Ahead of their routine, Coppola had mentioned that the samba was his favourite style of dance to perform.
While the pair gave an energetic performance, head judge Shirley Ballas pointed out that Leach had made a slight mistake with her footwork. Craig Revel Horwood also noted that the actor did not turn her feet in the appropriate way for a Latin-based dance.
All four judges scored the pair a 7, making their score for the week 28.
In her after-dance interview with Claudia Winkleman, Leach, 22, welled up as she shared her disappointment over not getting the positive critique she had hoped for.
“I was actually really nervous to open the show,” she began, before directing a message to her partner. “I’m actually getting a little bit emotional, sorry – I just feel like I let you down.”
Coppola quickly let her know that that wasn’t the case and embraced her, while Winkleman pointed out how proud her mother looked.
On social media, several fans have shared their surprise at Leach and Coppola not receiving higher scores.
“I feel bad for Ellie, I thought she deserved an 8, I’m sorry she thought she did badly cause it wasn’t bad at all,” one fan wrote on Twitter, also known as X.
“Judges marking Ellie and Vito quite harshly, no?” wrote another viewer, before a different Strictly viewer tweeted: “Think that was a bit undermarked. Ellie was fab.”
Elsewhere, some accused the judges of paying too much attention to detail.
“I also saw the mistake, but I think the judges were a bit harsh on Ellie tbh,” reads one Twitter/X comment. “I thought her samba was great.”
A different viewer added: “Too much criticism from nit-picky judges. Ellie was blummin’ amazing!”
Ahead of the series, Leach admitted that she wasn’t looking forward to potential tough critiques. She said: “I’m quite sensitive, so the judges’ feedback might hurt a little bit, but I know that they know what they’re talking about.”
The results of Saturday’s show will be revealed on Sunday 15 October on BBC One at 7.15pm.