Since the start of this year’s series, there have been suggestions on social media that the panel have frequently undermarked Fleur and Vito’s routines on the BBC ballroom show.
However, in an interview with HuffPost UK, the former X Factor contestant and her professional dance partner insisted this was not how they perceived the situation.
“They’ve always been very constructive with their criticism,” Vito said.
“From our point of view, it was possible to build on the critiques and make an improvement. They didn’t say, ‘oh, it’s bad’ or ‘oh, it’s not good’ or something like that. It’s ‘your foot position’ or ‘your head was too turned to the left’. So we just try to improve on it.
“Every time we try to get better, but they also notice the improvements and the changes.”
He added: “From our point of view, the judging has been completely fine… Ballroom and Latin dancing are very difficult, Fleur started from zero like everybody else here.”
Fleur also said she finds the perception the judges have been harsh on her “hilarious”.
She said: “Before I signed up, loads of people I knew in the industry were like, ‘oh, Fleur you’re going to smash this. Latin and ballroom, you’ll be fine’, and I was like, ‘no, I’m not a trained dancer, you don’t understand, this is not what I do’. And they were like, ‘it’s fine, just first week, play it down, don’t try and be too good’… and I’m like, ‘you’re acting like I have to pretend’.
“The first week when I got my feedback, and it was like, ‘there was no technique, it was really wild, there was no control’, it’s like, ‘yeah, because I’m rough around the edges, I’m not a professional dancer’. And then everyone was like, ‘oh, she actually wasn’t lying.’”
Earlier in the series, head judge Shirley Ballas hit back at rumours of a feud between herself and Fleur amid suggestions she’d been especially hard on the singer and presenter.
“I want to say to people out there, who think that I have a feud with everybody – it’s a load of rubbish,” she claimed. “I’m going to repeat the word rubbish.
“What I love about Fleur is you could see talent from the beginning,” Shirley insisted.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Friday at 8pm on BBC One.