Shirley Ballas ‘taking time off’ after ‘cruel’ Strictly criticism

Strictly: Shirley Ballas warns fans to not try lifts

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The Strictly Come Dancing head judge has faced her fair share of online criticism for several months over everything from her hairstyles to the way she has scored some contestants. As the end of the 2022 series nears, Shirley revealed that she will not be doing her usual panto run this Christmas and has decided to take a break.

While the judges on talent shows like Strictly often come under fire if viewers don’t agree with their opinions or scores, Shirley has had a particularly tough time from the public this year. 

The judge has received complaints that she was biased towards some contestants and feuding with others, all of which she has vehemently denied. 

She admitted that criticisms like this do impact her, but maintains that these aren’t the comments that have beaten her down over the past few months.

Speaking to The Mirror at the TV Choice Awards, Shirley revealed it’s the vile remarks about her appearance and personality that have hit her the hardest. 

She said: “It makes you worry – ‘Do I look right? Am I too heavy?’ 

“They say, ‘Cover up your bingo arms’, then it makes you think, ‘Should I wear a dress with sleeves?’

“One person said, ‘Your ears are too big’, so I got a tape measure out and measured my ears.”

Shirley added that some people say she looks like she has a glass eye because she only wears one contact lens.

The former champion dancer revealed that her partner Danny Taylor and fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood have both told her to ignore the comments, but she can’t. 

She said: “Craig says, ‘Let it go, it’s not a big deal,’ but to me it’s a big deal.

“You just want to do the best job for the people watching.

“And when it’s not reciprocated and they say I didn’t agree with your mark, you sent the wrong person home, I’m fine with that.

“But when it gets personal then I think that’s cruel.”

Previously the star had admitted Danny suggested she take a break from showbiz after the Strictly finale. 

While Shirley usually graces the panto stages around Christmas time, this year she will be taking on her beau’s advice instead. 

She added: “I’m going to take some time off as soon as Strictly’s finished and collect myself and see what I want to do with myself next year. 

“It’s been quite difficult.”

The mum-of-one took over as head judge of Strictly in 2017, following Len Goodman’s exit from the show. 

She noted that while the criticisms have been “difficult” to face, she has received support all around her, from Strictly fans to BBC bosses. 

Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight on BBC One at 7:20pm. 

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