While we’re yet to see any true scandal this year (the days of Seann Walsh and Katya Jones seem very far away), Strictly Come Dancing 2019 has not been without its shocks.
The show’s annual Halloween Spooktacular saw both Will Bayley and pro dancer Neil Jones bow out from events after they both suffered last-minute injuries – but the real horror for the audience was the unexpected elimination of Catherine Tyldesley and her pro partner Johannes Radebe.
The former Coronation Street actor found herself in the bottom two against Mike Bushell, and while Motsi Mabuse and Bruno Tonioli voted to save Tyldesley, head judge Shirley Ballas’s deciding vote saved Bushell from the chop – leading to fan backlash.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other journalist at the Pride of Britain awards, Ballas said she has since received “vulgar” trolling.
“My direct message box [has] comments from people who are really quite mean and the messages have been too vulgar to repeat,” she said, before pointing the blame at viewers for Tyldsley’s exit.
“I haven’t been going online too much, but I have one question for everybody. Why was she in the bottom two? Who put her there? It wasn’t us, she wasn’t the lowest scored from the judges. So why was she there?
“I have to choose somebody at the end of the day with my technical experience to put through and I do not expect the people sitting at home to understand even why I put them through. They’re not there, they don’t know the technique, they may be looking at last week was or what next week could be, and I have to judge it right there and then, so I made exactly the right decision.
“The scoreboard is changing week by week because of what people vote for.”
When asked whether Ballas expected better from Strictly fans, she replied: “I’ve learned in my life not to expect anything from anybody, so hard work and grind has got me where I am.”
However, Ballas, who took over from Len as head judge in 2017, has had some more positive and uplifting messages from fans who are supporting her breast implant removal surgery.
“The amount of people wishing me well for my surgery has been off the chart,” she said. “To those people, I want to say thank you.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday at 7pm on BBC One