Shirley Ballas has broken her silence on rumours she may not return to Strictly Come Dancing as head judge following the torrent of vile online abuse she received during the last series.
The head judge and Latin expert, 62, was subjected to much criticism last year in which trolls slammed her decisions and accused of ageism and sexism
It is said that BBC bosses are in talks with Shirley about coming back to the show, but she has yet to sign on the dotted line for the new series.
Shirley discussed the BBC talent show on Monday’s edition of This Morning with hosts Holly Willoughby and Alison Hammond.
While Shirley couldn’t confirm or deny the rumours, Holly, 52, asked: ‘You’re not thinking of not being there?’
Speaking out: Shirley Ballas has broken her silence on rumours she may not return to Strictly Come Dancing as head judge
Tough: The head judge and Latin expert, 62, was subjected to much criticism last year in which trolls slammed her decisions and accused of ageism and sexism
Shirley responded: ‘Well, we’re waiting for that invitation and once it gets there and we sort out… I love the job, I love the actual critiquing.
‘I love to get tips and help people along the way, to move forward to be beautiful dancers and all that they can be.’
In a candid new interview, Shirley indicated that the previous series may have been her last as she’d hit an ‘all-time low’ after the abuse ‘snowballed out of control’.
The ballroom dancer told how she was constantly left in tears after every show and struggled in silence, telling how it was ‘the most negativity’ she had ever faced.
She told The Mirror : ‘Last year I was struggling. It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot – the majority of it was in silence. I felt the abuse snowballed out of control and impacted me in such a negative way. I’m a pretty stoic person, and I tend to hold everything in.’
She explained that when the abuse began, it seemed ‘larger than anything else’, with the star telling how it left her ‘crying and emotional’, while she was ’embarrassed’ about how she felt and didn’t confide in anyone.
Shirley added: ‘And that was an all-time low since I joined the show – it was the most negativity I’d ever experienced. The BBC were brilliant, checking in on me and offering counselling and support.’
When asked if she’d considered quitting Strictly, she replied: ‘It was a difficult series, I’ll leave it at that… Will I go back to Strictly? I always take one step at a time.’
She went on to say that she ‘absolutely loved’ her job and if it was just down to her judging with none of the trolling involved, it would be the most ‘rewarding’ job she could think of to do.
The Queen of Latin went on to say that after Strictly finished in 2022, she to a ‘break’ from TV for ‘re-focus’ on her own industry as well as to ‘protect her sanity’.
Shirley revealed: ‘Well, we’re waiting for that invitation and once it gets there and we sort out… I love the job, I love the actual critiquing.’
Hint: When asked if she’d considered quitting Strictly, she replied: ‘It was a difficult series, I’ll leave it at that… Will I go back to Strictly? I always take one step at a time’ (pictured with Anton Du Beke, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood)
Shirley went on to reveal the shocking extent of the messages she received – of which one in five were hateful – saying that the thousands of comments she got whenever she sent someone home were ‘truly awful’.
She added that she was accused of not liking young people or old, men or women, noting that it ‘didn’t matter’ what she’d do, she could ‘never win’.
However, she proudly said that she stood by her decisions and never ‘regretted’ sending anyone home based on how they performed in the dance off, noting she could ‘sleep at night’ with her choices.
In December, Shirley revealed she was taking some time off over Christmas after facing an ‘immense amount of trolling’ throughout the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing .
The BBC show’s head judge said she was going to ‘get myself together for the new year’ by enjoying some time away for the ‘first time ever’.
The dancing icon decided not to do panto last year, explaining how a scary incident which saw a letter being hand delivered to the theatre last year has affected her decision.
She told S magazine: ‘It’s the first time I’ve taken any time off – ever! I’m taking two and a half weeks off, because of the immense amount of trolling I got throughout this series.
‘I decided I wouldn’t do panto this year. Last time I did it, I got a letter hand-delivered to the theatre that was very off-putting.’
‘I actually kept it. I don’t know why. So I’m going to take some time off and just get myself together for the new year.’
In November Shirley revealed how ‘cruel’ trolls have left her seeking medical help for ‘low mood and anxiety’.
‘Cruel’: The dancing icon decided not to do panto last year, explaining how a scary incident which saw a letter being hand delivered to the theatre last year has affected her decision (pictured in 2021)
She explained that, for the first time in a career spanning over five decades, she has been to her doctor to find a way to manage the impact the taunts have had on her.
Shirley told OK! Magazine of the abuse she’s endured during the current series of Strictly: ‘It took its emotional toll, that’s why I’m not going to do panto.
‘[I’m] emotional and low and I’m not going to lie to you, it did affect me this year for sure… When it gets personal, that’s cruel.
‘It makes you [go]… ‘Do I look right? Am I too heavy? Am I this? Am I that? Cover up your bingo arms. Should I wear a dress with sleeves?’
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