STRICTLY Come Dancing’s Anton Du Beke has made a subtle dig at ex-judge Alesha Dixon by claiming only pro dancers should be on the panel.
The former Mis-Teeq singer won the BBC One dancing show in 2007 and two years later, she controversially replaced Arlene Phillips on the judging panel.
Despite leaving the show after three series in 2012 to become a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, Anton still thinks the decision to axe Arlene, 76, was the wrong one.
Speaking to the Daily Express, the 53-year-old dancer said: “They should have never got rid of Arlene Phillips.
“I’m such an admirer of hers. But I suppose they couldn’t ask her back.”
In what could be taken as a further dig at Alesha, 41, he continued: “I don’t want an ex-contestant on the panel, all they can offer is observations along the lines that they know how the celebrity feels because they were in the same position.
“Unless you’ve been a professional dancer, there’s no place for you on a judging panel.”
This year’s series saw pro dancer Motsi Mabuse join the show after Darcey Bussell quit.
Anton was full of admiration for the 38-year-old, saying she “hit the ground running” and fit in quicker than when Darcey and head judge Shirley Ballas first joined the show.
He explained: “Motsi is a terrific addition.
“Remember when Darcey first started and kept saying ‘Yah’ at the end of every sentence? She quite quickly became brilliant though.
“And Shirley didn’t seem to know at the beginning whether to be critical or technical or what but she, too, rapidly found her feet.”
Every time their is a change in the judging panel, Anton’s name comes up, having been on the show as a pro dancer since the first series.
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Rumours abound that Craig Revel Horwood could quit, but Anton insisted the show wouldn’t be the same without him.
Besides, he isn’t ready to hang up his ballroom shoes just yet, especially after being paired with EastEnders actress Emma Barton this year.
Anton said: “I’d rather dance on the show than judge for the time being.
“But I do know that, if they ever offered me the chance of being a judge and I turned it down, they wouldn’t offer again.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight at 6.40pm on BBC One.
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