MANY unwitting celebrities have fallen victim to the infamous ‘Strict Curse’, and the series puts even the strongest of relationships to the test.
But there’s another hex that plagues contestants year after year, putting them at a competitive disadvantage – and this series is no exception.
Layton Williams has come under fire for his background in musical theaterCredit: PA
West End star Layton Williams has hit back at ‘fixed claims’ after some viewers complained his musical theater background gave him an unfair advantage.
The 29-year-old, who is paired with Nikita Kuzmin, was forced to defend himself after former judge Arlene Phillips and ex-pros James Jordan and Brendan Cole joined the debate, claiming it was unfair for professional dancers to compete in the show.
Meanwhile, his fellow stars are said to be “frustrated” at having to compete against Layton, who scored a string of high scores including a perfect 10.
A source told the Mail on Sunday it was “against the spirit of the show” to have someone of his caliber, adding: “He’s as good or even better than his professional partner.
“It’s such an uneven playing field here that it’s impossible for any other contestants to have a chance of winning, even if viewers enjoy watching a celebrity’s journey.”
But his past experience has set the bar high for him when it comes to the judges’ comments, with Shirley Ballas booed by the studio audience last Saturday after criticizing Layton’s footwork in Tango.
And judging by previous contestants with rich dance experience, it will hardly do him any favors in the long run.
Here we look at how the lesser-known Strictly curse is affecting celebrity ‘professionals’ – and why it’s even led some fans to threaten to boycott the show.
Ashley Roberts danced away even when she got a perfect score. Credits: PA: Press Association
In 2018, Pussycat Doll Ashley, who was paired with Pasha Kovalev, finished three times in the dance competition – once after scoring a perfect 40.
Although she was saved by the judges and managed to reach the final, ex-pro James Jordan said he sympathized with her because “she had no hope of winning”.
He said at the time: “She had so much stick and she strictly allowed it to happen.
“There are other people in the show this year and in previous years who have had just as much experience in dance.
“I’m so sorry Ashley. It was very difficult for her. She works hard, if not harder than anyone. I’m a professional dancer and what she does is extraordinary – whether she’s trained or not.”
Fans threatened to boycott the show when Aston Merrygold was eliminated
JLS singer, Aston, gave an amazing performance on Strictly, quickly turning to ballroom and Latin American, probably thanks to his pop star past.
But he suffered a shock exit in week seven – after finishing in the bottom two despite Jonnie Peacock, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford making it through.
After going up against Saturday night star Mollie King in a dance-off, head judge Shirley decided to save Mollie, sparking outrage among viewers.
Some even threatened to boycott the show afterwards, while many blamed Craig for giving Aston a shockingly low rating of 4.
Aston didn’t let that get in the way of his love of dancing, and went on to win the 2018 Strictly Christmas special.
He even toured the dance show with fellow Strictly champions Louis Smith and Harry Judd.
Fleur East danced three times in a rowCredit: PA
In 2020, former X Factor star Fleur was three times out of the dance competition, despite consistently scoring impressive points.
But the judges often criticized her harshly despite her musical background – after her first live show, Fleur was visibly shocked by some of their negative comments.
Craig called her Cha Cha Cha “too wild”, while Shirley said: “I’m not disputing you’re powerful, you go ‘wham, bam, boom, go’, it’s fantastic and I won’t take any of that too far, but you need a bit of contrast and you have to be able to stand on your legs and feet.”
Fleur reflected on the “tough love” she received, claiming that the judges’ “constructive criticism… made me the dancer I am today”.
In week three, she was in the bottom two after scoring 29 points – more than eight other contestants.
After the second time, viewers posted furious messages online, with one tweeting: “Fleur being Fleur for the second time in this series is a complete joke so far.”
Fleur made it to the finals, where she received the highest judges’ score of all the contestants, but failed to win the Glitterball.
Molly Rainford as a singer went against herCredit: PA
Like Fleur, Molly also suffered from the fact that she was a singer and attended acting school, where she studied dance.
She faced the dance-off four times, including in week five when her fellow contestants Tony Adams, Will Mellor, Kym Marsh, Ellie Taylor and James Bye scored less.
After the third time, one viewer tweeted: “How’s Molly doing in the bottom? She danced!”
During Halloween week, she received a standing ovation from Shirley for her Argentine tango, but was left in tears by Craig who called her performance “really, really ugly”, while Anton claimed she had “no intensity”.
Kimberley Walsh scored more points than the winner in her series – but didn’t win the publicCredit: PA: Press Association
The former Girls Aloud star – who is now a West End leading lady – took part in Strictly in 2012.
But despite high scores from the judges, she found herself in a dance battle in week six, but survived against Fern Britton and Artem Chigvintsev.
Kimberley also reached the final, where she had more points than the eventual winner, gymnast Louis Smith.
Craig said at the time: “The public hate her. Kimberley needs to get out on the streets and start collecting votes.
“It’s not the judges who hate her, it’s the public it seems. You have to win the public vote to win Strictly. The judges only have 50 per cent of the vote.”
Links: Inside the OTHER Strictly curse as Layton Williams becomes latest victim… it’s even led raging fans to boycott the show – Tekmonk Bio, Inside the OTHER Strictly curse as Layton Williams becomes latest victim… it’s even led raging fans to boycott the show – Kungfutv, Inside the OTHER Strictly curse as Layton Williams becomes latest victim… it’s even led raging fans to boycott the show – Hot News