Strictly Come Dancing: Shirley Ballas' 'Woodpecker' Comment Leaves Viewers (And Her Fellow Judges) Howling

An unfortunate choice of words from Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas delivered one of the stand-out moments from this year’s semi-final.

In what was an otherwise quite emotional evening, Shirley had everyone in the studio (including her fellow panellists) howling, when during a critique of Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse’s Quickstep performance, she complimented the former Emmerdale star on his “woodpecker”.

Even though Kelvin commented he “doesn’t know what a woodpecker is”, those in the audience drew their own conclusions, with fellow judges Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood struggling to keep a straight face.

The judges' faces said it all... (Photo: BBC)

And while Shirley swiftly clarified she was talking about a dance move, a quick glance at social media proved the judges weren’t the only ones with their minds in the gutter…

The following morning, Kelvin also responded to the comment on Twitter, joking: “Such a relief my woodpecker was noticed. Well, it was colder than normal in that studio!”

All jokes aside, Saturday was a big night for Kelvin, after he and Oti topped the leaderboard with their first perfect score of the series.

The semi-final marked the first time that the remaining couples had been tasked with performing two brand new dances, with Kelvin winning praise for both his Quickstep and the Paso Doble later in the night, earning 77 of a possible 80 points from the judges.

Close behind them was Karim Zeroual on 74, while Emma Barton and Chris Ramsey racked up 67 and 54, respectively.

In Sunday night’s results show, the last dance-off of the series will take place, after which the three celebrities in the final will be revealed.