The 39-year-old former cricketer was confirmed to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 live tour next month. However, his Strictly partner Oti, 28, has other work commitments, having been snapped up as a judge on the BBC’s new talent show, The Greatest Dancer. In her place, Graeme will be dancing with Karen, 36. Admitting he would have preferred to dance with his Strictly professional partner, Graeme said in an interview with Hello!: “Of course, I’d rather have Oti! But Karen is an incredible, able replacement.”
Oti insisted her former dance partner would do well with whoever he was paired with, telling Hello!: “All the [Strictly] girls are amazing.
“Karen will be much nicer, much nicer. I can tell you that much right now,” she joked.
Strictly favourite Oti, who made it to the tenth week of the competition with Graeme, previously spoke out about the tour announcement on Instagram.
“So happy to announce @officialgraemeswann WILL be joining the @strictlycomedancinglive but WITHOUT me,” she told her 165,000 followers. “Instead he will be dancing with my lovely, incredibly talented friend @karecliftonofficial.
“Can’t wait to see you two burning the floor together,” she continued.
The South African-born dancer also revealed she would be taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing pro tour.
Graeme and Karen will be joining all five of the Strictly semi-finalists on the live tour, along with Dr Ranj Singh, 39, and his partner Janette Manrara, 35.
Joe Sugg, 27, Ashley Roberts, 37, Faye Tozer, 43, and Lauren Steadman, 25, will all be dancing with their partners from the show.
However, Stacey Dooley, 31, is set to swap Kevin Clifton, 36, for Aljaz Skorjanec, 28, as the Grimsby-born star is signed up to take part in the Rock of Ages tour and thus won’t be joining his co-stars on the road.
The cast will take to the stage at venue across the UK between January and February, kicking off the 20-date run in Birmingham.
The tour will be hosted by Ore Oduba, 33, and, for the first time ever, they will also be joined by all four judges.
Meanwhile, Strictly is nearing its glittering conclusion as tomorrow night’s semi-final approaches.
The remaining five couples will take to the dance floor to perform two brand new routines in a bid to make it to next weekend’s grand final.
Bookies Ladbrokes have Stacey hotly tipped to walk away with the trophy, with odds on her winning at 4/5.
Strictly Come Dancing continues tomorrow at 6.35pm on BBC One.