In Depth

Motsi Mabuse: who is the new Strictly Come Dancing judge?

The newcomer is older sister to the show’s pro dancer Oti

Strictly Come Dancing bosses have triggered controversy with their shock choice of virtual unknown Motsi Mabuse to replace Darcey Bussell as a judge.

Mabuse is the older sister of Strictly pro Oti, leading to fears of favouritism after the newcomer joins Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli on the panel when the next series kicks off in autumn, reports Metro.

 The new judge said she was “absolutely overjoyed” to be taking over from Bussell, who stepped down in April after seven years on the BBC show, the broadcaster reports.

“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,” Mabuse added.

But not everyone may be so happy, according to The Sun, which says that the other judges were not consulted about her appointment.

Who is Motsi Mabuse?

Originally from South Africa, the 38-year-old has been a judge on Let’s Dance, the German version of Strictly, since 2011, after joining the show in 2007 as a professional dancer, reports Hello! magazine. 

She will continue on Let’s Dance, which airs at a different time of year, adds the Daily Mirror.

UK viewers may also recognise Mabuse after she recently appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox on Channel 4 with sister Oti, 28, and their other sibling, Phemelo Mitchell.

The new judge has had considerable success in dance championships, too, winning the South African Latin American title eight times. 

In 2013, Mabuse became the German Latin dance champion with Ukranian dancer Evgenij Voznyuk, who became her second husband in 2017, and with whom she had a daughter last year. Previously, she was married to German dancer Timo Kulczak, whom she met at the British championships in Blackpool.

Following the announcement of her new TV role, sister Oti shared a photo of her sibling on Instagram, writing: “Welcome to Strictly.” 

Other show members and fans also posted messages of support on social media, but The Sun claims that concerns have been raised behind the scenes.

Insiders told that newspaper that dancer Anton du Beke - who has been on Strictly since the show began, in 2004 - is “devastated” that he was not selected to take over from Bussell, and is considering quitting.

Describing the general reaction to Mabuse’s appointment, a source said: “It’s gone down like a lead balloon, with the pro dancers talking among themselves, saying it’s unfair and bound to cause a host of issues.

“A lot of the cast feel like they’re fighting a losing battle already. They feel Motsi will favour her sister.”

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