Strictly Come Dancing professional Neil Jones has opened up about his previous role before his BBC stint as he defends brutal judging comments.
Loyal fans of the BBC One dance competition will remember when the fiery redhead joined the star-studded cast back in 2016.
Since then, he has gone on to choreograph several stellar routines on the ballroom competition as well as teach several celebrities for the Christmas Day special, most recently including Rosie Ramsey.
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But what many viewers may not know if that the soon-to-be dad previously worked as a dance competition judge before he joined the cast of Strictly.
Now, in an exclusive interview with Daily Star at a dog fur-iendly event at Romeo and Juliet’s café last week, the TV hunk has defended the star-studded judging panel for their brutally honest comments.
When asked if he would ever want to become a judge on the show one day, he told us: “I’m one of these – I love to create and I love that side of it.
“I used to judge normal competitive competitions, so I've done that for quite a while but it’s not my [favourite].
“It’s one of these things that as an artist, I don't like to judge. I love the art of it, I love the performance of it but I appreciate everything so each week I can appreciate every single couple in their level and what they’ve gone through.”
He went on: “I applaud them every week and I used to say, ‘If I get a partner or I have a partner I would say it’s a critique, you’re gonna get that.
“'I'm going to tell you daily what you’re doing wrong, they’re gonna tell you at the end of the week what they see as wrong, that’s normal.'”
The pro dancer went on to point out that he has got used to receiving constant feedback on his work after dancing and competing for so many years.
Neil continued: “And we as competitors, we’ve gone through that all of our lives so we know what that’s like, we take in some we don’t take in others, we see where we are on the scale and then we see what’s important.
“Every time the judges are right but sometimes you have to pick and choose what bit you’re going to actually take and what’s important for the next week and that’s hard.”
The Latin and ballroom dancer is set to return to the Strictly dancefloor later this year along with his fellow star-studded castmates.
It comes after the hunk attended a dog fur-riendly photography exhibition at Romeo and Juliet’s café on North Hampstead last week.
The star-studded event celebrated Burns Pet Nutrition’s 30th anniversary with animal welfare charity Mayhew to showcase some of the animals in their care that are looking for their second chance.
Sherine Wheeler, Chief Executive at Mayhew, said: “The exhibition has been a delight – the portraits beautifully encapsulate the spirit of each featured dog and cat and underscore the importance of adopting rescue animals.
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“We hope people will consider purchasing a portrait or donating to Mayhew and importantly, explore whether they can adopt or foster one of the dogs or cats in our care who is waiting for their second chance.”
For more information on the exhibition, the animals in need of rescue or to make a donation, visit their website.
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