Who are the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 judges and who else has been on the panel?

STRICTLY Come Dancing is set to return soon for series 17 and no doubt yet another year of glitz, glamour and savage remarks from Craig.

Here's everything you need to know about the Strictly 2019 judges – including a fresh new face…

Who are the judges on Strictly Come Dancing 2019?

Motsi Mabuse

On July 22, 2019, Motsi Mabuse was revealed as replacing Darcey as judge on the hit show.

The South African star, 38, is the older sister of Strictly pro 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 — Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli — were not consulted about her appointment, and were only told today 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.”

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.”

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas, 58, is a ballroom dancer from Merseyside.

She made her first appearance on the Strictly panel in 2017 as head judge, taking over from Len Goodman.

In May 2019, she appeared to confirm that she would be returning for series 17 – as she referenced speaking to the producers about the upcoming series, even suggesting her son Mark Ballas as a replacement for Dame Darcey Bussell.

She specialises in Latin dance and her success at championships earnt her the nickname "The Queen of Latin."

Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli, 63, is an Italian dancer and choreographer from Ferrara.

He has been a judge on Strictly since the show aired its first series in 2004.

He has also been on the panel of the US version Dancing With The Stars.

Bruno has choreographed routines for many stars including Tina Turner, Elton John and Boy George.

It's assumed that Bruno will be returning as judge as BBC have yet to announce any shake-ups to the lineup – other than Darcey leaving of course.

Craig Revel Horwood

Craig Revel Horwood, 54, was born in Victoria, Australia.

He is one of the shows original judges along with Bruno and Len Goodman.

Craig is known for his cutting criticism and negative comments.

In series four, he was slammed for his apparent bias towards contestant Emma Bunton.

It's assumed that Craig will be returning as judge as BBC have yet to announce any shake-ups to the lineup – other than Darcey leaving of course.

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."

When did Len Goodman leave Strictly Come Dancing?

Len Goodman retired as the head judge from Strictly in 2016.

His final appearance was on the Christmas day special.

He is a professional ballroom dancer and runs a dance school in Dartford, Kent.

He has also been a head judge on the US version Dancing With The Stars since 2005.

Len also graced our screens in BBC Four's Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance.

Who else has been a judge on the Strictly Come Dancing Panel?

In series five Alesha Dixon won the competition and returned as a judge from 2009-2011.

She left Strictly to join the panel of ITV talent show Britain's Got Talent. 

In series nine American actress Jennifer Grey who played Baby in Dirty Dancing acted as a guest judge.

In 2012 Donny Osmond also made an appearance as a guest judge.

Alfonso Ribeiro also has acting in for Bruno Tonioli for a week while he guest judged on Dancing with the Stars in the US.

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