Shirley hits back!
Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas responds to her critics
It was always going to be difficult to fill the shoes of former head judge Len Goodman but, as the weeks go by, his replacement – ‘Queen of Latin’ Shirley Ballas – seems to be stepping on some toes.
Ten days ago, she left Strictly viewers aghast when she criticised fan favourite, co-host Claudia Winkleman, for ‘slouching’ on the results show – resulting in an audible gasp from the audience and Claudia responding, ‘That’s a brave thing to say.’
And that’s not the only thing getting Strictly fans hot under the collar. Online reactions to Shirley on the show have been fairly damning. She is ‘rude’ and ‘catty’, wrote one Twitter user. Another commented, ‘ What does #shirleyballas bring to #strictly apart from bias, drivel, whining voice, no personality, repetition and talk about Merseyside’ – while others have slammed her as ‘ beyond irritating’, ‘a miserable mare’ and ‘a negative bint’. Ouch!
In fact, Shirley has admitted that she finds the criticism tough to take. She told best at the Pride Of Britain Awards, ‘It’s overwhelming, but I’m getting better each week. At the beginning, it was scary but… I’m there to do a job and critique the dancing, and that part for me is easy.
‘I can just say what I see and be honest. Now it’s more relaxing and you are getting to see my sense of humour as I’m more comfortable.’
Referring to the ‘slouching’ incident, Shirley said, ‘People need to have a sense of humour because Claudia has a wicked one. She’s an amazing lady. Everything is just in fun and to lighten it up, as well as teaching people. Although my son, Mark, does say I can be super-strict.’ Shirley now realises how difficult it was to take Len’s seat. She explained, ‘I’ve known Len all my life and he was a personal friend, plus my teacher. He told me throughout the year, just always be sincere to yourself, trust your heart, go with your gut instinct, don’t second-guess yourself. But his are big shoes to fill.’
Having been in the business most of her life, the 57-yearold clearly knows what she’s talking about on the dance front. Perhaps it’s all part of her plan to conquer.
However, we already have one pantomime villain on the panel in the form of Craig Revel Horwood. Is there really room for another?
‘I’m there to do a job and critique the dancing – that part is easy for me!’
Shirley may be strict, but she can have a laugh, too
Len’s shoes are not easy ones to fill
Her comments about Claudia shocked fans