Williams’s presence in the bottom two was a particular shock considering he has regularly topped the leaderboard throughout the series and, alongside former Coronation Street star Ellie Leach, is one of the favourites to win.
Many naturally assumed Scanlon would be going home the moment the results were announced – however, if there had been a tie, Williams would have been sent home.
In the event of a tie, Ballas casts the deciding vote as she is head judge and, after her fellow judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Dy Beke opted to send Scanlon home, Ballas told host Tess Daly she would have opted to boot Williams off the series had she been given the chance.
”Well, important for me always when it comes to Ballroom and Latin is the character of the dance – that it’s true to the dance, timing and quality,” she said, adding: “I would have voted [to save] Angela and Carlos.”
Her decision follows Ballas’s comments about Williams on Saturday’s show, in which she told him she is “really expecting quite a lot”. While she called the performance “excellent”, she said: “For me today, in American Smooth, that’s exactly what the word is – ‘smooth’. So I find this a little bit more gestural and fun; for me it wasn’t smooth enough. It didn’t create enough space.”
Ballas told him: ‘it does show that you can be an experienced dancer but at the end of the day, it can still be very difficult to dance these numbers. For me, not your best today.”
Du Beke called Ballas “brave” for sharing the comments after she received boos from the audience.
Viewers have been split down the middle by Ballas’s views on Williams, with some calling them “spot on” and others questioning whether she is being particularly harsh on Williams as, being a musical theatre star, he has the biggest dancing experience out of all the contestants.
“I love Layton he’s incredible, but most of their dances feel like a show dance,” one viewer agreed, stating: “I never thought I’d say this but I agree with twirly Shirley.” another viewer added: “Shirley is right. Layton is a great dancer, but every routine is like a showdance, and missing the technical details.”
Those in disagreement, though, wondered if Ballas has “a problem” with Williams.
“Between her comments last night and choosing to save Angela tonight, Shirley has an obvious personal problem with Layton and I won’t hear otherwise,” one angry fan wrote, with another stating: “Shirley is so much more picky with Layton.”
After being voted off the show, an emotional Scanlon described the experience as “honestly incredible”, adding that she was “gutted that it’s finished now” and to be leaving her professional partner Carlos Gu behind.
“I have made the best friend in this man,” she said. “We have had so much fun, he is such an incredible guy. He has supported me and picked me up and made me laugh so much. I don’t know what to say, it’s been magical honestly.”
Meanwhile, Gu praised Scanlon for “her commitment and her strength every day, day by day. I’m a professional dancer and she works so hard, harder than me! Look at her now – I am so proud, her sense of humour and we had so much fun everyday. She cracks me up laughing!”
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 2 December at 7.25pm on BBC One.