Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas throws her support behind new judge Motsi Mabuse

strictly come dancing
(Image credit: BBC)

Shirley has been in Motsi’s shoes…

Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas has reportedly reached out to new judge Motsi Mabuse to offer her words of encouragement ahead of her new role.

Shirley is said to have called Motsi - the elder sister of Strictly professional dancer, Oti – as soon as it was announced last month that she is replacing Dame Darcey Bussell.

The 58-year-old has been in Motsi’s shoes, having replaced former head judge and Strictly favourite Len Goodman in 2017.

“Shirley knows first hand how daunting it can be joining the show. She faced a lot of criticism when she replaced head judge Len Goodman,” a source told The Mirror.

Strictly Come dancing final

“She was completely unprepared for the huge level of attention. She seemed overwhelmed for pretty much the whole of her first series and she doesn’t want Motsi to go through something similar.

“Shirley has made a point of reaching out to Motsi, welcoming her to the show and offering any help or support.”

South African born Motsi was revealed as the new judge last month and unsurprisingly, she is no stranger to the dance floor, having been crowned German Latin Champion and a South African Champion in the past.

MORE: Bookies reveal HOT FAVOURITE to win Strictly Come Dancing

Motsi Strictly Come Dancing 2019

She is also no stranger to a judging panel, having appeared on Let’s Dance, the German version of Strictly Come Dancing as a judge since 2011.

Motsi said of the news: “I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the Strictly panel. I have so much respect and admiration for the other three judges and hope to add my own bit of sparkle to the show. I can’t wait to get started!”

Sarah James, Executive Producer of Strictly said: “I am incredibly excited that Motsi is joining the show. Motsi’s warmth, energy and passion for dance makes her the perfect addition to our esteemed judging panel.”

Strictly is set to return to BBC One next month.

Jenni McKnight

Jenni McKnight is a beauty, lifestyle and entertainment journalist, currently US Lifestyle Editor for HELLO! Online. She has also written for HELLO! Magazine, GoodTo, CelebsNow, Daily Mirror and Yahoo!  Her first big break came when she interned on the Guilty Pleasures showbiz desk at Metro newspaper. She has since worked on the online lifestyle team at Woman & Home and Woman and was Senior Content Editor at CelebsNow.