'Strictly Come Dancing': Shirley Ballas Defends Ashley Roberts Over 'Dance Experience'

Shirley says the Pussycat Dolls star deserves her place in the final as much as anyone else.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Head Judge Shirley Ballas has jumped to the defence of Ashley Roberts, amid the ongoing debate about whether she has too much dance experience to win the show.

Shirley has insisted that while Ashley was obviously already an accomplished dancer before signing up for ‘Strictly’, the styles of dance seen on the show are different disciplines to anything she performed as a member of the Pussycat Dolls.

Following Ashley’s third week in a row in the bottom two, Shirley told ‘Loose Women’: “She is not a pro ballroom or Latin dancer. She has had to learn the ropes like everyone else.”

'Strictly' pro Pasha Kovalev and Ashley Roberts
'Strictly' pro Pasha Kovalev and Ashley Roberts

She added: “I think that’s why we have this kind of show. Everybody brings something different to the table... entertainment, musicality, lifts, this that and the other.

“Everybody has a journey and at the end of the day it will be down to the public to pick the winner.”

Over the weekend, Ashley left Craig Revel Horwood speechless with her American Smooth routine, which landed her a perfect score for the second time this series.

However, the public was clearly less enthused, as she wound up in the bottom two once again, with the judges eventually choosing to put her through to the final over Paralympian Lauren Steadman.

Steve Meddle/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

Just a day earlier, Ashley had admitted to HuffPost UK that repeatedly being in the dance-off had made her feel “deflated”, saying: “I’m just grateful to be here. I’m going to go out there and perform my best, and whatever happens happens.”

Find out whether it’ll be Ashley, Faye Tozer, Joe Sugg or Stacey Dooley who takes home the Glitterball Trophy this year in Saturday night’s ‘Strictly’ live final, starting at 6.30pm on BBC One.

‘Loose Women’ airs every weekday from 12.30pm on ITV.

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