The West End star, 29, showed off his pole dancing skills during his steamy dance with his professional partner Nikita Kuzmin at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The pair blew judges away with the Couple’s Choice dance to Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera, but they did not receive top marks for the routine.
Despite Layton impressively doing the standing splits halfway up the pole and then writhing around it in the racy routine, Layton once again got 39 points.
Craig was greeted by loud booing from the crowds as he told Layton and Nikita they weren’t ‘in sync’, with viewers claiming Layton was ‘robbed’ of a perfect 40 as Craig was the only judge not to give them a 10.
Narrow miss: Strictly Come Dancing fans were left fuming as Layton Williams missed out on scoring a perfect 40 during Saturday’s hotly-anticipated Blackpool special
Oh dear! Craig was greeted by loud booing from the crowds as he told Layton and Nikita they weren’t ‘in sync’ before only awarding them a nine
Taking to X – formerly known as Twitter – to strongly disagree with Craig’s scoring, one wrote: ‘Nikita and Layton keep being robbed of 40s every week and im so mad. like the amount of skill in that dance.’
Another fumed: ‘What the hell do you have to do to get a 10 from @CraigRevHorwood? Layton & Nikita that was truly amazing! Shame on you Craig.’
A third said: Beyond annoyed at Craig – what more can Layton do to get a 10,’ and a fourth tweeted: ‘Craig….ffs…how hard can it be????’
Another raged: ‘If ANY other couple in any other series had danced that routine it would’ve been 10’s across the board!!
‘I don’t care that Layton is dance trained. So are most of the celebs that are left in the competition and countless celebs have been in the past! That was iconic!’
The high-energy routine saw Layton and Nikita show off their skills as they writhed and shimmied down a pole, flipped through the air and danced in sync along with an array of backing dancers.
But giving his verdict, Craig, known for his strict scoring, told them: ‘This is a bit of dilemma for me because I loved it, but it wasn’t entirely in sync.
‘It’s about working in the mirror just both of you… that being said, you are one of the most incredible dancers I’ve seen on the show in the 20 years.’
Racy: The high-energy routine saw Layton and Nikita Kuzmin show off their skills as they writhed and shimmied down a pole, flipped through the air and danced in sync
Raging: Viewers took to social media to claim Layton was ‘robbed’ of a perfect 40 as Craig was the only judge not to give them a 10
Energetic: Layton threw his all into the dance as he showed off his talents, and certainly looked the part in a glitzy silver corset
High scores: Despite missing out on a perfect score, Layton and Nikita still came in joint first place on the leaderboard, as Ellie Leach and Vito Coppolo (pictured) also got 39 points
However, Anton Du Beke disagreed as he gushed: ‘It’s very difficult to drown out Craig, but if you try really, really hard, it’s really worth it… you are just incredible!’
And head judge Shirley Ballas said: ‘Your work ethic is off-the-chart… pure, pure artistic genius, well done!’
Anton, Shirley and Motsi Mabuse all awarded then 10s but Craig only gave them a nine, giving them a grand total of 39 points – one off a perfect score.
It was the second week in a row the pair scored 39, as they ranked top of the leaderboard in week eight for their Argentine Tango to Tattoo by Loreen.
Despite missing out on a perfect score again, Layton and Nikita still came in joint first place on the leaderboard, as Ellie Leach and Vito Coppolo also got 39 points.
The pair seriously impressed the judges as they danced the Charleston to Love Machine by Girls Aloud.
Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin – Couple’s Choice to Ain’t No Other Man by Christina Aguilera – 39 points out of 40
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola – Charleston to Love Machine by Girls Aloud – 39 points out of 40
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu – Argentine Tango to Black To Black by Amy Winehouse – 38 points out of 40
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell – Jive to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham! – 35 points out of 40
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe – American Smooth to Unchained Melody by Benedetta Caretta – 35 points out of 40
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones – Quickstep to It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing by Duke Ellington – 31 points out of 40
Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington – American Smooth to Tea for Two by Ella Fitzgerald – 28 points out of 40
Angela says: ‘Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me. A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentine Tango.’
Layton says: ‘Absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in THE most iconic dance competition in the UK! It’s time to bring it to the Ballroom. So excited to learn new skills from the best. Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins!’
Krishnan says: ‘I’m surprised, delighted and slightly confused to find myself taking part in Strictly on the basis of ‘You only live once!’ I can’t wait to start learning to dance, but I am slightly worried about my general decrepitude.’
Profession: Comedian and radio presenter
Eddie says: ‘WOW. Anyone who knows me, understands that music and dance is so important and central to who I am. I’m so unbelievably proud and honoured that Strictly and the BBC have asked me to join the 2023 Team. I promise you, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. This is going to be a VIBE.
Profession: TV presenter
Angela says: ‘I’m not particularly fit, I’ve no idea how my pelvic floor is going to react to this dancing. I’ve never done any dances apart from drunken jiving at a wedding!’
Profession: Actor and presenter
Adam says: ‘I can’t dance to save my life but I’m buzzing to learn and have a good laugh with my pro. Get me on that dance floor…I can’t wait!’
Profession: Coronation Street star
Ellie says: ‘It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly!! It’s always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true!!!!’
Profession: EastEnders star and model
Bobby says: ‘I’m so excited to be part of the Strictly line up, I can’t wait to start training like a professional dancer and adding a few moves to my locker. I’m looking forward to performing in-front of everyone.’
Nigel says: ‘I’m amazed, excited, and terrified to be doing Strictly. As an armchair fan of the show I have watched in awe as people have twirled and gyrated across the screen. And now it’s my turn…..gulp!’
Profession: Broadcaster and ex tennis player
Annabel says: ‘I have always loved watching Strictly and can’t quite believe I’m going to be part of this magical show – swapping tennis balls for glitter balls and looking forward to finding some joyfulness in the process.’