Strictly's Shirley Ballas defended Charles Venn after rumba was criticised by Craig Revel Horwood and saw him booted off the show

The head judge and her fellow panellist Dame Darcey Bussell did not agree with Craig's harsh critique of the sensual dance.

After Casualty star Charles, 45, and his dance partner Karen Clifton, 36, performed an emotional rumba to 'Maria' from West Side Story in the show's Musical Week, Shirley and Darcey were quick to heap praise on him.

But judge Craig lived up to his reputation and offered what he felt was lacking from their dance.

He said: "“I think you coped, really, really well. I’ll give you the negatives first.

“It’s not huge darling, it’s just you have to be aware of your free arm and the expression you put into that.

“I felt like you were dancing one sided, on occasion. Only on occasion. Sometimes your feet were a little bolted to the floor, in this it doesn’t stop moving through the 4-1. That’s just the nasty bits!”

But clearly not on the same page, Shirley and Darcey were seen shaking their heads and mouthing no as Craig spewed his criticisms.

Picking up on their reaction, Tess asked the former ballerina if she was in disagreement with Craig.

Darcey affirmed: “Oh, I certainly was!

“To see you lead that Rumba, it's so rare for the guy to have control, and you had control.

“The two of you together, oh my goodness! But the balance, the feet, your resistance, I have to disagree [with Craig] I did feel that, it had meaning all the way through. I loved it.”

And Shirley piped in, agreeing with Darcey that she didn't see what Craig seemed to: “I didn’t see this left loose or side or whatever.

“I just saw the whole feeling, with some beautiful fundamentals."

Before adding: "Congratulations.”

But Craig wasn't all doom and gloom, he had added: "All the good bits, it’s the most masculine one I've ever seen and probably the best male celeb Rumba we’ve ever had really!”

Charles and Karen were awarded 35 points for their rendition of the sexy dance – placing them joint bottom with Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard.

Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice topped the board with a perfect score of 40.

And despite the kind comments from some of the judges Charles and Karen were still given the boot ahead of next week's semi-final.

The hunky 45-year-old actor and his 36-year-old Venezualean dance professional partner saw their luck run out just weeks away from the 2018 final.

Charles paid special homage to Karen as they gracefully accepted defeat as the judges opted to send them packing following a dance off against Pussycat Dolls beauty Ashley Roberts, 37, and her Russian dance partner Pasha Kovalev, 38.

“Before I go through dances or memories I have to pay extreme homage to this woman here because Karen Clifton turned me into a promising dancer,” Charles gushed.

“A promising dancer honestly! This woman has been by my side and supported me, she’s been strict, she’s been solid, she’s been caring and loving, sensitive, intuitive, and I’m adamant that without her I don’t know how I would have got to this level.”

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