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Strictly Come Dancing 17 – The Monkies (Monkseal’s Picks)

Also, an announcement!

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Strictly Come Dancing 17 – Final Summary

So let’s take it round by round

Judges Choice : As you might expect from the fact that the judges picked one of the better routines for each celeb, this is fully an excuse for Motsi, Shirley, and Bruno all to hunker down with their 10 paddle for winter and not pull anything else out for the rest of the night. And so it is left up to Craig to ding people, with Emma being poked for not entirely being in sync with Anton in her Charleston (might I also add, the fairly uninspiring job that the choreographers did in replacing all the stuff with backing dancers with…a lot of spinning round in circles like Wonder Woman) and Kelvin getting dinged for, well, being a man dancing the rumba mostly. Karim meanwhile, sails on with his quickstep, getting a perfect score for a dance that nevertheless feels a little unshowy and drab in comparison to Kelvin’s tour-de-force last week. My winner? Kelvin.

SHOWDANCES : Karim just does his contemporary routine again, to a different song, and gets the same score all over again. At least Ashley added a little spinny table last year. Of the other two, Emma swings at Old School Fred & Ginge and misses, with a routine where she and Anton don’t ever really seem to be in the same library, let alone on the same page, and Oti goes absolutely all out on the choreography for a retro jukebox routine that features bits of pretty much every routine Kelvin has done this series. It’s sloppy as hell, but also incredibly charming, and very Kelvin, which in this finale, is more than enough. My winner, and Craig’s? Kelvin.

Couples Choice : Not much to say here really, other than that nobody really changed my mind from their first performances – Emma’s dance is still mostly ham acting with a bit of clunky Viennese Waltz thrown in, Karim’s jive is still glorious frantic OTT stage school perfection, and Kelvin’s Week 1 samba…well, it’s still a Week 1 samba, and somewhere about 3/4 of the way through, it really starts to feel like it. My winner? Karim.

That all settled, we go through the usual filler – a special guest performance (filmed two weeks ago) from Taylor Swift, who needs her mic turning up ; a Car Crash returning Celebrity Group Dance the clear highlight of which for me is Michelle dancing on to a RuPaul album track live in front of 12 million people on BBC One ; and, of course, the usual “here’s the judges maundering on about any old rubbish to fill for time” padding VT. Which summary is probably underselling it, it’s all a very upbeat, jolly, light-hearted, convivial, and fun finale, not least because you get the impression that everyone there kind of knows who’s going to win regardless of what they do.

AND THEY’RE RIGHT! Kelvin wins, and he and Oti both cry everywhere, probably ruining several fantasies about just how macho and Northern and stoic he is, but there we are, it’s Strictly! Kelvin accidentally proclaims himself the embodiment of everything great about this country, Oti lobs all of her previous partners in the bin. AN ENDING!