New Strictly judge: who will replace Darcey Bussell?
12 April 2019, 14:52 | Updated: 12 April 2019, 14:54
Darcey Bussell has left Strictly Come Dancing... but who will be the new judge to replace her in 2019?
Darcey Bussell announced she'd be stepping down as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing earlier this week.
She revealed in a statement that she was quitting to “focus on other commitments in dance”.
The statement read: “It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team.
"I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire back stage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.
"I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can't imagine having gone any better."
But who will replace Darcey Bussell? The potential new judges revealed:
Oti proved a great success as a huge on The Greatest Dancer, and some people have predicted that she would take over the reigns on Strictly.
One person who has tipped Oti to take the position is Strictly 2018 contestant Katie Piper.
Speaking to Jamie Theakston and Lucy Horobin on Heart Breakfast, she said of Darcey's departure: It's sad. I was surprised, and I felt really glad that I got to dance in front of her and meet her, cos she's a legend, isn't she?"
Jamie then asked: "As a judge, was she quite helpful?
Katie responded: "She was polite. and tactful.
"She was quite a good mentor because she would take time off camera to give you advice."
And when asked who she thought might replace Darcey, Katie predicted Oti Mabuse.
She said: "I think Oti would be brilliant because she's brilliant on The Greatest Dancer. I like watching her."
Anton Du Beke
Strictly's cast and crew are reportedly backing veteran dancer Anton Du Beke to replace Darcey.
A source told The Sun: “Loveable Anton is the cast’s favourite choice to take over from Darcey as judge. Some on the show believe it’s time for him to hang up his dancing shoes and sit on the other side of the table.
“Anton is a well-loved professional but it’s felt by many that his glory years are over.
“He’s often placed with the novelty act and has no chance of getting near the Glitter Ball. He isn’t a real contender any more.”
Former Strictly professional Karen Hardy was rumoured to be offered the head judge spot when it became open in 2016, but it was then offered to Shirley Ballas.
She previously told Digital Spy that she would "will always have allegiance to Strictly" and that "if ever there is the opportunity" to be a part of the show again then she would "never say no".
Cheryl was a judge on The Greatest Dancer, and many have tipped her to make the move to Strictly this year.
A spokesperson for Coral told OK!: “Cheryl has long been linked with a stint on the Strictly dancefloor and perhaps Darcey’s exit will instead see her seal a place on the judging panel.
“We make it 10/1 to happen, and whilst there are other candidates certainly at the front of the queue it’s definitely something we wouldn’t rule out.”