Strictly Come Dancing: Who is new judge Shirley Ballas?

Shirley Ballas has replaced Len Goodman on Strictly Come Dancing [Getty]

It was rumoured Shirley was the new favourite for the role last month, and now the big news has been confirmed.

Viewer favourite Len Goodman quit the role after the last series, with Brendan Cole and Anton Du Beke  both hotly tipped to take on the judging role.

But the official Strictly Come Dancing Twitter feed have now confirmed Shirley will join Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli on the panel.

Shirley Ballas has replaced Len Goodman on Strictly Come Dancing [Getty]

Shirley, 56, was born in Merseyside, and has always been a talented dancer.

She won her first major title aged 18, and won the International Latin American Dance Championship in 1983.

She is a British Ballroom dancer and teacher, who has been nicknamed “The Queen Of Latin”.

Shirley Ballas is a British ballroom dancer, and has always been a professional dancer [Getty]

She isn’t a household name here yet, however she’s very well known in America with Dancing with the Stars fans.

Shirley retired from competitive dancing in 1996 to focus on teaching.

A year later she met dancers Derek and Julianna Hough, who were then aged eight and 11 years old, and became a mentor to the pair.

Shirley Ballas trained Cheryl’s ex Derek Hough [Getty]

The siblings’ parents were going through a divorce and they ended up moving to London with Shirley to study at Italia Conti theatre school.

Shirley trained Derek, who briefly dated Cheryl after meeting on tour, and her own son Mark, who both went on to win the Open British Championships in their age grades in Latin ballroom.

Shirley’s son Mark Ballas is also a professional dancer, and starred on Dancing with the Stars for over a decade.

Shirley Ballas, pictured with her son Mark Ballas, is the new Strictly Come Dancing judge [Wenn]

Shriley’s ex-husband Corky Ballas actually went on to date former Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff before their 2007 divorce was finalised, though the relationship fizzled out after a few years.


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