Strictly Layton Williams plea to keyboard warrior critics as Nikita steps in

Layton Williams has hit back at critics complaining about his place on this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 29-year-old West End star has reached Saturday's (December 16) final of the BBC dancing show, along with professional dance partner Nikita Kuzmin. He's battling out against Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola, and Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell.

Layton has dazzled the judges with his routines and became the first star to achieve a perfect 40 for his Paso Doble. But he's attracted criticism from viewers who feel it's unfair he's competing with prior dancing experience.

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However, although he admits he's found the backlash "hard" at times, he's not going to let it define his Strictly journey and wants to tell critics: "let's keep it moving". And Nikita was quick to defend the Bad Education star.

Asked about the backlash, he told Daily Star and other press: "I was aware that it [dancing experience] might have some noise. I was definitely not anticipating how much it had, just because I'm not the only person that's been in this position, so I don't understand why it's shock horror news. I'm not the first, and won't be the last. Do you know what I mean? Let's keep it moving, do you know what I mean?"

"It's not defined my journey. What's defined my journey is what we've been able to do, what's defined my journey is who we've been able to inspire. Not people that are keyboard warriors. They're just like a percentage." He revealed that when he's out shopping at the supermarket, fans are lovely to him and it reminds him he's on telly.

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Nobody's going to come up to me in the streets and try and cuss me down. Do you know what I mean? I'm going to look back on my Strictly journey and smile. I'm not going to be thinking about the trolls, let's just say that. It's all love here. Keep it moving.

"Whatever happens in the final happens. We are so proud of everything that we've done."

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Nikita defended Layton, adding: "I would just like people to realise, I know he makes it seem very easy. On the floor he makes it seem very easy, but we are putting in the hours. It's nothing similar technically or choreographically to what he's done before, so we are working really hard. I hope that people appreciate it."

"From the very beginning I've been like 'cool'. People are going to expect a certain level. Let's give them that and then some. I feel like hopefully we have managed to rise to peoples' expectations and potentially then some.

"It has been hard. The pressure of feeling like you have to do well."

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