Strictly Come Dancing producers were reportedly blindsided by AJ Pritchard's announcement that he has quit the show.
The 25-year-old posted news of his departure to social media on Friday, outlining his plans to start a new career as a TV presenter with brother Curtis Pritchard.
According to The Sun, producers on Strictly were "left fuming at the move", which comes weeks after pro Kevin Clifton also announced his exit ahead of this year's series.
"It's terrible timing, AJ was a big part of the show's future and nobody saw this coming at all," a source told the newspaper. "Arriving so quickly after the departure of Kevin - it is a double blow.
"Things are really tough at the moment. The show doesn't come back until the Autumn but, by now, the programme would have liked to have one or two big celeb names signed up.
"So far there is nobody on the books. Everything has been put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, as well as facing a search for big names, the bosses need to replace one of their top male dancers."
Strictly's 18th series is currently scheduled to air from late September.