Alesha Dixon says she was as surprised as everyone else when Arlene Phillips was axed from Strictly Come Dancing - yet she has had to take “all the flak”.
Dixon told Jonathan Ross that she thought they would both be judges on the BBC1 show.
She said the backlash against her has made her stronger and dismissed suggestions that Phillips' departure was due to ageism as “rubbish”.
Dixon told Ross: “I knew nothing, I found out when everyone else did. I was as surprised as everyone else, but I took all the flak for it.”
The singer disputed suggestions that Phillips (66) was a casualty of ageism — claims that have also been rejected by the BBC.
She said: “Personally I don't think it's about ageism, I think that's a load of rubbish.”
The 31-year-old, who won the contest in 2007, said that while worried that the other judges would not warm to her, she has come out fighting after coming under intense media scrutiny.
“I thought, I'm not going to let the media ruin my experience. It's made me stronger. My life has never been smooth; it's made me more determined, focused ... I'm a fighter, I believe you have to rise above negativity.”
On show contestants having affairs, Dixon said: “It gets flirtatious, it doesn't surprise me.”