Craig Revel Horwood says he has “lied through his teeth” about what he thought of Strictly Come Dancing’s line-ups in previous years.
The judge also revealed that he disagrees with his co-star Shirley Ballas’s strict way of judging technique in the early stage of the competition.
Craig told Zoe Ball on Strictly: It Takes Two: “I have to say, it’s a fantastic group this year, really good. I’m very, very, genuinely excited.
“I know I’ve said that before, but I’ve lied through my teeth.
“But this year I really am [excited], and it’s full of surprises.”
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Referring to Ashley Roberts’s cha cha cha routine with Pasha Kovalev in the latest episode, which he gave eight points and which Shirley gave seven, he said: “It was technically really good, I loved her and her energy.
“Obviously Shirley is going to put her mark on it, and be judging like a professional, but I think it’s still too early in the competition to be that harsh.
I know I’ve said that before, but I’ve lied through my teeth.
“I know that sounds odd coming from me, but if you’re comparing everybody she’s absolutely amazing and that’s why she deserved an eight.”
He added: “She didn’t deserve a nine though, because there was still too much wrong with it.”
Asked by Zoe if he thinks it is fair that Shirley said she holds Roberts – a former member of singing and dance troupe the Pussycat Dolls – to a higher standard, Horwood said: “No, I think you can hold people to a standard if you wish, but I don’t do that.
“I literally put my judge’s cap on, I come out, and I’m a completely different person than I am on this show, because I’m rather scrumptious, I’m an adorable, lovely person.