Oti Mabuse hints at Strictly Come Dancing exit days before Dancing on Ice debut

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The professional dancer is starting new roles as Dancing On Ice judge and presenter for a new ITV dating show Romeo & Duet. Asked if she was returning to Strictly, Oti, 31, said: “I’m just really excited to be here on Dancing On Ice working and doing what I love.

“You know how I am, I work by the rules and there will be an announcement made. I can’t give a tease because I will be in trouble and I don’t like being in trouble, so I will keep quiet.”

South-African born Oti won hit BBC show Strictly with Emmerdale Star Kelvin Fletcher in 2019 and comedian Bill Bailey in 2020. 

She appears to have confirmed that she has left the show after six years hinting she is looking for fresh challenges. 

She said: “As a person in entertainment I really want to learn and grow. I want a long career, especially in this country, having moved all the way from Africa.

“I have to make something of myself. I am really trying to learn and do as much as I can for as long as I can while I can.”

Dancing On Ice returns on Sunday where Oti will reunite with former Strictly professional Brendan Cole who is looking to impress on the rink with his partner Vanessa Bauer.

Oti said: “I know he is a risk-taker and that is really exciting to have on Dancing On Ice. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to bring.

“Brendan will be different as on Strictly he was very verbal because he was defending his celebrity. This time we are judging him.

“He has grown a little bit and I am hoping he is going to take it as an opportunity to show a different side, where Vanessa is taking care of him, not him being the caretaker.”

Brendan isn’t the first Strictly dancer to skate. In 2019 James Jordan took to the ice winning the show with professional partner Alexandra Schauman.

Oti replaces actor and singer John Barrowman on the judging panel alongside mainstays Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, the former Olympic ice dance champs, and Ashley Banjo of dance group Diversity.

She says her Strictly judge sister Motsi, 40, advised her to just be herself.

Oti added: “Motsi said to say what I see and what I feel. I am hoping I can help and give my tips.”

Dancing On Ice starts on ITV on Sunday at 6.30pm

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