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James and Ola Jordan give verdict on Strictly's same-sex couple & more

See their initial thoughts on Strictly's season 18

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Strictly Come Dancing's season 18 is finally upon us, and just like many people across the UK, James and Ola Jordan are looking forward to enjoying the light entertainment following the coronavirus lockdown. As Ola said, "the nation needs it!"

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing 2020 celebrity partners announced in fabulous launch episode

The former Strictly pros and global dance champions will be sitting down with HELLO! for every show over the next nine weeks to discuss their thoughts on the dancing drama. 

On Saturday, James and Ola were joined by their daughter Ella as they caught their first glimpse of the 2020 couples – and Ella is already a huge fan of the BBC show!

"The last time we watched it she was in your belly Ola and you said that she'd kick when we used to watch it with certain songs," James said to Ola.

WATCH: Janette Manrara meets partner HRVY for the first time

And there's one particular couple that is on everyone's lips this year, despite the fact that the dancing hasn't even begun – Strictly's first-ever same-sex couple Nicola Adams and Katya Jones. Let's take a look at their thoughts for their first Strictly Speaking column...

James: Strictly are finally set to have a female pairing this season.

Ola: I know, I'm really excited to see what Nicola Adams and Katya Jones can achieve on the dancefloor! 

James: Out of all the pro dancers, they definitely gave Nicola the right partner because Katya is so good with her choreography. 

I've been misquoted about my thoughts on same-sex couples dancing over the years, so it's good to set the record straight.

I'm a ballroom dancer and many of my friends and colleagues who I love are gay and they have always been fundamental to the world of dance and on Strictly. My competitive dance mentor was a gay man and was someone I completely admired and respected. 

katya nicola

Nicola Adams and Katya Jones are the first same-sex pairing in Strictly history

He always taught me that the beauty of Ballroom and Latin professional dancing was about the masculine and feminine forms intertwining and merging to create the perfect balance. It is the ying and the yang that brings this style of dancing to life – the ebb and flow of the masculine meeting the feminine in perfect balance. 

READ: Strictly's Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec living apart for the first time in ten years so they can compete

For example, in the Waltz the man is there to showcase the woman by holding a strong frame for her to dance into, or by contrast, in the pasodoble, the man acts as the matador where the lady is either the flamenco dancer or the cape showing the softness in contrast to the man's overpowering strength.

So, in truth, I'm interested to see how Nicola and Katya can bring this to the table. It will be different to see Ballroom and Latin dancing brought up to date and adapted to suit same-sex couples. 

Can they achieve the same dynamic we are used to seeing in our favourite dances, or will they choose to reinvent things? The challenges will be there but I have no doubt the women will embrace the opportunity to push the boundaries of dance and make it work for a modern age. 

Ola: Katya is a really good choreographer and very adventurous in style so I'm looking forward to seeing what they create together.

James: Absolutely! I will be watching with interest and willing them on for sure, but don't go expecting any special treatment from me. Every couple will be judged on their merits, regardless of sex, colour, creed...they will still get complete honesty both barrels from me, don't you worry!

Ola: It's so hard to tell this early on, but what do you think about the other couples?

gorka maisie

Ola and James believe Maisie Smith could be one of the top three

James: I think the men look stronger on the line up than the females, and I'll put that out there as well. You've got Max George, Jason Bell, JJ Chalmers, Jamie Laing, HRVY, they all look like they could all do really well, and when I look at the females I would say maybe Nicola, Maisie and Clara are the three that could do well.  

Ola: Clara looks like a bundle of fun! I think she's got a good partner in Aljaž Škorjanec, it will be a nice pairing. 

James: I agree, I think that she is going to be a hard worker and Aljaž seems to bring out the best in all his partners, so I think that she's in safe hands. 

Ola: Moving onto Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez. She's an actress from EastEnders so I expect that she's probably had some form of dance training – I think she'll be good. She'll be one to look out for. 

James: Maisie and Gorka are both fitness fanatics so I think that's a brilliant pairing because they're both gym freaks but it's hard to say with her. Because she is really into her gym, the only thing that I'd worry about is maybe she won't have the softness. 

MORE: Prince Harry had best reaction to close friend JJ Chalmers joining Strictly Come Dancing

Ola: True, maybe she'll be a bit stiff. 

James: In ballroom and Latin dancing, you really need the long muscles and softness but if she has had a lot of dance training than she could still show that. And the acting will help – if someone says to her 'right this week your character is romantic,' she's going to be able to get into that persona a lot easier than other people. 

dianne max

Ola has high hopes for Max George after The Wanted's Jay McGuinness did so well

Ola: We're both in agreement about who the three to watch are aren't we? It's the youngest ones who we think are going to do best.

James: Yes! We reckon it's going to be between Maisie, HRVY and Max this year. And it's true – if you look at all the years of Strictly, all the young ones do better! 

Ola: We can't really say who's going to win – if I had to pick one at this stage I'd go with HRVY. What about you? 

James: I'm gonna put it out there and go with Max George. 

Ola: Max and Dianne Buswell are another young and fit pairing. Max's mate Jay McGuinness from The Wanted was amazing. So, I'm thinking that if Max had the same training that Jay did when he did Strictly, he could be one to watch.

James: I think they're going to be one of the front runners. I think it's a brilliant pairing.

Ola: I'm going with HRVY because he's got Janette Manrara – she's always brilliant and when she gets someone with a little bit of talent it's always amazing so I've got really high hopes for them. I'm nicely surprised that she got HRVY, I'm really pleased for her. It's going to be a really good pairing. 

James: She's a little pocket rocket! I think they're gonna be one of the front runners for sure. Also, Janette is really good at commercial dancing as well and I think that they can bring a bit of youth to the show because I think that choreographically she's going to be really good for him. Keep your eyes on HRVY. 

hrvy janette

Ola predicts HRVY will win, while James thinks it could be Max lifting the Glitterball trophy

Ola: Out of all the professional dancers, I'd like to see Janette win.

James: I'd always love to see Anton du Beke win. 

Ola: What do you think of Anton being paired with Jacqui Smith?

James: I think out of all the pairings it was just so predictable that he was going to get her. I can look at the line-up and go 'well that's gonna be Anton's pairing.' I think last year was the first year where it was a shock to everyone, he had someone good last year.

Ola: Oh, Emma Barton?

James: Yes, that was a shock last year! He's done it fifteen times, and once you've had a bit of a shock, now it's back to predictability with Anton. His pairing with Jaqui was a bit predictable so I don't really hold out much hope – I don't think he's going to get to the final again, let's put it that way. 

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