Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas suggests Layton Williams was bending 'the rules'

The Strictly judge said the Bad Education star did not stick to the rules of ballroom in his American Smooth.

Watch Shirley Ballas suggest Layton Williams bent the rules

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Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has explained why she didn't choose to save Layton Williams in the latest dance off, explaining that she felt he — and dance partner Nikita Kuzmin — didn't stick to the rules of the American Smooth.

There were rumours of a rift between Ballas and the Bad Education star after she revealed she would have saved Angela Scanlon from the dance off on Saturday night, but was out-voted by the other judges.

And Ballas explained her reasons for that in an interview on Good Morning Britain.

Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas and Layton Williams (BBC)
Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas and Layton Williams (BBC)

What, how, and why?

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Nikita Kuzmin & Layton Williams American Smooth
Strictly Come Dancing's Layton Williams landed in the dance off after his American Smooth but was saved by the judges. (BBC)

Williams and his partner Nikita Kuzmin ended up in the dance off for the first time at the weekend following their America Smooth to Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet.

Ballas said: "I felt that Angela stuck to the rules. The rules were it was a Cha Cha Cha and that's what she did exquisitely well. And Layton is an absolutely marvelous dancer and he was from day one. From day one he's been brilliant.

"But it was supposed to be an American Smooth and for me it didn't hit the rules. I'm very much a rule follower."

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Layton Williams, Nikita Kuzmin, Angela Scanlon & Carlos Gu in the dance off.
Strictly Come Dancing head judge said she would have saved Angela Scanlon. (BBC)

Ballas added of Robot Wars presenter Scanlon, who was sent home: "She was amazing, I loved it, but it was all authentic Cha Cha Cha, her leg action was absolutely superb. But both couples very gifted so we have to honour the other three judges who chose to save Layton, who is fabulous."

However Ballas denied that Williams has an unfair advantage over the other celebrity contestants because of his musical background.

The 26-year-old theatre-schooled actor has performed on stage in the West End in Billy Elliot, Everybody's Talking About Jamie and even Thriller, in which he played a young Michael Jackson.

Ballas said: "I don't think it's an unfair edge.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Shirley Ballas with her 10 paddle.
Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas has scored Layton Williams a 10 several times during the series. (BBC)

"I think coming into do ballroom dancing is difficult for anybody. As you can see in the American Smooth he actually struggled to stay in contact. When he's solo and free on his own, he's absolutely superb. But the discipline of ballroom dancing...

"I appreciate about Layton having experience, but there's other people also who have experience."

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Williams has said he is ready to "shut down" his critics with his performance in Musicals Week and claimed the rumours of a feud with Ballas were not true.

What else happened between Ballas and Williams?

Strictly's Layton Williams has hit back at criticism for his dancing and rumours that he is feuding with Shirley Ballas.
Strictly's Layton Williams has said he has nothing but love for Shirley Ballas. (ITV/screengrab)

Williams shut down the feud claims when he appeared on This Morning.

The actor said: "Shirley has been on board, that 10 paddle has been out a few times so we heart Shirley. We're very good."

He said of his America Smooth: "It wasn't our best, best performance. It was kind of fair. I took it on the chin a little bit.

"All day I felt like something was coming."

Good Morning Britain airs on ITV from 6am to 9am from Monday to Friday.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7:20pm on BBC One

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