved.

An insider told the Mirror that Jones was "gutted to be overlooked" once again but is putting his focus on the imminent arrival of his first child with girlfriend, Chyna Mills.

Former Strictly pro Vincent Simone even told GB News he was baffled by the decision to omit Jones from a partnership again, claiming he'd feel "rejected" by the ordeal.

But now, just a few weeks ahead of the Strictly 2023 premiere, Jones has finally had his say on what it's like to miss out on a famous partner.

Neil Jones and girlfriend Chyna Mills

Neil Jones and girlfriend Chyna Mills are expecting their first child


"I think this is going to be my eighth series, and I’ve had two partners on the main show," Jones said.

He continued: "I would honestly say to you, I love when I have a partner, and I love when I don’t have a partner."

In an attempt to dispel the myths about being left out, Jones added to Radio Times: "When you don’t have a partner, a lot of people think you just sit at home.

"But you really don’t. On Strictly, they make sure you’ve got plenty to do.

"We’re doing group numbers and music acts, we help out other pros."

While Jones' outlook on the situation teeters towards the understanding side, it's safe to say some of his professional dance colleagues aren't quite as easygoing.

"Obviously we want a partner,” Graziano di Prima told the publication. "We’re going to be part of the game. We’re going to give it our best shot, no matter who we get."

Jones isn't the only long-serving professional who's set to miss out on a celeb partner this year either, with Nadiya Bychkova reportedly snubbed.

Radio Times cover

Neil Jones spoke to Radio Times ahead of this week's magazine


A source also told the Mirror: "Nadiya lives and breathes Strictly, and so to hear that she wouldn’t have a celebrity partner this year was crushing for her. She was both gutted and very, very angry."

Bychkova also reportedly liked an Instagram user's comment on her profile in which a fan claimed the BBC show treats her "like a c***".

Bychkova and Jones' colleagues will instead be paired with one of the 15 celebs signed up to take part.

The full line-up consists of Amanda Abbington, Angela Rippon CBE, Layton Williams, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Eddie Kadi, Angela Scanlon, Zara McDermott, Adam Thomas, Nikita Kanda, Ellie Leach, Jody Cundy CBE, Bobby Brazier, Nigel Harman, Annabel Croft, and Les Dennis.

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