Strictly’s Shirley Ballas defends decision to save Richie: ‘You only see half of what I do’

Shirley Ballas has responded to the massive amount of criticism she has received recently over her comments on Strictly Come Dancing.

The head judge was slammed this week after she made comments about female celebrities – particularly Olympian Ellie Simmonds.

Then during movie week, Shirley was berated online after saying she would’ve saved Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice over the couple that was ultimately saved, Fleur East and Vito Coppola. Some fans called for the Latin dance champ to be sacked, while others demanded an apology.

Shirley, 62, has now responded to the criticism while talking to the panellists on Loose Women via video call on Wednesday 12 October.

She explained: "It builds up from the beginning, there was a lot of trolling.

“Sometimes when you watch your TV screen, you only see half of what I'm seeing.”

Shirley also spoke to the accusation that she’s sexist, and said: "I have to judge what I like… it's a tough industry and it always get a bit emotional.

"I do read everything [online] but I think it's quite important… it is really hurtful, some of the language is so explicit, it's unfathomable."

At the time of the trolling, one viewer took to social media to write: “Shirley Ballas is the most misogynistic woman of all time she needs help.”

Another person wrote on Twitter: “Shirley Ballas should be removed from the panel, she’s setting a bad example, she cannot celebrate the young, female celebrities.

“Her views are outdated and sexist. Please let this be her last year, or preferably week on.”

A third added: "Don’t think Shirley Ballas should be head judge. She is very biased. So unprofessional. And she obviously hates Matt Goss ! I feel very sorry for him."

While years in the business have made the dancer “resilient”, she admitted on Loose Women that a “wall goes up” to protect herself.

On why she chose Richie and his performance of Hakuna Matata, Shirley explained: “I chose Richie because it’s very, very difficult to dance the Samba. It’s a really difficult dance to dance and his footwork was beautiful.

“He did a stationary Samba walk in front of me. He did a beautiful toe, ball, heel. I’m looking at all the footwork that I know is extremely difficult that I would expect in like week six.

“And I loved Fleur. She had this beautiful, beautiful frame and it was soft and it was elegant. But in the end, I went with the footwork.”


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