Strictly Come Dancing has welcomed Chinese dancer Nancy Xu to the professional lineup, as they finally kicked off rehearsals for the new series on Tuesday.
Confirming the news on her 28th birthday, Nancy gushed that it was a ‘dream come true’ to land a job on the show, as she replaces Pasha Kovalev who quit the show earlier this year.
She said: ‘I’m thrilled and excited! I cannot wait to start this new journey with all these amazing people and share the magic together. Thank you so much Strictly for one of the most beautiful birthday gifts ever, thank you for making my dream come true!’
Exciting: Strictly Come Dancing has welcomed Chinese dancer Nancy Xu to the professional lineup, as they finally kicked off rehearsals for the new series on Tuesday
The new addition comes after it was reported that new judge Motsi Mabuse reportedly sparked a backstage brawl between actress Sophia Thomalla’s manager and the dancer’s former husband over a scoring issue on German competition series Let’s Dance.
During the show’s Christmas special in 2013, judge Motsi, 38, caused controversy when she marked Sophia’s final dance with Massimo Sinató a nine because she danced barefoot, while gymnast Magdalena Brzeska, who won the festive edition with Erich Klann, had performed in high heels.
The runner-up’s manager is said to have approached Motsi and her then-husband Timo Kulczak aggressively about the results, which lead to a brawl between the two men.
Fury: It comes following reports that new Motsi Mabuse reportedly sparked a backstage brawl between actress Sophia Thomalla’s manager and the dancer’s former husband
During the encounter, German dancer Timo, 42, and Sophia’s manager are believed to have fought in the lobby of Cologne’s Savoy Hotel, and police were called to the scene by staff.
Motsi and Timo reportedly made a complaint to authorities but it is believed that no charges were brought after the incident.
A source told The Sun: ‘[Sophia’s manager] thought Motsi shouldn’t have marked Sophia down. He told her the remarks she made were “nonsense”.
‘He was very aggressive, so Timo told him to shut up and gave him the middle finger. From there the situation escalated badly.’
Issues: During the show’s Christmas special in 2013, judge Motsi, 38, (pictured in May 2018) caused controversy when she marked Sophia’s final dance with Massimo Sinató a nine
Runner-up: Model Sophia, 29, competed in the series with pro Massimo Sinató (pictured in the show’s final), but lost to gymnast Magdalena Brzeska
Violence: The runner-up’s manager is said to have approached Motsi and her then-husband Timo Kulczak (pictured in 2007) about the results, which lead to a brawl between the two men
German police said following the incident: ‘Colleagues had to move to the Savoy Hotel for a personal injury at 2:50 am. A dispute had escalated there.’
Sophia’s manager denied claims of a violent attack on the couple to the Bild newspaper: ‘When we came back to the hotel after the show, we also met Motsi, and I said that her reasons for the grades were nonsense, because as a dance teacher she had to know how difficult it is barefoot on the floor.
‘Then suddenly a guy came from the side I did not even know, it was her husband, he told me to shut up… but there was never any beating or fight between us.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for BBC, Motsi and Sophia’s manager for further comment.
Reports: Sophia’s manager has since claimed there was ‘never any beating or a fight’ between the two
Let’s Dance is the German equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing, and ballroom star Motsi has served as a judge on the show since 2011, following her stint as one of the series’ professional dancers in 2007 and 2010.
The South African bombshell was married to fellow dancer Timo from 2003 till 2014, before embarking on a romance with Ukrainian dancer Evgenij Voznyuk a year after her divorce.
Motsi and Evgenij, who won a German Latin dance contest together in 2013, tied the knot in 2017 and share an 11-month-old daughter.
The brunette beauty, who is the lookalike sister of Strictly pro Oti Mabuse, is set to join the judging panel for the BBC competition series as Darcey Bussell’s replacement.
Relationship: The South African bombshell was married to Timo from 2003 till 2014, before embarking on a romance with Ukrainian dancer Evgenij Voznyuk (pictured in 2017)
Motsi will now sit on the panel alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli for the seventeenth series of the BBC show.
On her new role, the dancer commented: ‘I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the Strictly judging panel.
‘I have so much respect and admiration for the other three judges and hope to add my own bit of sparkle to the show. I can’t wait to get started’, she added.
Siblings: Motsi is the lookalike sister of Strictly pro Oti (pictured centre with Motsi, right, and sister Phemelo, left)
Since the announcement, a several celebrities have been rumoured to join the 2019 line-up, including the likes of Coronation Street stars Catherine Tyldesley and Lucy Fallon, as well as I’m A Celeb king Harry Redknapp.
Also joining the rumoured list are Line Of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar, Keith Duffy, Louis Theroux, Peter Crouch and RuPaul’s Drag Race judges – Michelle Visage and Alan Carr.
Despite the claims, BBC executives are yet to confirm the contestants joining the hotly-anticipated series.