STRICTLY star Alex Scott ranted at BBC producers after they split her and dance partner Kevin Clifton.
She hit the roof at being reunited with original pro Neil Jones.
A source said: “Alex was fuming. She made it clear she wanted to continue with Kevin.”
Her frustrations spilled over after a week of dithering about her original partner, crocked pro Neil Jones.
Footie pundit and ex-Lioness Alex, 35, felt the dynamic new pairing was her best shot at winning.
A source said: “Alex was really forceful and made it very clear she wanted to continue with Kevin. She was so angry.”
BBC1 viewers last night saw Alex reunited with Neil who has been battling a knee strain.
Her uncharacteristic outburst at Friday rehearsals came after indecision from execs left her in limbo.
A set source said: “As far as Alex is concerned, it’s all been pretty chaotic.
“She was unable to devote her energies entirely to either Kevin or Neil because no one would tell her who she was going to be paired with this weekend.
“Instead Neil was largely helping with choreography while Kevin did most of the leg work, and 90 per cent of the training.
“Alex really likes Neil. She is incredibly loyal to him. But she and Kevin have amazing chemistry. He has really been bringing the best out in her.
“She was hopeful that she would be allowed some sort of consistency, and have Kevin on the night.
“As it was, producers informed her on Friday lunchtime that Neil was fit enough to compete.
“Understandably Alex felt incredibly frustrated, and snapped slightly.
“At this stage in the competition, everyone is pretty shattered and there’s a lot of pressure. Alex is only human.
“She is very popular behind the scenes but she is a sportswoman and just wants to be given the opportunity to do the very best she can.”
The former England and Arsenal defender and last year’s winner Kevin, 37, have been hailed by judges and viewers for their “accidental partnership” over the past fortnight.
Alex scored her highest marks of the series alongside Grimsby-born Kevin, a four-time finalist who is widely regarded as Strictly’s best male dancer.
Last week judge Craig Revel Horwood claimed Alex and Kevin were the better pairing.
Kevin first stepped in with her for the Halloween live show on October 26 after Neil, 37, was injured in warm-ups.
Kevin and his original celebrity partner, TV presenter Anneka Rice were eliminated from the competition last month. He got a second shot after a grade-one muscle strain left Neil on crutches.
Neil said last Monday that he was hopeful to return this week. But sources say he only passed a medical on Friday.
The insider added: “Neil was having intensive physio and daily ice baths in a desperate bid to be fit in time.
“He was still very hands-on with the training and routine for this week but not able to do so much physically. It effectively means Alex has had only one day to perfect last night’s routine.
“On top of that, obviously she and Neil were nervous he might get another knock which could hinder their performance.
“Of course Kevin was gutted by the decision to split him and Alex, too — he had been hopeful of them getting another shot. Emotions are running high on the show right now.
“That goes for everyone backstage, not just Alex, because next weekend it is the Blackpool ballroom stage of the competition which of course everybody wants to get to.”
Last night Alex and Neil were the first to perform — jiving to the Chubby Checker classic Let’s Twist Again. They scored 31 points and came fifth out of the remaining eight pairs.
Judge Motsi Mabuse told them: “It’s like seeing a new couple that we (already) knew. But then somebody had an affair . . . and now the light is back on.”
Bruno Tonioli caused a stir when he told Alex: “It’s good to see you growing in confidence — she’s the leader now. Who you going to dance with next week?”
Head judge Shirley Ballas said to Neil: “It’s good to see you back and in good health.”
Their score was lower than the 34 Alex got with Kevin on their first week together — her best score of the series.
Strictly also showed a recording of last week when Alex had to train with both Kevin and Neil.
Neil said: “I’ve got Kevin with me as well so I can rest my leg a bit. But it’s good to be back.” Alex added: “It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks for Neil.”
Pro star Neil, who recently split from his wife, Russian-born Strictly dancer Katya, is enjoying his first year in a celebrity pair.
His routines have proved a hit with viewers who view him as a bit of an underdog. Equally, judges and fellow professionals have been quick to praise Kevin.
Speaking on BBC2 spin-off show It Takes Two earlier this week, judge Craig and ex-dancer Ian Waite both claimed Kevin and Alex made for a better pairing.
Asked by presenter Zoe Ball who had improved the most in the competition, Craig replied: “For me, it is Alex.
“I think the combination of Kevin as well as Neil, and Neil instructing Kevin, and just all of that going on is creating a real stir!”
“She’s really come out of her shell. She now has personality. She’s brilliant.”
Ian added: “Overall, this is an improvement. We are beginning to wonder whether she’s better with Kevin than she is with Neil.”
Two weekends ago Alex and Kevin made a few mistakes during a Ghostbusters-themed routine for Halloween — after being given just 45 minutes to rehearse. Despite this, the couple still racked up 34 out of 40.
The following week their American Smooth routine to Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was, once again, a hit with the judges — scoring 31.
Shirley described Alex’s improvement as “miraculous,” labelling her “a delight to watch”.
The usually acid-tongued Craig, 54, claimed Kevin brought out the best in Alex, saying: “I felt we saw you for the first time.
A born winner
By Clemmie Moodie
ALEX Scott is a born winner — as a six-time Premier League champion, owner of 140 England caps and the BBC’s first female World Cup pundit.
She has the guts and — as the scores show — the best chance of glory alongside reigning champ Kevin.
Little wonder she is frustrated at having to return to her original (and possibly still injured) partner Neil.
While loyal Alex evidently adores the ginger bopper she is, at heart, a sportswoman. And, put simply, sports people are engineered to win.
She and Kev, who has been adored by every partner he’s ever had in Strictly, have a chemistry which cannot be faked and, unfortunately for Alex, also cannot be replicated.
Against all odds the pair fostered an instant bond. One which has been growing by each training session.
Who can blame her for wanting to make a last-minute substitution?
“I have to say this accidental partnership is working wonders.”
Motsi said she was “falling more and more in love” with the BBC and Sky Sports pundit’s dancing.
Speaking after his and Alex’s second successful dance, Kevin joked that Neil’s misfortune was his only chance of getting to the final.
He quipped: “I’ll do anything to make the final won’t I!
“I’m obviously gutted for Neil. I hope he’s on the mend. It looks like he’s getting better and better if I can just get Alex through to next week.
“She’s got a brilliant mentality. She’s been fantastic in training. I want to say to her, ‘Just go out and enjoy it’. We have put in all the technique — now just go and have a great time.”
Three times married Kevin has become something of a Strictly lothario. He is currently dating last year’s winning partner, documentary maker Stacey Dooley, 32.
He first wed at 20 to Anna Melnikova, his Latin dance partner between 2002 and 2006. They split and he wed another dancer, Clare Craze, who he met in a salsa club.
After a 2013 divorce, Kevin went on to marry Venezuelan Karen Hauer, 37, also a Strictly pro. Their marriage ended in 2018.
Kevin has been romantically linked to previous show celebs including Louise Redknapp, his dance partner in 2015.
A BBC spokeswoman last night declined to comment on Alex’s rehearsal outburst.
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