Strictly Come Dancing professionals

Strictly Come Dancing professionals: Luba Mushtuk ‘denied’ celebrity partner for 2021 series

Jason Bell and James Cracknell were eliminated early on

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With 15 celebrities taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, three of the 18 professionals were destined to be relegated to the sidelines – and one of those was the lovely Luba Mushtuk.

It’s happened to Gorka Marquez, Graziano di Palma and Neil Jones in previous series – and this year Luba has been relegated to the group dances.

Strictly Come Dancing professionals
The lovely Luba hasn’t been paired with a celebrity on Strictly Come Dancing (Credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing professionals: Why hasn’t Luba got a celebrity partner?

The BBC hasn’t announced the reasons behind its partnership decision.

However, ahead of the couplings announcement, an insider told The Sun that Luba wasn’t expected to be partnered with a celebrity this year.

It came after she was eliminated early on in the competition with both of her former celebs – James Cracknell and Jason Bell.

However, Luba’s loss was Neil Jones’ gain.

A TV insider said: “Neil will be thrilled by this turnaround as he must have wondered whether his star would drastically fade without a famous face to be partnered with.

“The fact he has got a pairing will seem like an even greater feat given that Luba has been denied one.

Hinting at the real reason behind her demotion, the source claimed: “Although a highly regarded dancer, she hasn’t quite enjoyed the same profile as other pros on Strictly since she first joined two years ago. That’s partly because she was paired with James Cracknell and Jason Bell, both of whom went out early.”

Strictly Come Dancing professionals
Jams Cracknell and Luba on Strictly in 2019 (Credit: BBC)

How long has Luba been on Strictly?

Luba officially joined the Strictly family in 2018, having served as an assistant choreographer on the show since 2016 and strutted her stuff on several of the Strictly live tours.

In 2019 she was paired up with her first celebrity student, hoping to take Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell to dancing victory.

Read more: Why did Strictly pro Neil Jones split from wife Katya? Is he dating anyone now?

However, they didn’t make it past the first public vote, bowing out in week two.

History repeated itself in the 2020 when she was paired with Jason Bell.

He was the second celebrity to be eliminated.

Strictly Come Dancing professionals
Jason Bell was the second celeb to be eliminated last year (Credit: BBC)

Who is Luba Mushtuk dating?

Back in May, Luba said she’s spent lockdown living alone and was single.

She said: “I’ve been living on my own for the past year, it’s been challenging but I try to do my best with the time that I have.

Read more: Why did Karen Hauer and Kevin Clifton split up? Who is her new man?

“Currently I’m very focussed on my career.”

Before that, Russian native Luba, 31, was dating Italian TV star Constantino Vitagliano.

She posted several loved-up pictures to her Instagram, which appear to have since been deleted.

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Did Strictly Come Dancing professionals Luba and Giovanni date?

In November 2017, she was linked to fellow professional dancer Giovanni Pernice.

The Sun quoted a source as saying: “She would like their romance to be out in the open. Luba is very keen to be on the show one day.”

They were said to be friends before taking things to the next level.

However, when reports suggested they had split, Luba shared a picture of a headline calling her Giovanni’s ex-girlfriend.

She said that it was news to her, insinuating that they had never been more than just good friends.

Will you miss Luba this year? Tell us on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.