New Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas could prove harsher than Craig Revel Horwood

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Strictly Come Dancing's new judge Shirley Ballas could outdo Craig Revel Horwood this year.

The Ballroom and Latin dance expert was revealed as Len Goodman's replacement this week, taking over his role of head judge as well.

Those who have worked with the performer turned dance judge say she's a real taskmaster.

Derek Hoguh, a pro on the US version of Strictly, revealed: “It was hard. If you crossed Shirley, you paid a price.”

But praising her appointment to the Strictly panel, Derek added: "Her knowledge and passion for dance is unprecedented!!! I can’t think of anyone more deserving.”

Meanwhile, sources on the show say that Shirley has arranged a welcome dinner after it was confirmed she would be joining the series this year.

“Shirley just wants to meet up, introduce herself and above all else, seek her advice about the show," an insider told The Sun newspaper.

The BBC confirmed this week that Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli will all be back on Strictly alongside Shirley.

Darcey Bussell said: “I look forward to meeting Shirley and welcoming her to our Strictly team. Her years of experience in Ballroom and Latin dancing are impressive and I’m sure she will be a great addition to our judging panel.”

Craig Revel Horwood commented: “Fantastic news that Shirley will be joining me and the other judges on the panel. I look forward to working with her on the next series of Strictly!”

Bruno Tonioli added: "I know Shirley well - she is an incredible Latin dancer and trainer and I am sure she will be a great addition to the Strictly team.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns for its 15th series this autumn on BBC One.

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