Strictly Come Dancing: Jay McGuiness discusses 'uncomfortable' Darcey Bussell replacement


Strictly Come Dancing favourite Jay McGuiness, 28, who lifted the Glitterball trophy with professional partner Aliona Vilani, 35, back in 2015, told there’s no way he’d consider following in the footsteps of former winner Alesha Dixon, 40, and become a judge on the show. Asked if filling Darcey Bussell’s shoes was something he could see himself doing, the singer replied: “Hell no! For two reasons, one which I think is a legitimate reason,” he explained. “That it’s really uncomfortable learning a skill from experts — and when you get on the show, you know how expert the pros are — and then to go back and judge them is a very difficult position to be in.” 

Having revealed how awkward judging the professional dancers who had previously been in the position of teaching him, Jay said he thought Alesha navigated the situation “really well”. 

“And two, the fact that she navigated it so well yet she still got so much flack for doing it proves that you can be talented, smart, kind, beautiful and still get ripped because the position’s too tough,” he continued. 

“You have to go in with some sort of credential at this point to be respected and I don’t think that mine are up to par. 

“I think that Shirley [Ballas’] were, Darcey’s are,” he added. 

On the subject of what credentials the yet unknown new judge has to have, Jay said the role required being a “master” of an aspect of performance. 

“You have to be a master of something, whether it’s a master in the field of dance or in your field of performance,” he said.

“You have to be someone that people aspire to be. 

“I think The Wanted was severely lacking on the dance thing,” he joked. 

“I don’t think that Aljaz [Skorjanec] and Janette [Manrara] are going to watch The Wanted and go, ‘You know what? Jay really stop in front of that fireworks display really nicely!’” 

Darcey Busell stepped down from the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel after seven years on the beloved BBC show, saying she wasn’t leaving due to any “upset or disagreement”. 

She said in a statement: “It has been a complete privilege for me to be a part of Strictly, working with such a talented team.” 

The former prima ballerina said she would miss her fellow judges, the pros, musicians and crew as well as the fans. 

“I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can’t imagine having gone any better,” she added.

Jay, meanwhile, has been busy on the musical theatre scene since being named the winner for Strictly 2015. 

Later this year, he is set to play the starring role in BIG The Musical for a limited nine-week season at London’s Dominion Theatre. 

Explaining the story, Jay said the show, which is based on the hit movie starring Tom Hanks, is about “a kid that wishes to be big and wakes up grown-up”. 

“Instead of being a 15-year-old, he wakes up my age, which is 28, hairy chest, beard and he has to navigate life as a grown-up,” he said. 

Recalling his previous stint in the musical, he continued; “We did a run in Plymouth and Dublin and it was a really good training ground for me. 

“This is not a boyband life anymore, it’s eight shows a week.” 

He went on to gush about his castmates, who include fellow Strictly alum Kimberly Walsh, 37, and former Coronation Street actress Wendi Peters, 51. 

“I absolutely love them,” he said. “Kimberly Walsh, I feel like she could’ve been in The Wanted. 

“She’s really funny and normal and friendly and then she happens to be a great singer, totally beautiful — not that The Wanted were particularly beautiful. She’s amazing. 

“And then Matthew Kelly, obviously, a complete legend. Everybody loves him. 

BIG The Musical comes to the Dominion Theatre from September 6 to November 2. Tickets are available at 

Strictly Come Dancing will return later this year to BBC One. 


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