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James and Ola Jordan: Recreating the magic of Blackpool, Ranvir and Giovanni's chemistry and baby Ella's favourite dancer revealed

The former Strictly professionals reminisce about Blackpool...

ola jordan and james column
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyDeputy Lifestyle Editor
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The Strictly Come Dancing stars may not have been able to go to Blackpool this week, but they certainly did a fantastic job of recreating the experience! 

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Former professionals Ola and James Jordan discussed how dancing at Blackpool is an "amazing experience" – but who really stood out to them this week? 

While they believed JJ Chalmers and Bill Bailey may have been overmarked, they were impressed with Maisie's intricate lifts and Ranvir's ability to sell her performance with partner Giovanni.

And even their adorable baby Ella has a favourite dancer! James and Ola reveal all in their latest Strictly column...

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James: It was always going to be really difficult to recreate Blackpool but I must say the graphics and projections that they created in some of the dances were absolutely amazing! It actually looked like the projections were real.

Ola: Yes! I loved the opening pro number too. It was based around Anton and I thought it was great – I was just watching him more than anything. I think it's just a shame there was no audience so it's difficult for them to be upbeat. 

James: It is an amazing experience to dance at Blackpool with the incredible atmosphere. But at least they're still doing the show because lots of people are having difficult times at the moment.

Ola: We've got loads of memories of Blackpool from when we used to compete before we did Strictly, so obviously it's very special. 

anton dancing

Ola revealed Ella's favourite dancer is Anton du Beke

James: Compared to the studio, it's much more vast and a much bigger space, it feels very different with a bigger audience and a springy floor.

But onto the dances! Oti and Bill this week were just OK.

Ola: It wasn't great compared to his other weeks. He made a few mistakes and I don't expect that from him because I know how good he can be.

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James: He also struggled with the quicks and slows with the Foxtrot, you've got to have a lot of control of movement. It's probably going to be one of his weakest dances – it's not a dance where you can have the quirkiness he's had in all his other performances so far.

I can't believe Craig didn't mention his left hand – he had these two dodgy fingers sticking out and Craig normally picks up things like that. 

Ola: We thought he was overmarked – he got 25 in total, two eights and a nine. He had quite a few mistakes in there. 

I had to put the baby to bed yesterday so I missed his dance and had to watch it again this morning, and he went wrong. But Ella joined me and she already has a favourite – Uncle Anton!

James: Bill and JJ had joint scores, but I also thought JJ was overmarked. I loved the fact he let go a little bit, but if you compare him to everyone else he's not a great dancer. 

maisie gorka

James and Ola were impressed with Maisie and Gorka's intricate lifts 

Maisie only got two more points than JJ. She's in a different class, a different league, a different stratosphere when it comes to dancing. The leaderboard is actually so important when it comes to who's going home – it plays a massive part. 

Ola: Like last week when Maisie was in the dance-off.

James: It's not fair for those people if they're not in the right position from the judges' scores, it makes it a lot easier to be dropped to the bottom two with the public vote. We're all going through difficult times and we all want a bit of fun in our life – and Strictly has given us that – but you've got to be honest when you're judging. You can't be too nice!

Ola: Craig and Anton saved Maisie and Gorka last week but Shirley would have saved Max and Dianne. Who would you have kept in the competition?

James: Maisie, 100 per cent. When you put those two next to each other, there's no comparison between the two.

Ola: This week, Maisie had a lot of difficult, intricate lifts.

James: When she struggled to land one of them, Gorka was the nice guy and said, 'It was me, I gave her too much momentum' and I think that's admirable. Had he been dancing with a professional, that probably wouldn't have happened, but I thought it was brilliant.

Ola: She's a good mover but she has to work on the massive gap between her legs to make it look more feminine. It doesn't look precise. But her timing was great!

James: It was a full-on routine, I wouldn't have wanted to dance that routine – I think I would have been knackered!

Ola: She got her best score so far and came in joint second with Ranvir.

MORE: Strictly's Ranvir Singh talks possible romance with partner Giovanni Pernice after 'chemistry' comments

James: Let's talk about Ranvir. There's lots of discussion about her chemistry with Giovanni but that just means she's doing her job properly. It's about acting as well as dancing and you've got to make people believe that passion is there whether it is or isn't.

ranvir giovanni

The couple said Ranvir is brilliant at getting into character

Ola: She's great at selling her performances.

James: Each week she gets into character and I think that's what I like about her so much. Last week she was bottom of the leaderboard – and she's not going to be good at the rhythmical dances, but it's the way she sells it!

Ola: She may not be the best technically but she's really going for it in comparison to other people.

James: I got into the music, the costumes, the choreography and I got lost in the moment so I overlooked all the other things. I can still see Ranvir's not a trained dancer, but that makes me admire her even more.

Ola: But Jamie beat her to the top of the leaderboard.

James: I love Jamie. For me, he's what Strictly is about. Was the dance good? It was brilliant! Was I entertained? It was amazing! But I thought it was a dance that should be on Britain's Got Talent. Strictly is about partnering and technique.

Ola: If you compare Jamie to Bill, Bill's dance was technically much harder.

James: Come Dancing (the original talent show) was just Ballroom and Latin, that's the whole premise of the show. We have things like Charleston and Salsa that aren't from that world but all of those dances have partnering – it's about the lead and follow. Hip hop is another totally different genre and so far removed from Ballroom and Latin.

jamie karen

Jamie topped the leaderboard this week with his street dance

I loved it and would have given him a nine – he's improving week on week. But I'm a traditionalist.

Ola: I'm hoping that dance has given him the belief he can do this.

James: At the other end of the leaderboard is Clara and Caroline.

Ola: I know Clara made a lot of mistakes but I liked her dancing. I'd like to see more from her and I really don't want her to go.

James: I think Clara just had a bad week but I think she's got something really good about her. Caroline did a nice dance but the facial expressions were a bit weird and then she licked Johannes – I've never seen that in all the years I've watched Strictly!

Ola: It was funny, but one of the weirdest moments ever! 

James: Cha-cha-cha is a really hard dance and I thought she did a really good job. But I think she's at risk of leaving this week.

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