Shirley Ballas has opened up about her first audition to become a Strictly judge - which she branded an "absolute disaster".

The 61-year-old is about to embark on her fifth year on the BBC dancing show and she couldn't be happier to be a part of it.

But things didn't get off to the best start for Shirley as she feared she wouldn't get the job in the first place.

Opening up about her best Strictly memory, she said: "My greatest memory from Strictly so far has to be the day I got the job. That is a memory I will never forget.

"The audition was an absolute disaster...I got to do it twice, but the second one was better. To get the actual call to say ‘we think that you would be good for the job’, and at fifty seven who would have thought?

Shirley Ballas has opened up about her first audition (



"Now I’m going into my fifth series and I love it more than life itself. I just love every single second of the music, the atmosphere, the celebrities, the professionals (who are the best in the world by the way) and everybody who helps make that show run."

She also gave her opinion on this year's celebrity cast, revealing that she had met many of them before.

"I know Dan Walker - I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with him," she said. "I know AJ - we did Cooking with The Stars together. I know Judi from Loose Women. I have bumped into several of the other contestants here and there, so I’m really familiar with a lot of the cast this year, which is great.

"I think it’s probably the creme de la creme of all casts that Sarah James has done. Brilliant work by Sarah James by the way."

Speaking about her favourite part of working on the show, she said: "I love going in on a Saturday, going into my room and seeing all my friends - I love to see Motsi. She’s a few doors down and she always has that loud music blaring and dances down the corridors, I love her energy.

Shirley will be back on Saturday alongside Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke (



"Then we’ve got Craig who is just gorgeous, just gorgeous. He’s always got something positive to say behind the scenes, and this year we’ve got Anton Du Beke - so I'm really excited about seeing my fellow judges.

"I love all of the behind the scenes people that make this show work. You see the judges, dancers and celebrities but without everyone else behind the scenes, the show would not work - it’s a well oiled machine. I love to see the same people year in and year out - everybody... the whole cast."

*Strictly returns this Saturday at 7pm on BBC One

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