Strictly sexism row erupts as fans blast 'harsh' Shirley Ballas scores of female dancers: 'Predictable!'

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas has come under fire for her scores of female Strictly stars

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 02/10/2023

- 10:44

Shirley Ballas has come under fire for the scores dished out on Saturday evening

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has been accused of giving out unfair scores to a handful of female dancers so far this series.

The head judge, who presides alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Morsi Mabuse and Anton du Beke on the judging panel, pulled no punches with her critique on Saturday night, even prompting raucous booing from the audience.

While the boos occurred as a result of Ballas unleashing a lengthy and critical response to Nigel Harman and Katya Jones' routine, she also dished out the lowest scores for three female dancers out of the judges.

Zara McDermott, Ellie Leach and Angela Rippon were all scored the harshest by Ballas, a trend which is usually reserved for the typically stern judge Revel Horwood.

In week one, Ballas also dished out the lowest score among her judges to Angela Scanlon after she performed with Carlos Gu - the only time that week she was the lowest-scoring judge.

On the other side of the argument, Ballas has only been the lowest scorer of a male competitor once in this series and that was towards Harman following her brutal verdict of his week two routine.

Shirley Ballas was booed

Shirley Ballas faced boos from the Strictly Come Dancing crowd on Saturday night


The difference in scores hasn't gone unnoticed by a number of BBC viewers who've since taken to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express their thoughts on Ballas' scoring in particular.

"POV Shirley scoring women vs. Shirley scoring men #Strictly," one fan tweeted alongside two photos; one of Revel Horwood holding a panel with a two score on and Ballas with a 10.

Elsewhere a second claimed: "Shirley’s dislike for young women is again so obvious #strictly."

"Of course. Another low score from Shirley for a woman," a third weighed in while a fourth mused: "Shirley being the lowest score for the young female again.. surprise surprise."

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Another echoed: "In a world of chaos, the predictability of Shirley's scores to female contestants can be relied upon #Strictly."

Others were particularly blown away by the head judge's scoring of McDermott, with one arguing: "Shirley scoring Zara a 5 was way harsh. She was better than a 5. #Strictly."

This was backed up by another viewer who commented: "Shirley is being very harsh with her scoring tonight. No way was Zara's Quickstep a 5. #Strictly."

However, others did defend Ballas, with one viewer pointing out: "The people normally angry at Shirley for being critical of females are now angry at her for being critical of a male contestant #Strictly." (sic)

GB News has contacted the BBC for comment regarding the claims.

The fresh backlash levelled against Ballas comes just days after the show found itself embroiled in a favouritism row regarding its choice of dances for each competitor.

Shirley Ballas

Strictly Come Dancing fans have blasted Shirley Ballas for her scoring


Eagle-eyed fans spotted Harman and fellow competitor Amanda Abbington performed unique routines to styles none other cast member had to for two weeks in a row, prompting some to claim it was in an attempt to help them stand out.

Harman's week two routine certainly did stand out but mainly because of the reaction of the crowd to Ballas' verdict.

Ballas let loose on the Casualty star as she critiqued: "The basic foot action in this dance is much flatter than all the other dances, too much bopping up and down for me and too many technical errors."

When the crowd erupted into a chorus of boos, she harped back: "Well you might learn something so hold on a minute. It's week two now and I believe as a great dancer, you could concentrate a little bit more on some really simple footwork.

"I'm just asking you to address a few little things, but well done," she concluded, but it even prompted the typically hard-faced Revel Horwood to describe her as "picky".

In the end, Harman and his female cast mates had what it took to avoid the first elimination of the series.

Instead, the unwanted boot went to Les Dennis and his dance partner Nancy Xu, despite data obtained by GB News suggesting it should've been a different competitor.

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