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Shirley Ballas’ surprise history with one of this year’s Strictly stars

Shirley Ballas has revealed a surprise connection to one of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing contestants.

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The brand new series of Strictly launched last week on BBC One and will kick off its live shows this Saturday.

A brand new line up of fifteen celebs will be hitting the dancefloor, and Shirley has a surprise history with one of them.

Shirley Ballas sits behind the judges' desk in a yellow dress
Shirley Ballas on Strictly. Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Ahead of the first live episode Shirley has said she’ll be “fangirling” over broadcaster Angela Rippon.

The head judge says she has a special connection with the TV icon, who previously presented Come Dancing on the BBC.

“She announced me during the UK championships many times during my competitive career so her voice brings back so many fond memories,” Shirley shared.

Speaking of the upcoming series, Shirley said: “I’m super excited to return to the panel, it’s going to be one superb series. I feel so lucky to get a front row seat in the ballroom, it is a real privilege.

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“I cannot wait to nurture and guide our new celebrities to help them become the best dancers they can be.”

While there will be no elimination this weekend as usual, from next week we’ll see the celebs head home one by one – something Shirley says she find “heartbreaking”.

Angela Rippon in a golden dress poses in front of a pink glittery backdrop
Angela Rippon Credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston

Shirley explains: “The biggest challenge is when I hear Anton vote differently to Craig and Motsi in the dance off and then the final say is down to me. It’s so heartbreaking having to send anyone home.”

Meanwhile, Shirley also looked ahead to Strictly’s return to the iconic tower ballroom.

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She shared: “It was amazing to return to Blackpool, the ballroom there is an iconic venue that holds a very special place in my heart. Being in Blackpool takes everything to a whole new level, it’s the home of ballroom dancing and the walls are steeped in history.”

Strictly Come Dancing airs Saturday night from 6:15PM on BBC One.

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