Kai Widdrington slaps down BBC Strictly 'fix' claims as he defends Angela Rippon amid dance-off controversy

Kai Widdrington slaps down BBC Strictly 'fix' claims as he defends Angela Rippon amid dance-off controversy

WATCH NOW: Kai Widdrington insists Angela Rippon 'deserves' to be at Blackpool

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 15/11/2023

- 12:11

Updated: 15/11/2023

- 13:17

The professional dancer has accompanied Angela Rippon in two dance-offs so far

Angela Rippon's professional dance partner Kai Widdrington has insisted the 79-year-old "deserved" to land a spot in Blackpool Week of Strictly Come Dancing following savage "fix" claims from some fans.

The legendary broadcaster has come under fire from some BBC viewers over the choice of routines given to her throughout the series so far while some fans have accused the judges of scoring Rippon more favourably than others in the contest.

As a result of the public vote combined with the judges' scores, Rippon has landed in the dance-off for the past two weeks, seeing off Adam Thomas and a "heartbroken" Krishnan Guru-Murthy ahead of Blackpool Week.

Following the most recent dance-off victory which secured her spot in the iconic round of the competition - and resulted in a tearful Guru-Murthy addressing his exit on TV - much of the controversy stemmed from the fact Rippon appeared to make a mistake with her standing leg in her routine.

But despite the slip-up, Rippon remained confident she'd done enough to make it to Blackpool, admitting: "No I didn't (think I'd leave). I mean, I don't know why (it happened), I think the floor was slippy or my shoe was slippy.

"But no, Kai still had hold of me and I knew what I had to do next and managed to do it."

Kai Widdrington

Kai Widdrington has defended Angela Rippon's spot in the competition


She continued when referring to Sunday's dance-off: "The dance was quite different from anything we've done before.

"If you've ever danced the Paso, people love the Paso and they expect it to be a strong dance with a strong body and technical footwork.

"But there's passion, there's pride, there's all of that in it, and that's what we practiced all week."

In the same interview, Widdrington was asked if he reciprocated the confidence Rippon had following their dance-off, to which he said: "(I was) confident because Angela's been there before, we did it the week before.

"There was no way on earth I was letting go of her if the foot slipped, if it completely fell off the floor I wasn't letting go of her."

Issuing a stern defence of their spot in the competition, he signed off to It Takes Two host Fleur East: "We did enough, we had a good score.

"I think you deserved your place at Blackpool so that's why we're here."

When they arrive at Blackpool on Saturday, Rippon and Widdrington will be tasked with performing an American Smooth to Ella Fitzgerald classic Tea For Two.

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington landed in the dance-off with their Paso Doble


It remains to be seen if they have what it takes to win over Strictly fans and progress in the competition once again, but in the meantime, there's one contestant viewers are convinced will set the dancefloor alight.

For Blackpool Week, Layton Williams has been tasked with a Couple's Choice alongside pro partner Nikita Kuzmin.

After narrowly missing out on a score of 40 last weekend thanks to Craig Revel Horwood's nine paddle, fans think Williams is "guaranteed" to bag a perfect score after being given the routine.

However, he'll face stiff competition from soap star Ellie Leach at the top of the leaderboard who's now the frontrunner to win the competition.

Leach will dance the Charleston to Girl Aloud banger Love Machine alongside her pro partner Vito Coppola.

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