Shirley Ballas wins Strictly fans' hearts after head judge debut

Strictly fans are already pleased with Len Goodman's replacement.

Shirley Ballas has been given the seal of approval from Strictly Come Dancing fans after making her debut as the show’s new head judge.

The “Queen of Latin” dancing pro wore an elegant patterned white top and black and white skirt as she began her new role at the helm of the panel on Saturday night’s opening show, alongside co-judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

She is only the second official head judge in Strictly history, taking over from Len Goodman who stepped down after last year’s season.

The 57-year-old had been living in the US before being asked to join the show and has previously told how she “sank to her knees” in awe when she received the phone call.

As the competition kicked off on BBC One, she Tweeted a picture of herself backstage and thanked fans for their “amazing support”.

Charlotte Brown responded: “Shirley you were fab u lous!!!you’re my new favourite!” while Kat Pulley commented: “You were brilliant. A very well deserved head judge.”

Jonathan Lansana similarly added: “Was a great first show. Love that you’ve joined the #Strictly family.”

Ballas gave out constructive criticism and a range of high and low scores as she assessed the 15 new celebrity contestants and their partners.

At one point she even used Bussell’s arm as a demonstration prop – to Bussell’s surprise.

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