Strictly Come Dancing fans are in for a shock, as one of our favourite professional dancers has just confirmed he will not be paired up with a celebrity contestant this year. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, Graziano di Prima announced the news in a statement, writing: "Just letting all the fans know the I will not have a celeb partner this series, but don't worry… I am not going anywhere!
"You will see me every Saturday/Sunday nights in all our amazing group dances, on It Takes Two and across the series. We will have some amazing routines already and I can't wait for you to see them all! To my fellow pros, good luck for a magical series" Let's do this and I love you all! Graz."
Graziano broke the news to fans
Graziano's friends and fans responded in disbelief, with Strictly 2018 champion Stacey Dooley replying with a woman shrugging emoji and the comment: "One of my faves. Big love bro." Dr Ranj, who also competed in last year's series, also sent Graziano a love heart emoji. "We love you!!!" fellow pro dancer Katya Jones wrote.
One Strictly viewer posted: "Bad decision… you are the best most handsome and modern dancer they have… very sad however you will shine in group sets!" Another fan commented, "Oh no why? This makes me sad, I love watching you dance and we didn't get to see enough of you last year," while others said it was a "bad decision" and a "big mistake".
Graziano will still perform in the big group numbers
Last year, Graziano was partnered with radio DJ Vick Hope. The pair were the fourth couple to leave the show after they were in the dance-off with Seann Walsh and Katya Jones. Vick opened up about leaving the competition, telling Capital Radio Breakfast's Roman Kemp: "It was very strange because after the dance-off, then the judges have to give their decisions but there was a bit of a conflab with some producers and then they gave their decisions. It was just stunned silence in the studio, it was a really weird atmosphere."
The pair remained on good terms after the competition, even hanging out together after the show. Sharing a series of pictures of the pair at brunch, Vick wrote on Instagram: "Man, missed ya mate. So good to hang out again today, weird that it wasn't while sweating profusely and counting on animal sounds." She added: "Graz, bello, so much love to you. Thank you for being so hard-working, kind and patient. You're such a special guy and an amazing dancer, it's been a pleasure to dance with you and, more importantly, get to know you. Ciao per ora amica mia, grazie!"
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.