pasha-and-neil

Will Neil Jones replace Pasha Kovalev on Strictly Come Dancing?

Is there a silver lining to the sad news?

Hollie Richardson

Pasha Kovalev shared the sad news on Wednesday that he's leaving Strictly after eight years on the show, and now fans are convinced that cast member Neil Jones will take his place. Neil shared a video of Pasha and his former dance partner Ashley Roberts on Instagram, along with the caption: "It's a sad day @bbcstrictly family because @pashakovalev who we all know and love has decided not to return next series. He is a true gentleman on and off the floor and I have enjoyed every moment with you Pash. Good luck with your future endeavours and I can’t wait to perform with you again this weekend on @greatestdancer and in May on the Strictly Pro Tour. We will all miss you. #strictly #pashakovalev #strictlycomedancing #dance #life."

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Neil Jones is a Strictly favourite

Fans have reacted by asking the question we all want the answer to, which is - will Neil replace Pasha in the next series? One wrote: "@mr_njonesofficial it is sad but hopefully it means that you will finally get a celeb to dance with this year!" Another added: "As sad as I am to see him leave, I really hope you get your chance to shine. Come on BBC." A third commented: "Best of luck in your new adventures @pashakovalev .... when one door closes another opens @mr_njonesofficial if you don’t get a place this year I’m not watching!!! X."

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Strictly star Kevin Clifton recently revealed the process of how dancers find out if they've been cast in the upcoming series. Speaking to BBC Radio Humberside last week about his own uncertainty over returning, the professional dancer said: "They ask us, and probably in the next month or two they’ll start making phone calls to everyone to talk about the next series and whether they want you back on the show or not." He added: "You're never contracted to more than just the series you're on." This means that we should find out for certain about Neil over the next couple of months.

asha with Ashley last year

Speaking about his exit, Pasha took to his Twitter page to write: "After scoring 93 perfect tens, reaching four finals, lifting one Glitter Ball, it's time for me to find a new challenge and so I've decided to make last year - my final season on Strictly. I've had five fantastic years, full of wonderful memories, thanks to the incredible partners, professionals and myriad of behind the scenes teams who all work to make Strictly the amazing production that it is."

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