Ola Jordan has quit Strictly, claiming the judges manipulate the leader board to keep their favourite acts in the contest and it’s time for her to “walk away”.
The dancer is walking out on the show after 10 years, following her husband James Jordan – who quit the show in 2013 and has since been a harsh critic of the judges.
Ola and James Jordan (Ian West/PA)
Ola told The Sun she felt forced out after being marginalised by producers, branding Craig Revel Horwood “childish and pathetic”, and claiming judges regularly over-mark couples who they want to keep in the competition.
The 33-year-old said: “Some of the marking is way off. People are over-marked and under-marked. As a dancer, you can’t cheat me. I know who has been over-marked and who has been under-marked.”
A spokesman for the BBC told the newspaper that Ola’s accusations were “nonsense”, adding: “Each judge scores each dance independently, based on its merits and on their expert opinion.”
Iwan Thomas and Ola Jordan (BBC Pictures)
Speaking ahead of Strictly’s live Blackpool special, Ola said the judges tried to help out their favourites before voting opened to the public.
She said: “In my opinion they know how many votes people scored in the previous weeks and then they try to influence their position on the leader board. Why else would they over-mark someone?
“All the pros talk about the marking. We ask each other, ‘What is all that about? Why are they trying to over-mark that person?’
“Someone could do a dance and mess it up quite badly. Now I know that was a bad dance and there’s no way it’s an eight, but the judge says, ‘That’s amazing’ and gives them an eight or a nine and we go, ‘What the hell’s going on?’”
Strictly Come Dancing judges Craig, Darcey, Len and Bruno (BBC Pictures)
She added: “If the show is not fair, it takes the fun out of it. The leader board is very important. If someone is in the wrong place it puts them in massive trouble. People don’t appreciate how important it is. It is not just the votes.”
The professional dancer, who was first out this year with Olympic runner Iwan Thomas, said: “I don’t want this to come across like I’m bitter. I love Strictly, I’ve had an amazing time and I owe it so much. But the show isn’t the same as it was and it is time for me to walk away.
“A lot of the pro dancers will say things between them, but they would never say it openly. No one is saying it to production. They are scared that they will lose their jobs.”
The show has changed since Ola won in 2009 with Chris Hollins, she added, saying: “All the people left now, apart from Jamelia, have had dance training. In years gone by, no one had any training. Chris hadn’t had any. This year, the standard is so high, but it’s so predictable. That takes the fun out of it and it takes my motivation away.
“Why should I spend eight hours in the training room with my celebrity when I know who’s going to go through?”
The Polish-born dancer also had words for judge Craig Revel-Horwood, who has claimed her 2016 calendar is too raunchy for the star of a family show.
Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood (BBC)
Ola said: “I think Craig is childish and pathetic making comments about my calendar. Maybe he needed some press. I wouldn’t slag his book off. He should be supporting dancers, but he isn’t because we tell it how it is.”
She will appear in the rest of this year’s show when needed, but will not be in the tour or Christmas special, and will not return for next year’s series.
She said: “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It’s a huge thing as Strictly has been such a massive part of my life for so long and I’ve made so many great friends, but it’s time to go.
“I don’t want to be part of the show if I’m just making up the numbers. I’ve been offered loads of incredible opportunities, including a tour with Arlene Phillips. I’m really excited about what the future holds.”