Kristina Rihanoff tips Nicole Scherzinger as replacement for Strictly judge Darcey

Kristina Rihanoff attending the press night of Rip It Up, at the Garrick Theatre in central London.
Kristina Rihanoff attending the press night of Rip It Up, at the Garrick Theatre in central London.

Kristina Rihanoff has said Nicole Scherzinger would be a good replacement for Dame Darcey Bussell on the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel.

Dame Darcey announced last week she would be leaving the BBC One series after a seven-year stint as a judge.

The former ballerina said she would be focusing on “other dance commitments” and added that her departure was not due to “any upset or disagreement”.

Kristina Rihanoff talks to Richard Madeley and Kate Garraway on GMB (REX).

Russian dancer Rihanoff, who competed on Strictly between 2008-2015, told Good Morning Britain: “Of course I would love to be a judge but I don’t see myself in that role just yet. I’m a very creative person, I love choreographing, I love doing things like that.”

She added: “I do think the panel needs another woman and someone from a different background to ballroom dancing.”

Among the names she mentioned were American choreographer Mandy Moore, known for her work on the 2016 film La La Land, and also for working on American dancing shows So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars.

Talking about former X Factor judge Scherzinger, Rihanoff said: “She is a beautiful, stunning lady who has professional training in street and commercial dancing. She would be a good judge.”

The 41-year-old also commented on the so-called ‘Strictly curse’, following reports of a romance between 2018 winner Stacey Dooley and her professional partner Kevin Clifton.

Rihanoff was previously in a relationship with her 2009 Strictly celebrity partner, boxer Joe Calzaghe, and is currently dating rugby player Ben Cohen, who she partnered on Strictly in 2013.

She told Good Morning Britain: “That’s what’s difficult about this because there is always going to be someone hurt or someone feeling it’s wrong what’s happening, but people do meet at work and that’s where we work.”

She continued: “I think it’s about creating a very strong bond and also trusting one another. Because the show is so intense … you’ve got to trust one another, you have to feel like a team otherwise you can’t go on, it’s a very intense show, emotionally and physically, every single way.”

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