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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

Ballas backlash: fans outraged after Shirley eliminates Annabel, reigniting sexism concerns

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Head judge faces backlash for eliminating female contestant

Shirley Ballas, the head judge of Strictly Come Dancing, has found herself at the center of a sexism controversy once again, as she eliminated former tennis star Annabel Croft, denying her a spot in the show’s final. This decision has reignited claims of sexism against Ballas, who had faced similar accusations earlier in the series for allegedly marking down female contestants. 

The elimination took place during the results show, where Annabel Croft, 57, and her professional partner Johannes Radebe, 36, danced off against EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier, 20, and Dianne Buswell, 34. While fellow judges Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke voted to save Bobby, Craig Revel Horwood supported Annabel and Johannes. Shirley Ballas used her casting vote to oust Annabel from the competition. 

Addressing her decision on the show, Shirley said, “I thought both couples were absolutely extraordinary. I felt that both couples lifted their performance. I thought there was technical qualities on both sides, improvements galore. But again, one tiny mistake coming out of a pivot turn — and therefore my decision would be to save Bobby and Dianne.” 

Craig Revel Horwood, despite supporting Annabel, acknowledged Bobby’s improvement and voted in his favor, leading to Annabel’s elimination. 

This isn’t the first time Shirley Ballas has faced criticism for her judging decisions. Earlier in the season, she gave lower scores to female contestants Angela Rippon, Ellie Leach, and Zara McDermott. Last year, she was also scrutinized for choosing to save Richie Anderson over Fleur East, despite other judges favoring Fleur. 

A source from Strictly dismissed conspiracy theories on social media, emphasizing that the judges base their decisions solely on dance. Bobby Brazier will now advance to the final, alongside favorites Ellie and Vito Coppola and Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, airing next Saturday on BBC1 at 7 pm. 

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