The new Strictly Come Dancing judge has been announced

And it's not who we expected...

As Strictly Come Dancing 2016 left our screens with series 15 coming to a close last December, it was announced that it would be head judge Len Goodman’s last year on the panel, leaving viewers curious as to who would be filling his seat.

While some people tipped John Barrowman for the role, most people were hedging their bets on one of the two professional dancers that have been on the show since it began in 2004, giving us some of the Strictly Come Dancing best dances in the show’s history: Anton du Beke and Brendan Cole.

It was announced just this morning, however, that the newest judge to join the panel is new to the Strictly family: international ballroom champion, Shirley Ballas.

Announcing the news, @BBCStrictly posted a photo of the new addition to their Twitter account, captioning the snap: ‘Please welcome Shirley Ballas to #Strictly! The ‘Queen of Latin’ joins our judging panel.’

The 56-year-old (who had won all the major titles worldwide by the age of 23 FYI) will be joining the show as the head judge when Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens this autumn.

‘I am so excited and over the moon to have been given this wonderful opportunity’ announced Ballas. ‘I can’t wait to get in to the ballroom and be part of the incredible and respected judging panel. Strictly is so loved by the British public, I have always been a massive fan. I just can’t wait.’

The decision is clearly a popular one, especially given that for the first time in the show’s history, the Strictly judging panel will have an even gender split.

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