Strictly’s Shirley Ballas hits back at fans blasting low scores after Fleur East lands in dance-off

Shirley Ballas is the second Strictly judge to come under fire from viewers this year after Craig Revel Horwood was criticised for his lack of 10s  (PA Media)
Shirley Ballas is the second Strictly judge to come under fire from viewers this year after Craig Revel Horwood was criticised for his lack of 10s (PA Media)

Strictly Come Dancing‘s head judge Shirley Ballas has responded to fans’ criticism after Fleur East faced the dance-off for the third time this season.

The singer was up against comedian Ellie Taylor, who ultimately became the ninth celebrity to be eliminated after the judges voted for East to stay. Taylor and dance partner Johannes Radebe’s jive had scored only 25 points out of 40 on Saturday night, leaving her bottom of the leaderboard.

East, meanwhile, was third out of the six competing couples after she and Vito Coppola scored an impressive 35.

Although East avoided being sent home, some fans were left unimpressed by her near departure. They blasted Ballas for over-marking Will Mellor and Hamza Yassin — she gave them both 10s in their respective scores of 38 and 37

One angry fan tweeted: “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU OVERMARK WILL MELLOR AND HAMZA YASSIN AND YOU UNDERMARK MOLLY RAINFORD AND FLEUR EAST! [sic]”

Ballas responded: “No dear this is what happens WHEN YOU DONT VOTE.

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“Full stop the end. Enjoy the rest of the show.”

Her defiant response prompted a Twitter backlash from some people, who denied that their lack of voting had contributed to East’s predicament.

One said: “I voted. But my opinion is still that you over marked Hamza. You may be the professional and you’re obviously entitled to your opinion, however, so are we.”

“How do you know that this person didn’t vote? A rather grand assumption to make,” a third person said.

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Ballas’s fellow judge, Motsi Mabuse, leapt to the defence of her colleague. She posted a gif of Jennifer Lopez offering a standing ovation, alongside the caption: “What miss Shirley said.”

Mabuse’s support of Ballas was endorsed by one fan, who tweeted: “You’ve got SO much support behind you even if the hate seems louder.”

Ballas isn’t the only judge to have been criticised for scores this year.

Earlier this month, Craig Revel Horwood came under fire for falling to lift his 10 paddle before the show’s Blackpool week.

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Friday at 5.40pm on BBC One.