Tensions rose in the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom as the competition reached its tenth week. While John Whaite and Johannes Radebe tangoed their way to the top of the leaderboard, Gordon Ramsay's daughter Tilly slid to the bottom with her lowest-scoring Samba.
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The series has no doubt been one of Strictly's strongest, with the six remaining celebrity-professional duos seriously upping their game as the race to the Glitterball officially begins. Here to give their expert opinion on who will waltz their way into December's final and who will face the dreaded dance-off, former Strictly professionals Ola and James Jordan weigh in on Week 10 in their weekly column, Strictly Speaking.
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James: I have to start by saying what a brilliant week that was. Absolutely everyone lifted their game and danced on another level last night – even Dan Walker.
Ola: It's probably one of the strongest Strictly weeks at this stage of the competition we have ever seen. I just think the standard of dancing was exceptional.
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James: And that is of course a testament to all of the professional dancers who are on the show!
Looking at the leaderboard, John and Johannes should have easily got 40, with Rhys and Nancy in second followed by AJ and Kai in third. I absolutely cannot understand why we saw Tilly Ramsay at the bottom of the leaderboard below Dan and Nadiya's Rumba. I'm baffled.
Tilly's Samba landed her at the bottom of the Strictly leaderboard
Ola: We've definitely seen Tilly do better dances during her time on Strictly. I remember her Charleston from Week Two being a real showstopper, but for us personally, we both said last night's Samba was probably one of our favourite dances.
James: It wasn't necessarily the best dance technically, because there were a few mistakes. I noticed Nikita had to get Tilly back on time on a few occasions, paired with the Samba action that wasn't always executed that well – but I really enjoyed it because it looked like she was enjoying it for once!
Ola: She was loving it, and her personality really shone through with this dance. I felt like we really saw her coming out of her shell this week. It really suited her.
James: Nikita did a great job with the choreography. We weren't a huge fan of the song choice, but I do think it worked for them – it was so young and fresh.
Ola: She looked stunning in her costume too, the fringing on the dress was so effective. Tilly should never have been at the bottom of the leaderboard over Dan!
Dan Walker danced a romantic Rumba with partner Nadiya Bychkova
James: Let's talk about Dan and Nadiya's Rumba – a tricky dance to get right and sell to the audience, but I do think they looked the part. I loved the music and how they went for a very traditional approach with the white shirt and open black tie.
It was nice, but is 'nice' really enough to go through to another week of Strictly? I'm not sure.
Ola: Dan performed some basic Rumba technique and plenty of good content in the choreography, but he really lacks fluidity from one step to the other. Given that he's the only total novice left in the competition though, I would expect that from him! It's clear he's trying his hardest.
James: He's certainly flying the flag as the only person in the competition who has had zero previous dance experience.
At this stage in the competition though, is that enough to keep him in? This week could be the week we see Dan in danger.
James: On the other hand, Rhys and Nancy! Oh my god! What an improvement! We both absolutely loved their Waltz this week.
Rhys and Nancy just missed out on a perfect score
Ola: What a different man we saw in the ballroom this week. Rhys has made such a huge improvement since he first started.
We both said that his Waltz was almost like Aljaz came in and helped him with his technique, because it looked drastically different, and so Aljaz!
James: I don't want to be unfair to Nancy because as a professional, she's no doubt been working so hard with Rhys to up his standard over the course of the competition. But it does look as if someone like Aljaz had come in and helped with the routine.
Ola: Maybe he was just channelling Aljaz's technique, there's nothing wrong with looking to other dancers for inspiration. But either way, we absolutely loved it. At one point I thought he was in the running for a perfect score.
James: I was going 'this is 10, this is 10, this is 10' the whole time, but there was a moment where he went slightly ahead of the music and didn't control his movement just when the music was asking for it. But other than that, it was a truly exceptional performance.
Ola: If Rhys goes tonight we'll be devastated, but honestly, I don't see how he possibly can from that performance.
James and Ola were totally struck by their powerful Argentine Tango
James: John and Johannes… I mean wow. What an incredible performance. They both looked so slick and the choreography from Johannes was incredible. In my opinion, it was an epic performance.
Ola: From the hats to the drama, the build-up to the choreography – we're baffled it didn't get a perfect score. For me personally, they're back in the competition now.
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James: John is incredible, but I agree his last few performances have been a little bit lacklustre. Now I'd confidently say this duo deserve their place in the final. That performance is going to be remembered for a very long time.
Ola: We both loved Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice's Pasodoble – in terms of performance factor it was almost faultless. The theme, costumes, and music were so powerful and the choreography Giovanni created was exceptional.
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James: If we're going to be ultra critical – which we have to be because everyone is so good at this stage in the competition, I did notice at times she looked a little stiff in her spine and her neck.
Though she really sold the performance, at times it looked a little wooden, which is perhaps why she dropped down a few marks.
Ola: I found there's no shaping in her body, she had strong arms and worked her skirt really well but I'd love to see her easing into the movement more.
It was AJ and Kai's turn to deliver their Couple's Choice this week.
AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington pulled out all the stops for their Couple's Choice
James: I said to Ola as we watched it, I don't really know what to say about it… I didn't really get it. I personally think Kai is such amazing addition to the Strictly family. He's the best professional on the show since James Jordan…
James: Ola said if she was going to be on there and had to dance with someone she'd want to dance with him. He's got that coolness about him with masculinity at the same time. I mean Artem was always one of my favourite dancers, but I do think Kai really has something special.
Ola: Alright James, we know you love Kai!
Anyway, back to the dance, it was very good, but again with it being Couple's Choice the style felt a little non-descript and some of the lifts were quite messy – but overall it was a really powerful performance.
James: On the whole, what an incredible week. Tilly was at the bottom of the leaderboard so could land herself in the bottom two again. If she's in the dance-off with Dan and she goes, now THAT would be a travesty. It would be wrong in fact.
I think we could also see Rhys and Dan in the bottom two this week – just going to put that out there.
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