Karen Hardy odds on favourite to replace Alesha Dixon on Strictly Come Dancing

2006 winner looks likely to join the panel for the 2012 competition - but who would you like to see in the hot seat?

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Former Strictly professional dancer Karen Hardy is the odds on bookies’ favourite to replace Alesha Dixon as a judge on the 2012 series of the BBC pro-celebrity talent show. 

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Hardy, who won the 2006 series of Strictly alongside cricketer Mark Ramprakash, is 4/6 favourite to join Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood on the programme after it was announced that Dixon would be ending her three-year relationship with the show to join Britain’s Got Talent on ITV.

Second favourite to step into Alesha’s shoes is retired ballerina Darcey Bussell.  The dancer is currently considered a 6/1 chance to make a return to the BBC ballroom after guest judging on the programme in 2009.

Other names in the frame include Dirty Dancing actress Jennifer Grey (8/1), who made an appearance in the 2011 series as a guest judge and Jill Halfpenny (8/1), the former EastEnders and Coronation Street actress who won the show alongside professional dance partner Darren Bennett in 2004.  

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Despite emerging as one of the standout stars of last year’s show, it seems unlikely that colourful stargazer Russell Grant (16/1) will take to the judging panel in 2012, nor does it appear Arlene Phillips – the judge that Alesha Dixon controversially replaced three years ago – is set to make a sensational return to the show as the bookies currently have her at 33/1.