Strictly’s Will Mellor hits back at critics calling for him to go

Strictly's Will Mellor dedicates routine to late dad

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Will Mellor wowed judges and viewers with his sensational Jive to Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca as he stormed to the top of the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard. However, he has since hit back at claims he should be booted out of the BBC showpiece due to a so-called professional dancing background.

The Coronation Street actor refuted claims he has an unfair advantage over his fellow celebrity hopefuls in the BBC dancing competition.

Speaking ahead of the first week, where a couple will be eliminated, Will said: “I’ve read a lot of things about myself over the years so nothing catches me out apart from one person – there’s always one.

“And I don’t even know why I mention it but they were saying I should be thrown out of the show because obviously, I’m a professional dancer.”

“Now, I’m not even a trained actor. I didn’t even go to drama school. I wing everything. I’ve been winging acting for 46 years.”

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The Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps star continued: “I think people just like to find fault.

“[Someone said] I shouldn’t be allowed to be in the show because after that first dance you can see I’m obviously a trained dancer, which is absolute nonsense.”

Will scored a huge 34 points alongside professional dancer Nancy Xiu with an energetic debut routine.

They are currently tied with Countryfile’s Hamza Yassin and his pro dance partner Jowita Przystał.

Will’s first dance last Saturday has been lauded by viewers, presenters and fellow professionals of Strictly Come Dancing too.

Speaking to Joanne Clifton on spin-off show It Takes Two, host Rylan Clark remarked: “Will and Nancy, they did that Jive! Joint top scorers as well, well done to them.”

The presenter asked: “Anton said it looked like Will had been doing that routine for about 18 months, Why do you think it was such a good jive?”

Joanne exclaimed: “Do I dare say it? He reminds me of Kelvin Fletcher”, Rylan replied: “Oh, she went there!”

Emmerdale star Kelvin went on to win the competition with former Strictly star Oti Mabuse in 2019, despite being a last-minute replacement for the injured Jamie Laing.

Will is currently the bookies’ outright favourite to lift the Glitterball trophy this year.

After the first week, he edged ahead of the rival Helen Skelton and Fleur East.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes have Will as their 7/4 favourite to be the Strictly champion.

Countryfile star Hamza flew up the bookies list and went from 25/1 to 8/1 after his dance with Amy Dowden.

This year’s battle to emulate Rose Ayling-Ellis and be crowned King or Queen of the ballroom will be tougher than ever.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “The race for this year’s Glitterball Trophy is well and truly on, with no less than five names currently priced 8/1 or shorter to go all the way.

“Will Mellor has flown out of the traps to take the lead in the betting, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the odds suggest this Strictly battle is far from over.”

Will and Nancy are set to dance the Salsa to the Luther Vandross classic Never Too Much.

Strictly Come Dancing airs Saturday at 6.30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

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