Former NFL star Jason Bell makes Strictly Come Dancing history this year as the first American football player to grace the dance floor.
The sports star gave “100 per cent” during Saturday night’s first live show with professional dance partner Luba Mushtuk – one of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing professionals – as they performed the American Smooth to My Girl by The Temptations.
Jason received praise and encouragement from most of the judges, with Motsi Mabuse telling him, “From now on, I’m going to call you Jason Joy, because you spread the joy. I can feel it all through your face and through your movements.”
Craig Revel Horwood wasn’t quite as impressed as he explained that, while he welcomes couples taking risks on the dance floor, “sadly” it didn’t pay off for the pair this time.
Shirley Ballas was more positive as she told the pair, “I think you gave 100 per cent and I think most sports people hold back a little bit and you didn’t. Your footwork was absolutely fantastic.”
Jason and Luba placed seventh on the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard, which saw singer HRVY at the top following his vivacious Jive with dance partner Janette Manrara. EastEnders star Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez weren’t far behind in second place.
While we wait to see him in action again, here’s everything you need to know about Jason Bell.
Who is Jason Bell?
Job: Former NFL player and broadcaster
Partnered with: Luba Mushtuk
Jason Bell is best known for being a cornerback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Texans and the New York Giants.
He began his American football career in 2001, when he signed as an undrafted free agent to the Dallas Cowboys. He left the team in 2002 to join the Houston Texans, leading the team and receiving the Ed Block Courage Award at the end of that season.
In 2006, he moved to the New York Giants before retiring in 2008 after undergoing career-ending surgery the year before.
Since ending his football career, Bell has become a broadcaster and currently acts as an NFL pundit for BBC Sport alongside former New York Giants player Osi Umenyiora.
Bell shares a six-year-old daughter with Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle, to whom he was briefly engaged to. He has said he has been asking his ex Nadine for some Strictly tips.
What has Jason Bell said about Strictly?
The broadcaster addressed his participation in this year’s series in a statement, saying: “Strictly is the epitome of British television and this year, more than ever, I’m so proud and humbled to be participating.”
“Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan. My six-year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game but she is very excited about me taking to the dance floor. I hope I can do her proud.”
Delighted to be announced as a contestant on this year’s @bbcstrictly ????
See you on the dance floor ???? https://t.co/HnlUTm09ee
— Jason Bell (@JasonBell33) September 1, 2020
Bell also announced the news on Instagram and Twitter, writing: “Delighted to be announced as a contestant on this year’s BBC Strictly. See you on the dance floor.”