Karen Hardy has revealed that she was also asked to take over from the head judge, 73, after he quit in July last year.
The professional dancer, who triumphed on the series alongside Mark Ramprakash in 2006, said she turned down the offer.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, the 47-year-old opened up about whether we could be seeing her on the panel in the near future amid rumours Shirley, 57, could depart.
“Yes, I was asked,” Karen confirmed. “But timing is everything and on this particular occasion this role wasn’t for me.”
The ballroom star was hotly tipped to sign up after previously taking to the dance floor with celebrity partners Bill Turnbull, Evander Holyfield and Brian Capron as well as the winning cricketer.
On whether she would still get involved, Karen continued: “Yes, of course I’d still join the panel. I have the upmost respect for Strictly, I always have and always will.
“With all the highs and lows and dramas that we see on the show, it truly is the whole combination of everything that makes the magic.”
The TV favourite, who owns Karen Hardy Dance Studios, added: “It would always be the greatest honour if I was ever able to be on the panel.”
Meanwhile, Joe McFadden remains the firm favourite to lift the Glitterball this evening, ahead of Debbie McGee, Alexandra Burke and Gemma Atkinson.
For more information of Karen’s studies, please click here.
Strictly Come Dancing concludes tonight at 6.30pm on BBC One.