DARCEY Bussell announced she was leaving Strictly Come Dancing in April 2019 after choosing to focus on other projects instead.
Now, Motsi Mabuse – sister of professional dancer Oti – is filling in the ballerina’s respected shoes. So what was it that prompted the dancer’s surprising decision?
Why did Darcey Bussell quit Strictly Come Dancing?
In a statement, Darcey announced she would not be returning for the 2019 series.
The dancer reassured fans that she was leaving to “give more focus to my many other commitments in dance” and not “because of any upset or disagreement at all.”
In the lengthy post, she said: “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 backstage 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.
“I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day.”
How long was Darcey Bussell a judge on Strictly Come Dancing?
Darcey had been a judge on the show for seven years.
She joined the glitzy world of Strictly back in 2009 working as a fifth judge in the final stages of the competition.
Darcey even debuted her own dancing talents on the show, performing a jive with professional dancer Ian White in the semi-final.
She made her return in 2012, replacing judge Alesha Dixon, and had been on the critiquing panel until she announced her departure in April, 2019.
What has Darcey Bussell’s replacement Motsi Mabuse said about joining Strictly?
On July 22, 2019, Motsi Mabuse was revealed as Darcey’s replacement and the newest judge to join Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli on the panel.
The South African star, 38, is the older sister of Strictly professional Oti, which means she will have to score her younger sister, 28 — a move which is likely to raise eyebrows among other dancers and viewers.
But it is not a new scenario as she is a judge on the German version of Strictly, called Let’s Dance, which Oti has danced on for two series.
The Sun understands that the other judges were not consulted about her appointment, and were only told ahead of the formal confirmation.
A source said: “Bosses were delighted with Motsi in her screen test and are confident she will become a household name like her younger sister.
“She’s got all the experience from doing Let’s Dance in Germany and is great in front of the camera.”
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In a statement, Motsi said: “I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the Strictly judging panel.
“I have so much respect and admiration for the other three judges and hope to add my own bit of sparkle to the show. I can’t wait to get started!”
Strictly’s Executive Producer Sarah James added: “I am incredibly excited that Motsi Mabuse is joining the show.
“Motsi’s natural warmth, energy and passion for dance makes her the perfect addition to our esteemed judging panel.”