Strictlys Shirley Ballas opens up on her future as judge ahead of 2021 launch

The biggest show on Saturday night TV is back, but Strictly Come Dancing could look very different next year.

While Shirley Ballas has returned as head judge for the fourth year running, she has teased that she may be considering pastures new .

The 61-year-old has explained that she doesn’t feel "settled" in the UK, as her son, professional dancer Mark Ballas, lives in the US with his wife.

Speaking on the latest episode of the podcast My Wardrobe Malfunction with Susannah Constantine, Shirley admitted: "I don’t think I will ever be settled. My heart is torn because my son lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife and I know they are going to start a family at some point."

"So do I want to be a part of those children’s lives? Of course I do," she said.

"So it is just figuring out, am I here for the run of Strictly? Shall I spend some more time there? How do I balance it with everything that’s going on?"

Like many families with members overseas during the pandemic, it sounds like Shirley has been thinking about the practicalities.

"I am not one who feels, “Oh this is my armchair and this is how it is going to be for the next 10 years”, and that is what makes my life exciting," she said.

"I don’t really know. Will I keep this job next year? Will I move back to America? Will my grandchildren dance? Is my son coming over? It is difficult."

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Shirley wouldn't be the first Strictly judge to have felt the impact of travel restrictions thanks to Covid.

For the second year running, Bruno Tonioli will not appear on the BBC show this year due to the uncertainty around international travel restrictions when the series was being planned.

Bruno has retained his judging slot on Dancing with The Stars in the US. Perhaps Shirley will join him?

Meanwhile, Anton Du Beke will stand in for Bruno on the judging panel, with Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse also giving out the critiques.

Strictly Come Dancing starts on Saturday, September 18 on BBC One at 7.45pm

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