Popstar Alexandra Burke has dismissed claims that Strictly Come Dancing has an issue with racism and thinks the accusations are "really harsh".

The X Factor winner, who is one of the hot favourites to lift this year's glitterball trophy on the show, was responding to criticism following the early exits of Chizzy Akudolu and Aston Merrygold

Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC Two, Burke said: "I don't think that's true at all. Those kinds of accusations against amazing shows like this I think are wrong."

"For a black person who is in the industry, for me I've had a wonderful nine years of being in this industry and hoping to achieve more with hard work and determination."

Alexandra Burke with her Strictly partner Gorka Marquez

"I don't think it comes down to colour, I don't see colour when I see music or TV shows. I think that's so important not to see that because at the end of the day we might be all different colours but we're all the same, we're all human," she added.

Accusations first arose in last year's series of Strictly when three of the four non-white contestants, DJ Melvin Odoom, EastEnders actress Tameka Empson and TV presenter Naga Munchetty, were voted out by the public in early rounds.

Burke appeared on Derbyshire's show with partner Gorka Marquez as the duo prepare to take on the quickstep at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom this weekend.

They will dance the routine to The Gold Diggers' Song (We're In The Money) from 42nd Street after a triumphant Argentine Tango last Saturday saw them pick up 38 points to sit joint top of the leader board. 

Strictly Come Dancing, BBC One, Saturday and Sunday

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