Strictly Come Dancing: Shirley Ballas predicts Bill Bailey as a dark horse for show

Comedian's dance floor skills shouldn't be underestimated

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has predicted Bill Bailey may leave fans surprised with his efforts.

The 55-year-old should not be underestimated as a ‘novelty act’, the judge told a tabloid newspaper.

Shirley, 60, was giving her initial verdicts on the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 cast in The Sun.

She also warned bookies’ favourite Maisie Smith not to take her touted Glitterball victory for granted.

How far do you think Bill Bailey will go on Strictly Come Dancing? (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

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But Shirley also highlighted comedian Bill as one to watch across the BBC series.

She believes comparisons to former politician Ed Balls are way off the mark.

He’s going to really give this a go.

Bill has been partnered up with last year’s winning pro Oti Mabuse. She won the 2019 series alongside former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher.

Could being teamed up with a champion with a winning mindset push him to last until the later stages?

Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey will dance together (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

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Shirley believes so. 

She told the newspaper she herself also expected Bill to rely on his comedic charisma.

But his enthusiasm led her to reconsider her assumptions.

What Shirley Ballas had to say about Bill Bailey on Strictly

Shirley said: “I turned to Craig [Revel Horwood] and said: ‘He’s going to be our Ed Balls. The series is going to be a lot of fun.’ And then he danced.

“He was rotating his hips, he was giving it some stick. And I thought: ‘Oh my Lord, he is not only funny, he’s going to really give this a go.’ I wasn’t expecting that.”

Shirley acknowledged her preconceptions were wrong as she described Bill’s dancing as “actually amazing”.

She also admitted to assuming he would appear “stiff” and “uncomfortable”.

Shirley continued: “He looked like he could go.”

Happy to see one another! (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Bill was clearly pleased to be matched up with Oti on the show when his partnership was revealed on Saturday’s launch show.

He told viewers: “Oti, she’s money! She knows what it is like to raise the Glitterball!”

“I’m really up for it,” he added. Oti also said they would be going on “an adventure” together.

Oti continued: “It is a big deal that he’s here. It is a big deal that I get to dance with him and I’m excited!”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday, October 19 at 7.25pm.

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