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Strictly Come Dancing: Aston Merrygold decision defended by Shirley Ballas

Strictly Come Dancing: Aston Merrygold decision defended by Shirley Ballas

Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara had been early favourites to win
Aston Merrygold should not have been in the bottom two in Strictly Come Dancing - according to the head judge whose decision led to his departure. Shirley Ballas urged fans to vote for their favourites to make sure they stay in the BBC One dancing contest.But she defended choosing to save Mollie King and her partner AJ Pritchard after the dance off.Ballas, who joined the show this year, taking over from Len Goodman, has been criticised for her decision. Some Strictly fans called it the biggest shock in the show's history.
Former JLS member Aston had been an early favourite to win the show before Saturday's Viennese Waltz, which was not well received by the judges.
Shirley Ballas said it was an "awful decision" to have to make
Craig Revel Horwood's mark of four out of 10, helped place them second last in the leaderboard. After the public voted, they had to dance again. Judges Darcy Bussell and Bruno Tonioli opted to save Aston, but Craig chose Mollie, meaning that Shirley had the casting vote.But Shirley told BBC Two's It Takes Two: "It's an awful decision to have to make to send anybody home, but you have to judge on that particular dance, right there in front of you. "Not past performances, not future performances. And I urge everybody at home, you have to vote. "Look at Ruth (Langsford). She got a four, but she was saved - she didn't go on the bottom two. "So, they shouldn't have been in the bottom two."
'Doing their jobs'
Janette Manrara, Aston's professional partner on Strictly, has asked for people to be "kind" following their departure. She said she had "much love" for Shirley and Craig. "It was their opinion, their thoughts," she said in a Twitter video. "You can't be angry with them for doing their jobs."Former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke told It Takes Two she was shocked by the exit of her friend Aston. "I didn't expect that to happen for a second," she told the Strictly spin-off show. "I actually thought Aston was going to win the show."
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