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Alesha Dixon leaves “Strictly” for “Britain’s Got Talent”

Posted on January 3, 2012

Alesha Dixon is to leave “Strictly Come Dancing” after three seasons as a judge on the show to join ITV1’s “Britain’s Got Talent” later this year.

Dixon, who won “Strictly” with professional dancer Matthew Cutler in 2007, said in a message on her website: “After three incredible years on the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judging panel, I have decided that it is time to move on.

“‘Strictly Come Dancing’ will always hold a special place in my heart as it has been such an amazing experience, both as a winning competitor and as a judge.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the show, the production team, my fellow judges, and a very special thank you to the fans for their support.”

The 33-year-old will appear on the “Britain’s Got Talent” judging panel alongside the show’s creator, Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and comedian David Walliams, who is also a newcomer to the programme, now in its sixth series.

Simon Cowell said he was looking forward to working with Dixon: “She is feisty, opinionated and knows what it’s like to be both a competitor and judge on a hugely popular TV show. This is going to be a brand new experience for her and I think she is going to bring a lot to the table.”

Of his return to the UK show, Cowell said: “I miss Britain and miss the British public and miss judging them… By coming back in 2012, it’s the year of the Olympics, it’s a big year for Britain; we are going to be in the world’s spotlight.”

ITV has announced that the prize money for the winner of the “Britain’s Got Talent” is to increase from £100,000 to £500,000 this year and that Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will return as presenters.

Alesha, who rose to fame as a member of girl group Mis-Teeq, replaced veteran choreographer Arlene Phillips on the “Strictly” judging panel in 2009, to some controversy. The BBC was accused of ageism – Phillips was 66 at the time – and the matter was even raised in parliament.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC gave her a fantastic opportunity and she has really grown her career and is now off for a different challenge.”

A new Strictly judge will be announced in due course and bookies are already taking bets on everyone from Karen Hardy to Nancy Dell’Olio.

Who do you think should replace Alesha on the “Strictly” judging panel? Let us know below…

Photograph © BBC

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Now acting editor of Discover Britain magazine, she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success.

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