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STRICTLY Come Dancing star Neil Jones has waded into the Shirley Ballas row, after she was accused of undermarking female contestants on the show.
The head judge, 63, came under fire last week for giving the female stars low scores, and fans have once again accused of her being 'sexist.'
During this weekend’s show she decided to give Angela Scanlon an eight, while the others judges all gave her a nine for her performance.
Her judging saw people take to social media to brand the judge “sexist,” and pro Neil Jones, 41, has now shared his views.
The new dad spoke to The Sun at a Shakeup cosmetics brand event, and defended Shirley.
He said: “Shirley is a professional. I’ve known her for years and she’s so sweet.
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“I would always say that if people can’t see that, then that is the fault of the audience.
“She has a job to judge and while we’re there to dance and entertain, Shirley is there to give her professional opinion.”
Neil added: “A dance might be stunning, but if you’ve got the wrong footwork then Shirley’s job is to point that out.
“If we had four judges saying how much they loved it, it would be such a boring show and Shirley is there because she knows all the details and she’d be able to go to any of those couples and give them the advice they need.
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“Shirley has to point out what is missing.”
The pro dancer went on to call Shirley the “most loving woman you’d ever meet.”
After the show on Saturday, less than impressed viewers took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to voice their opinions on her marking.
Commenting on the head judge's scoring, one person remarked: “Shirley, under marking a woman? I am SHOCKED.”
A second said: “Sexist Shirley again.”
While another person added: “Shirley showing again that she doesn’t like women lol! An 8?!”
Her decision was booed by those watching in the studio audience.
However, elsewhere in the show viewers felt Shirley was being “nicer” than usual and was giving generous scoring.
Last week fans were once again furious as Shirley gave the lowest points out of all four judges for Zara McDermott, Ellie Leach and Angela Rippon.
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And last year, Shirley was criticised for saying she’d have saved Richie Anderson when the others saved Fleur East.
A Strictly source said: “All of the judges are hugely experienced individuals who judge on dance and dance alone. Any conspiracy theories circulating via social media suggesting otherwise are simply untrue.”
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