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Strictly's Oti Mabuse 'ruled out to replace Darcey Bussell' on judging panel

Oti Mabuse will not be replacing Darcey Bussell on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel after all, it’s been reported.

The professional dancer was speculated to be hot for the spare seat going on the BBC favourite’s judging team following Darcey’s exit and her successful stint on new dance troupe show, The Greatest Dancer.

However, according to The Sun, she’s been passed over for the position for fear it would’ve caused ‘uproar’ among the Strictly pros, who have been on the show longer than she had.

Oti has been on the show since 2015, landing frequently high positions thanks to her challenging routines and rapport with her celebrity partners.

‘The thought was that the other dances wouldn’t react well to Oti being a judge, she is popular, but if the dynamic changed and she went from being one of them into another role on the show it’s likely that this would cause friction and upset,’ a source told the paper.

However, they added that Darcey’s replacement may be a woman to ‘keep the panel fair’, which if true could also rule out fan favourite Anton Du Beke, who is the longest standing pro on the series.

Before the announcement, Oti herself seemed uncertain that she would even want the job if she was offered it, admitting that she preferred dancing anyway.

Speaking to Hello! Magazine earlier this year, she said: ‘I love being a dancer and I enjoy creating and choreographing and I think I love that part more.’

‘Strictly is the biggest show on television so it’s a big deal for anyone who gets it. They need to know what they are doing,’ she added.

‘What she brought to Strictly was so special. Her replacement has to be completely different from what we have had, but someone who has the nurturing nature of Darcey.’

Team Strictly declined to comment when approached by has contacted Oti’s reps for further comment. 

While the new judge is yet to be announced, fans and bookmakers have been weighing in online over who they think could replace ballerina Darcey.

Former head judge Len said in July he thought Bonnie Langford would be a great choice, thanks to her Eastenders connection and dance experience.

Len told Hello!: ‘Bonnie Langford, yeah, she is someone who most people know, and I am not saying very young people, but most people know Bonnie Langford, so yeah, it is a pretty good call.

‘I have a feeling it will be another lady.’

Other candidates have included former pro and recurring It Takes Two guest, Karen Hardy, as well as Alfonso Ribiero, who replaced Bruno on the panel for a week last year.


McFly’s Harry Judd had his name thrown in the ring as well in early July after previously appearing on the show.

This year’s celebrity line-up is yet to be announced, however, Chris Evans was supposedly signed up to take part before dropping out. 

Fresh from his appearance on SAS Who Dares Wins, DJ Dev Griffin is rumoured to be in talks for the series to ‘bring a youthful audience’ in this year.

Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year on BBC One. 

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