Craig Revel Horwood reveals what he REALLY thinks of new Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas

The long-running panelist shares his thoughts on the newest addition to the Strictly family

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There have been reports of a row between Strictly judges Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas – but now Craig has put those rumours to bed, insisting Shirley is an “excellent addition” to the panel.

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In his Radio Times Strictly half-term report, Craig writes: “We are there to score each dance, but we are also there to help the celebrities to improve.

“Shirley has been an excellent addition to the judging panel and is always very constructive in her advice.”

Last week The Sun ran a story where Craig was quoted calling Shirley “this year’s villain”, adding: “She’s frighteningly technical with her criticism, and I know the audience might struggle with that.”

But there seems to be no bad blood between the two, with Strictly’s usual “villain” praising the newcomer for her constructive feedback.

Strictly judges 2017

And while he has his eye on a few dancers for the Strictly final, Craig insists that – in the aftermath of Aston Merrygold’s shock exit – we should expect the unexpected.

“Some celebrities start slowly and then quickly overtake the rest,” he explains. “Aston has already fallen and Alex could stumble at the next hurdle, whereas coming up the field steadily are Gemma, Joe and Davood…

If you’d asked me a couple of weeks ago who would be in the final I’d have said, without a shadow of a doubt, Aston, Alexandra and Debbie. But we’ve already seen just how quickly things can change. All bets are off!”

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Read the full interview in Radio Times magazine, out now