As if last week wasn’t topsy-turvy enough, tonight’s final featured an all time first in the history of Strictly Come Dancing. Forget that it was the first time that a Clifton actually won, forget that it was the first time that someone has been in the dance-off twice and still won, forget even that we had our first ever winner with two black parents after the show found itself up to its waist in Yet Another Racism Scandal for the first few weeks, tonight, for the first time ever how people danced in the final actually mattered.
Judges Reprise : This round saw the judges fatally hole Louise below the waterline before the night even really got started by making her do her cha cha again. They don’t make her do it even more gawkily than the first time of course, that’s all her own doing, but you have to think that on a night where both Danny (quickstep) and Ore (American Smooth) got one of their biggest crowdpleasers to do right as the lines open, Louise reprising a dance where the sum total of everyone’s thoughts at the time were “…how is this in the Pimp Slot again?” was never going to end well for her. Ore pulls his dance off, Danny… does not, as Oti’s best efforts to guide the dance to the 10s it arguably deserved first time out by cutting down the faff at the start come to naught as Danny spectacularly biffs the ending to the extent that not even Bruno can find it in him to go the full monty.
Showdances Rare is it that I love a showdance, and tonight is no exception, as not one of them does much for me, but Joanne undoubtedly pitches hers best to the mood of the public, making it very definitely Ore doing his American Smooth again but with more jumping up and down on things to “I Got Rhythm”. Kevin on the other hand aims for lyrical expressive conemporary for Louise, in a routine where she is supposedly going from Quiet Humble Shy Louise to New Confident Louise Who Was Saved By Kevin (and Danhnce). The transition never quite happens, thematically although there some nice enough lifts and billoughy curtains. Oti on the other hand goes the other way, and in her routine Danny never really portrays the Shy Unconfident Danny he supposedly was at the start of the series, leaping right to leaping about, flailing randomly, twatting around and kicking over mirrors from the off. It all feels spectacularly misjudged and sloppy but the audience in the studio love it, so maybe it’s a comeback?
Favourite Dances : A round that really would have benefitted from an hour’s break for Casualty and the lottery, as Ore is too tired to really commit to his jive, and Danny’s samba looks a little undercooked as well. The only dancer who really comes on as strong as she did before is Louise, in her Argentine Tango, but even then it feels more like it’s because she’s hardly expended much effort over the course of the evening so far, and because it was hardly a blazing ball of light the first time.
So on sum balance, after all the dances are completed, Ore feels like he deserves the win most, to me, if we’re basing it just on tonight. And then, after a performance from Emily Sande (which we’re pronouncing “Sonday” now apparently) and the annual end-of series car crash celeb number (the clear highlights of which are Lesley getting wasted, Cloudia doing fifteen cartwheels and sommersaults, and Gorka’s arse), he does! He disolves into tears, the Cliftons go wild, Danny loses graciously and Len gets to leave with his favourite having won for the first time since…Harry? AND a special ballroom only pro dance. So long Len. Thanks for…well I’m sure I’ll think of something in time for the full recap.
(We’re having MAJAH internet problems currently, so take the date of its ultimate arrival under advisement, it might be a while)