Ever since Darcey announced she was quitting the BBC dance show in April, speculation has been rife about who will be joining Shirley and her fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood on the judging panel.
During an interview on Tuesday’s Loose Women, Shirley didn’t name Darcey’s replacement but paid tribute to the former ballerina.
“Well I know that whoever the BBC are going to choose will be absolutely perfect for the show,” Shirley said.
“I am sure there will be lots of surprises this series. We have a new Executive Producer, we have Rylan [Clark-Neal] on It Takes Two and we are getting a new judge.
“Although for me, Darcey was like my queen. That lady held my hand the whole time and I have never laughed so much with another woman in all my life. She was amazing and she will be sorely missed for sure.”
Hinting that the new judge is a “very interesting” choice, Shirley teased: “I will fit with whoever they pick. I know they will pick the best person for the general public and to be on that show that fits in with everybody. You are all going to be absolutely delighted.”
Earlier in the day, Shirley’s fellow Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood revealed that there would be change in format in the new series, something even Shirley didn’t know about (until now).
During an interview on This Morning, Craig announced that the new series would see all four judges partnering up with the celebrity contestants to take to the dance floor
He said: “This year is going to be very interesting. Like Australia, they’re taking a leaf out of Australia’s book, and of course Dancing with the Stars in America, the judges will be dancing.
“I don’t know that Shirley Ballas knows that yet, but she will. Scoop! ... We’ll dance with the contestants. You put yourself on the line, so to speak.”
He continued: “I did it in Australia and I absolutely loved it there… I danced with Courtney Act, which was absolutely fantastic.
“It was brilliant to come into the room to choreograph and to actually create an entire scenario and star in it yourself. And then be judged, that’s sort of the big thing… And I’m up, as most people know, for absolutely anything.”