Shirley Ballas says her first Strictly Come Dancing audition was an "absolute disaster".
The head judge joined the show in 2017 to takeover from Len Goodman.
But she almost lost her spot on the panel, revealing this week: "My greatest memory from Strictly so far has to be the day I got the job. That is a memory I will never forget.
"The audition was an absolute disaster... I got to do it twice, but the second one was better. To get the actual call to say ‘we think that you would be good for the job’, and at fifty seven who would have thought?
"Now I’m going into my fifth series and I love it more than life itself. I just love every single second of the music, the atmosphere, the celebrities, the professionals (who are the best in the world by the way) and everybody who helps make that show run."
Speaking ahead of Saturday's first live show, Shirley said: "I am so tremendously excited, I absolutely cannot wait. One, to be going back to work, two, to see all my friends, and three, to watch the journey of this spectacular line-up of celebrities."
She continued: "I love going in on a Saturday, going into my room and seeing all my friends - I love to see Motsi. She’s a few doors down and she always has that loud music blaring and dances down the corridors, I love her energy.
"Then we’ve got Craig who is just gorgeous, just gorgeous. He’s always got something positive to say behind the scenes, and this year we’ve got Anton Du Beke - so I'm really excited about seeing my fellow judges.
"I love all of the behind the scenes people that make this show work. You see the judges, dancers and celebrities but without everyone else behind the scenes, the show would not work - it’s a well oiled machine. I love to see the same people year in and year out - everybody...the whole cast. "
SHirley went on to say she thinks Strictly's return will be appreicated by viewers.
"I think after the pandemic and the fact that people have been locked away for so long, I feel as we go into these winter months it’s going to be very important that people have something that they can turn to," Shirley said. "Like being in Disney Land, you can get lost inside the magic of the kingdom of Strictly Come Dancing.
"I think people look forward to that - they don’t need to worry, they don’t need to stress, they have a few hours where they can let go. They can have their pizza and their glass of wine, or orange juice, whatever they want, and just enjoy the show with their family. "
Meanwhile, asked about her highlights from past series of Strictly, Shirley shared: "I loved the Reverend Coles when he came down in the cloud - I thought he was very brave. Gangnam Style with Ed Balls was brilliant!. Another one was Ann Widdecombe - you don’t always have to be the best dancer to have the most memorable numbers. Good or bad...are you memorable? That is the question.
"Kelvin Fletcher with his Samba when he came out...there are so many others. Bill Bailey when he did rock of the ages with the rock music and tango - that was a standout moment."
Strictly Come Dancing 2021's live shows start this Saturday at 7PM on BBC One.
Picture: Shirley Ballas - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy