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James & Ola Jordan: Strictly skipping Halloween, judging same-sex couple and wardrobe malfunctions

See their verdict on what would have been Strictly's Halloween week...

ola jordan and james column
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
1 November 2020
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What a rollercoaster of emotions on Saturday night! Like much of the nation, Ola and James Jordan were disappointed to hear the news that the UK will enter into a second lockdown later this week – an announcement that came from Boris Johnson just minutes before Strictly Come Dancing began.

MORE:  Clara Amfo suffers wardrobe malfunction during Strictly Come Dancing LIVE show

When the beloved BBC show kicked off, Ola and James couldn't help but notice the gloomy news may have impacted the Strictly atmosphere.

The former professional dancers revealed they were sad the producers skipped Halloween week, but they loved Bill Bailey and Ranvir Singh, whom they described as "sensational." Read their column for all the info...

WATCH: Clara Amfo suffers wardrobe malfunction on Strictly Come Dancing

James: The second lockdown is just frustrating because we've been really careful and stuck to the rules because of my dad and Ella. Overall, Saturday was still a good show but I didn't think it was as good as week one. 

Ola: The celebrities don't have as much time to work on their dance in week two as they do in week one. 

James: But the drop in standard could be because of what happened right before the show started – it just didn't feel as uplifting.

Ola: And there was no Halloween week.

James: You can't dictate when Halloween is, you do Halloween week on Halloween, irrelevant of what stage of the competition it is. It would have been nice because there are kids at home who know it's Halloween and love Strictly. The costume and makeup department is next level at what they do.

Ola: Clara's performance was slightly Halloween themed. What did you think of her wardrobe mishap?

James: That can happen to anyone and I thought she dealt with it very well, she's just got to forget about it and move on. But her frame! Her arms were so high she totally lost her neck, she really needs to work on her posture, shoulders and extension through her spine. 

Ola: I like the fact she sells it!

James: But I would have given her a 5. It wasn't a great dance for her, but last week I thought she was much better.

bill bailey© Photo: BBC

Bill Bailey could be a contender for the final!

Ola: One person who did surprise me was Bill Bailey. Last week I thought he was going to be a joke act but this week he really was dancing very well. He did a really good job and I think he's going to be a contender this year. 

James: We weren't laughing at him yesterday, he was really good. Last week he was one of the performances that were really fun, the type of people you want to see on Strictly, but the quality wasn't there. 

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But this week, on a dance that I thought he might struggle with, he was actually a lot better than the public might realise – his posture, the way he moved across the floor, his timing, the technicality, it was really high quality as well as very entertaining.

Ola: I thought they'd get a long way because people like him.

James: Now I think he's one of the contenders for the final.

Ola: He's joint second on the leaderboard with Nicola and HRVY.

James: And deservedly so! Was Nicola joint second? Nicola shouldn't be in that group. I'm not a fan of the contemporary dances – it's not So You Think You Can Dance or Britain's Got Talent. Strictly is about partnering, and the reason I loved them last week was because they did a great job with partnering and shut a lot of people up, including myself, who thought it couldn't work.

nicola katya main dance© Photo: BBC

Ola and James didn't enjoy Katya and Nicola's couples' choice dance

Ola: At the beginning of the routine, she was running around with a cloth, and when you look at Bill who had quite difficult footwork there is no comparison. 

James: At one point I thought they were airing their bedsheets!

Ola: You have to be honest, it wasn't as good as Bill. But even Craig didn't have anything bad to say about it.

James: Are the judges worried about giving bad comments to Nicola and Katya because they're the first same-sex couple? Perhaps, but I'm going to give you my honest opinion. 

Ola: Maisie's also at the top of the leaderboard. 

James: I thought her performance was forgettable, but it was a proper Tango.

Ola: There was no fluff, no messing about. It was pure dancing from beginning to end.

James: It was full of content and difficult stuff. I thought the choreography that Gorka did was fantastic.

Ola: But I agree, you're not going to remember it next week.

James: Do I remember Bill's? Yes. Was Maisie better than Bill? By a million miles. I loved it but it's not going to be one of their epic performances. She's got so much more to give – I would have given them a nine. 

ranvir singh© Photo: BBC

Ranvir Singh was "sensational", according to James

Ola: HRVY was great too.

James: I wanted to see a proper Viennese Waltz and there wasn't enough of the natural turns, reverse turns, correct footwork on the fleckerls. But when they broke hold and did the tricky stuff he was phenomenal. 

Ola: HRVY and Janette are still ones to watch.

James: It was a great performance and they're still some of the best in the competition but it wasn't my favourite routine.

READ: Nicola Adams moves Strictly fans with her meaningful performance with Katya Jones

Ola: Ranvir also surprised you, didn't she?

James: Absolutely! I honestly wrote her off when she did the group dance on the launch show. 

Ola: In the launch show she was better than I thought she would be! And then last week was good, not amazing, and this week was very good.

James: She has exceeded my expectations more than anyone else I've seen on many, many years on strictly. I think she was sensational! Giovanni is proving that he can turn someone that's not a natural dancer into a dancer and he's doing a marvellous job.

Ola: Strictly is long days and stressful.

jacqui anton© Photo: BBC

Anton du Beke disagreed with Craig Revel Horwood's scores

James: It's a lot to deal with, people just see Saturday night and you don't see how hard these people work. I empathise with all of them because I know how hard they're working to create a bit of magic when we need it. 

They're all doing fantastic, but generally, the people at the top of the leaderboard now stay there. It's unlikely that someone like JJ will become a contender. 

Ola: Jaquie, Jamie and JJ are the ones who are struggling. Jacqui and Anton received a two from Craig! 

James: Anton booed him when he didn't agree – I love it when people respond to the judges when they're standing in front of them! But I would have given Jacqui a three.

Ola: But she was on time and she did a lot of Samba steps – she didn't do that badly! Don't get me wrong she was the worst, but I don't want to be too harsh on her. There are other people who are better than her who don't stay on time and that bothers me more.

James: That's true, you could give her a break. I'm not as nice!

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