Following the news that Joe-Warren Plant was forced to leave the show, and that Jason Donovan would miss Sunday's episode due to a back injury, James and Ola Jordan are becoming a little superstitious! "You know, they mentioned it's the 13th series!" James joked. "It might be a coincidence but they've never had this many injuries. In my series there were no injuries at all - there were little things but no one actually pulled out of the show."
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Although the reality show has gone through more than it's share of early exits and injuries, ITV bosses still managed to put on a great show for 'love week,' and James and Ola opened up about what they made of the show...
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"It was supposed to be love week and I didn't get that vibe at all, except maybe with Colin Jackson," James admitted. "I wasn't a fan of the music choices for love week. I wanted to see romance and tension and beauty - but they were doing Charlestons and hip hop. I hate to say it but choreographically, the pros are just doing steps.
"For love week, there's supposed to be a connection between the two of you, and I didn't feel it that much - except with Colin. The whole love story angle was lost for me."
Colin Jackson performed to With or Without You
The former Strictly pros discussed each couple's performance, and were particularly full of praise for Sonny Jay. James said: "I thought Sonny was fantastic. He was so good on the ice, had a lot of intricate skating and made it look easy. You can see he's giving it some, he's trying to perform it and I really admired that."
Speaking about Rebekah Vardy's performance to I'll Be There for You, he added: "Rebekah's skating ability is really strong - I do miss the performance side of it and think her partner Andy can be more clever with the choreography to make it more of a couple's performance rather than just steps."
Chatting about Lady Leshurr, Ola explained: "Lady Leshurr's did a lovely performance but I didn't watch it thinking, 'Oh yeah, that was really romantic!'"
The pair were full of praise for Sonny Jay
Of Colin, James said: "He did a fantastic job with a lovely piece of music. I felt the connection between the two of them - it came in and out but you could warm to their performance."
While plenty of viewers took to Twitter to criticise the judges following their remarks about Faye Brookes and Hamish Gaman's performance, leaving them both in tears, James said: "I have a very different take on Faye and Hamish's performance. I thought they were phenomenal last week, they were in a different league and I didn't think anyone would even get close to them. If they'd spoken up or gotten upset last week, I would have understood it. This week, you've got to be able to back it up.
"The judges said they lost synchronicity, they did. They said she nearly fell over, she did. It was okay, it was nothing special. I thought there were a couple of people who were better than them this week. She's good, but I get what the judges are saying! If you can't take that sort of criticism, you shouldn't be on a show like that."
The pair were in tears of the judges' comments
The TV personality, who won the show in 2019, continued: "I come from the dancing world where you get criticised all of the time, but crying about it? I don't get that, that's not my bag. I'd cry with elation, but if someone criticises me, I'd go away determined to be better. People saying, 'Oh they were so harsh on them,' but that's their job!" Laughing, he added: "It's a good thing I wasn't on the panel, I would have ripped them a new one!"
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Suggesting how Hamish could have reacted differently, Ola suggested: "If you're the professional on the show, you're meant to speak out. Like, 'What else could I do?' This is what James was like on Strictly. He wouldn't stand there crying, if he disagreed he'd be like, 'Hang on a minute!'
James agreed, saying: "Yeah! They should say, 'I tell you what, you come in and give us some help or tell me how to make it better.' But to stand there and cry? Get over it, move on and make it want you to be better."
The pair also opened up about Amy Tinkler's exit, and if they thought it would have been Jason Donovan's turn should he have taken part in the show.
Amy was the latest star to leave the contest
"I don't know what it was about Amy because she was a great skater but her performance left me emotionless," Ola admitted. "I didn't feel much after her performances so I'm not surprised that people didn't vote for her. She seems like a really sweet girl and her skating was great, but there was just something that wasn't there."
James added: "I don't know if Jason would have left this week. He's always been saved from the bottom two but he's so popular. He's probably the weakest skater but I thought last week he really improved and he's never been in the bottom two before - and that's because he, out of all of them, has what they all need. He sells it! When you're watching that, you warm to that. Performance-wise, he's probably the best out of all of them. I think the show missed him last night."
The pair also chatted about Joe-Warren's exit from the series
They were disappointed to see Joe-Warren Plant leave the show, who was forced to exit after testing positive for COVID, with James saying: "I think he's a big loss. Everyone would be, but he was one of the contenders to win the whole thing, it's just a shame that he, in particular, has had to leave the competition. I'm gutted for them because I'm sure they're devastated because you only really get one chance at this. I feel very sorry for them."
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