STRICTLY’s Shirley Ballas praised Emma Barton “through gritted teeth” on Saturday night after her EastEnders co-stars called the judge “harsh”.
Viewers at home claimed they’d spotted tension between Shirley, 59, and Emma, 42, and took to Twitter in their droves to point it out.
Emma and her partner Anton du Beke performed a jazz theatre dance in a bid to dance in Blackpool next week.
And judge Bruno Tonioli told her afterwards: “You did a fantastic job.”
Whilst hard to please Craig Revel Horwood gushed over the performance, saying: “Understated, stylised, your dance, my darling.”
And Motsi Mabuse raved: “I loved you in that, I loved the timing, the music, the subtle movements. I loved you.”
Shirley was the last to give her critique and said: “Generally throughout it stayed synchronised together. Nice use of music, small details which I always appreciate, and generally one of your better dances.”
One viewer accused head judge Shirley of being “cold” as another said: “Lolll Shirley’s comments to Emma were literally through gritted teeth”
Another said: “Is Shirley just physically unable to praise Emma? Not an ounce of feeling in them comments. Suppose it’s better than the mouthful the poor lass got last week”
And one more said: “Shirley has such issues with Emma, week after week she is so cold towards her, I feel so sorry for Emma.”
Strictly fans weren’t the only ones to spot that Emma Barton is getting the rough end of the stick from the Strictly Come Dancing judges.
Her former co-star Kellie Shirley, who played feisty Carly Wicks on the BBC One soap, today Lorraine that the judges were being “hard” on her co-star.
Kellie told stand-in host Christine Lampard: “Every time I see her I just want to burst into tears.
“She’s a perfectionist. She really loves it.
“I think they (the judges) were hard on her this weekend.”
The actress said her pal was juggling her hectic filming schedule as Walford’s Honey Mitchell with rehearsals alongside professional partner Anton Du Beke.
Christine agreed with her comments on the sultry Paso Doble routine, during which judge Craig Revel Horwood bluntly likened her to a “sack of potatoes.”
Kellie was quick to point out the 42-year-old’s “tough” filming schedule which included scenes for the soap’s Christmas specials recorded ahead of time.
Despite the negative comments from the panel, Emma has progressed to next week’s themed show for Halloween.
Instead, it was former footballer David James and professional partner Nadiya Bychkova who faltered in the Dance Off and were sent home.
Following Craig’s catty remarks on Emma’s performance on Saturday, she was granted just 26 points.
She hit back, and told him on the show: “I have been filming the EastEnders Christmas special this week. “I have had about 12 Christmas dinners.”
Viewers were equally stunned by Craig’s catty comments and shared their frustration on Twitter.
One person typed: “Thought judges were a little too harsh on Emma and Anton.
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“Their Paso wasn’t perfect, but she nailed the character.”
Earlier this week Anton revealed that Emma had struggled to rehearse as her busy EastEnders schedule left no time for dancing.
Appearing on This Morning, 53-year-old Anton admitted that he and Emma were only able to start rehearsing Saturday night’s a few days before.
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