Strictly Come Dancing judge, Shirley Ballas, has said the show’s first ever same-sex couple will be ‘absolutely beautiful’.
Former boxer Nicola Adams, 37, is set to become the first celebrity contestant in the programme’s history to be paired with a woman when the show returns next month.
Talking about the upcoming series, which launches on 17 October, Shirley, 60, told Reverend Richard Coles, who appeared on the show in 2017, on his BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live show that it will be ‘absolutely beautiful’.
‘Absolutely beautiful’: Strictly Come Dancing judge, Shirley Ballas, has said the show’s first ever same-sex couple will be ‘absolutely beautiful’
Shirley also discussed Graham Norton’s recent comments where he said same-sex pairings will be ‘muddy the waters’ for the judging panel.
She said: ‘I’ll be judging movement to music, footwork, characteristic of what’s going on within the dance and spacial awareness on the floor. So I don’t see it as some people see it.
‘I really think people have to look at this with one mind because I think it is going to be absolutely beautiful.’
Shirley added: ‘I’m not a judgmental person because I have been judged all my life.’
Making history: Former boxer Nicola Adams, 37, is set to become the first celebrity contestant in the programme’s history to be paired with a woman when the show returns next month
The ‘Queen of Latin’, who broke her ankle in the the summer, added that despite the injury repairing well she was not ‘too optimistic yet about dancing’ on the show.
Elsewhere during the radio interview, Shirley discussed taking over former head judge Len Goodman’s role in 2017.
Talking about the trolling she received, the professional dancer said: ‘The first year was very difficult. I still remember someone saying, “She’s got a chest like a Seville orange, it looks like it has been eaten by a thousand slugs. Die you b***h!”
She added: ‘My mother told me to take everything a bit more with a sense of humour and I tried too do that and my son said, ‘Don’t try to fill Len’s shoes, put your own little slippers next to his.”
Exciting: Talking about the upcoming series, which launches on 17 October, Shirley, 60, told Reverend Richard Coles, who appeared on the show in 2017, on his BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live show that it will be ‘absolutely beautiful’
‘I never tried to fill his shoes, there will only be one brilliant Len but I came with what I can do which is critiquing and being positive and guiding people through their journey.’
Shirley, who recently released her new autobiography Behind The Sequins, also said she is ‘not a glam person’.
She said her boyfriend Daniel Taylor, 46, loved it when she swapped her evening gowns ‘for a stripped down look with no make up, hair down and relaxed.’
It comes after the BBC defended having a same-sex pairing on this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing last month after more than 100 people complained.
Discussion: Shirley also discussed Graham Norton’s recent comments where he said same-sex pairings will be ‘muddy the waters’ for the judging panel (pictured in 2019)
Judging: She said: ‘I’ll be judging movement to music, footwork, characteristic of what’s going on within the dance and spacial awareness on the floor. So I don’t see it as some people see it.’ (pictured with co-judge Bruno Tonioli)
In a statement the corporation said the competition is an ‘inclusive show’ and they are ‘proud’ to have had same-sex numbers in previous series.
Former boxer Nicola, 37, is set to become the first celebrity contestant in Strictly’s history to be paired with a woman when the show returns in two weeks.
The BBC said: ‘Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.
‘We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise.’
Trolled: Elsewhere during the radio interview, Shirley discussed taking over former head judge Len Goodman’s role in 2017 and said she was trolled
‘Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate. The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine.’
Last year male professional dancers Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima performed a same sex routine during the show’s seventeenth series.
While the dance – conducted during a performance by pop star Emeli Sande – was met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response on social media, it prompted 200 complaints with TV regulator Ofcom.
Nicola recently spoke about her upcoming appearance on the show, saying she is ready to ‘break boundaries’ as part of first same-sex couple in show’s history.
Setting the tone: Nicola enters the competition after male professionals Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima performed a same sex routine during the show’s seventeenth series in 2019
Strictly Come Dancing Contestants 2020
Profession: Actress, known for roles in Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek
Caroline says: ‘I hope my knees don’t let me down and I hope the foundation garments live up to expectations when I start leaping about!’
Fun fact: She met her now-husband, Sam Farmer in 1998 on the set of Men Behaving Badly when he was one of the studio runners.
Profession: Singer – from former boy band The Wanted
Max says: ‘Nan – I’m doing Strictly this year!’ as he vowed to make his superfan grandmother proud
Fun Fact: Max’s fellow The Wanted bandmate Jay McGuiness was on Strictlby Come Dancing in 2015 – and won it!
Profession: Radio 1 presenter
Clara says: ‘As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy’
Fun fact: Clara has some experience of celeb gameshows, having taken part on Celebrity Masterchef in 2018
Profession: Comedian and TV personality
Clara says: ‘I’m not Lord of the Dance, more a sort of caretaker of the dance’
Fun fact: Bill is a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist
Profession: EastEnders actress
Maisie says: ‘Get me in those sequins, I can’t wait to dive into the Strictly fancy dress box this winter!’
Fun fact: Maisie won the 2019 Children In Need special of Strictly with Kevin Clifton
Profession: YouTube star
HRVY says: ‘Being on Strictly is going to be such an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to be taking part this year.’
Fun fact: HRVY follows in the footsteps of former internet star contestants Joe Sugg and Saffron Barker – the latter of whom is close friends with him
Profession: Retired American Football player – now a pundit
Jason says: ‘I am thrilled. I’m a huge fan of the show, I’ve been watching it since I came to this country, so it’s time for me to do something cool to impress my daughter, now that she can watch me perform!’
Fun Fact: Jason is the father of Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle’s daughter. The couple were together for 11 years, only splitting recently in 2019
Profession: ITV broadcaster, Political Editor for GMB
Ranvir says: ‘It feels like I’m on a rollercoaster… Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!’
Fun fact: Ranvir is the fourth GMB star to star following Susanna Reid, Richard Arnold and Charlotte Hawkins.
Profession: Double Olympic gold medallist boxer
Nicola says: ‘I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts’
Fun fact: Nicola will form the show’s first ever same-sex pairing as she is parterned with a female professional.
Profession: Ex Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist
JJ says: ‘Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I’m up for an adventure’
Fun fact: JJ is close friends with Prince Harry after they worked together on the Invictus Games
Profession: Made In Chelsea star
Jamie says: ‘I’m over the moon I actually get to come back and dance again. It’s going to be unbelievably amazing!’
Fun fact: Jamie was forced to pull out of the 2019 series of Strictly after a foot injury
RT HON JACQUI SMITH
Jacqui says: ‘I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly – and that’s very rare for me…!’
Fun fact: Fifty years ago, she received a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing