Strictly’s Karen Hauer is furious she’s not been paired with Nicola Adams after fighting hard for same-sex partner

STRICTLY pro Katya Jones has got the nod to be part of the show’s first same-sex pairing — dealing a crushing blow to rival Karen Hauer.

Karen, 38, had been desperate to dance with former boxer Nicola Adams, who is already being tipped by some insiders as an early favourite to win.

But the Sun can reveal Russian Katya, 31, has edged her out — and will be unveiled as the partner of the Olympic champion, 37, when the new BBC series begins this month.

A source said: “Karen is absolutely gutted. For ages she was the favourite to get the nod to dance with Nicola and had even gone as far as planning out routines for them to perform.

“She’d got to know Nicola really well too and the pair had become really good friends.

"She’d not only got her heart set on dancing with Nicola, she had prepared herself for it mentally. So for them to suddenly decide to pick Katya was a massive blow.”

Venezuelan Karen had been odds-on with bookmakers for weeks to get the nod but producers think Katya and Nicola will have “perfect chemistry” together.

Our source added: “Dancing with Nicola is the job all the professionals wanted.

"It is the most sought-after position in showbiz right now. So for Katya to get the nod has underlined her as the queen of the show.

“She’s absolutely delighted and hasn’t stopped smiling since being told the news.

"Nicola is an amazing dancer and Katya is convinced she can help them win the show.”

This year’s show has been pared down amid the Covid pandemic, with just 12 celebrities taking part.

EastEnders star Maisie Smith, 19, is the favourite, with funnyman Bill Bailey, 55, among the rank outsiders.

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