Strictly fans baffled as Neil Jones left without celebrity partner

Strictly: Tess Daley and Claudia Winkleman host the show

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Strictly Come Dancing fans found out which professional dancers have been partnered with which celebrities on Friday’s launch show ahead of Saturday’s first live broadcast. Fans of the BBC flagship show will know that each year some professional dancers are left without a partner however, some viewers weren’t impressed with the decision not to pair a celebrity with Neil Jones.

This year five professionals were left without a partner, including veteran Neil.

Luba Mushtuk who was paired with James Cracknell and Jason Bell in the past will not have a celebrity partner this year. 

Meanwhile, new additions Lauren Oakley and Michelle Tsiakkas will also not have partners. 

Strictly fans questioned why some professionals, and in particular Neil, were not given celebrity contestants to dance with. 

Read more: Strictly’s Kaye Adams dealt crushing odds blow hours before live show

@Nessmean tweeted: “What has Neil done to the BBC?! No partner again seems really off.. #Strictly.”

@AMG_Review reamrked: “Quite gutted we don’t get to see Neil or Luba with partners this year #Strictly.”

“Sad Neil and Cameron don’t have partners this year when the two new male pros do #Strictly,” @arianne_smart  wrote.

@sunshining55555 shared: “#Strictly #neiljones why no partner for Neil? Really enjoy watching him why don’t BBC get it?”

@loosewomanfan added: “Why does Neil not have a partner? He is a great dancer and has been with Strictly for years. What is Strictly’s problem?”

“Why does Neil Jones NOT have a dance partner this year but the 2 new male pros do???? #Strictly,” @EllieS1976 asked. (sic)

Neil joined Strictly in 2016 but it wasn’t until 2019 that viewers saw the Ballroom and Latin dancer be partnered with a celebrity. 

He finished in fifth position with Alex Scott and was later partnered with Nadia Wadia in 2021. 

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Meanwhile, newcomer Carlos Gu will dance with Molly Rainford.

Another new additions Vito Coppola will take on the competition with Fleur East.

Elsewhere, former Strictly pro James Jordan also questioned why Neil was left without a partner this year. 

Replying to a fan who asked why Neil had “missed out”, James called the move “strange. 

He said: “Very strange – such a shame they don’t use the talent we have in this country. Especially when he has the best pedigree.

“Nothing against the foreign dancers as my wife was one of them BUT too few home grown so why not Neil???”

In other line-up news, Strictly has made history with two same-sex pairings.

Comedian Jayde Adams has been partnered with Karen Hauer while Richie Anderson will dance with Giovanni Pernice.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One on Saturday at 6.45pm.

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