Ola and James Jordan's Strictly final verdict: Rose Ayling-Ellis was 'always' our favourite to win

The Strictly Come Dancing professionals have their take on the final

Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice were crowned the winners of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night, with finalists John Whaite and Johannes Radebe coming in close second. 

SEE: Rose Ayling-Ellis' boyfriend finally makes Strictly debut – and he looks so proud

As the curtain closes on another season of Strictly, former professionals Ola and James Jordan give their final verdict on a stunning series. From their favourite moments to whether they thought Rose deserved to lift the Glitterball, the dancing duo are back with the final instalment of their weekly column, Strictly Speaking.

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WATCH: Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice discuss their showstopping Couple's Choice

James: What a final! I thought it was an exceptional way to end the series. It's such a shame we didn't get to see AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington dance one final time, they so deserved their chance to dance again. I feel so sorry for them, it must have been so gutting to have to pull out at that stage after working so hard. But it was still a great final! 

Ola: I did wonder if they were going to replace AJ with Rhys when the news broke that she had to pull out… but the thing is, Rhys left the competition for a reason. If he got to the final and won it, people would have questioned why AJ made it through and not him - it would have been far too complicated. 

MORE: Exclusive: Strictly's James and Ola Jordan on why they're dancing into a 'heartbreaking' Christmas

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James: It's not the first time Strictly has seen two people in the final either, in 2009 when Ola won with Chris Hollins there were only two couples!

Ola: Someone had to pull out earlier in the competition due to injury. 

Rose and Giovanni were crowned Strictly's 2021 winners

James: At this stage of the competition, you can't really critique the dancing because both Rose and John were as good as they could have been. For people who weren't professional dancers, I couldn't fault them. 

Ola: Rose and Giovanni's Romeo & Juliet style piece was absolutely beautiful, and so fitting for the final. 

James: I loved the staging, I loved the set, the choreography was sublime - Jason Gilkison is a choreographic genius so he did such a stunning job with both the final routines. You can't fault them really. I wasn't looking to critique them, I was just watching it to enjoy it. 

Ola: I think Rose was a worthy winner, and overall - that was without a doubt the best final ever on Strictly. Even though we didn't think it would be without AJ. 

James: It's not often I get moved by dance because I've seen it all before, I've danced for decades. But last night was very, very special. 

Ola: Looking back on the series, what was the dance of the season for you?

James: That's such a tough one, but it would have to be Rose and Giovanni's Couple's Choice. When I watched that for the first time, I knew she was going to win. I always said it would be hard to top it, which is why they did it again in the final.

Rose and Giovanni performed their Couple's Choice dance in the final

Ola: I would have to agree, it was a beautiful moment in the show. That silence gave me chills. But then John and Johannes' Pasodoble was easily one of the best dances we've seen on Strictly ever. So it's hard to pick!

James: We always said that Glitterball deserved to be Rose's. But let's not forget it's also Giovanni's fourth time in the final - lifting that Glitterball must have meant so much to him. 

It clearly meant so much to John and Johannes to make it to the final as Strictly's first all-male couple, and you could see that. It was so special to watch them make it all the way to the end. 

MORE: Strictly's Johannes Radebe reveals how pairing with John Whaite affected relationship with his mother

Ola: Giovanni told Rose she was the "best thing that had ever happened to him". What people don't always appreciate about Strictly is the sense of achievement involved for both the dancers.

I remember when I got the final when I was dancing with Chris Hollins, and I was so proud of myself that I took this total novice and turned him into a beautiful dancer capable of performing so many stunning routines and making it all the way to the final - and we won! You just think 'wow I did this'. 

James: The professionals really do deserve so much credit. It's so clear Giovanni worked so hard with Rose. That's not to say Johannes didn't deserve it too - but Giovanni has been on the show so much longer, I'm sure Johannes will have his moment!

Ola: For me, they were both winners but it was Rose and Giovanni had just the edge this year. 

John and Johannes are Strictly Come Dancing's first all-male couple

James: When you win something like Strictly, you know that the public picked up the phone and voted for you. THAT is an amazing feeling, that the British public believed in you enough to let you win.

Ola: Having Anton on the judging panel has got to be one of the most memorable moments of the show. He's been an amazing addition to the panel. 

James: That's definitely been a big thing for me this year too. For his first year on the show as a judge, he's certainly had the biggest impact of any new judge. I  just hope he comes back next year!  

Ola: This year was particularly emotional for everyone, and I think it's the powerful stories behind people taking part that really make it beautiful to watch. 

James: That, for me, is what it's all about. It's like when Ola and I danced on The Full Monty, it was the stories behind everyone's dancing that made that moment so special. To have Rose, a deaf person, lifting that Glitterball over other dancers who can hear, and to have the first all-male couple in the final  - I just know that representation will mean so much to so many people. 

It's going to be so hard to top this year's series. In fact, I know they won't be able to top this year. In all the years I've been watching Strictly this, for me, will be the most memorable year. 

John and Johannes came in close second in this year's final

Ola: Dan Walker was a massive part of making this series great too. I think he brought so much to the show this year - despite what people may have said about his dancing. 

I thought Aljaz and Sara Davies brought something special to the show too - there's just so many memorable couples this year. 

James: Rhys also had a really amazing journey, and I thought Ugo was fantastic too. Some years on Strictly it's difficult to name even three celebrities in the series, but this year really has been something special. 

I actually don't think it's fair to say the reason this year's Strictly has been so memorable is because of everyone going through the stresses of Covid-19. Without lockdowns and isolation worries, this series has still been exceptional, regardless of Covid.

Ola: It must have been so difficult for the professionals, celebrities crew and producers to keep the show going under such awful circumstances. We personally know so many people isolating at the moment - it's incredible they were able to pull it off. 

I think everyone has needed the joy of Strictly this year.

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