Shirley Ballas says sending Will Mellor home was ‘difficult’
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When Strictly Come Dancing legend Len Goodman left the BBC competition, iconic ballroom dancer Shirley Ballas replaced him. Six years on, the 62-year-old has revealed last year’s show may have been her last after she was left “crying” and “at an all-time low” during hateful comments she received on social media during last year’s series.
The head judge faced ongoing backlash during 2022’s Strictly as fans accused her of “ageism and sexism”.
Cruel remarks even took aim at the dancer’s appearance, and she has admitted the abuse has made her question joining this year’s series of the popular show.
“Last year I was struggling. It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot – the majority of it was in silence,” she explained.
“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. When it all kicked off, it seemed like it was larger than anything else.
“I was crying, I was emotional, but I was embarrassed about being so emotional.”
Speaking to Mirror Online, she added: “I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it.
“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 had considered quitting, she reiterated that last year had been a “difficult” series.
She went on to state “I always take one step at a time” and detailed how she would make sure she has someone “filtering” her social media for her if she does rejoin the staple programme this year.
This would mean she could avoid seeing nasty remarks which left her shaken in 2022.
Among other accusations, some fans claimed Shirley favoured men in the competition.
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Speaking at the time Strictly was airing, Shirley joined Loose Women to candidly discuss the backlash.
In October, she became emotional on the ITV show as she addressed the criticism.
She commented: “I can see everything that’s going on. I love that they have an opinion. It’s just when it goes overboard it starts to become nasty.”
She continued: “It is a tough industry and has been a tough industry all my life. So Saturdays, oh I’m getting emotional already.
“Saturdays are always a bit like going to Disneyland, it’s the ultimate job, it’s what you really enjoy and I do read everything. I know people say don’t read it but I think it’s quite important to me.
“I like to feel like I’ve helped so many people who have had mental health issues over the years and different things but it is really hurtful.
“Some of the language is so explicit I couldn’t even retweet them, they’re so explicit it’s just unfathomable how people think about it.”
Strictly Come Dancing usually announces which of the judges and dancers will be returning months before the series begins, so it shouldn’t be too long before Shriley’s decision has been revealed.
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