BBC Strictly star defended by pal after show ‘flak’ as viewers left outraged

Strictly: Marisha Wallace defends Layton over dance background

Marisha Wallace defended Layton Williams’ dance background as she confirmed a West End performance is the total opposite to ballroom dance.

Speaking on Monday’s episode of Lorraine Kelly, the American actress, 29, hit out at the ongoing “flak” the amateur dancer has received from viewers during his Strictly Come Dancing appearance.

“Layton Williams has been my friend for years now. As you know he starred in the West End,” she commented. “He is smashing it.”

Lorraine interjected: “I watched him on Saturday and it was a perfect score. Wasn’t it? All 10s.”

Marisha agreed: “Yes. People have been giving him flak for having trained before, but this is a completely different skill set to what we have to do [on the West End].

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“Technical ballroom dance is really, really hard. But you also can’t teach star quality. He has it.”

Lorraine commented: “He certainly does.”

She added: “I hear what you’re saying but the Strictly, that I like, is to see people who aren’t so good get better and better.

“But actually what [Layton] was saying is that it is an unlayering in order to re-learn this style of dance.

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Marisha confirmed: “Yes because the positions are different. The lines are different.”

The actor and his dance partner impressed the Strictly judges during Musicals Week which landed him at the top of the leaderboard with their Paso Doble to Backstage Romance from Moulin Rouge scoring a perfect 40.

The dancing duo also received a ten from Craig Revel-Horwood – his first score of 10 in the show series so far.

However, some fans were unimpressed with the judges’ verdict after Ellie Leach and her dance partner Vito Coppola received a score of 36 for the Quickstep to Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

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On X, formerly Twitter, one Strictly fan fumed: “Ellie and Vito deserved to have the first 40, weeks ago!!! #Strictly.”

Another echoed: “Absolute fix. So Layton & Nikita get the best song and perform another show dance to suit their style. 40 because the BBC wants him in the final. Ellie’s dance was equally good without all the drama. #Strictly.”

“Sorry but Ellie and Vito deserved to have had the first 40 weeks ago. This is a fix #Strictly,” added another.

Others praised Layton’s routine, as one wrote: “He couldn’t have deserved it more! I am so so so happy @LaytonWilliams has the first 40 on @bbcstrictly for this year.”

Another penned: “You were both incredible! Supporting you all the way. Credit goes to you as well, for being an amazing partner and letting Nikita shine. You’re an amazing partnership to watch.”

A third agreed: “You are the most fabulous dance partners on SCD for years. People will keep rewatching your dances because they are fantastic & innovative. If people are too bigoted to enjoy your dancing there’s nothing that can be done but so many people love you both. Thank you for the joy.”

Strictly Come Dancing airs Saturday on BBC One at 7.35pm.

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