Shirley Ballas reckons Anton du Beke could finally win Strictly Come Dancing this year

Some fans might be surprised at her praise for him

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He’s been a mainstay as a dancing pro on Strictly Come Dancing ever since the first series in 2004 – but Anton du Beke has never bagged the Glitterball trophy.

But head judge Shirley Ballas reckons 2019 might be the year the 53-year-old ballroom star claims the big one and win the entire series alongside EastEnders actress Emma Barton.

And even if Anton and Emma do not waltz their way to victory on the BBC One dance show, Shirley still expects him to enjoy his highest ever finish and appear in the last stage of the competition.

Speaking on Sunday Brunch earlier today, Shirley said: “He’s creative and he goes out there and gives his best, and I think he’s shone with this young lady Emma.

Read more: Craig Revel Horwood signs up to stay with Strictly Come Dancing for another year

She continued: “You know, he’s come out there, who knew what to expect with Anton?

“What I feel he’s done this time is took it really seriously and he’s shown the audience exactly what he can do.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the final.

The 59-year-old added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the final and, maybe, possibly could win. We’ll have to see.”

Strictly fans may be surprised by Shirley’s tip due to the perception of some viewers that she has recently endured tense moments with the dancing couple.

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Anton even interrupted Shirley as she was criticising Emma’s Rumba performance earlier this month.

Previous celeb partners Anton has been matched up with include Lesley Garrett, Ruth Langsford, Judy Murray, Jerry Hall, Esther Rantzen, Kate Garraway and Ann Widdecombe.

His previous highest finish on the leaderboard was in 2009’s seventh series when he was partnered with Laila Rouass.

They came fourth behind Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan, Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe, and Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna.

– Week 12 of Strictly Come Dancing continues next Saturday on BBC at 7pm

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