FORMER Strictly pro James Jordan has slammed the show for not defending Ashley Roberts against the backlash she’s received for her dance training.
The Dancing On Ice star, 40, admitted he feels “really sorry” for how much “stick” the ex Pussycat Doll has had to take – especially since Steps’ Faye Tozer has just as much previous experience.
Speaking to The Sun Online, James predicted Stacey Dooley would win this weekend’s big finale, but insisted nobody is trying harder than Ashley.
He dished: “I think Stacey will win but I think Ashley should win. She is the best dancer.”
James – who danced on the show for eight seasons – also blasted bosses for not stepping in to help the Don’t Cha hitmaker.
He continued: “She’s had so much stick and Strictly allowed that to happen.
“There are other people in the show this year and previous years who’ve had just as much experience in dance.”
“I feel so sorry for Ashley. She’s had a really hard time. She’s trying hard if not harder than everyone is. “I’m a professional dancer and what she’s doing is outstanding -regardless of whether she’s trained or not. She has been in the dance off three times.”
He also sympathised for Ashley “going into the final knowing she has no chance of winning”.
“It’s a horrible feeling,” he explained. “I really feel for her. She’s put so much effort in. She’s not going to win, she can’t win.
“It’s really sad. Whoever wins, they can’t take that away from her. There’s no point in watching the final! We know who’s won already.”
MOST READ IN TV & SHOWBIZ
THE END OF A GEAR-A
Clarkson, Hammond and May stop studio car shows after 17 years
Love Island’s Jess Shears strips naked for raunchy new shoot
DANCE SHOW WOE
Cheryl sidelined by Greatest Dancer bosses after flop single & L’Oreal snub
Danny John-Jules sparked ‘toxic’ second feud with Amy at Strictly rehearsals
Jesy Nelson left ‘freezing my t**s off’ after being booted out of Uber
ALL GROWN UP
Outnumbered’s Karen reveals new look as she parties with former child co-stars
“To say otherwise is rubbish. If you’ve been to stage school and done ballet or contemporary – they’re a trained dancer.”
Stacey is currently the favourite to win after Bookmaker Coral cut her odds on to 1-2 (from 4-7).
Joe Sugg (3-1) and Faye Tozer (8-1) are next in the betting, whilst Coral have Ashley Roberts as the 33-1 rank outsider to go all the way.