Strictly: Layton and Nikita perform waltz

Coronation Street’s Tony Maudsley rushed to support Strictly Come Dancing contestant Layton Williams after he was told he lacked “grace”, and blasted the judges’ “questionable” scoring system.

The 55-year-old actor told Bad Education star Layton: “You’re SMASHING it babes! The scoring is questionable to say the least. Your talent is not.”

He’d been responding to the 29-year-old’s recent post on Twitter (X), which featured a photo of him dressed as Rizzo from Grease, which he’d captioned: “There are worst things I could do.”

Layton and his Ukrainian pro dance partner Nikita Kuzmin had received a respectable score of seven points from all four of the judges, but they were still subjected to some unexpectedly harsh criticism for the pair’s Grease-inspired Viennese Waltz.

Layton had received scores of nine the week before – and Motsi Mabuse wasn’t letting him forget it.

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“When you dance, there’s an expectation and it’s always gonna be there. We expect more because you’ve shown us more,” she told him.

Meanwhile, head judge Shirley Ballas criticised him for a number of “footwork errors”, lamenting: “This evening proved just how difficult it is to do ballroom dancing, particularly when you have to come together.”

Anton du Beke was complimentary about Layton’s “beautiful” portrayal of Rizzo, but he criticised his “flat” posture, suggesting his dance was too “lumpy”.

Then there was the verdict of notoriously straight-talking Craig Revel-Horwood, who said his performance was “jagged” and that it “lacked grace”.

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However, he did praise his “fantastic rotation” and “wonderful energy” – which is a better verdict than some of Strictly’s contestants have received from him in the past.

Craig once told Scott Mills that he was “the exception to the rule that anyone could learn to dance”, and awarded him a measly two points.

The judge, who has been accused of rivalling Simon Cowell for his “Mr Nasty” reputation, has also previously accused others of being “lacklustre and lifeless”, and looking like they’d been “lobotomised” during their dances.

Viewers have taken to Twitter (X) to accuse Craig of being overly “harsh”, while he certainly has celebrity support in the shape of Tony.

As well as responding directly to Layton, he also voiced his frustrations about the show in general to more than 97,000 followers.

“I can’t make head nor tail of the judge’s scoring on #Strictly tonight. Completely bonkers,” he exclaimed.

Meanwhile, he also had his say on Shirley Ballas awarding the first “perfect 10” score of the series to comedian Eddie Kadi and pro partner Karen Hauer.

The pair had delivered a Men in Black-inspired performance which Shirley was clearly overawed by, but Tony exclaimed: “That was the most undeserving 10 I’ve ever seen.”

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