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Ola & James Jordan's Strictly verdict: Rose's perfect score, Dan's costume, & horrifying scores on Halloween week

The former Strictly professionals weigh in on Halloween week

ola and james strictly speaking
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
October 31, 2021
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Saturday night saw Strictly Come Dancing head into its sixth nail-biting week, and what a spooktacular show the annual Halloween special was.

READ: Strictly's Giovanni Pernice and Rose Ayling-Ellis make Strictly history with performance

As the ten remaining celebrity-professional duos took to the ballroom on Hallow's Eve, we were treated to horrifying costumes, chilling choreography and spellbinding dances. Our favourite Strictly couple, former professional dancers Ola and James Jordan discuss the good, the bad, and the ghastly in their weekly Strictly Speaking column. Read on to discover what the experts thought of last night's ghoulish glitterball performances...

WATCH: Strictly Come Dancing opens with a spooktacular Halloween special

James: Let's get straight to the point. In my opinion, last night's show was pretty average until we saw Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice dance together. I think their Tango is going to go down in the Strictly history books as one of the greatest dances ever. 

Ola: We really see Rose as a contender for the final now too. I can see her going all the way, more than any other celebrity at this stage. 

DISCOVER: Everything you need to know about Strictly star Rose Ayling-Ellis' love life

READ: Strictly's Aljaž Škorjanec interrupts judge's comments to take blame for negative comments

James: She does need to work on her Latin because her Ballroom is much stronger at the moment - but it's not just about the dancing. She is just so likeable.

Ola: They got the first 40 of the competition - and it was so well deserved. I think it was the earliest we've seen the judges give a perfect score in Strictly history, but rightly so! 

rose and giovanni

Rose and Giovanni's Vienesse Waltz earned a perfect score

James: As soon as they started I was blown away. Taking away the fact she can't hear, that dance wasn't exceptional because she's deaf. It was exceptional regardless of the fact she's deaf.

It was touching seeing Giovanni getting emotional over their perfect score too. As professionals, I can remember that sense of pride you feel when you've done well. It's one of those moments where everything comes together - the choreography, the music, the lighting, the partnership, so it can feel overwhelming when it happens.

Ola: You're also with your partner every minute of the day training them. So when you get it right as a professional it's difficult to not get emotional. We both had four 10s a few times when we were pros on the show, and it's an indescribable feeling. Especially when you get a 10 from Craig! 

James: Looking at the lower end of the leaderboard, we had Judi Love, Sara Davies and Dan Walker only scoring in the 20s. 

I've been a huge fan of Judi since the beginning of the competition. I just love her personality and her character on the floor, and I really warm to her and Graziano as a couple - but I did think last night their performance was very flat. 

judi and graziano

Is Judi and Graziano's Cha Cha enough to save them from the dance-off?

Ola: The Cha Cha is such a cheeky dance, but there was very little personality in it for me. I was surprised, maybe having a week off and being unwell affected their rehearsal schedule? 

James: Every week we've been a big fan of Judi, but I do think she was probably one of the weakest dancers last night.

I just have a feeling she could face the dance-off. In previous weeks, Judi has performed dances that I've loved, but still ended up in the bottom two. As much as I'd hate to see her go, I wouldn't be surprised if she is the celebrity to go tonight. 

MORE: Strictly star AJ's family hints at romance in adorable moment on show

READ: Janette Manrara hints at Aljaž Škorjanec's future on the show

Ola: Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova's Jive wasn't our favourite last night. He was given such a comic dance and costume - but actually, he's better than that! 

James: Obviously Dan has never had previous dance training, so it's difficult to compare him with the current frontrunners in the competition who have. But for a novice, and for someone so tall, I think he's doing exceptionally well. 

I'll be honest, the lobster costumes weren't for me. I don't really know what lobster has to do with Halloween anyway, and it wasn't exactly scary. Maybe children at home loved seeing him dressed as a crab on Halloween - or possibly I'm just grumpy!

dan walker and nadiya

The Strictly wardrobe team pulled out all the stops for the Halloween costumes

Ola: I do think giving him a jokey dance may have set him back last night. The Jive itself was superb, it was very clean and his timing was spot on at times - but I agree it was overshadowed by a poor theme, poor music and poor costumes.

James: Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec took on the couples choice last night, which wasn't so popular with the judges. There were moments in it that really surprised me, and I don't think the dance was as bad as the judges made out. 

Ola: I agree! I really don't think Sara should have been at the bottom of the leaderboard.

James: What I really love about Sara is she has fallen in love with the magic of Strictly more than anyone else I can see. That's so infectious to watch, it makes me feel happy watching them dance together on stage. 

Ola: Moving on to one of our favourite couples, we really wanted to see Johannes start to challenge John Whaite more with the choreography - and last night they certainly delivered. 

john and johannes

Will John and Johannes get one week closer to Strictly's glitterball?

James: I actually liked their dance more than the judges. It was very clean, it was difficult choreography that was made to look easy which means you're doing it well - the judges didn't really rave about it much last night at all. I think they were undermarked if anything! 

I was disappointed by the music too. Had they been given a really upbeat song to Quickstep to, they would've easily got four 10s. 

Ola: They kept the Quickstep choreography very traditional, which allowed them to switch between leader and follower. We've said for a long time we'd like to see them do more choreography in hold which they did - there was no breaking and the connection was really strong. I loved it! 

James: The judges seem to overmark so many people last night, but for some reason John and Johannes just didn't impress them and I'm not sure why. 

judges strictly

James felt the Strictly judges were being too generous with their scoring paddles

Take Tilly Ramsay, for example. I like her and I think she's doing a brilliant job but her dancing last night wasn't better than John and Johannes - fact. Yet she scored higher!

Ola: Tilly's dance was good, but I agree it was overmarked last night. I think where she's the youngest in the competition and we've seen how she moves on TikTok we just expect more from her? 

James: AJ and Kai blew us away last week, but there were moments in their dance where I expected more from her. It was very good, but not one of my favourite performances last night. Another instance where I did feel it was overmarked. 

Where do I sign up for the position as the honest judge?

Ola: Last week, we saw Rhys end up in the bottom two. I actually think he came back with a bang last night. It was his best dance by far, but I'm still not completely sure they have done enough to stay out of the bottom two for a second week running.

There are still moments when I watch him dance and I do think he looks awkward - almost like he's trying too hard. The secret to a Pasodoble is masculinity and strength, but I think Rhys looked weak. 

rhys and nancy

Last week's performance landed Rhys in the bottom two

James: I hope he's done enough to avoid the dance-off tonight. I actually really felt sorry for him in yesterday's show, you could see when they were standing there talking to Claudia that being in the bottom two knocked their confidence. You can see how hard he's working, and I do feel that he's got bags of potential that we haven't seen yet. 

Ola: Someone who really nailed that masculinity in the past is Adam Peaty. Saying that - there was something missing from his Viennese waltz. 

James: I can't warm to Adam and Katya as a couple, but I'm not too sure why. When I watch them dancing I can't connect with them on stage. 

Ola: I feel the same. When I watch Tom and Amy though, I feel excited to watch them dance together on stage. Maybe it's just that we haven't seen Adam and Katya's best dance yet? 

James: I was so gutted with Tom Fletcher's performance! He was one of my favourites last week, but I felt last night's performance was very average. That's the thing with me, I might have my favourites but it does change week on week. If the celebrities don't deliver, I won't pretend to like it. 

tom and amy

Tom and Amy thrilled fans with a devilish Tango

Tango is one of the easier Ballroom dances for a man because you get to be quite masculine and stiff and don't need to be fluid. It's also a very rhythmic dance which is easier - so I was disappointed by his efforts. I was really singing his praises last week so I hope he can return next week and prove he deserves to stay in the competition. 

Ola: They had a minor slip up in their dance too with their microphone slipping off. Can you remember ever having a wardrobe malfunction on stage?

James: I don't think I can! Both Ola and I would always make sure our mic was sewn into our costumes, and I would always tie my shoes at least three times in case they untied on stage - I'm just like that!

Our Ella loved the show last night, she saw some of the dancers spinning across the ballroom and she picked up her biggest teddy bear and started spinning around with it. We never dance at home, but whenever music comes on Ella will start dancing - it's funny! She's following in our footsteps. 

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