Former Strictly Come Dancing pro Oti Mabuse says her showbiz friends have been on speed dial during her transition from dancer to TV host
The news that Oti Mabuse had left Strictly Come Dancing came as a shock to fans and fellow dancers alike – but the 31-year-old had been considering the move for some time.
Despite her lifelong love of dancing, Oti yearned to try something new. And after presenting stints on Steph’s Packed Lunch and panel roles on The Greatest Dancer, The Masked Singer and Dancing On Ice, she felt ready to fly solo.
Ahead of her new show Romeo & Duet – in which blindfolded singletons choose people whose singing voices they find attractive and then go out to learn a duet to perform with them – she says: “I challenge myself to you know ? What I honestly wanted was to grow. I hope to be blessed with a long career, which means I can do other things, be it a sports show or a dance program.
“I did Morning Live. Hopefully I can do all those things and really respect what it’s about and bring that part of me to those shows. So, yeah, I think it was about growing outside of the dance.”
And as Oti makes her first major appearance since leaving the hit BBC competition, she reveals she hasn’t been short of advice. “I worked very closely with Dermot [O’Leary]. He came in once and taught me how to work with an autocue – how to read it, how to edit it… I was texting him all the time! Steph McGovern was also a really big influence.”
Beyond her celebrity circle, Oti also has the support of her devoted husband, Romanian dancer Marius Lepure, 39, whom she met at a dance test in Germany in 2014.
After marrying, they moved to London in 2015 and Marius was part of Strictly’s pro line-up for the 2017 series. While his stint on the show was short-lived, his wife found huge success, becoming the first pro to serve two years in a row – with Kelvin Fletcher in 2019 and Bill Bailey the following year.
When asked if the Romeo & Duet concept worked for her and Marius, she joked, “No! Most of the time we both don’t even know the words, but we’re not singers. He sings his Romanian songs and I have no idea what they mean. And I’m singing my South African songs and he doesn’t know what they mean!”
However, there’s one celebrity that Oti wouldn’t mind teaming up with for a singsong.
“If I had to sing a duet, I would choose Endless Love by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. Who would I sing it with? It’s kind of a childhood thing… I would do it with Zac Efron! I don’t really have anyone right now that I would say, ‘Ooh, you’re my celebrity crush.’ But I remember High School Musical was definitely loved. That was my favorite.”
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At Strictly, the costume team created fabulous outfits for the dancers and their celebrity partners, and it sounds like it
Her gear for the new show won’t disappoint – she had a blast choosing her outfits.
“I had an incredible stylist, his name is Carl and he also dresses Amanda Holden and Alex Scott,” reveals Oti.
“He came to my house and brought a whole rack of clothes. It was all about choosing the right colors. Also, I didn’t want to choose a dress that looked so over the top that we forget the show isn’t about me, it’s about the contestants.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/oti-mabuse-reveals-dermot-oleary-26725771 Oti Mabuse reveals Dermot O'Leary was instrumental in her leap from dance floor to TV presenter