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Ola and James Jordan’s Strictly verdict: John’s powerful Paso Doble, choreography fails and their weakest celebrity

Strictly Come Dancing judges gave their first 10s of the competition

Georgia Brown

Lights, camera, action! Strictly Come Dancing returned to our screens on Saturday night with a spectacular Movie Week, and it was fab-u-lous, Darling!

MORE: Giovanni Pernice and Rose Ayling-Ellis move fans to tears with 'exquisite' Strictly dance

In a week that saw the judges give their first 10s of the competition, showstopping costumes and a spellbinding Bridgerton-inspired opening dance, deciding which two celebrities will find themselves in the dance-off on Sunday’s show has left former Strictly professionals, Ola and James Jordan, stumped as to who will make the bottom two. 

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WATCH: Giovanni Pernice and Rose Ayling-Ellis move the judges to tears on Movie Week

In this week’s Strictly Speaking column, join Ola and James as they discuss this week’s most spellbinding performances, their shock dance-off prediction and how their daughter Ella is proving to be this year’s toughest critic.

James: Can you remember your favourite Movie Week dance, Ola? I think mine was doing the Viennese Waltz with Pamela Stephenson to Ghost. She loved it, and we got four 10s that week, so it has always stuck in my head. 

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Ola: I don’t think I had one from movie week that I loved if I’m honest! The most memorable was when I did Ghostbusters with Sid Owen, we were voted out that week and I just hated it!

James: I think though, you were given a dance and theme that you really didn’t believe in. And that’s true for the celebrities too - you can always tell when they believe in the dance and when they don’t, it shows in their performance. 

The best performance of the night by a million miles was John and Johannes. I wasn’t the hugest fan of their Cha Cha last week which didn’t quite do it for me, whereas last night I just felt the whole thing, from the production to the costume, the theme, the choreography - I was speechless. 

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Another week topping the leaderboard for John Whaite and Johannes Radebe

I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a celebrity, but last night was like watching two professionals dancing together, that’s how good it was. It was probably the best Paso Doble I have seen on Strictly

Ola: I’ve seen Tweets from people saying John and Johannes are carrying the show, but I wouldn’t go that far just yet. John has been a great dancer since day one, but let’s not forget Rose Ayling-Ellis for example. 

She did such a stunning ballroom dance with Giovanni last night. From beginning to end it was beautiful. If we’re comparing John with Rose, the public might not think Rose had that ‘wow’ factor last night, but from a technical point of view, her dancing was breathtaking. 

James: I agree, it was understated but beautiful. 

There’s a lot of celebrities that continue to shock me as the competition goes on. Take Sara Davies, who did the Samba with Aljaz. As soon as we heard they were doing that dance I thought it would be her downfall - but actually, I was really impressed! Sara is a great mover and did a fantastic job at doing a really difficult technical dance. 

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Movie Week saw Dragon's Den star Sara Davies dancing the Samba as Princess Fiona

Ola: Last week we thought Sara peaked, and I do think her dance last week was better - but the Samba is a much more difficult style. Considering her technical ability, she did so well. And we saw so many mistakes from other celebrities last night. 

James: Sometimes I beleive the professionals over-complicate their choreography when a celebrity shows signs of being a capable dancer, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Ola: As a professional, you do want to push your partner, especially if you know they’re good! I think with Tilly Ramsay, she’s capable enough to handle that choreography from Nikita but unfortunately, she didn’t recover so well from her mistakes last night. 

MORE: Judi Love gets the biggest surprise on Strictly's movie week

James: I don’t necessarily agree with the judges when they award extra points for recovering from mistakes either. I think if you make mistakes you should be marked down! Take Dan Walker, for example, he messed up most of his routine but got some 6s and 7s from the judges which surprised me. I don’t think he deserved to score so highly when we saw dancers like Adam, make no mistakes and only get 4s and 5s. 

Ola: Robert Webb set himself up to be a bit of a comedic dancer in the first week, then blew us away with that stunning classical Tango in week two - but he was back to his comedic antics last night with his and Dianne’s The Muppets themed Quickstep. 

James: It really wasn’t for me. I think an overly comic theme takes away from the skill of what they’re doing. I think even for Movie Week it’s just too jokey. Dancing with a frog’s head on, to The Muppets… I mean it doesn’t get much worse than that does it? 

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Could Dianne and Robert's Quickstep see them battling it out in the bottom two?

Ola: I do think Dianne is in her element embracing that style though, and she pulls it off so well. It’s an entertainment show at the end of the day, and I think Dianne knows how to make her celebrity partners put on a show! Also, Robert is a comedian, so maybe he feels the most comfortable doing that kind of style.

James: If I had to call it, I would predict Greg Wise will be in the bottom two. Dan and Adam Peaty were at the bottom of the leaderboard, but I’m not convinced they deserve a place in the dance-off. And let’s be honest - the public will definitely vote for Adam because he looks like an Adonis!

Ola: I think we’re seeing a lot of overmarking with Greg too. He had an incredible piece of music and a great performance factor, but I don’t think he deserved the marks he got. 

James: I would go as far as to say Greg is probably the weakest dancer in the competition at this point, so if we did see him leave tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised. 

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McFly's Tom Fletcher made a triumphant return after recovering from COVID-19

Ola: We missed out on Tom Fletcher’s performance last week after he and Amy were struck with COVID, but I think his Jive was definitely the comeback that he needed to keep his place in the competition! Don’t you agree?

James: He came back and smashed it, and I think he needed that. Not only to give him the confidence he needed to make a return, but also to show the public that he deserved to stay in the competition. It’s not his fault they missed last week, but the viewers can sometimes be so unforgiving - so I’m glad he came back with a bang. 

Ola: You could see that Rhys was in his element doing the couple’s choice last night, he was able to channel that energy into a style he feels most comfortable in - but then it’s not a freestyle competition, it’s a Latin and Ballroom one. 

READ MORE: 8 celebrities who quit Strictly Come Dancing

James: It was very good, did I think it deserved a 10? No. But I still think he’s got something special about him. I do think Rhys could be a front runner as the weeks go on.

Ola: Speaking of front runners, Oti has won the competition twice before - do you think she could go all the way with Ugo this year and become the first three-time Strictly champion? 

James: If he continues improving, possibly. But I do think up against the other dancers, I’m not sure if he can win. 

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Will Ugo Monye help Oti Mabuse keep her crowning Strictly champion title?

Ola: I do think it will be harder for Oti this year to get to the final, there are six really exceptional dancers this year. AJ, John, Rose, Rhys, Tom Fletcher, even Tilly moves better than Ugo at this stage. 

And let’s not forget our toughest critic! Our daughter Ella loves Moana, but even when Ugo and Oti were dancing she wasn’t interested!

James: Well I loved it! Ella has much higher standards than us…

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