Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Final (pt 2)

The woman who topped the leaderboard in Week 1 wins! Such an epic journey!

After a solid hour of Atlantits, in which Jason ran around the Palace Of Atlantits shirtless for 45 minutes deciding whether it was within his moral code to kill Queen WhatACow of Bitchylvania and then decided it wasn’t, but apparently it was entirely within his moral code to go off and kill Queen WhatACow’s sister, Hagface McGee, and then there were skeletons and stuff but I’d stopped paying attention at that points because Jason had put his Atlantits away, we are

BACK IN THE STUDIO! Never has the show looked more like it was plugging its own line of Royal Doulton figurines has it?

Tess tells us solemnly that the time has come, and one of these women is about to be announced the winner of Strictly C…oh wait, more faff and filler? OK, fine, one of these women is about to be told that she’s finished fourth, which in a way I guess is better than falling into the limbo of the Podium-Placings Black Hole, because at least she’s going to get closure. In this way, Sophie truly is about to be the Real Winn…lol not really.

Anyway, once this loser has been punted off, the three remaining combatants will take up their dancing shoes and do their favourite dance of the series in a last ditch attempt to win your votes, Robbie Williams will be sharing yet another page from the story of his mid-life crisis, and all of the non-finalists will return to throw a giant prop directly at our faces one last time. And here they are :

I’m not sure what Ashley’s implying there but…I’ll be in my bunk.

Our loser, after Bruce wastes time telling the finalists that they’d all make credible winners (although he told that to every single couple in the top 6 so…not that much of a compliment there) is…

Sophie’s Charleston! Also the woman who came with it, and Brenda.

As befits a woman struggling to deal with public rejection, Bruce and Tess yell “COME OVER HERE SOPHIE!” at her, but as she sadly wanders over she gets enveloped by Susanna and Abbey, whilst Natalie keeps her distance, presumably because she’s a bit worried about getting the divine all over Brenda’s waistcoat. Sophie’s Awkward Husband meanwhile is

in no way celebrating that she’s not going to have to do that Charleston lift where Brenda sticks his head between her legs.

Once she’s over at the Judges Area, Tess and Bruce point out that the entire audience and all of the judges are on their feet and applauding for her. Well

certain judges are just on their feet and staring off grumpily into the middle distance but…hey, at Christmas, it’s the standing up that counts. Bruce follows this up by telling Sophie & Brenda that in other years of the show, they could have been winners. LOL OK. Anything where you have to bring either Series 1 or Series 7 into it doesn’t really count Bruce. Also, I’m not sure how Brenda didn’t reply “erm…I already was, thanks” at that point, but I’m guess he’s just a bit struck dumb that (let’s be honest) his last chance at winning this show just puttered out so damply. Sophie closes her stay off by giving a little speech about how she didn’t come here to win – she just came here to learn how to dance and to have fun!

Never quite entirely on the same page at the same time were they? I’m just saying, if Brenda sets out a “To Do” list before the series starts, “have fun” is somewhere towards the bottom. Of page 7. Of the appendix. He tells Sophie that this has been his best series ever and she’s been his best partner ever and so on and then

hides his face so we can’t all see him pull the same face Mrs Doyle pulled when Father Ted bought her the teasmade for Christmas.

Just before she leaves, Sophie promises to do the Charleston at the Wrap Party. BUT WHAT ARE WE TO DO SOPHIE? The only insight we’re going to get into the Wrap Party are scurrilous pictures in The Daily Mail of the queue outside, with Susanna looking pissed off, Abbey looking pissed, and Natalie STOOPING DOWN SLIGHTLY TO GET UNDER A BARRIER, THE FAKING HO.

Anyway, off she pops, never to be seen again, and after Susanna claps her off so hard and so ostentatiously I worry she might shatter her pisiform, we’re left with our three final finalists, in

ascending order of nascent insanity. THE DIVINE IS COMING! IT WARMS HER LIKE MOTHERS MILK!

Susanna Reid & Kevin Clifton dancing the paso doble

So, as it’s the final, our last VTs for each couple are them talking about their Strictly Story. The real one, not the one where they’re all pupils at a fictional girls boarding school in the 1920s.

Susanna starts her VT

looking like the Mrs Peacock from a 21st century re-imagining of popular 90s ITV gameshow “Cluedo”, looking for all the world like she’s about to pop off to bash in Special Guest-Star Victim Helen Flanagan’s skull with a croquet mallet in the billiard room. She tells us that she’ll never forget being on Strictly, although the VT editors apparently have forgotten the part of her Strictly Story that consisted of her doing the newsreader cha-cha with Robin Windsor (the DIRTY RINGAH). Apparently she is now addicted to Strictly, and has been since the very first second she stepped out onto the dancefloor for her week 1 jive. So

expect to see this face lurching at you from an alley near King Cross Station, asking if you know where to score some Cuban Salsa, very soon.

She has decided though, for the final, that nothing could ever top her paso doble. She attributes this mostly to the wonderful grand setting of the Tower Ballroom, rich with dancing history down to its very bones. She’s…not really thought this through as a reprise has she? You’ll be doing it in Elstree Studios Su, in an arena rich with the history of “That Puppet Gameshow” and “Big Brother’s Bit On The Side”. Susanna goes on to say that, as he was a newbie, she didn’t know anything about Kevin when they were paired up.

You can see how she’d have to take a lot on trust can’t you? That face could easily have been the face of the new Jared Murillo.

Kevin says though that they became very close friends very quickly, although they did have their highs and lows. Sadly this is not referring to any sort of scandalous training session where Susanna threw a shoe or a mobile phone at him, but sadly just the fact that they’ve been both at the top of the judges leaderboard (once) and right at the bottom (once). SUCH A ROLLERCOASTER. Susanna says that she still hates her cha cha mostest though

and so say all of us. We close on a very weepy Glasses Kevin, saying that he said that he wouldn’t break down like this, but he always worried about what his first series would be like and Susanna’s made it so easy for him. All this would have more emotional impact if the whole of the last week and tonight hadn’t been Susanna and Kevin snotting all over one another like they’ve just been released from an international hostage situation that we will never be able to understand the intensity of. Or want to.


So what follows is an attempt by Susanna and Kevin to recapture the sheer impact and spectacle of their paso doble in a smaller space, with less atmosphere and a smaller audience. It’s a noble effort, and it definitely benefits from it being easier to keep them in the same shot. But I have to admit that when the camera reveals that

Kevin is doing his pre-dance stamping on a special mat, because the floor doesn’t have the same resonance as that of the Tower Ballroom’s parquet flooring, it does immediately lose a little something for me. I mean, it’s still Susanna Reid’s Paso Doble, and it will live forever in infamy, but I guess with any dance that relies on sudden impact it’s never going to be quite as breath-taking second time, no matter how much Susanna Reid is benefiting from another four or five weeks of practising her

Aggro-Mad Faces (admittedly these Aggro-Mad Faces did occasionally occur in, say, a foxtrot). Fortunately it does still end with the giant river of blood



Of course, as last time, Susanna lies there hugging the floor like she’s recreating the ending to The Wizard Of Oz. She just had the strangest dream, you guys! Except in this case Auntie Em is stood at the side yelling “GET A MOVE ON LOVE, WE’RE RUNNING OVER TIME AS IT IS!”. Once they’re over at Bruce, he tells her that that’s it, it’s all over, and Susanna

collapses on Kevin racking and sobbing like a 5 year old who’s been told it’s closing time at the zoo and who is trying to buy 5 more seconds with an indifferent alpaca. Somehow she manages to pull herself together to hear Len yelling “PASO DOBLE? PASS THE SMELLIN SAWTS!!!!”. I’m sure it was worth it, but as soon as the words are out of his mouth she

collapses back on her Kevi again like this is an early 90s Annie Lennox video. And it so easily could be. Bruno follows into this tidal wave

Thanks Bruno.

Craig is next, sneering that her shoulders were raised, her fingers were all wrong, her arms were cra…


Susanna’s face is evidence at its own trial there really isn’t it? Darcey closes by saying that Susanna came out full of fire and fury for her last dance on Strictly this series. Darcey meanwhile came out for her final dance on Strictly this series

wearing those earrings.

Up to the Tessanine they stomp, where Susanna’s theatrics reach

levels hither-to unseen outside of Dr Hamela. I don’t think any of last year’s finalists performed their actual dances with the levels of melodrama Susanna is hitting here. Tess asks her, a little perturbed, how it felt to dance her favourite dance again,

as Susanna circles Now Voyager and waves at Sunset Boulevard as she goes flying past. She huffs and sighs that it was the most extraordinary privilege and she can’t believe that that was her last dance with Kevin (until the tour). Kevin weeps that it’s been amazing, and Tess asks Susanna how she feels about having a one in three chance of winning, and Susanna gasps that the greatest prize for her has been dancing with Kevin. Well…it’s going to have to be. Scores are in


As Susanna

poses for her movie poster, it’s fun to reflect that this is still only the second most insane someone’s going to behave after their final dance all evening.

Abbey Clancy & Aljaz Skorjanec dancing the quickstep

I think this is as well a place as any to settle it :

For her Strictly Story, Abbey says that her entire time on Strictly has been incredible from start to finish and she’s been so happy the entire time. Well that sounds like a really fascinating story full of texture to me – LET’S HEAR MORE! Aljaz meanwhile says that he couldn’t wish in a million years for a better dance partner than Abbey for his first season of Strictly Come Dancing. Yes the newbie males continue their run of lucking out don’t they? Abbey follows this up by saying that the show feels like a dream and she doesn’t want to wake up just yet. Presumably because we’re at the bit where Aljaz invites her into the walrus pantry and tells her that he’s got something to say to her and then his shirt disappears and they make love on the back of a unicorn whilst eating a pork pie. (WHAT? IT’S JUST A DREAM, IT’S NOT CHEATING!).

She goes on to lie that she never expected to make it through week 1 (yes, Abbey Clancy really fits the profile of a week 1 boot even if we ignore the fact that nobody gets booted in week 1 these days anyway) given her comparative lack of dance experience. I do love that Abbey’s segments consistently live in their own little series where she is the only novice competing against 14 RINGAHS rather than, say Vanessa Feltz and a half-deaf rugby player. You will be surprised to hear that her low point was being in the bottom 2 with “our rumba”. Well who wasn’t in a bottom 2 with a rumba this series? I think some people managed to do it twice.

Abbey closes by saying that she feels so honoured to have made the final, as she doesn’t feel like she’s as good a dancer as half of the other people here. The other half presumably being “Susanna”. Aljaz meanwhile reminisces on all the fun times they had together. There was that time Abbey

ate some grapes. That time when they

ran a bit poofy. That time she

threw a hat. So many memories. WHY WAS NONE OF THIS JOY AND LAUGHTER IN THEIR VTS I DEMAND TO KNOW! Once we’re done reliving all of the Abbey Clancy Personality Highlights that we missed in favour of Comedy VTs and her saying NYYYYYYYYERRRRRRRRRRVES over and over again until I developed a twitch and started clicking the “mute” button even without a remote in my hand, we are reminded that

she has a nan, and her nan is cute and that

she has a daughter, and her daughter is cute. She also has a husband.


Abbey is reprising her quickstep, because she feels like she has been WALKING ON SUNSHINE all series, and that was the song that she performed her quickstep to. Also because Evil Moira Ross (in a rainbow wig) had to return the giant disco ball and backing dancers to Clifton Dance Emporium (keys cut while you wait) last week. Aint nobody want a giant Sanibucket and Spade back. Even then I’m not sure why it isn’t her Viennese Waltz but I’m guessing Blackpool was the night of all nights this series and we all must pay fealty to it and bow down and do our best to forget that it’s where Fiona Fullerton did probably the worst lift in the history of the show. In terms of the question we’re all asking


until there is. Those of you speculating that the real reason that Abbey has reprised this dance is because it’s the only other dance this series where Aljaz wore white trousers…may have a point. In terms of the other question, no you can’t hear if she squeals “WHEEEEEEE!” again in the jump, partly because Aljaz once again apparently can’t get it up and the jump

becomes some sort of modified Victorian Lady Kung-Fu Kick.

Seriously, Aljaz has totally biffed this final and he’s still going to win. (<3)

As she reaches Bruce, he tells her that that’s it, she’s finished her Strictly journey and the standing ovation for her crescendos, although you can kind of pick out

Goddess Kara thinking “oh, great, my GODDESS OF DAHNCE crown is being passed on to that is it? Fantastic. I did a frickin’ cartwheel in my quickstep”. Bruno starts for the judges

only one more to go Bruno, there’s a good boy. Craig follows by telling Abbey that she was very brave to reprise this dance, because he didn’t like it the first time and gave it a 7. Abbey’s face couldn’t read

“LOL WHATEVER ‘GUIDANCE ONLY’ ” if it tried. He goes on to congratulate her for sorting out the gapping, her gormless chin, her loose frame and messy arms. You know. Mostly.

Darcey follows by saying that walking on sunshine is great, but Abbey floated and that’s even better. Good to know. Len closes by telling Abbey that if ballroom dancing was football Abbey would be top of the league. Natalie presumably is having 15 points deducted for her brain going into administration in about 12 minutes time. Unfortunately though Len IS going to have to take a mark off for the kung-fu ninja death jump thing. Even though that was Aljaz’s fault. Fair enough. You know, so long as he doesn’t start claiming to be marking the celebrity only in about…those same 12 minutes times.

Up to the Tessanine they walk, with Abbey squealing “OH MY GOD!” the whole way, as Fiona

makes sure to get her face in shot as a Sophi…Abbey Superfan. Tess tells Abbey once more that that’s it, no more dancing til the tour as Abbey is clearly already planning what to spend her prize money on.

FACELIFTS FOR EVERYONE! She gushes and squeals that she loves Strictly so much and that she loves her Aljaz and it’s all thanks to him and she’s so sad it’s ending and then she grabs him and squeals piercingly and

I’ve never been more annoyed by the presence of Robin’s shoulder ever. Based on her face during that red button thingy, there was no love lost between Abbey and Janette AT ALL. So many catfights this series, and not one of them caught on camera. FOR SHAME.

It makes Georgina Bouzova vs Mica Paris look like a quiet day. Scores are in


Natalie Gumede & Artem Chigvintsev dancing the American Smooth

Bruce prefaces her Strictly Story by talking about how many times he’s been up and down the stairs again. Apparently we’re at 60 times now. I’m not sure if he’s counting each “up and down” as one stint or as two so it’s hard to quantify the effort exactly but…maybe this can be next year’s Pro Challenge. I would be very excited to see Aljaz in particular run up and down stairs over and over again, as long as they got the right camera angles.

In her VT, Natalie says that she has been a massive fan of Strictly since the beginning. I do buy this. In fact I think all of the women in the final (bar maybe Abbey) are obviously THOOPAFANTH. Add Fiona and Rachel, and it’s been a very THOOPAFAN sort of series. Natalie tells us that she’s spent many an evening yelling

“I WANNA DO IT! I WANNA DO IT!” at the tv. I’m very much the same myself, only I have too much respect to ever call Pasha “it”. He’s a HUMAN BEING damnit. Natalie goes on to say that she has now been invited into the inner circle and she’s loving every second of it. Again, I could say the same for my future hopes for Pas[JOKE REDACTED].

Natalie goes on to say, somewhat ironically, that as a contestant on Strictly she’s completely in the hands of her dance partner. Her having spent about as much time in Artem’s actual hands as a copy of the Strictly Rulebook of Rules has. Artem says that it’s been a joy having Natalie as a partner, because she’s so skilled that there’s been no limitations, and he’s just been able to choreograph whatever he wanted. We are rather grimly reminded that sometimes “what Artem wanted”

looked like this.

Natalie recounts that, despite this, her low-point on the show was when she died, briefly, whilst rehearsing her jive and when she came round the first face she saw was the

horrible sight of Susanna continuing her BARACK OBAMA STYLE CHARM FREE PUBLICITY DRIVE by showing her genuine concern and support THE BITCH. She’s also gutted that briefly dying means that she never got to do her jive. Me too. The grainy footage of Youtube doesn’t quite cut it, I’m sorry.

Artem goes on to say that Natalie is one of the strongest women he’s ever met and that her work ethic puts his to shame. She’s also kind of

mental. As if to prove this, Natalie goes on to speechify that Artem sees something in her that nobody else does and that he is a quiet man but he expresses all of himself…through dance. It’s the pause that makes it sound extra specially fan-ficcy. We’re also reminded that Natalie doesn’t have any family who will appear on camera but she does have friends.

Friends who also have hair. Not quite as amazing hair, but hair all the same.


So anyway, many years ago, on a reality show far far away (albeit on the same channel) known as “I’d Do Anything”, something happened. Something that long-term followers of my opinions on this blog and twitter and messageboards will know as “going like Rachel”. “Going like Rachel” happened when Dirty Ringah Rachel Tucker, fresh off two sing-offs, with her back against the wall, and a whole series of fairly anonymous performances behind her was given “Cabaret” to perform and ATE IT UP. I didn’t recap the show at the time, and my time as a non-professional recapper of b-grade reality tv has always been slightly tinged with disappointment that I didn’t get to cover the glorious madness as it happened, with screencaps. So imagine how glad I was to find it happening all over again, with Natalie Gumede being thematically appropriate to “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.

I don’t know what happened between the first performance of this (which I liked) and the second (which I will have played on a loop at my funeral) but I suspect it involves getting various dosages of painkillers just right. Natalie dances it like a woman possessed and emotes it even harder, hitting all the moods and the odd shifting elements of the music dead on. It just feels right. It all ends with her stumbling WITH EMOTION then gearing up


flinging her arms round him and gliding about two feet past the point of impact

before collapsing at his feet.

It’s stupid, melodramatic, overblown, ridiculous, all in vain (just like “going like Rachel” was, and all the better for it) and EPICMAZING, and the perfect dance for both this series, and the Musicals Week which birthed it.

Scenes From A Tessanine :

Looks like the divine touched Fiona as well. Either that or she’s recovering from Susanna clocking her in the back of the head with a stiletto for squealing like an albatross following her showdance. Ahem.

Craig starts for the judges by saying that there’s nothing better IN THE WORLD than when everything comes together – the music, the song, the dance, Andrea’s voice, Natalie’s nascent psychotic hallucinations, the dancing… Darcey follows, saying that it was easy to see just how much Natalie loved that dance and the whole thing was just really intense and fabulous. Natalie just OOZES it. That she does.

All over the studio floor by the looks of it.

It is at this point we cut to

JELUS KARA in the audience, looking even more JELUS than usual. What a look of rage on her face. It’s hard to look at isn’t it? No wonder she and Artem split up (etc etc).

Len follows, by reminding us that last time Natalie did this dance he gave her an 8 because the choreography grievously offended him. And it still does but…erm…it’s the final and stuff so he was only watching Natalie so she can have a 10 anyway.

Oh Len. Next time you get the hump because the audience can’t follow your internal logic, just think back to this mangling. (Feel free to bitch some more about Kara never getting a 40 here, because if we’d been following these rules, she would have). He goes on to say that that truly is a fitting dance to end such an amazing series. Speaking of fitting ends.

Bye Bruno. See you next year.

Up to the Tessanine they waft and let’s just sacrifice ALL of this final recapping of the final true Tessanine of the series to Natalie saying that she

feels like she touched the divine out there on the dancefloor. TOUCHED. THE. DIVINE. Scores are in


Final judges leaderboard?


So, there’s still unaccountably half an hour to go before Strictly is all over bar the Monkies, so to fill the time, it’s time for that bit where the show goes out and about and asks the public what their favourite parts of the show have been. So long as they’re either celebrities or telegenic. I’m just saying when Tess announces that it’s time to find out what “we” thought of the series, and the first faces I see are some hunky soldiers and

Dame Edna, I don’t feel terribly represented myself, personally. I’m also glad to see that the show’s representing having its finger on the pulse with

John “Natalie will be out next week, then Ben will win” Barrowman. Shouting.

In other news

Alex Jones thinks that Strictly is the best lead-up to Christmas there is apart from when you nom all your advent calender chocolates in one go and then mummy lets you stay up late to watch The Snowman & The Snowdog. Some boy told her this year that Santa wasn’t real but she KNOWS THAT’S NOT TRUE BECAUSE SHE SAW HIM ON C-BEEBIES.

This woman

nearly fell off her chair at Mark Benton’s cha cha because she was laughing so much, JUST LIKE BRUNO DID. Unfortunately she didn’t have a crash-mat to hand like him, and she shattered her coccyx. Don’t try being Bruno at home kids.

This woman

would like to talk about how erotic she personally found Ben’s rumba. Which will always liven up any AA meeting.

Julian’s entire time on the show is represented by this woman

talking about pulling teeth and someone screaming about crystals and some old duffer sighing that he “seemed like quite a character” which seems about right.

These men were

pleasantly surprised by Vanessa Feltz. Fuck only knows how.

Mary Berry and Eamon Holmes were both supporting Susanna. Lorraine Kelly was sort of supporting Natalie but it sounded like she was doing so under sufferance because nobody else would agree to do it. An 8 year old boy was supporting to Abbey. Basically I think Mary Berry fell asleep and that 8 year old multivoted by hacking the BBC Website and there’s your key to solving the end of this series quite frankly.

Once everyone’s done telling me their very real opinions about how amazing it is that there is an all-female final for the FIRST TIME EVAH (because Louis Smith spoiled last year’s attempt by having MUSCLES and stuff boooo), Bruce says that it’s alright, he knows that we’re all very tense and nervous because of the results, so he’s brought on a guest musical act to soothe our nerves.


I know I’m relaxed and definitely not expecting him to start yelling about aliens or threatening to throw himself over the balcony. He’s singing “Puttin’ On The Ritz” from his new album “Tee Hee I’m Bisexual (OR AM I?!?!?) : Songs I Forgot To Ruin Last Time I Tried To Do Swing”. I am somewhat assured that nobody is about to die on national television by the sight of

Artem in a tux and tails, marking this out clearly as a pre-recorded segment. We all know that in real time Artem is sobbing prostrate on the banquettes in the Tessanine, overwhelmed by his own artistic avant-garde genius. Anyway, Robbie Williams whines the whole thing out his nose, sliding in and out of a bad American accent for no reason and with no pattern, and of course fails to get a whole song out without getting the audience to yell out bits of the chorus, because I guess that’s the joy of Robbie Williams, this face happens

merry Christmas.

Once Robbie’s safely back in his box, counting down the days to reuniting with Take That YET AGAIN, we zoom back to the Tessanine where Tess is surrounded by this year’s losers, and tells us that we shall shortly bear witness to them all returning for the annual Closing Dance. It’s like the Opening Dance on the Launch Show but one or two of them will show signs of having come out of the whole process vaguely more co-ordinated. But only one or two of them, and only vaguely. You can tell that Ashley’s

looking forward to his bit already. But first, why not have them all tell us what they thought about competing on Strictly, like we didn’t all get the picture the first time round?

“Competing on Strictly was just like being invited to the best party in the world, then lobbing your Chardonay in the face of some smug bitch you never liked on the way out, BYEEEEEEEE!”

“LOL, turns out I’m on the tour and you’re not FIONA and this is what you get for behaving!”


“It felt like old school Hollywood glamour to walk down that red carpet partnered by a minor soap villain and some woman who…no it’s gone. She did tell me, but it’s gone…”


“Drag Queen Week was a blast!”

“I remember being really nervous before the show started, thinking “ooooh, who am I going to get?” and then it was some bint I’ve never even heard of. WHERE DID FLAVIA GO?”


*mute button*

“I can’t wait to see what my comedy It Takes Two segment will be next year. Ask Widdy. Russell Grant : Stats Man. Lisa Riley On Work Experience. It’ll be hard to tread in the footsteps of such giants of the 5-minute filler genre, but with God on my side I know I will prevail”

“*I* was a flipping superfan. My 21st birthday was Strictly themed. I was invited personally on by Brenda himself. What do I get? NOTHING. Nobody even remembers I was on this bloody show. What a waste of my time and effort. I don’t even get to see Pasha with his shirt off and GOD KNOWS I TRIED. My advice if you’re considering doing the show? Don’t. And don’t even get me started on the make-up and costumes – I wanted my Strictly Dream, but I ended up looking like a half-drowned Fraggle or Wilma Flintstone : Bank-Robber. Bruce never bothered learning my nam….”

So that’s their opinion on their time here, in their own words (don’t check iPlayer, those are all direct quotes), but what better way to fully and finally encapsulate the personalities of the 11 men (and maybe some women idk?) who fought and lost before the final stages of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing than with a comedy group routine to “Last Dance” by Donna Summer?

I think what I love best of all about this routine is that it starts off all slow and Latiny and dream-like

like it’s going to turn out like any number of boring Last Dances of yesterseries, where the celebrities hang about at the back jostling awkwardly as the pros go through the motions and occasionally remember to chuck them about a bit, but THEN

Tony Jacklin turns up swinging a golf club about with funny “THWACK!” sound-effects, followed by the female pros

working glittery golden golf-clubs like the Nigel Lythgoe Connection and the FUN BEGINS!

Oh, and Rachel Riley still can’t even do finger-guns in time to the music.


Back up in the Tessanine, of course, everyone is crying because it’s just been that sort of series. They’ve all been leaking since 5 seconds in, and they’re not going to stop now. In a way I’m glad that Sophie is at a safe distance, because there’s no way she’d be able to compete with this sort of spectacle. Tess reminds us that, very soon (please), one of these three ladies

will be crowned your champion for Strictly 2013. At this point Susanna

reaches out for sisterly support and gets completely denied. She actually has to start tickling Abbey, live on tv, to get any sort of reaction. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but I’m sure it’s probably due to Tess screaming abuse at everyone in the background for distracting everybody at home during every single link she’s done all evening.

There then follows an advert for the Christmas Special, which I didn’t watch but which apparently featured everybody being awful and Rufus Hound winning, so it can nob right off. Not even Flavia and Ian returning can save that mess.

Back to the Tessanine again with our losing celebs, fresh from their Closing Dance

In getting to do the final routine of the series they are, of course, in a very real way, the Real Winners here. Tess asks Dave if he’s continued dancing since he left the show and he says that he has, like an eel on a skateboard. Well there’s an image. Tess asks Deborah what her highlight from this evening has been, and she replies “the exceptional dancing”. What, not Robbie Williams doing rubbish swing? I guess it’s the lack of Olly Murs that did for her. She then egregiously sucks up to the crowd. Save it for the tour love.

Tess asks Mark if he’s missed the show, and he says he has. She then asks Ben if it’s been fun being back amongst all his Strictly friends, and he says he has. Let’s just get on with announcing a winner shall we? This bit is death without Claudia. Tess announces that there have been over 6,000,000 votes over the course of the evening, so that online voting system has definitely paid off, if only in terms of being able to artificially inflate these sort of preening puffed-up figures. And yes, finally, it’s time to announce who will be…appearing in a lengthy VT next year alongside all of the other Strictly Winners.

Look at them. Some of them ageing better than others. They all talk about winning and how they won and what it means to win and be a winner on Strictly Come Dancing. My favourite parts are, in no particular order

  • Jill’s needlessly massive zip
  • How Alesha’s interview is clearly from years ago
  • How Alesha’s interview is clearly from years ago so they make her credit Strictly for turning her life around and certainly not that dreadful Simon Cowel
  • Kerplunk’s palpable disdain for the general public – seriously there’s one bit where she talks about members of the public approaching her in the street after her win and she sounds like she wants to scrub herself clean just sitting there
  • Shots of Kerplunk’s heroically bad dancing
  • Getting to relive the past “winning moments” and getting to see who looked most gutted by their loss (Flavia)
  • Getting to relive the past “winning moments” and getting to see who looked most orgasmically elated by their win (Flavia)
  • Kara crying again
  • Artem crying again
  • The reminder that Aliona’s didn’t truly settle into her dye-job until it was too late
  • Darren Gough remaining an UTTER NOB, making sure to sneak in a mention of all the wickets he took for England and how “nobody remembers anyone who finished runner-up”, the UTTER NOB

Anyway, the woman who will be joining them is


It’s the usual post-results melee from here on out. Abbey leaps about squealing, everyone else wanders around looking a bit awkward and not knowing what to do, Susanna throws acid in Abbey’s face…

you know, the usual. They do try to make sure the runners-up get to speak, but of course all they have to say is “…well it’s been fun”. I do appreciate the effort they’ve gone to to listen to complaints this series, like how there was a special red button segment featuring the finalists thoughts after the win. I’ve always wanted to know how Brenda was in the minutes following a loss.

As you might expect, Abbey’s winners speech isn’t the most articulate. She just squeals a lot and says she can’t believe it. I guess really that is what defines Abbey’s win – its unexpectedness. I said on twitter at the time she was the most blah winner the show’s had and I stand by that personally just because, aside from a brief peak during her Viennese Waltz and her American Smooth I never really strongly liked or disliked her as a dancer or a person. She was just kind of there. I appreciate this is how everyone else felt about the last two winners but still…I’m happy for her, I liked some of her dances, but I can’t help thinking that any one of the other finalists would have made for a more compelling winner. It’s all a bit of an anticlimax to be honest.

Nobody even gets hoisted on anybody’s shoulders at the end.

Everyone back here in a week for the Monkies?


29 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 11 – Final (pt 2)

  1. Left Feet

    I did not expect Abbey’s name to come out mainly because she had an alright but not outstanding final, i guess she was the one who picked up the Sophie votes. Also since the 2010 revamp the best looking member of the cast as won, all under 30, maybe the character winner of Strictly are a thing of the past. I don’t think that the producers will want an all female final next year however.
    The goup dance was fun and also intresting that they interviewed all the past winners. Is that really an old Alesha interview? I guess that Cowell would not let her talk about Strictly anymore, but the producers could not leave her out particulary as she said that her success is due to Strictly.
    Looking forward to the Monkies

      1. Left Feet

        She didn’t make the final though, Holly is pretty sexy but for me it didn’t really come across that she really cared that much. As she is now married to a bloke who can afford to wipe the debt from a small thrid world country I can see why.

      2. monkseal Post author

        Oh sure of the finalists it’s been the hottest that’s won since the relaunch (although I’d argue the same is true of 1 and 4 definitely and probably 2 and 5 as well).

      3. Huriye

        What a shock that was when I saw what a nerdy looking guy Holly Valance was engaged to, albeit a millionaire nerd, when she gave off an aura on Strictly of only being interested in the super cool and uber trendy, and everything else was far too naff for her to deal with…..whatevah.

  2. Pops

    Top blogging, as always. After Erin Island last series, and Bruce calling Brendan ‘Brenda’, I was hoping they’d make Sexy Frankenstein canon as well and incorporate Aljaz into Robbie Williams’ version of Puttin’ On the Ritz, a la Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein.

    Elaine Paige was my pick for next year’s Strictly, but with a partner less lovely than Pasha – we need someone who can provoke her into a full-on diva strop. Under the right set of circumstances, I reckon EP could descend into realms of luvvie madness even Natalie could never dream of.

  3. Miss Cavie

    It felt like there was a collective “Huh?” from around the nation when Abbey’s name was read out. I mean she was… nice, and her dancing was…. nice, but she seemed to make no impact whatsoever. Then again, looking at the recent winners maybe the whole Nice Young Woman/Nice Young Man thing is the way to go. I used my free votes on Susanna all the way through, largely because it would annoy the Daily Mail and Digital Spy no end if she won. Then came That American Smooth, and Natalie taking us to whole new levels of epic batshit crazy. Touching the Divine has usurped The Snowdance as my favourite ever Srictly moment. Just imagine if she’d won…

  4. Soosie

    I’m sad you will not be re-capping the Xmas special, monkseal. It had a comedy VT of Pasha not understanding a cracker joke because he is a silly foreigner with a poor grasp of English. Classic.

  5. Kate

    Loved your paraphrasing of Rachels segment -half drowned Fraggle. I never remember that she was on and my kids make me watch the Gadget show that she presents..
    But all in all a successful seasons blog from you. Thank you for all your hard work.

  6. Huriye

    Poor Sophie stuck at the back with all the riff raff and Losers, that was cruel. 😦
    Claude would’ve been touching her thigh in sympathy…….

    That Susanna handreach was weird. Abbey looks as if she doesn’t see it and is looking up at the scoreboard or something. Aljaz looks at it extremely hesitantly, as much to say, ‘Don’t touch!”. And Natalie is too emotionally drained to move her clasped hands, she still has her serene ‘I got to dance my Smooth again’ post coital smile, and just looks at Susanna’s outstretched hand, unresponsive. That blonde woman on BB would have a field day with the body language analysis!

    Cheers Monkseal for the brilliant/insightful/amusing pics and words. 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  7. Justice Bellingham

    Thank you for a brilliant recap all series. I was so glad to see Abbey win but that may have been more delight at Susanna not winning. Natalie’s final A.S was the dance of the series for me. I think Natalie was just happy in the end that it wasn’t Susanna who beat her to the title of Goddess of Dahnce.
    Hopefully next year TPTB will have read this and realised how much Man in the Hat was missed and put him front and centre for the Davarch bits.

  8. BeyonceCastle

    Thanks for cheering me up with your recaps Monkseal – you never fail to make me smile
    Look forward to reading you in 2014 Dancing on Ice* starts soon…how is Todd Carty an all-star? How? and will he out-gurn Susanna? Happy New Year xx

    *Sod all these lot, Christopher Dean wuz robbed…

    1. monkseal Post author

      Todd Carty is an All-Star because of THAT TIME HE DUN FELL DOWN DAH TUNNEL! Pasquale baffles me more. He wasn’t even the best comedy contestant from HIS SERIES (#teamchwegwin)

      1. Huriye

        Let’s hope the pair of ’em get voted off tonight in Scofe’s “cruel twist double eviction”. I mean where is Dec’s ex g/f from series 2, you know the one who could actually skate good? #equallybaffled

      2. monkseal Post author

        They really should have cut one of the men for an extra woman. Joe, Gary and Gareth all cut be cut fairly easily.

  9. catherinehirst

    “Susanna and Kevin snotting all over one another like they’ve just been released from an international hostage situation that we will never be able to understand the intensity of.”


    Another stellar series…not the show, good God, ha ha, NO…from you, Monkseal. You are the only reason I still watch this festering pile of bullshit (tho’ I genuinely enjoyed Natalie this series) and as long as you keep recapping I’ll keep watching. Thank you!

  10. phoebefair

    Wonderful work as ever Monkseal – thank you. But I’m sad you missed the chance to add your insights to the Previous Winner background shots.
    Kaplunsky – tastefully matched decor and jumper
    Jill – home interiors by Wilko
    Harry – brown curtains and boring Christmas tree
    Louis – wears a waistcoat at all times
    My favourites? Smug Tom is so posh he has a library and A SPECIAL LIBRARY LADDER
    Alesha lives in a tacky nightclub

    Thanks again for all your hard work.


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