Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood says ‘dance is for everyone’ amid complaints over Priscilla drag routine

Two images: Craig Revel Horwood smiling in a tuxedo, Strictly pros Johannes and Gorka in sequinned jumpsuits and matching headpieces

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has declared that “dance is for everyone”, after viewers complained about a dazzling Priscilla-inspired drag routine.

Saturday’s (5 December) episode of Strictly saw professional dancers Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Johannes Radebe take to the floor in glittering drag as they performed a fabulous Priscilla Queen of the Desert-inspired routine.

It came after boxer Nicola Adams became the first celebrity to be paired with a partner of the same gender. Predictably, both Adams’ pairing with Katya Jones and the drag-themed performance of this weekend spark backlash from offended viewers. 

But judge Craig Revel Horwood has hit back at the critics, insisting that “dance is for everyone”.

Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing paid homage to musical theatre with a dazzling drag routine (BBC)

He told The Guardian: “Strictly has always been at the forefront in representation, and I was thrilled when Katya and Nicola were confirmed as a professional couple this year.

“I’ve always appreciated when we’ve been able to push the boundaries and be representational, whether it’s Katya and Nicola as a professional pairing, same-sex professional dances, or last week’s drag-inspired opening number.

“Dance is for everyone and it should evolve to reflect the world we live in, and I’m proud Strictly reflects that.”

Craig Revel Horwood attends opening night of "Billy Elliot: The Musical" on February 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia

Craig Revel Horwood attends opening night of “Billy Elliot: The Musical” on February 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (WireImage/ Sam Tabone)

Strictly Come Dancing has been slow to embrace diversity and was nudged into action after its ITV rival, Dancing on Ice, proudly announced its first same-sex ice skating pair in the form of Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Matt Evers.

Strictly followed suit with its latest season, ignoring the 300 viewers who took the time to complain that it was “offensive” to see a same-sex couple dancing together, and paired Olympic boxer Nicola Adams with pro Kayta Jones.

Adams and Jones’ show-stopping debut performance went on to draw record ratings and an average of 8.6 million viewers – the highest for an opener in three years.

They were sadly forced to quit the competition after Jones tested positive for COVID-19, but will return for the final on 19 December.