Shirley Ballas has warned Maisie Smith to not take “anything for granted”.

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas

The 19-year-old actress won the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ special for ‘Children In Need’ last year, but Shirley, 60, thinks she has a long way to go before she can take home the Glitterball trophy.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Shirley said:“I know she won the special but if I was Maisie I wouldn’t take anything for granted because doing one dance is not like doing ten weeks. You’ve got to be there and you’ve got to be full on and you’ve got to go the whole nine yards.

“You could see the competitive spirit, you could feel it. These people all look like they were at the starting block, ready to move forward.”

Although the ‘EastEnders’ actress is the favourite to win the show, Shirley believes The Wanted’s Max George has a good chance of winning.

She said: “I’m sure when you’re in a boy band and you listen to your music they have natural rhythm. I wouldn’t think musicality would be a problem for him. So I’d say he’s another one in the running.”

The head judge has also spotted a rising star in comedian Bill Bailey after originally thinking he would be the show’s novelty act, like ex-politician Ed Balls.

She shared: “I turned to Craig [Revel Horwood] and said, ‘He’s going to be our Ed Balls and the series is going to be a lot of fun’ and then he danced. He was rotating his hips, he was giving it some stick. And I thought, ‘Oh my Lord he is not only funny, he’s going to really give this a go'. I wasn’t expecting that.

“I was like, ‘That is actually amazing’. I assumed Bill would be quite stiff and uncomfortable. Some people look like they’re stuck in concrete. He looked like he could go. I’m interested to see him.”