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Celebrity News

Ellie Leach’s inevitable Strictly win is a slap in the face for Layton


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In a matter of hours, soap star Ellie Leach and her professional dance partner Vito Coppola will feign surprise when Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman name them as this year’s Strictly Come Dancing champions.

The 22-year-old has been this year’s odds-on favourite to bag the title for weeks now with a Week Five Paso Doble skyrocketing her to the forefront of BBC viewers’ rankings.

To be clear, Leach’s performances on the dance floor have been outstanding and rightly earned her plaudit after plaudit from the judges, experts, viewers and her pro partner alike.

Her “journey” – I know, yuck – from a humble young actor who made a name for herself on the Cobbles to fierce ballroom competitor who looks as at home pulling off an American Smooth as she does a Cha Cha is what many feel is the essence of what Strictly is all about.

So it’s no surprise some bookmakers are offering odds as short as 1/9 for her to be crowned this year’s champion over fellow finalists Layton Williams (12/1) and Bobby Brazier (25/1).

There is just one problem… she isn’t the best dancer.

Layton Williams and Nikita KuzminLayton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin wowed with a Charleston in the semi-finals BBC

Statistically – and evidently – Williams is and has been head and shoulders above his fellow Strictly competitors throughout.

The 29-year-old actor bagged the first and only scores of 40 of the series so far and is the only competitor who raised hard-faced Craig Revel Horwood to his feet for a standing ovation for his jaw-dropping semi-final Charleston.

And yet Williams stands little to no chance of winning this year’s Strictly following weeks of misplaced trolling and anger aimed his way.

Williams made a name for himself prior to Strictly in the world of musical theatre – performing as a young Michael Jackson in the musical Thriller Live before leading the stage performance of Billy Elliot.

Williams was then cast as the lead in the hugely successful stage show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – all of this after he was awarded a scholarship to train at the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School.

With quite the CV behind him, Williams’ expertise when it comes to performing has prompted floods of angered BBC viewers spewing he shouldn’t be taking part in the competition, let alone stand a chance of winning.

The actor has been vocal about the criticism he’s received, admitting he asks for more money for therapy to deal with the backlash and engaging with, who he describes as, “so-called” Strictly fans online.

Even former Strictly pro James Jordan questioned Williams’ spot in the final by suggesting the professionals on the show know “he’s better” than they are.

The Strictly judges have all addressed the trolling Williams has received live on air before, while pro partner Kuzmin recently said: “I would like people to realise that I know he makes it seem easy… on the floor he makes it seem easy, but we are putting in the hours and the choreography is really hard.

“There is nothing either similar technologically or choreographically to anything he has done before so we are working really hard, and I hope people appreciate it.”

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola are poised to win this year’s Strictly


With the furore aimed his way, it’s easy to forget that while Williams has an impressive background in the world of theatre, he isn’t the one to blame for being cast in this year’s Strictly.

That blame lies directly with the Strictly bosses at the Beeb who decided they would bring in another trained celebrity to take part against a rusty-hipped Les Dennis and a Channel 4 newsreader.

It’s astounding the BBC hasn’t learnt its lesson after years of vitriol aimed at unsuspecting celebrities who merely answered the call from their agent.

Take last year for example, singer and performer Fleur East bagged an incredible 119 out of a possible 120 from the judges in the finale and topped the leaderboard – she lost to Countryfile cameraman Hamza Yassin.

WATCH HERE: The full selection of songs and dances for the Strictly finale

In 2018, Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts earned THREE perfect scores of 40 in the finale – she lost to documentary maker Stacey Dooley who bagged none.

The list goes on and the argument that the BBC needs these established celebrities who already know how to move around the ballroom falls flat when you look at the plethora of finalists and winners who’ve signed up with little to no experience prior.

So why does the BBC continue to cast the trained stars whose incredible performances in the ballroom are met with disdain rather than jubilation?

Why can’t Williams be applauded for his own Strictly “journey” – again, yuck.

All Strictly has done is set celebs like Williams up to fail due to the fact that if he succeeds, “it’s down to his training”, and yet if he fails, “that was c**p from a guy who’s trained”.

The misplaced anger towards Layton’s background in theatre will undoubtedly cost him the top spot and it’s no fault of his own – it’s time the BBC woke up and listened.

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Written by: lwrradio

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