Strictly Come Dancing’s Dianne Buswell has jumped to defend head judge Shirley Ballas after she received brutal online trolling for getting the pro’s name wrong.
Dianne and her partner Tyler West – who have dubbed themselves Team TyDi – performed a Viennese waltz on Saturday night, which landed them mid-leaderboard with 29 points from the panel.
Their elegant routine to I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Seal was praised by judges Shirley, Craig Revel Horwood, Anton Du Beke, and Motsi Mabuse, but they also encouraged Tyler to work on his ‘top line’ and be ‘more graceful’.
The Kiss FM DJ and Aussie choreographer took the notes on board, but viewers at home picked up one thing in particular – Shirley referred to Dianne as ‘Diana’.
As a result, the 62-year-old was branded ‘rude’ by Twitter users, who questioned why she was still getting the pro’s name wrong after five years on the dance show, noting that it has happened several times recently.
However, Dianne – who is dating former Strictly star and YouTuber Joe Sugg – was having none of it, and asked her followers to ‘be kind’, instead of sending Shirley hateful messages.
In a statement shared to Instagram, she began by praising her celeb: ‘Firstly thank you guys so much for the support on our dance last night. It was a tough week but I am forever in awe of the hard work and dedication Tyler brings every single week.’
Dianne continued: ‘Another point I want to address is I have seen a lot of hateful comments aimed at Shirley for simply adding an a to the end of my name which doesn’t offend me.
‘But what does make me upset is seeing someone being bullied online. We are all human and doing the best we can. Let’s all please be kind to one another and not put each other down.’
She concluded: ‘Once again thank you for all your positive messages it really does mean a lot to us all.’
Dianne’s 879k followers praised her for the honest post, with fellow Strictly professionals Amy Dowden and Gorka Maequez commenting heart and applause emoji.
‘Be kind,’ commented pro Katya Jones, while one fan added: ‘Well said Dianne. Absolutely no need for all those hateful comments.’
‘My motto is if you can’t say anything kind don’t say anything at all,’ penned another.
This isn’t the first time the Strictly cast has come out in support of Shirley, who frequently comes under fire for her judging style and when viewers don’t agree with her remarks.
Former X Factor contestant Fleur East recently called the trolling of the judge ‘unfair’ and said she has ‘the utmost respect for all the judges’, despite being in the dance-off.
‘But Shirley… if you’ve not seen her dance, she’s incredible,’ she stated.
‘So, any time I stand there I’m like, “Just give me the notes, what do I have to do?”’
Shirley herself admitted she doesn’t ‘ignore’ the criticism, but said she takes her job ‘seriously.’
Strictly Come Dancing airs Saturday and Sunday on BBC One.