shirley ballas hello strictly

Strictly's Shirley Ballas: My powerful pal Motsi has fitted in perfectly and don't underestimate the underdogs yet

The Strictly Come Dancing head judge gives her verdict on the first show of the series

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I thought it was one of the best first shows ever. It was absolutely fabulous. The whole studio was full of energy. We were all at fever pitch with excitement before we even started filming and it just built throughout the evening. From wardrobe to make-up, I wish the viewers could see all the people that are behind the scenes and how much they do. I keep telling the BBC there needs to be a show on it all. It is so fascinating the wheels of the Strictly machine and it would give people an appreciation of what goes on - although I’ll try and reveal it all in this column too!

Motsi did fantastically well on the judging panel. She was great to work with and so knowledgeable. I think we’ve really got the balance right with the panel. The only drama was she broke her nail before the show started - but I was able to lend her some nail glue!

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Shirley Ballas with her Strictly judges

We were in and out of each other’s dressing rooms chatting all day. She is an absolute blast. She’s a girlie girl but she’s a powerful woman and I love to be around people like that. We've got these two powerful women with two bookends, Craig and Bruno. They won’t get away with anything with us two.

People might not realise this but so much goes into our outfits before the show. My stylist, Alexandria, gets me lots of dresses and different outfits and we take pictures of them and all work out what looks well and what I like, what she likes.

MORE: The judges of Strictly Come Dancing through the years

After the show, there is a bar where the celebrities and guests can go and have downtime and mingle. The room was a blanket of energy when I popped in this week. I couldn’t stay long as I had a six-hour journey for a charity event this morning. I only had a couple of hours of sleep. I'm burning the candle at both ends but it's important for me to give it back as well as enjoying Strictly.

We broke the Guinness Book of Records this morning for the most people tied together to run a 5K. Alder Hey are absolutely thrilled that we were able to do it.

Alex and Neil

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Neil is very gifted as a choreographer. He's waited a long time for this opportunity. He is one of the most creative people I know. He did quite a complicated quick step. Alex is a talented girl. Of course she’s got things to work on but I think Neil will be able to transform her. I’m sure she will come back week in and week out with steady growth. She's one to watch.

Chris and Karen

These pair are pleasant to watch and have nice chemistry between them. They definitely have some work to do. He needs to realise everything is going to come from downstairs – his feet and his legs and learn to synchronize his arms. His confidence will build I think.

Catherine and Johannes

Catherine has a lot of potential and it was a beautiful waltz. They started really well and it was very impressive. Possibly she could be a finalist. But there were so many that were good that I think it could be difficult to send anyone home.

Saffron and AJ

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I thought they started really well. It’s a good partnership. They are a cute little couple. It was unbelievable at such an early stage Saffron realised that in tango your feet move first and then your body. For me personally, I thought there was too much breaking apart as I like a traditional tango.

Mike and Katya

These two are the dynamic duo. Mike likes to jump all over the place and I love it. He came out and gave it his best. I do think he will probably be more of an entertainer than a technician but he will do his best. He does have signs of a good solid dancer but he will please the audience that’s for sure.

Emma and Aljaz

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She is just stunning but she has a long way to go to conquer the technical. Once Aljaz gets her in a good upright position and she will fly and she could be a potential female to watch.

James and Luba

James has had a brain injury in the past and he also was one of the most nervous. I didn't over critique him. I want people to imagine how hard it is to join a dance class and come out in front of millions and do the tango. I thought to get himself out there he did exceptionally well. He needs to work on his self-confidence. He can achieve more than he thinks he can.

Kelvin and Oti

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What can I say about Kelvin? The audience loved it when he started wiggling and moving around. He was electrifying and had a great balance and fun. He's a determined man and he wants to stay in the competition. He had sensuality while staying masculine and that’s the making of a great dancer. We've never seen a samba in any country that good in week one. He was off the chart for week one for me.

READ: What all Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers do on Sundays

David and Nadiya

He's a footballer so it's no surprise he's very light on his feet. I thought he did quite well. He has a great spine and slender build so there's potential for a great frame. He’s very gentlemanly towards Nadiya. He’s an athlete and they don’t give up. I think he could surprise us.

Michelle and Giovanni

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Michelle was a personal favourite for me. I wanted to go Grrrrr at her. She is full of sass. Gio has met his match with this young lady. You can tell she’s a natural dancer and if she keeps that sass then she will go far.

Dev and Dianne

Musicality comes out of every pore in his body. You don’t feel anxious or stressed watching them. Dev just looks delighted to be there. They had great contact. I think he could be this year's heartthrob.

Anneka and Kevin

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She represents all the women in my age group so I’m rooting for her. Kevin is a very talented dancer. It won’t matter that he’s the returning champion. He will be focussing on Anneka and getting the best out of her.

Will and Janette

The way he moved around that dance floor was inspiring and he got out there and did the best he could. He had a great frame and movement. In life you should always concentrate on your strengths. Play to your strengths not just in dancing but in everything and that’s what he is doing – and he’s doing it with a smile on his face and enjoying himself. He is Mr Entertainer and he will go far.

Karim and Amy

This is a potential finalist couple. They are definitely ones to watch. Their technique for week one was very good. This is a very talented young man and Amy will push him as she would love to make the final and would love to win.

Emma and Anton

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I was a little bit tough on her because she is a stand out lady. I was a bit disappointed and that came through in my critique because she is a natural-born performer. I want her to get her posture right. I believe she will be brilliant at ballroom especially with Anton as he’s the king of that. I think if people get behind Anton he could make the final. I believe in Emma so let’s see how she gets on.

I’m glad I didn’t have to send anyone home this week. But I’m ready for it next weekend so everyone needs to up their game. Next week is when the competition really begins and they will all come out fighting. Fans need to vote for their favourites - I get the criticism if someone goes out that the viewers want to keep - but if they end up in the bottom two, it's not my fault!

Tune in next week to see what Shirley has to say!

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