Layton Williams’ Strictly Come Dancing performance during the show’s Blackpool special has been dubbed “creative genius”.

Theatre and TV star Williams, 29 and his dance partner Nikita Kuzmin were praised for their pole-based routine to Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera during Saturday evening’s episode.

The pair were placed joint top of the leaderboard, but were unable to secure full marks.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Layton Williams dancing with Nikita Kuzmin (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Three of the judges awarded the pair a 10 for their couple’s choice routine, while Craig Revel Horwood awarded the couple a nine, resulting in an overall judges’ score of 39.

Before they revealed their scores, Revel Horwood told Williams: “This is a little bit of a dilemma for me because I loved it, number one, but it wasn’t entirely in sync.”

He went on: “That being said, you are one of the most incredible dancers that I have seen on this show over the 20 years I’ve been doing it.”

Head judge Shirley Ballas complimented the actor and said: “Well you know, for me, it takes a lot, really, to impress me, but this really is creative genius.”

Williams has consistently impressed the judges and topped the leaderboard last week when he and Kuzmin performed the Argentine tango to Tattoo by Loreen.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Kai Widdrington and Angela Rippon during their appearance on the live show (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

This week’s show started with a high-octane routine from a number of dancers who performed to a medley of songs at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom.

Soap star Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell opened the show and were awarded 35 points from the judges for their jive to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!

Broadcaster Angela Rippon performed early in the episode and was praised by judge Anton Du Beke for an “elegant and sophisticated” American smooth to Tea For Two by Ella Fitzgerald, alongside professional dancer Kai Widdrington.

Despite the praise they received, the couple were only awarded 28 points from the judges, placing them bottom of the leaderboard.

Elsewhere in the episode, former British number one tennis player Annabel Croft and her dance partner Johannes Radebe danced the American smooth to Unchained Melody by Benedetta Caretta and were awarded 35 points from the judges.

Croft, 57, said it was a “privilege” and an “honour” to be dancing at the renowned Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Actress Ellie Leach and dancer Vito Coppola donned bright pink costumes when they danced the Charleston to Love Machine by Girls Aloud, receiving 39 points from the judges, placing them top of the leaderboard alongside Williams and Kuzmin.

Also performing were Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon and professional Carlos Gu, who were left in tears following their Argentine tango to Back To Black by Amy Winehouse.

The pair seemed to be crying happy tears following their performance and were awarded 38 points from the judges.

Last to take to Blackpool’s sprung stage were soap star Nigel Harman and professional dancer Katya Jones, who performed the quickstep to It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing by Duke Ellington.

Du Beke said that Harman was a “great dancer” and the couple were awarded 31 points from the judges.