Strictly Come Dancing stars Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin impressed with their routine on Saturday, but their lift was deemed illegal by the judges
Strictly’s Nikita and Ellie take swipe at judges' comments after sparking illegal lift row
Strictly Come Dancing star Ellie Simmonds and her professional partner Nikita Kuzmin appeared to poke fun at the BBC show’s judging panel comments.
The BBC One Latin and ballroom show aired a special celebration over the weekend to mark the BBC's 100th birthday, with Nikita and Ellie dancing to the theme tune of The Apprentice.
The pair made their way into next weekend and will compete alongside all the other safe celebrities in the Halloween special.
Nikita and Ellie impressed with their routine, but their lift was deemed illegal by the judges.
Head judge Shirley Ballas said: "Your laser vision at the very beginning, I could see that you were totally into this, you brought a lovely sense of mood. I only have one little complaint.
“I do, I'm so sorry. I do have to deduct one point for an assisted lift at the beginning because that's not allowed. But other than that you were absolutely phenomenal."
Craig Revel Horwood insisted it was an "illegal lift" rather than an assisted lift, saying they held on and spun around for too long.
The Ukrainian dancer and the Paralympic swimming champs scored 30 points for their performance and addressed the lift during an appearance on BBC Two spin off It Takes Two.
Host Janette Manrara kicked off the conversation as she said: “Now we’ve got to talk about it, as it has been quite the controversial subject – the lift.”
Nikita explained: “I love the fact that it was illegal,” as he mocked Craig’s voice.
He continued: “To be honest, I am always trying to create choreography around Ellie, and my goal for this week was to create a lot of drama.
“To be fair about the lift, my only goal is to get Ellie down safely and in a spectacular manner.”
Ellie then chimed in: “Safety first, safety first,” as Nikita continued: “If that’s the only thing that keeps us away from a 10, I can live with it.”
On Saturday evening, fans rushed to social media to slam the judges over their comments, as they tried to clarify what they meant.
Ellie said it was “amazing” to hear viewers were on their side, and said they’d “still have kept it in” despite the comments.
Other fans were concerned for Nikita as he appeared to 'disappear' from viewers' screens following the performance as fans struggled to spot him during the part of the show on Saturday.
However, Nikita cleared things up insisting he was fine. "Just ripped my pants because of this paso [crying laughing emojis]. So had to get them sown for the 3rd time! Thank you," he wrote alongside a red heart emoji.