Strictly Come Dancing confirms Shirley Ballas as new head judge to replace Len Goodman

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British-born Ballroom and Latin dancer Shirley Ballas has been confirmed as a new judge on Strictly Come Dancing.

She replaces Len Goodman on the panel after the much-loved judge departed the show last year following 14 successful series.

The former ‘British Open to the World’ Champion, European, German, United Kingdom, United States and International Latin American Champion retired from competitive dancing in 1996 and is now a top international coach.

Len Goodman on Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)

“I am so excited and over the moon to have been given this wonderful opportunity,” Ballas said.

“I can’t wait to get into the ballroom and be part of the incredible and respected judging panel.

“Strictly is so loved by the British public, I have always been a massive fan. I just can’t wait!”

Her role as head judge means Ballas will have the casting vote in the dance-off.

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Darcey Bussell said: “I look forward to meeting Shirley and welcoming her to our Strictly team.

“Her years of experience in Ballroom and Latin dancing are impressive and I’m sure she will be a great addition to our judging panel.”

Craig Revel Horwood added: “Fantastic news that Shirley will be joining me and the other judges on the panel.

“I look forward to working with her on the next series of Strictly!”

Bruno Tonioli said: “I know Shirley well – she is an incredible Latin dancer and trainer and I am sure she will be a great addition to the Strictly team.”

Strictly Come Dancing judging lineup

Director of BBC Content Charlotte Moore added: “Len’s are big shoes to fill, but the ‘Queen of Latin’ is the ideal new Strictly judge.

“Shirley Ballas is a British ballroom expert whose credentials speak for themselves; she’s going to be a fabulous addition to the best judging panel in showbiz!”