Shirley Ballas, has been confirmed by the beeb as the new judge on Strictly Come Dancing.
“I am so excited and over the moon to have been given this wonderful opportunity. I can’t wait to get in to the ballroom and be part of the incredible and respected judging panel. Strictly is so loved by the British public, I have always been a massive fan. I just can’t wait!” – Shirley Ballas
Originally from Wallasey, Shirley is a former British Open To The World champion, European, German, United Kingdom, United States and International Latin American champion. She retired from competitive dancing in 1996. Shirley is now an acclaimed and respected international coach to many of the top professional and amateur dancers as well as a highly renowned sought-after adjudicator for ballroom and Latin American competitions judging all around the world.
Dubbed the Queen of Latin, Shirley is one of the top and most decorated professional dancers in the world. She is three-time British Open To The World Latin American champion, 10-time United States Latin American champion, and multiple-times British National champion.
By the age of 21, Shirley had won nearly every major title she competed in worldwide. She is the only person to have ever won the British Open To The World Latin American championships in Blackpool with two different partners and reached the finals an impressive 17 times. Shirley still remains the youngest ever female to reach the British Open To The World dance championship finals.
Shirley’s son is Mark Ballas, the musician, Broadway star, professional dancer and two-time winner of the stateside version of Strictly; Dancing With The Stars. Shirley was also guardian to professional dancers Julianne and Derek Hough during their childhood in London. The two-time and six-time winners of Dancing With The Stars respectively are still part of her family to this day.
Shirley will take over from Len Goodman as Head Judge and will have the casting vote in the dance-off. Len announced last year that he was stepping down at the end of the 14th series.
“Len’s are big shoes to fill, but the Queen of Latin is the ideal new Strictly judge. Shirley Ballas is a British ballroom expert whose credentials speak for themselves; she’s going to be a fabulous addition to the best judging panel in showbiz!” – Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content
Strictly Come Dancing returns for its 15th series this autumn on BBC One.