STRICTLY Come Dancing bosses “punish” scandalous dancers by pairing them with the worst celebrity contestant so they can’t win the Glitterball trophy.
The ultimate revenge has become even more apparent following this year’s pairings, with disgraced Katya Jones and Kevin Clifton being partnered with two of the weakest stars.
While Kevin has now insisted that he is “very happy and impressed” with Welsh TV presenter Anneka Rice, 60, The Sun Online revealed that he is secretly “fuming” to not have landed a fan favourite like Catherine Tyldesley or Alex Scott.
But Kevin is far from the first pro to feel the wrath of Strictly bosses, with producers getting their own back on naughty stars ever since the show launched in 2004.
Brendan Cole was the very first Strictly star to fall victim to the infamous curse 15 years ago.
He split from his dancer fiancee Camilla Dallerup after winning the show with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004.
Brendan always denied that he had an affair with Natasha, but did eventually admit that “something happened” between them.
After nabbing the Glitterball trophy in the Spring of 2004, Brendan had a completely different experience with the Autumn series of the show, being partnered with lesser-known actress Sarah Manners and leaving the competition in Week 5.
The following year, Brendan’s punishment continued as bosses paired him up with Fiona Phillips – getting eliminated from the show just four weeks in.
Flavia Cacace was in an 11-year-relationship with her fellow professional Vincent Simone when she was partnered with ex-EastEnders star Matt Di Angelo for the 2007 season of the show.
The pair split mid-way through the series, and by the end of it Flavia admitted that she had shacked up with Matt.
She and Matt finished the series in second place and were together for three years, but Flavia felt the wrath of producers in 2008 when she was partnered up with Phil Daniels and they were booted from the competition in Week 1.
However, this was far from Flavia’s only dabble with the Strictly Curse, announcing that she was in a relationship with her 2010 celebrity partner Jimi Mistry just weeks after splitting from Matt.
The two ended up going the distance, becoming the first Strictly pairing to tie the knot in 2013 – and they are still happily married.
But once again, bosses didn’t hide their disapproval, partnering Flavia with astrologer Russell Grant in 2011.
ANTON DU BEKE
In a scandal far-removed from the usual romances and affairs, Anton Du Beke hit the headlines in 2009 when he used a racial slur to describe his partner Laila Rouass.
The dancer sparked outrage when he described the actress as a “p***” – he insisted that the comment was made in jest but the BBC condoned his behaviour at the time.
Seemingly getting revenge on his headline-grabbing language, Anton was then partnered with controversial politician Ann Widdecombe the following year.
Although Anton managed to get the then-62-year-old to Week 12, the pairing became a source of comic relief in the series and were repeatedly given embarrassingly low marks from the judges.
Outspoken James Jordan wasn’t involved in anything scandalous per se, but he was long-reported to have rubbed producers up the wrong way with his outspoken and confrontational personality ever since he joined the show in 2006.
By 2013, James found himself partnered with weak link celeb Vanessa Feltz despite finding success with Alex Jones and Denise Van Outen in previous years.
In a huge change of pace, James found himself out of the competition by Week 2, and chose to quit the BBC show after producers offered him a “reduced role” without a celebrity partner in 2014.
One of the biggest Strictly Come Dancing scandals to date came last year, when The Sun On Sunday revealed that Katya Jones had shared a steamy snog with celebrity partner Seann Walsh – despite being married to fellow pro Neil Jones.
Neil publicly forgave Katya at the time, with the Russian beauty and comic apologising for the indiscretion during an appearance on Strictly’s sister show It Takes Two.
The pair were eventually eliminated in Week 6, and ahead of this year’s series of Strictly Katya and Neil confirmed that they have split.
To rub salt in the wound, Katya was then partnered with 53-year-old sports presenter Mike Bushell for this year’s series – whereas Neil was rewarded with his first ever celebrity partner, footballer Alex Scott, having previously spent years only performing in group dances.
…And the stars who weren't punished:
WHILE the majority of misbehaving professionals end up feeling the wrath of BBC bosses, these scandalous dancers managed to avoid being punished:
- Countdown’s Rachel Riley remained and dignified and private over her split from her husband of 16 months soon after her 2013 appearance on Strictly where she was partnered with Pasha Kovalev. Soon after, Pasha and Rachel went public with their romance. Far from a downgrade, Pasha, who kept a low profile despite hitting headlines was partnered with Caroline Flack 2014 – who he sensationally won the series with.
- Another huge 2013 scandal saw rugby player Ben Cohen split from his wife after being partnered with the sexiest dancer to have ever been on the show – Kristina Rihanoff. Ben shared two children with ex Abbie, and his romance with Kristina was largely blamed for the split. They maintained they didn’t have an affair and so she was partnered with hunky Simon Webbe from Blue in the 2014 series and danced all the way to the final.
- In 2015, soon after appearing on Strictly, Georgia May Foote split from her boyfriend before going public with her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice. The two enjoyed a brief fling until August 2016, but there wasn’t any scandal as they were both single and Giovanni was rewarded with Irish beauty Laura Whitmore as his next celeb partner.
Kevin Clifton found both success and love during last year’s series of Strictly, shacking up with BBC darling Stacey Dooley after they were partnered together and won the coveted Glitterball.
The romance was rocked with scandal as Kevin had not long split from his ex-wife – and fellow Strictly pro – Karen Clifton – and Stacey had been happily loved-up with boyfriend Sam Tucknott for five years.
Kevin and Stacey went public soon after she and Sam split, and jilted Sam told us at the time that he blames Kevin for the break-up and that he had dubbed him a “rat” and a “snake” in a FaceTime call.
At the weekend, Strictly fans expressed their surprise when Kevin was paired with Anneka, who towers above him and is the oldest celeb taking part this year.
Kevin has previously been partnered with favourites such as Louise Redknapp, 44, Susanna Reid, 48, and Frankie Bridge, 30, and a source told us that he was “furious” at now being reduced to a “joke act” by show bosses.
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