Photo by: BBC Photographer: Guy Levy

Bayley still in Strictly thanks to table tennis themed salsa

Author:
Rebecca Hughes

Publish date:

Please note - this news article was published more than one year ago. Some of the information contained may no longer be correct.

Will Bayley has been saved in the first public vote after performing a sizzling salsa with a table tennis theme.

It means that Will and professional dance partner Janette Manrara will be returning to our screens next Saturday for movie week special.

After finding out he had been saved, the Strictly star said: “I was so nervous backstage. I was losing the plot.”

Yesterday Will wowed the judges when he brought a whole new meaning to the word ‘ballroom’ by dancing with a table tennis bat while 1,000 balls were released onto the dance floor. 

The story behind the performance was his victory dance when winning gold at the Paralympics – and we can confirm, there was nothing mild about this salsa! To see for yourself, press play below.

Speaking before his performance Will commented: “Having a table tennis bat makes me feel at home. I’m scared about this dance, but the bat in the hand gives me a bit more confidence.”

Having been born with a condition that affects his joints in all four of his limbs, dancing – and especially completing lifts – are all the more difficult.

“Before I came on this show lifts were one of the things that I was really worried about to be honest” he admitted.

“Because of my hands and my legs I was thinking I will really struggle to do lifts and just the gripping and stuff I was finding really difficult.

“This is going to be a massive challenge for me and something that I have to try and overcome.”

But yet again Will and his partner Janette Manrara wowed the audience and soon had them standing on their feet.

Here’s what the judges had to say on week 2:

Craig Revel Horwood, score 6: “How you were doing those lifts is beyond me. They are absolutely amazing. You have a tendency to dance a little bit ahead of beat sometimes, but that’s just in your effort to get there I think. Lower in the knee would help you. Your hips are wiggling beautifully, darling.”

Motsi Mabuse, score 6: “You know Will, to keep so calm while everybody dances and then to come out like a bomb it was just like BOOM. I couldn’t have asked for more. You gave everything I wanted from you. I loved it.”

Shirley Ballas, score 6: “Everything about you is unique. You have 150% commitment. It comes from your soul and you can’t teach that. You are what Strictly is all about.”

Bruno Tonioli, score 6: “The energy, the enthusiasm, but above all the love for dancing and the love for being here. You are inspiring me to be honest.”

Last week Will scored 26 when he impressed everyone with his quickstep, putting him in sixth place. This week he scored 24, which means he stayed in sixth place ahead of the public vote. 

If like Bruno, you’ve been inspired by Will Bayley and want to take up table tennis, read our guide on how to get started. Whether you want to play casually or competitively, there are hundreds of places to play all over the country – including for free on our Ping! tables and in our Ping Ping Parlours. Find out more here.

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