Craig Revel Horwood has said fellow Strictly judge Shirley Ballas is the “villain” of this year’s show.

The panellist came under fire himself last week when he served up a four to favourite Aston Merrygold, contributing to his elimination from the BBC programme.

[Read more: Aston and Janette in tears after Strictly exit]

[Strictly's most controversial moments]

But Revel Horwood, 52, told The Sun that newcomer Ballas is the real baddie, saying viewers might find it hard to grasp her complicated critiques.

“Shirley is this year’s villain,” he said.

“She’s frighteningly technical with her criticism, and I know the audience might struggle with that.”

Shirley Ballas
Shirley Ballas (BBC)

Revel Horwood also joked that Ballas, 57, “totally channelled” 101 Dalmatians baddie Cruella de Vil for Strictly’s Halloween show.

Fans of the much-loved dance show have been divided over Ballas’s judging style, with some complaining that her use of technical jargon is “over the top” but others saying it brings something fresh to the show.

One person posted on Twitter: “I am loving Shirley Ballas on @bbcstrictly it’s so nice to have a judge giving true technical advice!”

Another said it was good to see “proper constructive criticism”.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One on Saturday.

[Read more: 5 things you never knew about Shirley Ballas]