Shirley Ballas: Strictly viewers are to blame for Catherine Tyldesley's elimination

Dance Coach Dame Shirley Ballas poses for photographers on arrival at the 2019 BAFTA Television Awards in London, Sunday, May 12, 2019.(Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)
Shirley Ballas has blamed Strictly viewers for putting Catherine Tyldesley in the dance off (Credit: AP)

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has said viewers must blame themselves for Catherine Tyldesley’s shock elimination.

The Coronation Street actress was sent home in floods of tears at the weekend following a dance off against BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell, with Ballas having the casting vote.

The 59-year-old ballroom dancer admitted to that she had received abusive messages regarding her decision to eliminate Tyldesley, but pointed out if she had received enough votes from the public she would never have landed in the bottom two.

Read more: Strictly's Catherine Tyldesley cries as she refuses to rewatch dance off

Ballas said: “My direct message box [has] comments from people who are really quite mean and the messages have been too vulgar to repeat.

Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe's Halloween Cha Cha was their downfall (Credit: BBC)
Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe's Halloween Cha Cha was their downfall (Credit: BBC)

“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.”

Saffron Barker and Mike Bushell attending the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at the TV Centre, London
Mike Bushell was saved by the judges after his dance off with Catherine Tyldesley (Credit: PA)

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Some fans were outraged by Ballas’ decision to save Bushell, branding the show a “fix” as the sports presenter works for the BBC, the same network that broadcasts the dance show.

But Craig Revel Horwood has also defended the judge’s decision on This Morning. He and Ballas voted for Bushell while fellow judges Motsi Mabuse and Bruno Tonioli chose to save Tyldesley.

Revel Horwood said: “He’s in a competition, in my eyes his Tango was better on the night, I’m not saying he’s the better dancer.”

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