Single Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas would love to be struck by the Strictly Curse and is looking for romance on the show

THERE is only one person on Strictly Come Dancing this year who wants to be struck by the show’s notorious Curse of forbidden romances – head judge Shirley Ballas.

The 58-year-old ballroom dance star, dubbed the Queen of Latin, is desperate to find a man after being unattached for the past three years.

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After being single for the past three year’s, Strictly Shirley Ballas is desperate to find a man[/caption]

She even joined a premium dating service in America — but it told her she was too old to find love.

Today, Shirley — who has signed up to be our official Strictly Commentator for the 2018 series — gives an exclusive interview to The Sun ahead of this evening’s first Strictly live show.

She recalls of her US dating experience: “Somebody said to me they had a special place in LA that wasn’t a dating site, it was a big building, very fancy.

“You go in the room and they decide if they’re going to take you. I said, ‘Well, I think I’m looking for somebody maybe 45 or 50, something like that’.

Dan Jones – The Sun

Shirley has signed up to be our official Strictly Commentator for the 2018 series[/caption]

“She goes, ‘With all due respect, darling, they’re looking for somebody who’s 22’. So yeah, it’s hard to find somebody.”

And although the Strictly Curse has ruined some high-profile relationships over the years, Shirley is positively excited by the prospect of being struck by it herself.

She says: “Could it be me? Could I eventually have a boyfriend? bring it on!”

Twice-divorced Shirley, who was married to former dance partners Sammy Stopford and Corky Ballas, admits she has had a penchant for toyboys in the past, but would now like a man closer to her own age to settle down with.

Shirley’s first husband was former dance partner Sammy Stopford (pictured in 1982)

Collect

Shirley then married another dancer partner, Corky Ballas[/caption]

She says: “If it was somebody like 60 or 65 they’d have to be in absolutely great shape like me, I pride myself on that.

“We all age, and to each his own, but I have a healthy life-style and I like to work out.

“He would have to be around my age and be athletic, someone who can take care of themselves and can afford their own dinner. Somebody who takes a little bit of control and makes decisions, who is kind and funny.”

Shirley replaced Len Goodman as Strictly’s head judge last year, immediately winning over viewers with her constructive criticism and sharp wit.

Shirley and Corky had a turbulent 23-year marriage (pictured in 1996)
The couple had one son, Mark, who is now also a pro dancer

Since the last series, two major talking points have arisen over pay — both her own and that of the professional dancers who work alongside the 14 contestants.

Shirley saw her pay rise from her initial £180,000 to match her predecessor Len’s £250,000 following the BBC’s gender pay row. But she insists she had not pushed for the bumper £70,000 rise.

She says: “My mother said you should never discuss your pay, particularly with a young man.

“Do I look like a pushy person? I don’t know what everyone else got, only what I got, and I was happy with it.”

Mark Ballas is now a pro dancer on Dancing With The Stars
Getty – Contributor

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Shirley landed a pay rise to get the same salary as ex-Head Judge Len Goodman[/caption]

Her rise was backed by Len, who said it was the right thing to do, given she was doing the same job he did for 12 years.

Shirley’s pay had previously matched that of judges Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood. Panel favourite Bruno Tonioli was paid £200,000 to £250,000.

But outspoken Craig has claimed Shirley’s lack of TV experience meant she had done “absolutely nothing” to earn it.

Shirley diplomatically chooses her words, but insists she is worth every penny. She says: “I love Craig but I would say about myself that I have been in this industry since I was seven.

Dan Jones – The Sun

Fellow judge Craig claimed Shirley’s lack of TV experience meant she had done ‘absolutely nothing’ to earn a pay rise[/caption]

“I’ve worked my way up as a single woman for most part of that to the very top as a female ballroom and Latin- specific world-renowned coach, so it’s not just about going on to a show you know and not knowing your stuff.

“I know my stuff.”

When I ask if gender had anything to do with the pay rise, she insists: “I never thought about it. I just got on with my job and did the best I could.

“I was happy last year and I think they’ve been very fair this year. You know, I love it.”

Dan Jones – The Sun

Shirley says she loves working on Strictly[/caption]

It is not just the judges who have been questioning their pay on the BBC1 show, the professional dancers have too.

All are paid the same, despite some — such as viewer favourite Anton du Beke — having been on the show from the start.

Comparing pay rates on Strictly with those of US counterpart Dancing With The Stars, Shirley says: “I think in the United States it’s banded.

“If you’ve been there 15 years and Mark Ballas (her son, a pro dancer on the US show) and Derek Hough (another pro dancer), for example have won it and been there in so many finals from the beginning . . .  if a beginner comes in at 18, you know . . . ”

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Strictly Come Dancing 2018 has its first live show on Saturday[/caption]

Besides the issue of pay, viewers have been questioning whether some of the 14 celebrities signed up this year are big enough names.

On Shirley’s visit to The Sun’s HQ, she is clasping an A4 sheet of paper with all of the contestants’ faces, names and who they are dancing with scribbled on it.

And while she admits she is terrible with names, and will have her trusty crib sheet with her for tonight’s show, she insists the line-up is top-quality.

She says: “I think you couldn’t have got a better line-up than this. I think actually they’re quite brilliant, aren’t they?

Dan Jones – The Sun

Shirley says this year’s line-up is top-quality[/caption]

“You’ve got fantastic storylines behind everybody. What more do you want?

“If you have huge worldwide names you already know the story. If you put Victoria Beckham on, you already know the story, her back story, her children, her family.

“What’s nice about the British public is that they will grow with these people.”

And Shirley gives off an air of genuine gratitude over the way the public invited her into their homes on a Saturday night.

She adds: “Last year, when I got the job, I still remember coming in here for my very first interview, terrified, knees knocking.

“And you have to give somebody a chance. The country gave me a chance — and look where we are today.

Shirley’s picks for Strictly success

Shirley gives her expert assessment of Strictly’s fabulous 15 couples and we show you their odds, supplied by Paddy Power.

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima

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Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima[/caption]

WELL, when I saw her at the launch show all I could see from a distance was this mass of gorgeous hair and she bee-bopped forward looking really quite confident.

Again, she’s a presenter so she’s got attitude, knows how to sell it. And she’s with Graziano, so I’m sure she will be fine.

Paddy Power odds: 11/4

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev
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I WANT to make it absolutely clear that her being close to my son Mark will not sway me in any shape or form because I’m there to do a professional job and a professional job I will do.

They are a nice height, and a good-looking team. Pasha won Strictly in 2014 with Caroline Flack.

Paddy Power odds: 3/1

Stacey Dooley MBE and Kevin Clifton

Stacey Dooley MBE and Kevin Clifton
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SHE’S got a bit about her, which in our industry means she gives it a bit of welly, as Len would say. She looks like she’s in it 100 per cent.

She’s going to fit everything around her work and concentrate and she’s with the great Kevin Clifton who hasn’t won it, by the way, but has been in the final several times.

Paddy Power odds: 6/1

Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden

Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden
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WHEN I passed him I thought to myself, “Now this is a dapper gentleman”. I expect great things from him, particularly in the ballroom – he just looks like he’s got the sophisticated charm.

Dapper is the best word I can say. I’m quite excited to see him. He looks quite regal to me.

Paddy Power odds: 7/1

Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice

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Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice[/caption]

SHE’S going to have a great time with Giovanni. He likes to bring the best out of everybody, so I think Faye is in for a real treat.

She’s got to have good, strong leg action and move her body in synchronisation with Giovanni. That’s not easy.

I will be holding her to higher standards if she’s got a bit of background.

Paddy Power odds: 12/1

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton
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I JUST hope he’s co-ordinated. If he’s co-ordinated, he’s in good shape.

Like I say, I haven’t been privy to anybody’s dancing yet – it is as new for me as it’s going to be for you when they start their first dance.

Paddy Power odds: 14/1

Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse

Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse
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I HAD a little bit of a chat with him and he was charming. He’s very elegant, tall, great physique. He’s obviously with the beautiful Oti, this is a lady who can get down. She’s so sensual.

It will be interesting how he keeps up with her! I think she will work him really hard. He will bring the best that he can.

Paddy Power odds: 16/1

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
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JOE might be the most nervous of everybody. I think he may feel he’s a little out of his depth but I hold great promise towards him, so again he’s young, he’s active.

I know he does blogging, vlogging, videos. You’ve got to give him credit that he makes a living for himself doing what he does.

Paddy Power odds: 16/1

Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez

Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez
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I SAW a few little things Katie posted online and she appeared to be doing extremely well. She’s as cute as a button and she seemed to be having a ball.

It takes a lot of confidence to expose yourself to the masses, to get out there and put those dresses on and face a fear. I have a lot admiration for Katie.

Paddy Power odds: 16/1

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard
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I’M curious as to how AJ will work it. You know how he’s going to do the hold or how creative he’s going to be to work around her necessary needs.

But AJ being AJ, an out-of-the-box person, I’m sure he’s going to do amazingly well, and obviously with her mentality she’s in it to win it for sure.

Paddy Power odds: 16/1

Kate Silverton and Alijaz Skorjanec

Kate Silverton and Alijaz Skorjanec
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Paddy Power odds: 25/1

THIS is a lady I have great respect for, from what I’ve read. It seems like no matter what job she does, from an early age, everything is about heart and soul.

She’s 100 per cent going to be there on cue with Aljaz. She’s in great hands and I’m very excited about her. I’m excited to see what Kate can bring.

Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova

Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova
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WE expect a few great things from him too. Some person might have a little bip bop hip hop experience, some of these acts will come with the personality of being able to project and come forward.

Well just for you, I will pay special attention!

Paddy Power odds: 25/1

Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara

Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara
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HE’S very well-loved, a very nice man, he’s got the cha cha cha. Another who looks like a gentleman.

I just hope he can get down and get that body action moving, a little twirl for twirl. So yeah, let’s see how Dr Ranj does.

Paddy Power odds: 25/1

Sean Walsh and Katya Jones

Sean Walsh and Katya Jones

HE looked really confident and was very charming. And he’s got tango, so he doesn’t have to use any rise and fall, hip action.

He’s just really got to keep a great frame and I feel confident he can do that. I’m not sure what he’ll do with his hair and beard. A little trim, darling, a little trim.

Paddy Power odds: 66/1

Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke

Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke
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I’M batting a little bit for Susannah. I think she’s a little, would you say, shy or a little insecure maybe? Is she the oldest one we have on the show this year?

I’m very anxious to see this young lady dance. She’s doing samba. Personally, I think that she is going to be the high-light of the evening.

Paddy Power odds: 66/1

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One comment

  1. burfitt@gmail.com

    What a stupid song. “take a ride on your disco stick” c’mon. she’s pathetic.

    By boogerface.. Posted April 19 2019 at 3:02 PM.

    i think this song is disgustin. it should b banned from the telly. little kids will see this an think its ok to dress an behave in that way. who is she anyway? shes just a wannabe trying the copy britney and christina to sell her rubbish music and i dunno how on earth both her singles got to number one. her songs just repeat themselves over and over again.someone said the video are like britneys an christinas but this is worse i dont see christina and britney naked with men feeling up their breast and butt. britneys naked in one of her videos but she hasnt got people feeling her up shes just dirty.

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