Two Bury-born stars are battling it out ahead of the quarter final of Strictly Come Dancing.

Former Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach and her dance partner Vito Coppola earned high praise for their Argentine tango, while Bad Education actor Layton Williams received some criticism for his American smooth.

The West End star, who grew up on the Dickie Bird estate, was the first to hit the ballroom on Saturday with his partner Nikita Kuzmin as they performed to It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork. 

Head judge Shirley Ballas said the routine was “gestural and fun” and not “smooth enough”, which attracted boos from the live audience.

However, Motsi Mabuse said it was “soft and gentle” and the judges scored the routine a total of 34 points.

Shirley continued: “We know that your performance is absolutely excellent, everything about how you perform is beautiful.

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“But for me it wasn’t smooth enough, it didn’t create enough space.

“Footwork, it was a little lumpy, bottom was a little bit dropped. We're getting to these final stages and I’m expecting just a little bit more.

“It goes to show you can be experienced dancer and it can still be very difficult to dance these numbers. For me, it’s not your best today."

Anton Du Beke agreed that footwork had been "lumpy" but added that it was “a jolly good performance" overall. 

Layton and Nikita received an overall score of 34 with three nines and an eight from the judges.

Meanwhile, Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola turned up the heat with an Argentine tango which Shirley Ballas called “absolutely exceptional.”

Anton agreed, adding: “As we expect from you it was clean, it was brilliant, your speed was there, the tricks were magnificent, if I’m being hypercritical, it lacked a bit of intensity.

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Famously hard to please critic Craig Revel Horwood was impressed with the routine. He said: “I think it lacked intimacy but it was incredible and as Anton said it was clean as a whistle, those lifts were absolutely brilliant."

Motsi Mabuse said she thought “it was brilliant, end of story.”

The judges gave Ellie and Vito an overall score of 38 putting them at the top of the leader board ahead of the next week’s semi-final. They scored three tens and a nine from the judges.

There are now six couples left in the competition with just seven points between leaders Ellie and Vito and Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu who are in sixth place.