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Who do you think should take over from Darcey on Strictly?

PUBLISHED: 12:58 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:01 24 April 2019

Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing: Picture (C) Ian West/PA Wire

Dame Darcey Bussell who has stepped down as a judge from Strictly Come Dancing: Picture (C) Ian West/PA Wire

Archant

It's one of the burning topics of the day - who should replace Dame Darcey Bussell on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel... the list of possibles just keeps getting bigger

There is already a great deal of excited speculation about Dame Darcey's successor?

The latest odds from William Hill, have placed Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta as the hot favourite to bag Darcey's place on the panel.

Acosta, who partnered Bussell alongside Suffolk ballet star Gary Avis in her farewell performance for the Royal Ballet, is odds on at 4/6 followed by Bonnie Langford (8/1), Karen Hardy (10/1), Helen Richey (10/1), Julianne Hough (10/1), Alfonso Ribeiro (12/1), Anton du Beke (12/1), Caroline Flack (12/1), Carrie Ann Inaba (12/1), Alesha Dixon (12/1).

“It looks a done deal, the odds suggest Carlos will be a judge later this year,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.

Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta - tipped to replace Dame Darcey as a Strictly judge -  pictured in his debut film Day of the Flowers which was shot in his native Cuba. Picture: James LaytonRoyal Ballet star Carlos Acosta - tipped to replace Dame Darcey as a Strictly judge - pictured in his debut film Day of the Flowers which was shot in his native Cuba. Picture: James Layton

Hmmm... a done deal? Really?

Will Acosta be in the country? Well, probably. He is to take up the post of director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet from January 2020.

He says: “My ambition is to build on (Birmingham Royal Ballet's) classical traditions, to expand its repertoire and to reach out to new and more diverse audiences. I want to define what it is to be a world leading classical ballet company in the 21st century.

He also remains committed to Acosta Danza, his Cuban dance company - which is touring Europe this autumn. But would he want to sit down for an entire season of Strictly?

The Strictly judges of 2018 - Bruno Tonioli (left) Shirley Ballas, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel-Horwood. Picture: (C) Ian West/PA WireThe Strictly judges of 2018 - Bruno Tonioli (left) Shirley Ballas, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel-Horwood. Picture: (C) Ian West/PA Wire

You may recognise the second favourite, Bonnie Langford as a West End star, an EastEnders actor, as the child star who played Violet Elizabeth in the Just Willam TV series and as a dancer − she also appeared in Dancing on Ice in 2006, coming third. Karen Hardy was formerly one of the Strictly professionals (she won in 2006 with cricketer Mark Ramprakash). Alesha Dixon won Strictly and was on the judging panel but currently does Britain's Got Talent. Caroline Flack is a TV presenter and former Strictly winner, and professional dancer Anton du Beke who was tipped as one of the frontrunners to take over from Len Goodman. He would certainly love the role.

You may recall Alfonso Ribiero making a guest appearance on the Strictly judging panel. He starred with Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and won the 19th season of Dancing With The Stars in America. The actor, singer, dancer, director and comedian was both engaging and knowledgeable during his stint on the panel.

Who are the others? Australian Helen Richey is a former competitive ballroom and latin dancer. She appeared as a judge in the Australian television series Dancing with the Stars for 15 series. Julianne Hough is an American dancer, actress and singer and has twice been professional champion of ABC's Dancing with the Stars. In 2014, Hough joined Dancing with the Stars as a permanent fourth judge. Carrie Ann Inaba has appeared as a judge on Dancing With The Stars in the US and is also a talk/game show host, dancer, choreographer, actress and singer. She had a memorably-named role in Austin Powers in Goldmember.

For seven years, Darcey Bussell, always elegant and well-spoken, has been a touch of class on a panel that features a demonstrative Italian choreographer, an entirely-focused former top professional dancer-cum- head judge, and a theatre director and choreographer whose assessments came laced with occasional acid overtones.

The much-loved Anton du Beke, from Strictly Come Dancing, at a signing for his book, One Enchanted Evening. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe much-loved Anton du Beke, from Strictly Come Dancing, at a signing for his book, One Enchanted Evening. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The ballerina has said she is leaving to focus on other aspects of her life in dance and said there had been no disagreements with the Strictly team.

Do we need a complete contrast or should the producers get someone similar to Darcey? She is a tough − if not impossible − act to follow. Prima ballerinas don't come along every day.

• Other names that have been mentioned in connection with the vacant judge's seat include Strictly professional Oti Mabuse, singer Donny Osmond, Ashley Roberts (2018 contestant), La-La Land choreographer Mandy Moore, and Diversity's Ashley Banjo.

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