Strictly’s Layton Williams has message for ‘haters’ after receiving perfect score

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Layton Williams has shared a message to his “haters” after receiving a perfect score of 40.

On Saturday (2 December), the musical theatre star bounced back from last week’s bottom two to deliver what has been ranked as the most impressive performance of the 2023 series.

After Williams danced the paso doble with his professional partner Nikita Kuzmin, every judge – including Craig Revel Horwood, following a stern warning from host Claudia Winkleman – awarded the pair the highest possible score.

While this week’s elimination was axed after Nigel Harman’s surprise withdrawal from the competition hours before the live episode aired, Winkleman and her co-host, Tess Daly, explained that the points would be carried over to next week’s semi-final.

Addressing his perfect score on X/Twitter on Sunday (3 December), Williams wrote: “10’s across the board! Fighting back from the bottom 2 is rough but what a perfect routine for it.”

Here, Williams referred to the criticism he’s been receiving in recent weeks, stating: “All credit has to go to the most amazing dance partner & teacher ever – @kuzmin__nikita! Think what you want about me, but give him his flowers plz.”

He added: “Reading all these comments really gave me the boost to go out there and slay for the stageys, theatre fans & MT industry! I’ve been flying the flag for us all since day dot and hope I’m doing ya’ll proud.”

From the moment Williams was announced as a contestant, many fans of the show called out his appointment on the show due to his previous dance experience.

It has been repeatedly suggested that Williams has an unfair advantage due to his prior musical theatre experience – something that has prompted him to defend himself on multiple occasion.

“I’ve taken it on the chin; I get what everyone’s saying,” he said in an interview with The Guardian, adding: “But if you could be a fly on the wall in this rehearsal room, it’s not easy for me.”

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (BBC)
Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (BBC)

Williams also urged those trolling him to put their efforts into something more positive. He wrote on social media in October: “Instead of coming at me with hateful comments, use your energy to shower your fave celeb with love instead. Pretty sure it will make us all feel much better!”

During Saturday’s episode, Kuzmin said of his celebrity partner: “For me, the thing that I’m most proud of is, [despite] the amount of hate which you receive, you come back to that room, you fight... every single time.”

Find the status of this week’s leaderboard here.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC one at 7.20pm on Sunday (3 December).