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Ola and James Jordan's Strictly verdict: Tom's surprise, Tilly's tough week and our top three

The Strictly Come Dancing professionals predict who could make it to the final

Another week, another evening of Strictly Come Dancing. Week five of the competition brought a night of exceptionally high standards and even higher scores as the professional-celebrity duos battled it out on the dance floor to edge one step closer to the Strictly glitterball. 

SEE: Strictly's Tilly Ramsay details 'tough week' after LBC host body-shamed her

Former professionals Ola and James Jordan are back with their weekly column, Strictly Speaking, to predict who they think will be Waltzing into next week's show, and who's at risk of facing the dreaded dance-off on Sunday night. 

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James: We really cannot call who will be leaving tonight, the competition has become so close. I wouldn't even say I have an outright favourite at this point.

Ola: I think I've got three favourites. Rose Ayling Ellis, AJ Odudu and Tom Fletcher really stunned me last night. Tom's standard of dancing on Saturday's show was so unexpected, I loved it.

James: Until now, I think Tom was underrated, but everything about his Salsa was exceptional. The way he moved was so natural and cool, he made it look so easy. I said to Ola last night, Tom moves just like Richard Porter, who was our dance coach - just brilliant.

SEE: Dr Alex takes action after Strictly's Tilly Ramsay body-shamed

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McFly's Tom Fletcher dazzled the judges with his Salsa to Watermelon Sugar

Ola: Rose's Viennese Waltz with Giovanni was also stunning. It was by far the dance of the night. It was so memorable, it's so hard to forget a dance like that. 

James: The passion, the storytelling, the musicality and everything about it from beginning to end was so captivating. She was so committed to that dance and it showed. 

Of course, we also saw John and Johannes top the leaderboard again. I liked their dance but I didn't think it was epic like their Paso Doble from Movie Week. I thought Rose definitely had the most spellbinding dance of the night. 

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John and Johannes continue to top the leaderboard

Ola: In terms of dance talent, John and Johannes aren't touching anyone yet. I actually think that makes it harder to judge, because John is so good, that you never expect a poor performance from them. 

In certain movements, John was as good as Johannes last night. I'd love to see them take on some more challenging choreography and more lifts as the competition goes on. Johannes' choreography is incredible, especially considering they're the first all-male pairing, but I think there's more to see. 

James: I think we could be underestimating their potential as a pair. They could be playing it safe for now, but they might get to the quarter-final and pick up their game with a really spellbinding performance. I'm waiting for that moment. 

Ola: How about the other couples? Week on week we've seen Dan Walker improve, but is he doing enough to match the standard of our top three? I don't think he is yet. 

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BBC's Dan Walker opened the show with a charming Viennese Waltz

James: He's nowhere near the same standard as some of the other dancers in the competition, but we shouldn't forget he doesn't have any previous dance experience. Se can't compare Dan with someone like John Whaite, for example. 

Despite that, I was very surprised at how clean his performance was last night. I would even go as far as to say it was a little unexpected! I can understand why the producers got him to open the show. I always remember when you were on the show, you knew if you were opening or closing the show that you had a pretty decent number - and Dan did a brilliant job. 

Ola: Adam and Katya are such a good looking couple, so on paper they should be one of our favourites. But there's something missing between them. 

James: Their partnership feels slightly awkward, slightly contrived. I don't know. He's got the perfect body, he's so strong and so flexible, but there are other moments when he's dancing where I think he feels awkward.

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Fans on Twitter loved Adam and Katya's double denim costumes

The Samba is a notoriously difficult dance, but I did expect more from Adam last night. I mean, his jeans couldn't have been any tighter could they! 

Ola: For me, I found it a bit much. If you take away the hip thrusts and tight jeans there wasn't much else that sold it for me. Yes - he looked amazing, but it is a dance competition. I think it was even a little cringe. 

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MORE: Inside the Strictly dancers' homes: Oti Mabuse, Dianne Buswell, Gorka Marquez, Anton du Beke and more

James: I agree. If an older celebrity had been given that dance, we might've warmed to the comedy side of it, but watching Adam do those hip thrusts made it seem cringeworthy. I think he felt awkward doing it too. It wasn't done in a tasteful way where I thought it was cool, like Tom's performance.

Ola: He is so capable of doing well though, I think they need to go back to basics. 

James: Katya is a fantastic choreographer, but I think for Adam, it needs to be simple and clean. Go back to the basic fundamentals of Ballroom and Latin rather than focusing on trying to make Adam look like an Adonis. I've never been his biggest fan. 

Ola: Is that just because he's young, fit, has a six-pack…?

James: Haha! It's not that I don't like him as a person, I'm just not warming to his performances yet. 

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Dragon's Den star Sara Davies performed a sultry Rumba with partner Aljaz

Ola: I thought Sara Davies' Rumba was lovely, she did a really good job considering she's not a dancer. 

James: Yes, but she was at the top of the leaderboard last week, so we can't say she did well 'considering' when she has previously ahead of all the other couples in the competition. I would've personally had her at the bottom of the leaderboard last night. 

I preferred Ugo's Rumba to hers. I felt her weight was too far back and her centre was collapsed. I didn't believe it or feel it. I love the choreography Aljaz created but overall it wasn't her best performance. 

Ola: So the second Rumba of the night was Ugo and Oti's. After missing Ugo last week, I thought the Rumba was a really tough dance to have to come back to.

James: I agree, I felt Ugo was undermarked. I really enjoyed the performance and his masculinity in the dance. 

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Ugo Monye returned to the show after taking a week off due to injury

Ola: I also think Rhys was much better this week. He had far more control than he's had in previous performances, but for me, it's still down to him not being able to control his energy. 

I don't warm to them so much as a couple, I can't understand why. 

James: It is Nancy's first show as a professional, so perhaps it's taking a while for them warm to the public and the judges. I can remember our first shows as professionals and it was so tough. 

Ola: That's true. In the first year we were on the show I didn't know what I was doing! You definitely learn certain tricks when it comes to choreography and personality to get the public on your side. 

James: That is something Kai is doing really well this year. I'd go as far as to say that he's one of my favourite professionals on the show. And what a partnership it is between him and AJ. 

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Could AJ Odudu's Tango see her dance her way to the final?

Ola: We heard that AJ has never had any dance training before, but it's hard to believe given her exceptional performances - even if she danced as a child, you can tell those who have had previous experience versus those that haven't. 

James: I loved the choreography, the music and the drama, but I do think technically it could have been cleaner. It was still exceptional  - and the judges scored her fairly because of that. She's still a frontrunner in the competition, if not the frontrunner. 

Ola: I agree, consistency wise AJ is definitely our frontrunner. She has been since day one. There's something about her that is super special. 

James: I love Tilly, and I don't think we've seen her best performance yet. Though I do think Tom and AJ should have scored higher than her last night, I couldn't understand why she was being marked so highly especially given that it wasn't a perfect performance. 

Saying that, she looked beautiful last night and did so well considering the week she's had. 

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19-year-old Tilly was 'fat-shamed' by LBC radio host earlier in the week

Ola: I really feel for her, it can be so hard as a professional or a celebrity stepping out onto that ballroom knowing the public are talking about you, for whatever reason. 

James: I remember when we were on the show, there were so many stories that would come out in the press that were so upsetting - especially when they're not true. 

Ola: There was one story that really affected me when we were dancing on the show, especially because it couldn't have been further from the truth. 

James: I do sympathise with them, that story with Tilly may have just been someone's opinion but it doesn't make it any easier for her. 

Ola: Ultimately, a really strong week five! Especially Rose and Giovanni… that dance was spellbinding. 

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Eastenders star Rose Ayling-Ellis captivated the audience and judges

James: I was so happy I watched the show last night just for that one performance. It will stick with me forever. 

It wasn't a technically flawless performance, but I don't want to say anything negative about it because it really moved me - and I rarely get that. 

Ola: These kinds of performances don't have to be amazing technically. Equally, technically perfect performances can feel really flat. It's about finding that perfect balance, and Rose hit it last night. 

I think for us as professionals too, we get so spoiled with great performances because we're used to dancing. So for us to sit there, unable to take our attention away from the screen, really says something. 

James: Normally we're half watching, half playing with Ella, but we were blown away with her performance last night. Knowing she can't hear, and creating what she created with Giovanni was exceptional. She certainly inspired me last night.


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