Tess Daly has opened up about the one contestant that the Strictly Come Dancing judges are particularly picky with – Ashley Roberts. The TV presenter defended the celebrity contestant after she was in the bottom two for the second time in a row, with some viewers suggesting that she has an unfair advantage as she had dance experience before joining the show. According to Tess, the four judges are picky when marking the former Pussycat Dolls band member, as she "can take it". She told HELLO!: "Her ability is so great, she's a brilliant dancer. However, she's never danced in the ballroom before while performing in the band – they weren't required to do the waltz onstage, obviously! It's a different ability, a different genre of dancing and the judges are very picky with her because they know she can take it."
Ashley and Pasha have been in the bottom two twice
The mum-of-two also revealed that she was particularly surprised to see Ashley in the Dance Off on Musical week, explaining: "We were all surprised to see Ashley in the Dance Off, we didn't see it coming... But it can happen. If people think their votes aren't needed, if someone is topping the leader board, they might not vote, they may save their vote for someone they think is in danger. So that can happen. She's a great dancer, she's a wonderful girl."
Tess defended Ashley on the show
Speaking of training, she continued: "[Ashley] trains just as hard as everyone else on the show. They're regularly doing 12-hour training days at this point – it's incredible. These guys are training harder than any celebrity cast we've ever had before... Ashley and Pasha are training hard, she's working hard! It doesn't come easy. They're working for a place in the final."
Tess is currently encouraging people to don festive socks on Thursday 6 December to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens. To raise money, the charity is encouraging people to snap and share a '#socksie' on Christmas Sock Day to raise funds, with £1 going to charity per post. Tess joked that her two daughters fought over their favourite pair of Christmas socks, saying: "I've got mine lined up ready and they've each picked up a pair. We've been fighting over the reindeers one… my girls have been fighting over them, like, 'I'm having them!'"