Strictly Come Dancing professional Nadiya Bychkova has hit back at claims that she was snubbed from this year’s show due to a lack of “chemistry” with the celebrity contestants.
During Sunday night’s launch show, viewers discovered which of the professionals each of the new stars would be competing alongside, with Nadiya not receiving a celebrity partner this time around.
In the lead-up to the new series, The Sun cited an undisclosed “insider” who claimed it had been difficult to find a match in “height, age and chemistry” for the Ukrainian dancer.
However, she has now insisted that this is not true.
“It wasn’t the case that there was no chemistry between me and the dancers,” she told the Daily Mail.
“It’s just, obviously, the bosses’ decision. Unfortunately, this year it was me who wasn’t picked.”
Nadiya previously placed fifth with BBC news presenter Dan Walker in 2021.
The Strictly alumnus recently defended his former partner, and said that producers’ decision “feels a bit like putting Messi on the bench for the World Cup final”.
He added: “She is so talented, the best teacher anyone could hope for.”
Nadiya has also shared that she will be using the extra time she’s found herself with during this year’s series with her six-year-old daughter, Mila.
“Career-wise, I’m disappointed, but I get to spend more time with my daughter, which is beautiful,” she said. “I’m taking all the positives out of it.”
She added that “the public has been keeping me up” and she’s “received so many kind words, and they have lifted my spirits”.
Nadiya previously opened up on Instagram about being “disappointed” to not be partnered with a celebrity this year, having previously gone without a partner in 2020.
“It is an amazing show to be a part of and I’m still so excited for all the group numbers, performing with some of our music acts and much much more,” she wrote.
“I’m also looking forward to supporting my fellow pros and I want to wish all the couples the best of luck for the competition this year.”
Meanwhile, Lauren Oakley, who joined the cast in 2022, will compete on the main show for the first time alongside Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Check out all of this year’s Strictly pairings here.