Following the announcement of this year's celebrity line-up on Strictly Come Dancing, head judge Shirley Ballas has given her verdict. Appearing on Wednesday's Loose Women, the 57-year-old was asked about This Morning presenter Dr Ranj's comments about wanting to dance with a male partner. "I think he's happy with whatever choice he's given," she said. "I think everything in its good time. I wouldn't be opposed to him dancing with another man." She added: "We have same sex competitions in my industry. It's movement to music at the end of the day. When I'm teaching a lecture, I have the little girls do the boys part, the little boys do the girls part so they understand about lead and follow and what to expect. It's two human beings that are moving to music at the end of the day, you're judging the talent."
Strictly judge Shirley Ballas has opened up about this year's celebrity line-up
Shirley also hit back at the mixed reaction over this year's cast. "First of all, I don't think the BBC ever get it wrong," she shared. "That's just my feeling. They gave me a chance last year [as head judge] and I got a lot of abuse online and people didn't even know me or give me half a chance." She added: "This year is completely different. I feel embraced, I feel loved. This is exactly what's going to happen with this - I believe - diverse panel of beautiful people, all with a story. You've got a paraplegic Olympian… it's just going to be fantastic. People need to give it a chance. Everybody has their opinions but, you know, they're just opinions at the end of the day." When probed further, Shirley continued: "It has to be a mixture of people and, at the end of the day, people will watch it, they'll judge for themselves. Give these stars a chance and I know that, as with every year, with ratings, people love to tune in, and this is going to be a great panel of people."
MORE: The complete 2018 Strictly line-up
Earlier this week, Susannah Constantine and Charles Venn were confirmed as the final two stars to join the cast. The pair join Paralympian Lauren Steadman, Blue's Lee Ryan, comedian Seann Welsh, news reporter Kate Silverton, singer Ashley Roberts, journalist Stacey Dooley, Capital FM presenter Vick Hope, cricketer Graeme Swann, Danny John Jules, YouTube star Joe Sugg, Steps singer Faye Tozer and author Katie Piper as well as Dr Ranj.
Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Stars seen with professional dancers for the first time
Almost every series, there are complaints about some of the past experience stars have with dance. This year, critics have claimed Pussycat Doll star Ashley has an unfair advantage, to which Shirley remarked: "Of course she's done a little Hip-hop, but so had Aston [Merrygold]. He went out because he couldn't do the Viennese Waltz." She went on to say: "Everybody's done a little bit of dancing at some point during their careers I'm sure. I think again everybody should give everybody a chance."
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