Kevin Clifton: Ex-Strictly pro questions Shirley Ballas’ scoring ‘Not on the same level’

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Kevin Clifton, 38, has spoken out about Strictly Come Dancing 2020 – the first he hasn’t been a part of for many years – as he admitted he was concerned with the scoring on the show. It comes as Shirley Ballas, 60, awarded four celebrities a score of nine in week five of the competition.

The Grimsby-born performer questioned if that was an appropriate score as he explained Bill Bailey, 55, JJ Chalmers, 33, Maisie Smith, 19, HRVY, 21 and Ranvir Singh, 43, were all at varying dance levels.

Looking back on the previous episode, Kevin noted the evaluation of Shirley’s scoring in the latest episode of his podcast, where he was joined by his sister Joanne Clifton and Burn The Floor star Lauren Oakley.

“Shirley is one of the most knowledgeable people in ballroom and Latin,” Kevin explained.

“She really knows her stuff and I suppose I look to her scores because: one, she is head judge and two, because you really respect what she has to say about it.

“But Shirley gave the score of nine to Bill, Maisie, JJ, HRVY, and Ranvir.”

He went on: “They were all nines and it’s a tough one because I look at all of those couples and I think, ‘They weren’t all at the same level.’

“I’m not saying that any of them were not deserving of great scores but they weren’t all at the same level.

“Some were definitely better than others.”

During week five of Strictly, Bill and his dance partner Oti Mabuse performed an American Smooth and the duo were awarded a total of 25 points, while JJ and Amy danced the Quickstep receiving the same score.

Maise and her dance partner Gorka Marquez performed the salsa while Ranvir and Giovanni Pernice performed an Argentine Tango, with both couples scoring 27 points.

HRVY and Janette Manrara danced the Tango and reached fourth place on the leaderboard with 26 points.

Kevin revealed that he believes the judges are scoring the celebrities based on their own past performances and not against their competition.

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He remarked: “They must be judging a little bit – like you said Jo – on what they have done before as opposed to judging against each other as celebrities.

“So it’s like they’re not judging Bill against Maisie but instead judging Bill against himself and Maisie against herself.”

Joanne commented: “Like in Clara [Amfo]’s situation are they judging her based on the previous performance?

“Is that why they’re being so harsh? Because last week she was amazing and then she made some mistakes this week.”

Kevin simply replied: “Maybe.”

His comments come as Clara Amfo was the fifth celebrity to be voted off Strictly along with her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec.

The radio DJ went head-to-head with Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer in last night’s episode.

While judge Craig Revel-Horwood voted to save Clara, Motsi Mabuse, who was returning to the show after isolating for two weeks, chose to save Jamie and Karen.

Shirley had the deciding vote and also chose to save Jamie and Karen.

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