The outspoken judge, 55, claimed the pro would be ‘difficult to remove’ from his new job after he filled in for Motsi Mabuse while she self-isolates following an ‘urgent trip’ to Germany.
Craig also admitted he’s ‘secretly loving’ Bill Bailey in this year’s competition as he continues to surprise viewers with his impressive moves, adding he could be the ‘dark horse’ of the series.
Hilarious: Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood has jokingly compared pro Anton Du Beke to Donald Trump after his long-awaited debut on the judging panel
Speaking on Thursday’s Lorraine, Craig said he was thrilled to see Anton finally join the Strictly judging panel after years of lobbying by fans.
The veteran pro is filling for Motsi for two weeks, but fans are hoping his spot could become permanent next series.
He said: ‘It was like a three year-old coming in, sitting in his podium. He was loving himself sick, it was fantastic to see him sitting on the podium.
‘I was absolutely delighted darling that finally he got the chance. Now I think he is going to be a little bit like Trump – difficult to remove.’
Success! The outspoken judge claimed the pro would be ‘difficult to remove’ from his new job after he filled in for Motsi Mabuse while she self-isolates
Riding high: Speaking on Thursday’s Lorraine, Craig said he was thrilled to see Anton finally join the Strictly judging panel after years of lobbying by fans
Of course Craig’s tongue-in-cheek reference came as President of the United States Donald Trump refused to concede his loss in the US election to Joe Biden for several days, only recently admitting defeat after repeatedly claiming he’d won.
Craig added that Bill is already his favourite contestant this series and his tipped him to go all the way to the final.
He said: ‘To be honest I am secretly actually loving Bill Bailey. I adore him, he just shocks me.
‘Everytime I see him dance, I am surprised, amazed and delighted. I never thought for one moment he would be able to do it. He doesn’t look like the type or the type of character… I love him, I would love to see him in the final.
‘I think he is brilliant, the dark horse of the competition. I also think Maisie is fantastic as well… fantastic technique, great hip action.’
Wow! Craig added that Bill Bailey (pictured dancing with Oti Mabuse) is already his favourite contestant this series and his tipped him to go all the way to the final
Doing well: He said: ‘I love him, I would love to see him in the final. ‘I think he is brilliant, the dark horse of the competition’
She’ll be OK! Craig said he hopes Maisie Smith won’t be fazed after being in the dance-off last weekend (pictured dancing with Gorka Marquez)
Fans were shocked last week when EastEnders star Maisie Smith ended up in the dance-off, before being saved by the judges.
Craig said he hopes the young actress won’t be fazed by the result, telling Lorraine: ‘Sometimes that makes you a little bit stronger and makes you fight a little bit more.
‘I think it’s good to get that little jab in the backside, if you know what I am saying, in order to push yourself that little bit harder and not just rely on the fact that you are super talented.
‘In this game, you have to win over the audience too because of course it was the audience that put her in that bottom two, the judges didn’t because obviously she is fantastic.
‘It’s about canvassing votes as much as it is winning the hearts and minds or the judges. You have to win the hearts and minds of the audience too as they are the other judge on this.’
Views: He said the ‘fantastic’ actress will bounce back, adding: ‘Sometimes that makes you a little bit stronger and makes you fight a little bit more’
Lorraine of course asked about her daytime colleague Ranvir Singh, who has also impressive viewers with her dance moves.
Craig praised: ‘Ranvir has amazed us. No dance training whatsoever, and she has just come in week by week getting better and better and she is so watchable and a complete delight in the studio, from afar obviously… I think she is exceptional.
‘She will go through weeks where I think she is strong at some dances and not so great at others, but that happens to everyone.
‘Last week wasn’t her best week but I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of what she can produce.
‘She is a great study as well, which means she applies herself so brilliantly to it all and takes it seriously, but I think she is really coming out of her shell now and we are going to see a lot more explosive dancing from her.’
Doing well: Craig was also full of praise for Good Morning Britain’s Ranvir Singh, who has also impressed viewers with her moves
Changes: Craig also admitted that adapting to the strict new social distancing measures during filming has proved challenging
Craig also admitted that adapting to the strict new social distancing measures during filming has proved challenging, with the cast and crew unable to mix while the show is being recorded.
He said: ‘I have got into the swing of it. It was difficult at first as we were so used to obviously hand shaking, hugging one another… being two metres apart from everybody in the studio is really, really difficult.
‘I have been there from the beginning since May 2004 and I know a lot of the crew and normally we are quite pally with everybody…. You just can’t mix at all.
Adapting: He added: ‘So it’s not as it used to be, but it is bringing entertainment to the nation and I think at this point in time, leading up to Christmas, that is so important to people’
‘I am in my little room upstairs just waiting for my cue to go down to the studio and you have to walk in procession two metres apart and only one person is allowed on the stairwell at any one time.
‘So it’s not as it used to be, but it is bringing entertainment to the nation and I think at this point in time, leading up to Christmas, that is so important to people, knowing that there is some normality in life.’
This weekend will see the remaining eight couples take to the floor as the competition reaches the halfway stage, after Max George and Dianne Buswell were eliminated last week.
Along with Anton’s debut on the judging panel, HRVY and Janette Manrara earned their first 10 of the series, while Clara Amfo and Aljaž Skorjanec topped the leaderboard with a stunning Charleston.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7:15pm on BBC One.
Back soon: Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7:15pm on BBC One