Strictly Come Dancing star Neil Jones has repeatedly been “demoted” to the role of back dancer for this year’s series.
The excitement for the 2020 series of Strictly is building, but clearly not everyone is excited to return.
Flame-haired Neil is reported to be “devastated” at being demoted to backing dancer.
Neil, who partnered with former footballer Alex Scott last year, has reportedly found himself shunned out of the spotlight and without a celebrity partner this year.
Strictly Come Dancing star Neil will only perform in the group routines
Show bosses decided not to pair Neil with a partner this year and demote him to backing dancer instead. He has been a professional on the show since 2016.
Neil is reported to be “devastated”, especially after managing to snag fifth place last year with celeb partner Alex Scott.
A show insider told the Daily Star: “After a lot of discussion it was decided that Neil will be dropped from the line-up of professional dancers, so he won’t be partnered with a contestant.
This year he will watch Katya be the centre of attention while he sits on the sidelines.
“He will still be part of the show, but only in group routines. So viewers won’t see much of him any more.”
Entertainment Daily has contacted the BBC for comment.
Ex-wife Katya Jones will step into the spotlight
A further blow will no doubt come as he watches ex-wife Katya.
She’s reported to be stepping up into more of the spotlight as she wants to be the series’ first-ever same-sex couple with boxer Nicola Adams.
The insider added: “It’s tough for Neil to take this news. He only had one year as a competing pro and now he’s a background dancer once again. This year he will watch Katya be the centre of attention while he sits on the sidelines.”
Neil and ex-wife Katya split in August 2019, 10 months after she kissed comedian Seann Walsh who she was partnered with for Strictly 2018.
However, when the pair split, Neil was quick to clarify that the kiss was not the main reason.
Speaking to The Sun last year, Neil said: “For me it’s something that happened in the past. We spoke about everything back then.
“We had a situation but everyone was supportive, so we got through it. Strictly was great to both of us when it happened and we’re both in a good place now.”
What will Strictly 2020 look like?
One reason Neil might have been dropped to a less prominent role is that the series is shorter, meaning there will be less celebrity couples this year.
The 2020 series is due to begin on October 24 and run until December 19, meaning there will be just 10 weeks instead of 13.
The shorter run length has meant show bosses have had to slash the number of celebrity pairings from 15 to just 12.
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