Strictly Come Dancing 2016: why didn’t all the dancers get paired?

New professionals Neil Jones and Chloe Hewitt were left without a celebrity to train

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15 Celebrities, 17 professional dancers. Doesn’t quite add up, does it? Well, don’t worry, this wasn’t a Strictly Come Dancing mistake – the show always planned to bench two of its new dancers.

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Although four of the new professionals, AJ Pritchard, Oksana Platero, Katya Jones and Gorka Marquez were paired (check out the full list here), British national dance champions Neil Jones and Chloe Hewitt were left out. 

So, why bring them in if not to train a celebrity? And why did Katya get paired, but her husband Neil didn’t?

As sources close to Strictly told Radiotimes.com, Jones and Hewitt are standing by if a paired pro gets injured and both professionals will appear in the group dances and also as ballroom experts on Strictly’s spin-off show It Takes Two.

“The show doesn’t see it as putting people on the bench at all,” the source insisted. “It’s a case of having enough people to cover everything as the show gets bigger. There’s more and more stuff for them to do. They’ll still be part of the family. There’ll be no ‘you’re a substitute’ or anything like that. 

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“It’s a nice introduction to the show. It’s one big happily family… It’s a way for viewers to get to know the new pro dancers.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2016: meet the contestants

Anastacia

Ed
Balls

Tameka
Empson

Claudia
Fragapane

Lesley
Joseph

Daisy
Lowe

Danny
Mac

Naga
Munchetty

Melvin
Odoom

Ore
Oduba

Louise
Redknapp

Judge Robert
Rinder

Greg
Rutherford

Laura
Whitmore

Will
Young