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.
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.
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.