For the first time this series, West End star Layton and his professional dance partner Nikita Kuzmin landed in the bottom two over the weekend after performing their American Smooth.
However, Layton and Nikita failed to win over Shirley, who said that she would have instead given her vote to Angela, reasoning that the “character of the dance” in Ballroom and Latin is what’s more important to her, and that the Irish presenter had been more “true to the dance, timing and quality”.
Shirley has since elaborated on her comments, defending her comments during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
“I felt that Angela stuck to the rules,” the Strictly judge explained. “The rules were it was a Cha Cha Cha and that’s what she did exquisitely well.
“Layton is an absolutely marvellous dancer and he was from day one. From day one he’s been brilliant. But it was supposed to be an American Smooth and for me it didn’t hit the rules. I’m very much a rule follower.”
She added that Angela performed an “authentic Cha Cha Cha” and her “leg action was absolutely superb”.
“But both couples are very gifted so we have to honour the other three judges who chose to save Layton, who is fabulous,” Shirley said.
After Layton narrowly avoided elimination, he shared his relief at making it through to this weekend’s quarter final on Instagram.
“That was close! SO grateful to be through to Musicals Week! Being in the bottom two has given me a [fire] up my [bum]. Big love to all of our supporters,” he said.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday night on BBC One. Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV.