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Ola and James Jordan's Strictly verdict: Why we disagree with Tilly Ramsay's perfect score in Musicals Week

The Strictly Come Dancing duo weigh in on Week Nine

strictly speaking james and ola
Georgia Brown
Georgia BrownSenior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
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Saturday night aired some ah-may-zing performances as Strictly Come Dancing headed into the ninth week of the competition, with the seven remaining couples taking to the Strictly ballroom for Musicals Week. 

SEE: Strictly 2021: Fans share their verdict on guest judge Cynthia Erivo

Here to weigh in on the show's highlights, former professionals Ola and James Jordan give their verdict on everything from AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington's romantic Waltz to Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice's Frozen-themed Quickstep in their weekly column, Strictly Speaking.

WATCH: Cynthia Ervio was a guest judge on Saturday night's Strictly 

James: I should start by saying I didn't think there were any epic, brilliant or standout performances from anyone this week. There were still some great dances, but nothing blew me away.

Ola: At this stage in the competition, we're expecting so much from the performances - but I agree it did feel a little under par this week.

MORE: Claudia Winkleman's striking look on Strictly steals the spotlight

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James: I think the problem with Musicals Week is that the theme can sometimes clash with the classical element of Ballroom and Latin dancing. It's never been my favourite week because everyone tries to dance just like they do in the musicals, and technique and performance can sometimes get lost in characterised choreography.

Ola: It can sometimes feel like the theme takes over from the dance itself. We certainly saw that in Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden's dance this week - even the judges picked up on it. 

aj and kai

AJ and Kai opened the show with a stunning Waltz

James: Personally, I would've had AJ and Kai at the top of the leaderboard with their Waltz. I thought it was beautiful. Fans on Twitter thought stand-in judge Cynthia Erivo should have given AJ a 10, though I don't think it quite deserved four 10s!

Ola: Kai did a brilliant job choreographing the stunning routine, but if we're scoring AJ on her technique, it wasn't a flawless performance. Her head positioning was slightly off at times and her movements had a tendency to be stiff - but overall it was by far the most solid performance of the evening. So I agree, it didn't get a perfect score because on this occasion, it didn't deserve one. 

James: I was surprised to see Johannes and John's Viennese Waltz so low down the leaderboard too. I would've liked to have seen them in the top three at least. 

The Viennese Waltz can be a very boring dance, but when it's done right it can be exceptional. I really thought they nailed the lead and follow element of the Waltz, and as always, John danced some pretty advanced choreography very beautifully. 

john and johannes

John and Johannes danced to Chim Chim Cher-ee

Ola: They were far too low down the leaderboard, in my opinion. If they end up in the bottom two I'd be so upset for them because I really don't think they deserve it. 

James: Again, nothing has quite topped their Pasodoble from Week Four yet, but it was still a stunning performance and definitely deserved more credit than they got from the judges last night.

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Ola: Let's talk about Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin… they did the Couple's Choice and pipped a perfect score from the judges.

James: They did, but I have no idea what dance form that was? At least with Tom and Amy's Couple's Choice, it was clearly a Contemporary dance, but Tilly and Nikita's felt like a mish-mash of multiple styles. Is it TikTok dancing? Is that was they call it nowadays? 

tilly and nikita

Tilly and Nikita's Couple's Choice earned them a perfect score

Call me old, but I didn't really get it. I'm a professional dancer and I couldn't work out what genre of dance that was. Because of that, I'm totally baffled they got four 10s. They were totally, totally overmarked. I don't care what anyone says. 

Ola: I wouldn't have given it more than a 7 in my opinion. Are the judges voting her higher to keep her in the competition? Who knows.

James: Rose and Giovanni came out with a Quickstep, but I didn't think it was their best performance. I think we've seen such great things from this pairing, that our expectations were set extremely high. 

Ola: Last week we said Rose deserved to go all the way to the final and take home the glitterball, but this week's performance felt a little average from them. 

rose and giovanni

Rose and Giovanni are the public's favourites to win

James: I agree - I'm only being so critical because we've seen final standard dances from them already! Their dance was a perfect example of when the theme of the musical takes over from the quality of dancing.  

Ola: Sadly Rhys and Nancy didn't manage to impress enough to get another perfect score this week. I thought their Jive was fantastic, but his over-excited and too-much-energy side came out again last night. 

James: When Rhys comes out with too much energy he's like an over-excited puppy and it can sometimes mean his dancing lacks control. He nailed it last week with his Charleston, but didn't quite hit the mark this time around. 

rhys and nancy

CBBC's Rhys' was Footloose for the Jive this week

James: We had another Couple's Choice from Tom and Amy last night. The trouble with Contemporary is it can sometimes become a little same-y. You hold your hand on your chest and look like you're in pain, add in a few jumps and leaps and you've got Contemporary. 

Ola: For me, it was at times a little bit repetitive and lacking in emotions - which is exactly what the judges said.

James: That being said, I still love them as a couple and the quality of their dancing was still there. 

tom and amy

Tom Fletcher dedicated his Les Miserable's Couple's Choice to his sister

Ola: Dan Walker closed the show with his Charleston and honestly? That was by far his best dance to date. 

James: For someone who has never had previous dance training, I think he looked flipping good! For all the people out there who question why he's still in the competition, I hope this dance proves that he deserves to stay. 

Ola: Every week Dan comes out and improves, which is exactly what the show is about. His Charleston was full of flair, well-executed steps and musicality. His lifts and partnering skills are constantly improving, and he's developed so much over the course of this series, I love it!

dan and nadiya

Could Dan Walker's dance land himself in the bottom two on Sunday?

James: I did feel like Anton's comment about Dan being 'the weakest dancer' in the competition was a bit uncalled for. He is there to give his critique, so if he does want to say Dan is the weakest dancer then he is allowed to. But do I think it's fair? Possibly not. It almost seems like he's trying to tell the public not to vote for him. 

Ola: I don't think Strictly is necessarily about who is the best dancer, it's about who entertains you the most. We saw that will Bill Bailey last year who ended up taking the Strictly title with Oti!

James: If the public is saving Dan then they're doing it because they're seeing something they like - so for that, he deserves to stay in the competition.

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