The dance maestro is hot favourite to secure his first victory in the contest next weekend alongside the BBC documentary maker.
But he has told fellow dancers that this year is likely to be his last, amid tensions with his estranged wife Karen on the Strictly set.
As a result, BBC bosses are scouring the dance world to find a hot new talent who could replace the Grimsby-born star.
A source said: “Kevin has been overheard backstage saying he feels the time is right for him to move on and that winning the contest won’t weigh heavily on his decision.
“He has absolutely loved his time on the show and the opportunities that it’s given him but he is getting itchy feet and there’s still tension with Karen. While things are slowly getting more civil between them, it’s not exactly fun spending time around your ex.”
Producers are relieved, as they feared female celebs in relationships would not want to be paired with the snake-hipped star after two of his celebrity partners have split from their other halves during his five years on the show.
Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid split from partner Dominic Cotton, singer Louise Redknapp split from hubby Jamie and now Stacey’s boyfriend is said to be “insanely jealous” over their dance partnership.
The source continued: “Kevin had played a pivotal role in the curse of Strictly and it’s a real concern of bosses that they won’t be able to sign up big names for fear of their relationships breaking down.”
During his time on Strictly, Kevin has clocked up four consecutive final spots and seventh place with partner Susan Calman last year.
But he is now eyeing a move into theatre after swapping a spot on the Strictly tour to star as Stacee Jaxx in West End musical Rock Of Ages, as well as running a dance academy with his sister, former Strictly champ Joanne.
The source continued: “Kevin has definitely been influenced by the turn Joanne’s career has taken since leaving Strictly.
“She was only on it for two years but has become a leading lady in musical theatre off the back of it. He’s also planning to put a lot more time into his dance academy and would like to explore more work projects with his sister.”
Last night a spokesman for Kevin said he is committed to the show.
READ ON FOR MORE OF THE BIZ ON SUNDAY COLUMN
FATHER Christmas must have listened to the pleas of One Direction fans – as Liam Payne has hinted the boyband might reform later this month.
At the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball at London’s O2 arena he said: “I spoke to Niall Horan the other day – we spent four hours on FaceTime. I saw Louis Tomlinson over the course of X Factor but I haven’t seen Harry Styles in a while.
“I think this is the first time we’ve all been in London at the same time so it’s the closest we’ve been as a band for a while, so why not?”
It’s Rita drawer
RITA Ora must have scribbled herself a memo about the gig – and all up her dress and legs too judging by the graffiti-style gear she arrived in.
Singer Anne-Marie glammed up in a red sequin frock while Halsey kept her cool in a very low-cut number, later revealing she was working on a new album.
Also on the bill last night were Olly Murs and James Arthur.
Jane’s in Brit parade
JANE McDonald has already won the nation’s hearts, a Bafta and a pretty lush job getting to cruise around the world.
But now the professional ocean-goer may be getting a new accolade to her name: Brit Award winner.
She released her eighth studio album, Cruising With Jane McDonald, in June and as a result is qualified to be on the long-list of Brit contenders.
The TV presenter is eligible to be nominated for British Album Of The Year and British Female Artist, where she would battle the likes of Jess Glynne, Rita Ora and Florence + The Machine ahead of the ceremony in February. It will again be hosted by Jack Whitehall.
Camila goes platinum
WHEN you’ve had a pretty dazzling year it’s only right that you match your outfit to your success.
This week Camila Cabello was presented with a plaque backstage to celebrate her debut album going platinum.
It features the hit singles Havana (already seven-times platinum) and Never Be The Same (two-times platinum).
And the former Fifth Harmony singer dazzled once more as she performed in a sequin jumpsuit at Z100’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday.
We suspect that with a new album in the pipeline next year, Camila will soon be dripping in diamonds.
Pixie elfy for Xmas
PIXIE Geldof has lost 2st in 12 weeks through a body transformation programme.
So it’s no wonder she looked pleased as punch (although we assume that’s off the menu) while paddle boarding in Barbados wearing a pink bikini.
Trained by celebrity personal trainer Sarah Lindsay – who also puts Nick Grimshaw, Caroline Flack and Pixie Lott through their paces – the socialite, seen inset 12 months ago, dropped an incredible 18 per cent body fat.
Working out in London’s Roar gym, hardcore Pixie – sprog of Live Aid boss Bob – got shredded through a mixture of heavy weights and slay runs.
Ellie’s Doncaster dunking gets her set for wedding
ELLIE Goulding has been secretly baptised ahead of her wedding to art dealer Caspar Jopling.
We can reveal the singer – who prefers to steer clear of discussing religion – was dunked six weeks ago at All Saints Church in Frickley, Doncaster, near her fiancé’s family home.
And she even left her name in the parish book after the C of E ceremony.
It is understood that the Love Me Like You Do singer will wed Caspar at the church next June in an intimate ceremony. They will then hold their reception at the nearby Grade II stately home Frickley Hall, owned by Caspar’s mother’s family.
The couple, pictured, started dating two years ago and announced their engagement in August, with Ellie describing Caspar as “the most wonderful person” and said she can’t wait to be his “giggly and loved- up wife”. A source said: “It was a very beautiful religious ceremony which meant a lot to both Ellie and Caspar.
“The reason she got baptised there is because they decided they would like to wed in the village church of Caspar’s family as it’s in a tight, closed community.Then they can go to Frickey Hall and host a big, super-fun bash.
“Ellie and Caspar have really enjoyed spending time away from hectic London life.
“They have both been seen at the small fair which the village holds every year.”
At least the local community have got the fair’s entertainment sorted for the next few years.
Ellie Goulding performs her single ‘Close To Me’ on The X Factor
BILL Nighy has become as synonymous with Christmas as mince pies and turkey, thanks to his starring role as ageing rocker Billy Mack in Love Actually.
And the star tried to save the day when a Grinch sabotaged the festive lights switch-on in Hampstead, North London.
We hear organisers panicked when, 45 minutes before the event started, they learnt vandals had cut the cables in two places.
The fire brigade and an electrician were called and managed to get a small set of fairy lights working, enabling Bill to wrap them around the local vicar and “switch” him on instead of the nearby tree.
Miley lays herself bare
MILEY Cyrus is no stranger to laying herself bare on her tracks – and now she’s doing the same in hotel rooms.
The pop star has taken London by storm during her promotion for new single Nothing Breaks Like A Heart – her collaboration with Mark Ronson – which has already shot to No 1 on iTunes in the UK.
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Ahead of performing at G-A-Y nightclub in the UK’s capital on Friday night, she posted this saucy hotel snap to celebrate.
We’ll stick to busting out the champagne ourselves.
Miley Cyrus goes topless before dancing sexily on stage at G-A-Y London
Robot romps for Carey
The British actress – married to pop’s Marcus Mumford – is no stranger to stripping off alongside Hollywood’s leading men, including Leonardo DiCaprio, but says she did not enjoy her on-screen romps.
She said: “I feel I have to go into robot mode to get through it, because it’s just so weird.”