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James and Ola Jordan: Nicola Adams surprised us and why Caroline and Ranvir were overmarked

See what the Strictly columnists thought of the first show

ola jordan and james column
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyDeputy Lifestyle Editor
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Strictly Come Dancing fans were in for a treat on Saturday night after the celebrities strutted their stuff during their first dances of the 2020 show! 

READ: Strictly week one highlights: HRVY tops the leaderboard, Katya and Nicola's first dance and more

While everyone may have already chosen their favourites (including HELLO!'s Strictly columnists Ola and James Jordan!), there are still a couple of stars who are vulnerable ahead of the first elimination next week. 

Let's see what the professionals had to say about the most memorable, surprising and disappointing dances…

nicola adams katya jones strictly© Photo: BBC

Nicola could be in the top three, according to James and Ola

Ola: Last week, our top three were HRVY, Max George and Maisie Smith, but that's now changed to HRVY, Maisie and Nicola Adams.

James: Yes, I put Nicola in there because I didn't know what to expect, but she pleasantly surprised me. The quickstep is quite a tough dance to do week one because the tempo is so much faster than some of the other dances.

That means, for example, you've got three times the amount of steps someone has to learn than if you do the Waltz. It's so difficult to learn that dance so early in the competition. I think they did a fantastic job and I'm excited to see what else they'll bring to the show.

MORE: Kate Garraway reacts to Ranvir Singh's Strictly performance

Ola: Nicola was good. Katya Jones obviously proved that Nicola is partnered with the right person, that's what we said from the very beginning.

James: In my opinion, there were two people that were marked too high and that was Caroline Quentin and Ranvir Singh.

Ola: They both got the same marks as Nicola, but Nicola was better than them.

WATCH: Gemma Atkinson's verdict on Gorka Marquez’s new Strictly partner Maisie

James: Caroline and Ranvir's higher scores were because of their performances.

Ola: Caroline has had some dance training which you can see with her feet and arms. I think the expectations are really high because she's admitted to being a dancer. 

James: She's not going to be compared to people who have never danced before like Bill Bailey. I thought she was good, I agree her arms and feet were fantastic but there were some timing issues. 

Ola: What about Ranvir and Giovanni?

James: Ranvir was much better than I thought she was going to be, but it wasn't a difficult routine, she just sold it so well.

Ola: She also had an amazing costume and music and everything came together.

James: Absolutely, Giovanni created a wonderful routine for her. 

Ola: It's week one, but I think the top and bottom of the leaderboard was correct. We both agree Jacqui Smith was the right person to be at the bottom.

caroline quentin strictly johannes© Photo: BBC

The couple think Caroline Quentin and Ranvir Singh were overmarked

James: There are a lot of couples with great potential, but the two people that stand out as being the best dancers at the moment are HRVY and Maisie. Then there's about five or six in the middle fighting to take that third spot at the moment. You really liked Jason Bell, didn't you?

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Ola: Yes, I like Clara Amfo and I love Jason! He's just so cheesy and so smiley and happy. Jason seems to be the best footballer Strictly has ever had. 

James: I am quite excited to see what Jason and Luba are going to bring – I think he was one that I might have underestimated.

Ola: The judges weren't sure about their first dance though.

James: I didn't agree with the judge's comments. They put some street into the dance and I really enjoyed his performance. Normally, I'm a traditionalist, but I felt it worked. He's got a lot of potential and he looks like a hard-worker – he could go a long, long way in this competition.

Ola: Bill was the biggest surprise of the night for me. 

James: What he lacked in technique and quality, he made up in performance. I thought it was the most memorable performance of the night. Is he the best dancer? No way. But he was very entertaining.

Ola: Do you think he'll have the same energy when it comes to ballroom dances?

bill bailey oti mabuse strictly© Photo: BBC

Bill Bailey impressed Ola and James

James: That's the problem you see. I'd like them to try and bring that to the ballroom. Unless his ballroom is of really good quality so we can compare him to the likes of Maisie, HRVY and Clara, he should just try to do what he did in that dance for every dance. 

Ola: But he shouldn't be at the top of the leaderboard. 

James: No, I still would have given him a four, but I would pick up the phone and vote for someone like him.

And I hate to say it because they're still my favourites to win the whole show, but Max George and Dianne Buswell surprised me in a negative way. I thought maybe he would be better than he was.

Ola: I think the problem is that Max is always going to be compared to Jay McGuinness because he's from the same band, The Wanted. But let's not forget that Jay was a trained dancer, there was no question about it. 

James: He seems like the person who's probably going to go on the biggest journey, that's what I'm hoping.

Ola: So you stand by your initial thoughts that Max could win?

jamie laing and karen hauer strictly© Photo: BBC

Jamie Laing is in a vulnerable position going into week two

James: I do because they have the likeability factor. I think Max is going to improve a lot more than people that are already very good that may have had a bit more dance training.

Ola: Jamie and Jacqui are in the bottom two spots on the leaderboard. Jamie wasn't that great so I wouldn't be surprised if he is in the bottom two.

James: I love Jamie! I'm willing him on. But he is in a really vulnerable position.

Ola: I think Jacqui will be the first one to go.

James: Even though she's with Anton du Beke? It's very seldom that Anton goes out first so it puts Jamie in a really difficult position.

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