Meet The Strictly Come Dancing 2022 Judges

The judging panel has had a bit of a shake up this year.

strictly judges

by Grazia |
Published on

Strictly Come Dancing and the battle for the glitter ball trophy will be back on our screens before we know it! The hit dance show was set to return on Saturday 17 September, but due to the sad death of Queen Elizabeth II, BBC made the decision to push it back by a week. Therefore, the first live episode will air on Saturday 24 September.

We already know the celebrity dancers who will be joining the show this year; from Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, to Eastenders' James Bye and Loose Women's Kaye Adams. But who will be critiquing the celebrities and their professional partners this year? The judging panel has actually had a bit of a shake up this year and might not be what you expect. So, here is everything you need to know about the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel this series.


Strictly Come Dancing Judges

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Anton Du Beke

Anton Du Beke joined the judging panel in 2021 after long-reigning judge Bruno Tonioli took on commitments in the US for Dancing With The Stars. It has now been announced that Anton is a permanent judge on the show going forward as Bruno focuses on his work in the US. It was assumed by many that Bruno would come back but this is not the case. Bruno wished Anton the best of luck stepping into his shoes, saying, 'Anton, you've done a fantastic job, you deserve it. It's a 10 from me. Carry on, do me proud – but you've already done that anyway.'

Anton started off as a professional dancer on the show, appearing on the dance floor each week. Many fans of the show will remember him reaching the final in 2019 with Eastenders' Emma Barton. This was the second time in his 15 year stint as a pro dancer on Strictly that he reached the final and it was very emotional for him. Although they didn't win (they were beat by Kevin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse) it was surely a career defining moment for him.

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Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballashas been the head judge on the show for six years and returns to this position this series. Although she is a judge today, she used to be a successful ballroom dancer. She specialises in the International Latin division, where she won several championship titles which earned her the nickname 'The Queen of Latin.'

The 'Queen of Latin' joined the show in 2017 to replace Len Goodman. As head judge Shirley has the ultimate power to give the casting vote in the dance-off. She said of her judging style, 'I may look and come across as quite strict, but I want the celebrities to know that when they are stood in front of me my heart will be pumping a thousand miles an hour for them in that moment and I'll want to give them comments to inspire them.' She continued, 'But saying that I can also be strict. If I ask them to do something and they don't deliver it the following week I'm not going to tell them that it's ok, I'm not that kind of judge.'

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Motsi Mabuse

Motsi Mabuse will be returning for the 2022 series. She is another judge who comes from a successful professional dancing background. Growing up in Germany, she competed in international dance championships and in 2013 she won the German Latin Dancing contest. She was also a professional dancer on the German version of Strictly Come Dancing called 'Let's Dance'. She was later recruited for the UK version as a judge to replace Darcey Bussell in 2019. Motsi is of course the sister to two-time glitter ball trophy champion Oti Mabuse. Now that Oti has left the show Moti has expressed that while she will 'miss her' she will continue to 'fly the Mabuse flag high'.

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Craig Revel Hoorwood

Craig Revel Horwood is the only judge who has been on the show since Strictly Come Dancing first aired in 2004 - he is the true OG. Craig has an extensive professional background from a string of West End performance credits to directing the opening of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He even has a waxwork figure in Madame Tussauds and is pretty much a British icon. He is known for his harsh but always memorable critiques and is the most controversial judge on the panel.

During an appearance on The One Show, Craig gave early predictions on the favourites for this series. 'Who's going to win it? I don't know,' he laughed. 'I'm looking forward to seeing Will [Mellor], I've got to say. I think he's got a real charm about him and I think he'll be able to bring that onto the dance floor.'

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PAST JUDGE: Bruno Tonioli

Bruno Tonioli was a much adored judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Earlier in the year it was announced that fan favourite Bruno Tonioli will not be returning as he focuses his attention on judging the USA's Dancing With The Stars. The surprising news caused much disappointment for his UK fans who will miss his eccentric personality.

However, he did tease recently that UK viewers hadn't necessarily seen the last of him.

Bruno is an Italian choreographer, ballroom and Latin dancer and TV personality. In 1980, as part of the group Duke and the Aces, Tonioli performed in but did not win the United Kingdom's competition to select an entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. Bruno has worked in the music business as a choreographer fora host of music videos and stage shows.

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PAST JUDGE: Len Goodman

Len Goodman was a judge on the first ever episode of Strictly Come Dancing in 2004. He served as the OG head judge before he departed the show in 2017, to focus his attention stateside on Dancing With the Stars. He was always a stricter judge but was always praised for his poise and class. Although he is now a well established judge, he used to be a professional dancer. He won various dancing competitions and even won the British Championships at Blackpool in his late twenties.

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PAST JUDGE: Dame Arlene Phillips

For many years, Dame Arlene Phillips was most noted as an internationally renowned choreographer of numerous West End and Broadway musicals, films, and television shows. She is an Olivier Award nominee but she later achieved mainstream fame as a judge on television talent shows including Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance.

She joined Strictly Come Dancing on the inaugural judging panel in 2004 alongside Len, Craig and Bruno. She stayed on the show until 2009 when BBC decided they wanted a shake up and refresh of the show. This led to great speculation that Arlene would be replaced on the show which subsequently happened when she was replaced with singer and Britan's Got Talentjudge Alesha Dixon. This led to a huge scandal and the Minister for Women and Equality, Harriett Harman accused the BBC of 'age discrimination.'

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CREDIT: getty

PAST JUDGE: Dame Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell is a retired prima ballerina and former Principal Dancer at the Royal Ballet. She has performed in a host of professional performances over the years. She joined the judging panel in 2009. Darcey announced in April 2019 that she had bowed out of the show. Her sudden decision apparently caught producers by surprise. She was later replaced by Motsi Mobuse.

Are the Strictly Come Dancing judges friends?

The judges relationship has been described as just a 'professional' one by current judge Motsi Mobuse so, we're thinking that's a no. When asked if she socialises with the other judges outside of work, Motsi told The Telegraph, 'No. None of that. There are some moments where you write 'Happy birthday' or something like that. In Germany, we’ve had the same judges for 10 years and there’s a basis of friendship. In the UK, it’s different.'

She continued, 'There’s so much pressure – it’s prime time, so you get in, you do the job and everybody just wants to go home.' However, Motsi did reveal that she missed Bruno's extroverted personality on the panel.

Past Judge Len Goodman revealed in 2021 that he no longer speaks to his former Strictly Come Dancing co-stars after leaving the show in 2017. Speaking on whether he catches up with Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas or Motsi Mabuse, Len revealed, 'No, I haven't. I haven't. Part of my path hasn't crossed any of them.'

READ MORE: Here’s Everyone Who Has Won Strictly Come Dancing Over The Years

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