Professional dancer Karen Hardy 'to replace Len Goodman as Strictly's head judge'... overtaking viewer favourite Anton du Beke
Many have been clawing for the role of head judge on Strictly Come Dancing ever since Len Goodman announced the 2016 season would be his last in July.
And on Thursday another name was thrown into the mix to be his replacement - former dancer on the show Karen Hardy.
The pro, 46, has sparked speculation after being named a judge on the panel for the show's live tour - which will reportedly act as a type of trial for the permanent role.
Bring on the girls! Karen Hardy, 46, has sparked speculation that she will be the new head judge on Strictly after she was announced as a judge on the show's live tour
According to The Sun, producers want to see what she is like in front of thousands of fans, in hope of hiring her for the top job next series.
They want her to sit alongside head judge Len for the tour, which kicks off in January, in order to learn the ropes.
Karen has also been considered thanks to her weekly appearance on Strictly's spin-off show It Takes Two over the last few years - with her 'Choreography Corner' feature receiving high praise from fans on social media.
Farewell: Beloved panelist Len Goodman stunned fans when he announced he would be leaving the BBC ballroom dancing competition at the end of this year, after 12 years as a judge
Her appearance on the tour, alongside Len, 72 and Craig Revel-Horwood, 51, will undoubtedly have come as a blow for fellow dancer Anton du Beke, who had been favourite for the replacement.
An insider told the BBC: 'This is a huge statement in favour of Karen. It's now not looking good for Anton.'
Du Beke, 50, has been the bookie's favourite for the position ever since Len quit earlier this year.
He was reportedly battling it out for the role with dancer Brendan Cole, 40, who backed his chances after judging the New Zealand edition of the series.
New chapter? Anton du Beke, who is partnering Lesley Joseph on the show this year (above) has been the favourite to replace Len since he announced he was quitting
Rumours were then fuelled even further when professional Trent Whiddon, who partnered Pixie Lott on the show in 2014, told the Mirror: 'It isn't official yet, but it may as well be – it's long been virtually guaranteed that Anton will fill any gaps on the judging panel.
'He's such a big part of the family and viewers love him, so BBC bosses know there's no risk of it not working out.'
Beloved panelist Len Goodman stunned fans when he announced he would be leaving the BBC ballroom dancing competition at the end of this year, after 12 years as a judge.
Not keen! It was then alleged that Craig would take over from Len, but he's now rubbished claims he's going to replace him insisting, 'I don't want the job!'
He said in an emotional statement: 'In 2004, I was asked to take part in a brand new BBC Saturday night show and who would have thought me, old Len Goodman, would still be part of this amazing series more than ten years on.
'This adventure began when I was 60 and now that I've reached my 70s, I've decided after this year it's time to hand the role of head judge to someone else.
'It is an honour being part of the wonderful Strictly Come Dancing family and I'm looking forward to my last series very much and to whatever comes next.'
After shocking fans across the country, fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood then some light on his departure.
'It was all the travelling,' the famously harsh judge told the Mirror.
'The American gig is good for him because he can go out for two months - it's a shorter season and it pays more money.
'He doesn't have to fly back and forwards which is exhausting even if you are drinking champagne in first class.'
It was then alleged that Craig would take over from Len, but he's now rubbished claims he's going to replace him insisting, 'I don't want the job!'
Former judge Arlene Phillips was also in the frame, with the BBC reportedly keen to fill the space with a woman.
BBC bosses are seriously considering asking the choreographer, 73, to return to the show seven years after she was axed, according to The Sun.
Back to square one: Arlene Phillips, 73, has also been thrown into the mix for the position - having appeared as a judge on the show from its first series in 2004 until 2008
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3801813/Karen-Hardy-rumoured-replace-Len-Goodman-head-judge-Strictly-Come-Dancing-overtaking-viewer-favourite-Anton-du-Beke.html#ixzz4L1linaCw
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