Strictly Come Dancing stars are reportedly growing increasingly frustrated at having to compete against professional West End star Layton Williams. The 29-year-old trained dancer, who played the title role in the West End musical Billy Elliot at the age of 12, has been scoring high marks from the judges in recent weeks and is seen as a frontrunner to win the series. However, insiders claim that Williams' extensive experience puts him at an unfair advantage, going against the spirit of the show.
According to a Strictly insider, the presence of Layton Williams has created an uneven playing field, as he is considered to be on a similar level as his professional dance partner. This has left other contestants feeling demoralized, knowing they have little chance of winning against such a skilled competitor. While previous seasons have seen dancers of varying abilities, the source argues that Williams' professional background makes it impossible for the other celebrities to compete.
This is not the first time that Strictly has faced criticism for allowing contestants with dance experience to participate. Pop star Ashley Roberts faced backlash from viewers for her previous dance training, resulting in repeated appearances in the bottom two. The intensity of the criticism towards Roberts even prompted host Tess Daly to appeal for greater empathy from the voting public.
Despite the criticism, Layton Williams has continued to impress the judges with his performances on Strictly. Last week, he received high scores from all four judges, including three perfect 10s. His extensive musical theater background, which includes roles in Hairspray!, Rent, and Everybody's Talking About Jamie, has undoubtedly contributed to his exceptional dancing abilities.
In response to the criticism regarding his previous experience, Williams has acknowledged the advantage it gives him but also emphasizes the differences between stage and ballroom dancing. He asserts that Strictly is a unique challenge that requires a different skill set.
Strictly Come Dancing has seen previous contestants with dance backgrounds, such as Kimberley Walsh, Abbey Clancy, Maisie Smith, and Fleur East. While their experience may have been met with scrutiny, it remains to be seen how Williams' professional training will ultimately impact the outcome of the competition.
As the competition heats up, the frustration among the other celebrities participating in Strictly continues to grow. With Layton Williams proving himself as a formidable competitor, it remains to be seen how the show will address the issue of contestants' varying levels of experience in future seasons.