Ashley is a judge on the ITV programme and confessed that he "couldn't believe" James' talent in his first routine of the series.
Speaking on Lorraine earlier this morning, the 30-year-old Diversity star admitted that he was blown away by 40-year-old James' dance – adding that the former Strictly professional has "set the bar high".
Ashley explained: "I don't think I have ever seen a week one like James Jordan.
"I can't believe what he did in week one – even Jason [Gardiner] gave him an eight, what does that tell you?
"He has set the bar extremely high."
When asked if James had an unfair advantage, the star replied: "Not at all.
"What dance has given him is a discipline, like a work ethic.
"He works so hard, I know he does, so good on him."
Ashley is just the latest star to defend James amid "fix" claims from outraged viewers.
Earlier this week, Ashley's co-judge Christopher Dean insisted that it was the dancer's competitive nature that saw him excel on the ice.
Christopher said: "He is absolutely not too good.
"They did show some clips of him when he first stepped on the ice and he was as hopeless as anybody we've ever seen before.
"He couldn't master it and I was really worried for him.
"His competitiveness and his desire to win is front and centre, and I think we are going to see something quite extraordinary as the series progresses."
James scored a staggering 30.5 from the judges after his first routine with his partner Alexandra Schauman at the weekend – heads and shoulders above his fellow celebrity contestants.
Viewers flocked to Twitter to blast the show – branding it a "fix" as James is a professional dancer.
The star has been a ballroom dancer since the age of 13, and appeared on BBC's Strictly for eight series.
Got a story? email [email protected] or call us direct on 02077824220.
We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
Source: Read Full Article