Strictly Come Dancing 'catfight' wounds Alesha Dixon

Alesha Dixon has dismissed criticism that she is not qualified to judge Strictly Come Dancing's contestants as "nonsense" and said she has been left "wounded" by the backlash against her.

Dixon, 30, made her debut on Friday, replacing feisty choreographer Arlene Phillips, 66, on the panel.

She has been blasted by viewers who believe the glamorous star lacks the experience to step into the role and want Phillips to return.

The singer, who won the contest in 2007, told the Radio Times she was shocked at the age row that erupted when Phillips was axed and believes some comments levelled against her were driven merely by bitchiness.

"It was all a shock to me," Dixon told the magazine, "especially how quickly everyone jumped on the ageism argument.

"Maybe people wanted to start a catfight. But I didn't see it as an argument between Arlene and me. We were just caught in the middle. I haven't even spoken to her about it. Why would I?

"Was I wounded by some of the comments? Sure. Some of them were very stereotypical and judgmental. When I read that I only won in 2007 because I was half-naked, I did take that seriously. That's not someone offering a considered opinion, that's someone being a bitch."

Addressing criticism that she does not have the skills for the job, Dixon told the magazine: "It's nonsense to say that I'm not qualified to judge the dancers."

She continued: "I spent six years singing with Mis-Teeq, and another four as a solo artist where I had to pick my own dancers and audition them. So I'm not new to this. Also, having competed on the show, I'll be the only judge who understands what the celebrity dancers are going through.2

Camilla Dallerup, a former professional dancer on the show, also called for Dixon to be given a chance. Dallerup, 35, who announced she was quitting the show last January after six years, told New! magazine: "Let's give Alesha a chance. She is a great dancer and sghe entertained us when she won. She has a bubbly personality and I think it will be infectious. She'll hold her own with the judges."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there