New Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas has a message for the contestants: “Pull your socks up”

Shirley plans to put the "strict" in Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas

In the first indication of her approach as head judge, Strictly Come Dancing newcomer Shirley Ballas has issued a warning for the 2017 celebrities and pro dancers: “Pull your socks up and be ready”.

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The “Queen of Latin”, who will be sitting in Len Goodman’s former seat when the show returns on 9th September, won’t be cutting anybody any slack.

“I will be quite strict. To really impress me, the celebrity will have to have elements of technique, creativity and also the magic with your partner – chemistry,” she said. 

The Strictly Come Dancing judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli
The Strictly Come Dancing judges (Getty)

“My Saturday nights are going to be quite busy. I’m going to have Bruno off to my left jumping up every two minutes, and Craig, who likes to dish out those twos. And what can I say about Darcey except she’s already perfect?”

Speaking on BBC iPlayer’s introductory episode Meet the Celebrities: Strictly Come Dancing 2017, Ballas added: “I’m bringing 40 years of dance experience along with all my coaching and judging so you better pull your socks up and be ready.”

But even though she plans to be tough, Ballas will not set out to upset the contestants.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas
Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas (BBC)

I’m strict by nature – but encouraging,” she told Zoe Ball on the red carpet. “I like the journey and I like technique and, quality, synchronisation, beautiful movement – I’m a little bit across the board.”

The former dancer and TV personality also revealed she was so excited to get the job that she literally fell over.

“I’m very, very excited to have been asked to join the panel of Strictly Come Dancing as Head Judge. When the call came in, I have to say I did fall to my knees. I couldn’t be more honoured to be asked to do this job.”

In fact, she already has a costume in mind for Halloween week.

“I think I would even like to dress up as Cruella De Vil,” she said. Can’t wait.

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Watch Meet the Celebrities: Strictly Come Dancing 2017 on BBC iPlayer now