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Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood gives Layton Williams rare standing ovation for stunning Charleston

Host Claudia Winkleman remarked that the ‘Strictly’ judge is often critical of Charleston routines on the BBC dancing show

Ellie Muir
Saturday 09 December 2023 22:01 GMT
Craig Revel Horwood gives standing ovation to ‘best Charleston in 20 years’

Craig Revel Horwood shocked Strictly Come Dancing viewers and contestants when he gave Layton Williams a standing ovation during the show’s semi-final.

During Saturday night’s episode (9 December), Williams and his professional partner Nikita Kuzmin performed two dances: a Rumba to Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” and a Charleston to “Fit as a Fiddle” by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.

The judges were overwhelmed by Williams’ performance during the latter dance, praising the musical theatre star for his technique and overall stage presence.

Craig Revel Horwood gave a standing ovation during the show’s semi-final (BBC)

The two dancers wore matching yellow check suits and delivered a Broadway-style performance as they delivered playful lifts and charismatic partner work.

When it was time to hear the judge’s verdict, host Tess Daly asked Revel Horwood his opinion of the dance since he “had a lot to say” about Charleston routines throughout the 2023 series.

Without speaking, Revel Horwood stood to his feet and clapped his hands in Williams’ direction, before telling the actor that it was one of the “best” Charlestons he’s ever seen. Williams grabbed his partner Kuzmin who shared an emotional yet triumphant hug.

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

“The best Charleston I’ve ever seen in 20 years, darling,” Revel Horwood said.

Williams gained the highest possible score for this week’s dance, just one week after he received the first perfect score of the series in last week’s show, receiving four 10s for his paso doble to “Backstage Romance” from Moulin Rouge! The Musical for Musicals Week.

Williams recently responded to complaints coming from viewers about his professional level of dance experience.

It has been suggested that Williams, who is competing in this year’s installment of the BBC dancing competition, has an unfair advantage due to his prior musical theatre experience and stage school training.

Bobby Brazier and his partner Diane Buswell (BBC)

The Everyone’s Talking About Jamie actor has responded to the complaints about his prior dancing experience in an interview for The Guardian, saying that rehearsals are not as easy for him as it might seem.

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

Meanwhile on Saturday night’s episode (9 December), head judge Shirley Ballas called EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier the “king of ballroom” after he and his partner Dianne Buswell opened Saturday’s show with a Quickstep to “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin, which received instant praise from the judges.

Motsi Mabuse said it was “one of the best Ballroom dances” Brazier had danced so far.

However, one couple will be leaving the competition during the results show on Sunday night (10 December) after a public vote will be combined with the judge’s scores.

Strictly Come Dancing’s results show is on Sunday 10 December BBC One at 7:20pm, with the finale airing on Saturday 16 December.

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