“I think Cheryl Cole would be amazing,” she tells the new edition of Radio Times. The former Girls Aloud singer is the ex-girlfriend of Ballas’ one-time ward and Dancing With the Stars pro Derek Hough, and would follow in the footsteps of her former bandmate Kimberley Walsh who competed on the show back in 2012.
But Ballas herself was cagey when asked about her commitment to next year’s series. “If I did,” she said, glancing at the BBC press officer in the room, “it would be, ‘Shirley, keep your mouth shut.'”
Her first run on the series hasn’t been without controversy after she chose to send Aston Merrygold home after his dance off with Mollie King – a decision which saw Ballas criticised by scores of viewers. But she’s standing her ground…
“Aston was an absolute natural dancer, wasn’t he? There was nothing that that boy couldn’t do and he shouldn’t have been in the dance-off. But whose fault was that? It certainly wasn’t mine. It was the public. Should Jonnie have been in the bottom two? Should Debbie? I have to do my job once you vote. I have to do my job based on what the country decide.”
Ballas joined Craig Revel-Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli on the panel after Len Goodman’s departure at the end of last series – and she has nothing but kind words for her fellow judges.
“[Darcey] is like Snow White, she’s so beautiful. Our backgrounds are worlds apart. I come from a housing estate, the underprivileged if you like, and she comes from privilege. But her persona and her lovely attitude just work well with mine. She’s so kind I want to cuddle her all the time and give her a squeeze.”