Strictly Come Dancing star set to sit on sidelines as they’re ‘dropped from main line up’

Ugo Monye revealed as final celebrity to join Strictly Come Dancing

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Strictly Come Dancing’s 19th series will be kicking off on BBC One soon, but 31-year-old Russian professional dancer Luba Mushtuk won’t be part of the main cast after “failing to secure a celebrity partner”. Luba joined the Strictly cast in 2018 after working on the show as an assistant choreographer since 2016. 

As the full celebrity line-up for the upcoming series of the ballroom dancing competition was revealed last week, fans of the show have started wondering which dancers they will be paired with. 

Neil Jones, 39, is reportedly set to return to the main cast after not making the cut last year, but Luba is said to have been “dropped from the main line-up” from this year’s series. 

An 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.”

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Luba officially joined the Strictly family three years ago, having served as an assistant choreographer on programme since 2016. 

In 2019 she was paired up with her first celebrity student Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell. 

She hoped to take him to a dancing victory, but they didn’t make it past the first public vote, bowing out in week two. 

The blonde beauty was partnered with American footballer Jason Bell in last year’s series, but they were voted off early on in the competition following a surprise dance-off. 

A television insider told The Sun: “Although a highly regarded dancer, [Luba] 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.”

However, Luba started on a high by winning the Children In Need Strictly Come Dancing special in 2018 with Boyzone singer Shane Lynch. 

Shane dazzled audiences with his quick footwork on the charity programme thanks to the guidance of Luba. 

An air date for the latest Strictly Come Dancing series has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to premier in the coming weeks. 

Most contestants sign up to the show with no professional dancing experience at all, so rehearsals take place weeks ahead of the show’s launch. 

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These rehearsals are notoriously demanding for stars, with long hours and potential injuries common in previous years.

Luba may not have secured a celebrity partner, but she will still feature in the show as part of the dance ensemble. 

The 2021 line-up has now been confirmed by the BBC, with this year’s celebrity choices shocking many long-term fans of the show. 

A fan-favourite this year is Peer Show star Robert Webb, with the comedian high up in the bookies’ estimates.


He will be joined by Tom Fletcher, AJ Odudu, John Whaite, Rhys Stephenson, Sara Davies, among others.

News on the official premiere is expected to be confirmed soon, with many fans hoping for the traditional September launch.

Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back to present the programme for an eighth year. 

Head judge Shirley Ballas is returning as the head judge and will be joined by Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse. 

Professional dancer Oti Mabuse – who won last year’s series – is confirmed to be making a comeback along with Johannes Radebe, Dianne Buswell, Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez. has contacted Strictly Come Dancing for comment.

Strictly Come Dancing is expected to return later this year on BBC One.

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