Strictly risk new cheat claims after signing Layton Williams
EXCLUSIVE: Strictly risk new cheat claims after signing West End star and professionally trained dancer Layton Williams for upcoming series
Strictly bosses risk new cheat claims after signing West End performer Layton Williams for the upcoming series.
Layton, 28, who starred in hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, started his career at the age of 12 playing the title role in the West End production of Billy Elliot, where he danced intricate ballet routines, after he won a nationwide hunt for the show’s next star.
In the musical number Electricity, he performed 16 pirouettes, showcasing his raw talent for dance from a young age as well as going onto star in musicals including Hairspray!, Rent, and as ‘Young Michael’ in Thriller Live!
The performer was granted a scholarship at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, which has also been attended by the likes of former Strictly contestants Pixie Lott and Kelly Brook.
His extensive background in dance and performance may irritate viewers and his co-stars alike as the show looks to recruit nonprofessionals who will be learning tough choreography for the first time.
Strictly bosses risk new cheat claims after signing West End performer Layton Williams for the upcoming series (pictured in May)
Layton started his career at the age of 12 playing the title role in the West End production of Billy Elliot (pictured in 2016 as Angel in musical Rent)
The West End performer starred in hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which is based on the 2011 BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16
A source told MailOnline: ‘Layton is an incredible dancer and performer.
‘Strictly bosses signing him for the show will ruffle some feathers because he is professionally trained and has extensive experience with learning difficult choreography, which many of the contestants, especially those from a sporting or political background, will at first find impossible.
‘The show has been criticised in the past for recruiting contestants with a background in dance and this year will be no different as Layton is a star in his own right and known for being an impeccable dancer on stage.’
Layton, who at the time was training at Carol Godby Theatre Workshop in his hometown of Bury, beat over 4,000 hopefuls to become Billy Elliot in 2006.
He has reflected on earning the title character, saying he appealed to casting directors because he wasn’t trained in ballet or tap like many of the other hopefuls auditioning.
Layton said: ‘Because I was so raw – I didn’t do ballet, I didn’t do tap, I had no vocal training – I was basically the Billy Elliot story.
‘I would love to see my tapes, because they said: ‘If you can’t do the stuff then just pretend.’ I was pretending to do pliés and I just faked it until I made it and then, two years later, I was on the West End stage.’
His success on stage led to Layton earning roles on the small screen, starring in Jack Whitehall’s terrible-teacher comedy Bad Education and in the second season of Billie Piper’s Sky drama I Hate Suzie.
Layton, who at the time was training at Carol Godby Theatre Workshop in his hometown of Bury, beat over 4,000 hopefuls to become Billy Elliot in 2006
Jamie performed as ‘Young Michael’ in Thriller Live!, which is a musical that celebrates the music of The Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson
His success on stage led to Layton earning roles on the small screen, starring in Jack Whitehall’s terrible-teacher comedy Bad Education and in the second season of Billie Piper’s Sky drama I Hate Suzie
Strictly has been dogged by cheating claims in recent years after signing up stars with obvious dance backgrounds, which many viewers feel gives them an unfair advantage.
Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh, EastEnders actress Maisie Smith and X Factor star Fleur East have all been subjected to criticism for their pre-show dance experience.
However, many stage school trained participants have claimed their dance knowledge has counted against them in regard to the public voted.
Actress Molly Rainford, a former Sylvia Young pupil, blamed her stage school background for repeatedly ending up in the dreaded dance off.
Last year, she said: ‘I think potentially that could have been a factor.’
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