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Rhys Stephenson addresses viewer backlash over Tess Dalys condescending comments

Strictly: Rhys Stephenson defends Tess Daly

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Rhys Stephenson broke down in tears after performing the Waltz with Strictly Come Dancing professional Nancy Xu. Host Tess Daly was quick to try and comfort the CBBC presenter, but viewers claimed her comments were “condescending “as she called him “honey”. Addressing, the backlash, Rhys told Lorraine Kelly, the presenter simply wanted to “comfort” him.

After their dance on Saturday night, Rhys broke down in tears, with Tess commenting: “Aw come on darling, oh Rhys! Come over, sweetheart.

“Are you crying, honey? Are you having a little cry? Darling, I know you were so nervous.

Rhys replied: “Sorry, sorry, this is so embarrassing.”

Tess continued: “Oh, I know you were really nervous, and I know you wanted to do well, you don’t want to be in that dance-off again, do you, not at all.”

Speaking on Lorraine, the Scottish presenter asked: “I’m not surprised you were emotional, people were saying that Tess kind of treated you like a baby, what do you think?”

Disagreeing with the comments, Rhys explained: “You know what, I don’t, because no one has seen me like that.

“[And] I think Tess just wanted to really be a comfort to me in that moment, and I think some people might have read it wrong.

“I totally knew where Tess was coming from, and I appreciated that, I love gentleness, so for me, it was no problem.”

Lorraine added: “No, I agree with you I think she was just being kind and probably a little bit, not worried about you but wanted to make sure you were fine.”

On Saturday night, viewers were frustrated with Tess’s comments and took to Twitter to air their annoyance.

@thedanasaurous wrote: “Anyone else getting weird vibes from Tess when she’s asking if he’s crying after his dance?”

@lindapmm49 commented: “Could Tess be any more patronising to Rhys, oh, are you having a little cry? #StrictlyComeDancing.”

@bel3456 added: “Why is Tess so patronising when she talks? Can’t bear it #StrictlyComeDancing.”.

It wasn’t the only time Rhys broke down in tears as Claudia Winkleman surprised him with a video of his grandparents from the Cayman Islands.

Rhys said: “I was hoping for baffling Shirley Ballas, astounding her is great.”

As Claudia shared the video, Nancy gave Rhys a hug as he cried: “I think we came to dance this dance, and we just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.

“This means so much for us this week, we just want to show everyone that this lovely story is what we want to share with everyone.”

When it was time for the judges to give their scores, Craig Revel Horwood awarded their performance a seven.

Guest judge Cynthia Erivo and Anton Du Beke awarded a nine, and head judge Shirley Ballas scored their performance a 10.

This gave them a score of 35 out of a possible 40, placing them third on the leaderboard, however, this didn’t stop them from being in the dreaded dance-off.

Luckily, their Strictly journey didn’t come to an end as it was Tilly Ramsay and her partner Nikita Kuzmin who were eliminated from the BBC competition.

Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV. 

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