Craig Revel Horwood thinks his new co-judge Shirley Ballas has turned into a "villain."

Craig Revel Horwood

Craig Revel Horwood

The 'Strictly Come Dancing' panellist has always been known for his acid tongue and cruel remarks on the ballroom and latin show, but it looks his new Head Judge - who has taken over from the legendary Len Goodman - is close to swiping his crown.

He's quoted by The Sun newspaper as saying: "Shirley is this year's villain. She's frighteningly technical with her criticism, and I know the audience might struggle with that. She was a Halloween baddie in a Cruella de Vil costume - she channelled her."

The 57-year-old choreographer has been slammed with criticism over the past few weeks on social media because viewers feel she's using technical words they don't understand to criticise the celebrity contestants' dance floor blunders.

A source said: "Shirley is a stickler for technique and she's proud of her dance knowledge. She's trying to ignore social media for a while and not let other people's opinions get to her but it does get hard, especially when the abuse is so personal.

"She was hoping 'Strictly Come Dancing' would be a fun experience and wasn't banking on a backlash. But bosses are delighted with how she's getting on and like her detailed critique. She's been told to carry on and ignore the trolls."

However, although Craig is convinced Shirley has become the new show baddie, he's still receiving abuse online as fans are convinced he's to blame for Aston Merrygold - who was the favourite to win the series - and Janette Manrara's exit last weekend.

The 52-year-old judge gave the JLS singer a measly four out of 10 for his routine, which fans believe contributed to him being in the dance off against Mollie King.

Craig opted to save the Saturdays beauty, while Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli wanted to save Aston, but Shirley had the deciding vote and sent home the hunk.