The former Pussycat Dolls performer has found herself on the receiving end of a backlash over her previous dance experience, and has landed in the dance-off for the last two weeks despite high scores from the judges.
Ashley has also been the topic of conversation on social media, with some claiming the judges should have sent her home over Charles Venn on Sunday, given the advantage she had over him.
However, in an interview with Metro, Tess insisted Ashley “doesn’t deserve” some of the comments that have been directed at her.
She said: “I actually feel sorry for Ashley because she was in tears on Sunday night, when she was in the bottom two.
“She’s got dance experience in a pop band, but she hasn’t necessarily danced in ballroom before, it’s a different genre and I’m sure she’s never done the Viennese waltz in her career with the Pussycat Dolls.
“I think cut her a little slack, she’s an absolute sweetheart and doesn’t deserve that!”
Admitting she got “welled up and teary” watching Ashley and her partner Pasha Kovalev competing in the dance-off, Tess continued: “I just felt for her, you don’t want to see anyone crying.
“She’s working so hard. The hours they train are insane, it means so much to her to do well, it’s not like she just turns up on Saturday, she works so hard, it means a lot to her.”
Last weekend saw Ashley and Pasha score 38 points for their Quickstep to ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from ‘Funny Girl’, where they finished second on the leaderboard.
When they landed in the bottom two alongside Charles and his partner Karen Clifton, the judges unanimously decided to save Ashley, with Charles narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-final.
Charles and Karen later made a tearful appearance on ‘It Takes Two’ following their exit, during which the ‘Casualty’ actor told host Zoë Ball: “[There’s] a little bit of disappointment, but at the same time a sense of pride. [I’m] proud that Karen brought me all the way to the quarter-finals.
“It’s a weird, bittersweet feeling. On one hand I get to take my son to school in the morning. At the same time I don’t get to spend quality time with this wonderful woman, this wonderful teacher. It’s a weird balance.”
‘Strictly Come Dancing’ continues on Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.