Oti Mabuse confirms return to show as she reveals Bill Bailey is her favourite dance partner


Oti Mabuse confirmed her return to Strictly Come Dancing on BBC Breakfast on Thursday as she revealed Bill Bailey is her favourite ever dance partner while applauding former contestant Danny Mac for being an ‘amazing person’. 

The professional dancer, 30, who won the 2020 series with Bill, 56, declared Strictly ‘will always be home’ and is where she feels her ‘best’, despite rousing speculation earlier this year that she was preparing to leave the show.  

‘Bill Bailey,’ Oti immediately responded to presenter Naga Munchetty who asked who’s her favourite partner, as she answered a series of quick-fire questions on the BBC morning programme.

Revealing: Oti Mabuse confirmed her return to Strictly Come Dancing on BBC Breakfast on Thursday as she revealed Bill Bailey is her favourite ever dance partner while applauding former contestant Danny Mac for being an ‘amazing person’

When asked who her favourite professional dancer is, the South African star said: ‘Karen [Hauer], Karen is my best friend,’ before Naga, 46, asked: ‘Who is your favourite judge?’ 

‘All of them,’ Oti – who has won the coveted Strictly Glitter Ball twice – nervously giggled as the presenter insisted she can’t offer such a neutral answer. 

She added: ‘I can because I still need them as I’m going back!’

During the morning show, they shared a promotional clip of Oti and Bill dancing during their successful stint on the 2020 series.       

Sweet: The professional dancer, 30, who won the 2020 series with Bill, 56, declared Strictly 'will always be home'despite rousing speculation earlier this year that she was preparing to leave the show

Sweet: The professional dancer, 30, who won the 2020 series with Bill, 56, declared Strictly ‘will always be home’ and is where she feels her ‘best’, despite rousing speculation earlier this year that she was preparing to leave the show

‘Look at Bill go!’ Oti said while Naga added that he looked so much fun to perform with. 

The Strictly star continued: ‘He was, so much fun, and such a nice person. That’s the thing that makes the journey worthwhile is just spending it with a nice person.’ 

The BBC presenter subsequently revealed a conversation with Oti off-screen, where she asked if she is still in touch with her former dance partners and humorously compared it to staying in contact with exes.  

Oti confirmed she still speaks to all of them including Danny, 33, who she reached the Strictly final with during the fourteenth season in 2016.

Soft spot: 'Bill Bailey,' Oti immediately responded to presenter Naga Munchetty who asked who's her favourite partner, as she answered a series of quick-fire questions on the BBC morning programme

Soft spot: ‘Bill Bailey,’ Oti immediately responded to presenter Naga Munchetty who asked who’s her favourite partner, as she answered a series of quick-fire questions on the BBC morning programme

Sisterhood: When asked who her favourite professional dancer is, the South African star said: 'Karen [Hauer], Karen is my best friend,' before Naga, 46, asked: 'Who is your favourite judge?' (pictured together in 2019)

Sisterhood: When asked who her favourite professional dancer is, the South African star said: ‘Karen [Hauer], Karen is my best friend,’ before Naga, 46, asked: ‘Who is your favourite judge?’ (pictured together in 2019)

Speaking about the Hollyoaks actor – who is expecting his first child later this year with Carley Stenson – she said: ‘It’s good friendships, you have to have that friendship. With someone like Danny you’re just connected for life. 

‘He’s just an amazing person, he’s working now which is really great for him, it feels great and just to have that connection for me is really important because it’s about the friendship isn’t it.’   

The ballroom specialist appears to have backpedalled on comments she made during an interview in April, in which she said that she was leaving Strictly after its 19th series later this year. 

The dancer has become a household name since making her debut on the long-running show in 2015, featuring alongside celebrity partner Anthony Ogogo. 

Hot seat: 'All of them,' Oti - who has won the coveted Strictly Glitter Ball twice - nervously giggled as the presenter insisted she can't offer such a neutral answer

Hot seat: ‘All of them,’ Oti – who has won the coveted Strictly Glitter Ball twice – nervously giggled as the presenter insisted she can’t offer such a neutral answer

But Oti admitted she could step down after being confirmed as a new judge on The Masked Dancer.  

She told The Telegraph: ‘I love to dance and also I love bringing joy to so many people, but I think that [this year’s Strictly] will be the last one.

‘To be part of a show like Strictly, which is so diverse in every sense of the word, is incredible. It always pushes to open new doors. 

‘You almost forget this year we had JJ [Chalmers] and Will [Bayley] the year before, it’s become a normal thing. I’m sure they will have a male same-sex couple this year.

‘But honestly as a woman I can’t be dancing forever.’ 

In contact: Oti confirmed she still speaks to all of her former dance partners including Danny, 33, who she reached the Strictly final with during the fourteenth season in 2016 (pictured)

In contact: Oti confirmed she still speaks to all of her former dance partners including Danny, 33, who she reached the Strictly final with during the fourteenth season in 2016 (pictured)

But during an appearance on Steph’s Packed Lunch in April, Oti appeared to counter her former comments, stating she didn’t explain herself ‘properly’.   

She said: ‘I don’t want to be in the news, that is the actual joke about it! I never learn, every interview I do I always say something I shouldn’t say, so I’m going to be that same dancer for 55 years, still on Strictly being asked the same question.

‘The thing about Strictly is, is that I take it one year at a time, and that is what I should have said. 

‘Why didn’t I say that?! The journalist was really nice, it was me who answered, I just don’t know why I didn’t explain myself properly!’ 

Expecting: Speaking about the Hollyoaks actor - who is expecting his first child with Carley Stenson - she said: 'It's good friendships... With someone like Danny you're just connected for life'

Expecting: Speaking about the Hollyoaks actor – who is expecting his first child with Carley Stenson – she said: ‘It’s good friendships… With someone like Danny you’re just connected for life’

Her additional comments on BBC Breakfast on Thursday morning further substantiate her plans to remain.  

The Latin American champion will have to balance many spinning plates after landing a judging role on the new show, The Masked Dancer.   

And Oti said she ‘burst into song and dance’ when she landed the new gig. 

The Strictly Come Dancing pro admitted she started singing Defying Gravity from Wicked when she was told she had got the job on the ITV dancing competition.

She said to The Mirror on Thursday: ‘When I got the call I broke out in song and dance, I think I sang something from Wicked, Defying Gravity.

Whoops! The ballroom specialist appears to have backpedalled on comments she made in April, in which she said that she was leaving Strictly after its 19th series later this year

Whoops! The ballroom specialist appears to have backpedalled on comments she made in April, in which she said that she was leaving Strictly after its 19th series later this year

‘I was flying a scarf around going ‘I made it!’ It was the best call of my life, I was so grateful to be here and on the panel.’

Oti will be joined by fellow judges Jonathan Ross, 60, Davina McCall, 53, and Mo Gilligan, 33, as they try to work out the identity of the celebrity contestants on the show.

However, Oti has insisted her dance background has not helped her when it comes to guessing the masked dancers, as she has made some wild predictions.

She explained: ‘Do you know what’s happening? Everyone knows Jonathan [Ross] comes up with these really out of character guesses, I’m the one who’s doing it now.

Dancer: During an appearance on Steph's Packed Lunch in April, Oti appeared to counter her former comments, stating she didn't explain herself 'properly'.

Dancer: During an appearance on Steph’s Packed Lunch in April, Oti appeared to counter her former comments, stating she didn’t explain herself ‘properly’.

‘I mentioned one person and the audience looked at me and burst out laughing, going, “that’s so crazy”. I might be right, but my suggestions are insane!’

Oti recently revealed the strategy she’s adopted in order to identify the contestants. She said: ‘I’ve got many names written down.

‘I am that one who overwrites names but then I am also still guessing, watching every move, having a good time when I am writing and still noticing – oh they jumped! Oh, but the names!

‘If I think it’s a soccer player I will name every single player in the whole world and the producers are like ‘Oti, could you please stick to one or two’ but I can’t!’

Wow: The Latin American champion will have to balance many spinning plates after landing a judging role on the new show, The Masked Dancer alongside Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall and Mo Gilligan

Wow: The Latin American champion will have to balance many spinning plates after landing a judging role on the new show, The Masked Dancer alongside Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall and Mo Gilligan



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