The biggest show on Saturday night TV is back, but Strictly Come Dancing could look very different next year.
Shirley Ballas, the head judge for the fourth season, has hinted that she may be moving on to other pastures.
The 61-year-old has explained that she doesn’t feel “settled” in the UK, as her son, professional dancer Mark Ballas, lives in the US with his wife.
Speaking on the latest episode of the podcast My Wardrobe Malfunction with Susannah Constantine, Shirley admitted: “I don’t think I will ever be settled. My heart is torn because my son lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife and I know they are going to start a family at some point.”
“So do I want to be a part of those children’s lives? Of course I do,” she said.
“So it is just figuring out, am I here for the run of Strictly? Shall I spend some more time there? How do I balance it with everything that’s going on?”
It sounds like Shirley, like many families that had members abroad during the pandemic has been thinking about practicalities.
“I am not one who feels, “Oh this is my armchair and this is how it is going to be for the next 10 years”, and that is what makes my life exciting,” she said.
“I don’t really know. Will I keep this job next year? Will I move back to America? Will my grandchildren dance? Is my son coming over? It is difficult.”
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Covid wouldn’t be the only Strictly judge who has felt the effects of travel restrictions.
Bruno Tonioli will not be appearing on BBC’s Strictly this year for the second consecutive year. This is due to uncertainty about international travel restrictions at the time the series was being developed.
Bruno Tonioli has been retained as a judge on Dancing with the Stars in America. Shirley might join him?
Anton Du Beke will be Bruno’s substitute on the judging panel. Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood will also give the critiques.
Strictly Come Dancing starts on Saturday, September 18 on BBC One at 7.45pm