Darcey Bussell says she’ll bring ‘girl power’ to this year’s Strictly Come Dancing as she replaces Alesha Dixon on an otherwise all-male judging panel.
The ballet dancer will be sitting with Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman this Saturday as the celebrities take to the stage to perform their first dance with their professional partners.
She said: “I’m used to live shows so that is quite lucky. It’s just different being on the other side – it’s actually quite nice not having to be the dancer and just playing a different role.
“I’m looking forward to it, I have a really nice team around me and that’s what counts. I feel totally ready for it and empowered – girl power.”
The celebrities have been busy learning the waltz and the cha cha for the BBC show’s opening weekend and Darcey said there will be a ‘few surprises’.
“It’s really interesting because people who you are not expecting will actually do something special so it will be really exciting,” she said.
This year, Olympic medallists Victoria Pendleton and Louis Smith join the celebrity line-up. Despite their elite physical fitness, Darcey said the athletes will not have an advantage over other contestants.
“The Olympic athletes like winning, but it’s very different to being a dancer,” she said. “They have to be comfortable with the music and that will be such a change for them.
“They will have dedication and they will work hard, but whether you’re musical and you feel something that you want to bring out is another matter altogether, so we will see.”
Darcey looked stunning in polka dot high-heels, fitted checked trousers and a leather jacket at the world premiere of Love Tomorrow, which stars ballet dancer Cindy Jourdain, a good friend of the new Strictly judge.