Neil Jones: The real reason star will finally get a Strictly partner this year

Professional dancer Neil Jones may never have competed on Strictly Come Dancing with a celeb, but he’s certainly become a favourite among fans. He’s been a mainstay in the cast since 2016 as one of the BBC series’ professional line-up, serving as back-up and taking part in the show’s toe-tapping dance routines. In 2019, Neil will land himself a partner for the first time and there are a number of reasons to suggest why.

While the celebrity contestants and their professional dancing partners are still under wraps, Neil’s reportedly already been paired up.

Whether it be YouTube sensation Saffron Barker, former footballer Alex Scott, Coronation Street legend Catherine Tyldesley or any of the other female celebs will be revealed on Saturday’s launch show (September 7).

In the meantime, fans have been speculating over why 2019 is the year Neil finally makes the step up.

One potential reason is the departure of Pasha Kovalev and demotion of Gorka Marquez.

Pasha announced his exit from Strictly after the 2018 series.

He’d competed with a famous partner every year since series nine.

With a Strictly mainstay leaving the line-up, a vacant spot was open, perfect for Neil to fill.

There’s also the fact another Strictly pro would be taking a back seat this year in the form of Gorka.

Gorka was dropped from the starting line-up of performers for reportedly being “not tall enough”.

A source told The Sun show bosses had decided to make the Spaniard a reserve instead.

The same fate almost fell upon Neil’s ex Katya, but Strictly bosses made a U-turn and she will be partnered with a celebrity this year.

Another reason for Neil’s promotion to main contest could be due to the fact he’s worked on the series for a number of years now.

He’s proved a loyal member of the pro line-up, performing in every extravagant performance and joining the Strictly live tour once the show’s over.

Neil’s also no stranger to the spotlight with his romance with Katya hitting headlines during his time on the series.

The pair were faced with rife speculation over their future in 2018 after The Sun published pictures of Katya kissing her celebrity partner Seann Walsh.

Katya and Neil stayed together and remained a Strictly power couple but did eventually split in August 2019.

The pair said they made the “mutual decision to separate” but wished “one another every happiness” in a heartfelt Instagram post.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019 kicks off on BBC One on Saturday, September 7 at 7:10pm.

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