There will be tears.
Just imagine an episode of Casualty happened here, like it would have done in any civilised final. If you want something to use as a reference point, just go back and watch any of the first four weeks of this series.
We come back to a montage of our three finalists talking about their Strictly experience and why it means so much to them. You will be surprised to hear that all three of them want to win most of all for their new best friends – their pro partners.
I know. People saw that picture of Ore and Joanne together and still voted for them. What a 2016 it’s been. Ore tells us it’s been so exhilirating going out and dancing in front of millions of people, Danny says that he’s invested everything he’s got physically, emotionally and mentally (…) in the show, and Louise says she’s come so far in terms of her confidence. She used to sit at home and think to herself that she didn’t know how anyone had the nerve to go out there live on a Saturday Night and perform like that. And that was just Bruce. She’s been through so many emotions on Strictly – nervousness, terror, boredom, nausea – and it’d be great to win. Y’know. For Kevin’s sake.
We return to the studio and
the Len and Bruno Event creeps ever closer. And I do mean creeps.
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton dancing the jive
Time now for our three finalists favourite routines of the series, and also time for decades long VTs about the their journies where they all sit down and talk about what a great series it’s been for them.
Not so much Joanne’s hair, unless she is planning on auditioning for a pivotal role in the story of the backing singers from The Human League. She says that she’s very proud that she managed to take Ore from being a non-dancer to being a non-dancer who can do the jive, the American Smooth and a showdance comprised of bits of jive and American Smooth. And catch her as she flings her about him in an Argentine Tango. And quickstep. A bit. Happily, this, other than a throwaway from Claudia earlier, is the first time anyone’s mentioned that Ore’s never danced before all final so you’ve all had plenty of time to settle in and prepare yourselves for the deluge to come. Ore for his part reveals his groundings in the BBC Sport department by spinning out a line of pure waffle that sounds like one of those god-awful poems they know have that guy read out over everything. I think when he says “If Singin In The Rain was when the dream was realised, then jive was when it was blown out of the water” is my favourite bit. What a sack of arse. We also, of course, cover his stints in the dance-off (apparently, sez Ore, you can’t truly appreciate Strictly unless you taste the lows as well as the highs which…let’s ask Jill Halfpenny or Harry Judd about whether they think their Strictly Journey was more hollow for having slapped everyone about the place from pillar to post) and of course, his infamous tendency to cry
which I include a picture of only so we can all marvel at just how much AJ looks like a Zoltar-esque fairground fortune teller at the side there. Ore’s wife turns up for a bit to say that she’s the proudest wife of them all, and Joanne closes by saying that she’s really found a best friend forever.
Her face on the word “forever” there, suggesting a sudden and unpleasant realisation of how long “forever” is. And possibly a call to Karen to ask her to sub in for her on the tour. And next year’s Christmas Special when he comes back. And forever when he comes back as a presenter after Tess suffers a suspicious boating accident.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So all of these dances in this round were done before, and all of them were done really well the first time with pretty much no room for real marked improvement, so as usual I don’t have a lot to say. Especially as I’m fairly sure all three of these routines are going to be in my Top 20 Of The Series so I’m going to be writing them up again in (*checks watch*) a day’s time anyway. Ore’s jive is still easily my favourite routine from him and let’s face it it’s because it was when he was at his peak bangability, before his presenteritis metastasised as he added water. As a result, at the time, I didn’t mind at all the slight technical roughness around the edges of the routine as it was presented the first time, but I do slightly resent that he clearly could have done with a rub-down break between the showdance and this this time. It just doesn’t really have the energy or commitment it had when he was performing it from a clean and rested and prepared pimp slot. I’m also
still not crazy over Joanne doing the hoe-down and flashing her knickers like a demented sex-crazed leprechaun.
Nobody wants to see your Lucky Charm Jo, not tonight.
They wander over to Tess who gushes that she can’t believe Ore’s stamina. Don’t encourage him love, you’ll be getting a DM from him saying that he can’t BELIEVE it, he’s lost a STONE on Strictly but his arse is still as FIRM AND JUICY AS EVER take a look #danceyourselffit #strictlybonus. Craig starts for the judges, saying that Ore is so good and he hates it because it’s left him with nothing to say. He does “one word – virtuosic” and it’s nice to see how deep Craig’s dictionary goes, because even I hadn’t heard of that one. Darcey follows this up by saying that she was impressed by that routine in Week 4 and she’s even more impressed now. She doesn’t know how he maintains his effortless (…) cool and thinks he’s now a true dancer.
Len’s next and he says that it’s people like Ore who give him the most pleasure on Strictly – people who’ve got no dance background who come out and give great performances. Truly he is the Spirit Of Strictly. Poor Ed Balls up on the balcony. I bet he thought it was him. What changed Len? WHAT CHANGED? This of course comes as no surprise, as in the run-up to the final and his retirement Len has been running around the press throwing all of the past winners and dirty ringahs in the bin. Apparently he remembers Widdy fondly over whoever that bird who won Series 8 is and Sarge over whoever that prancing bloke whose wedding it always was was that year. Jill, Alesha, Caroline? NO! JUDY MURRAY, RUSSELL GRANT, KATE GARRAWAY? YES! Len’s last act on Strictly truly has been to strike a match and burn down PURITY OF DAHNCE and God bless him for it, at least it’s an opinion beyond vomiting up song titles and cockney noises. Personally I’m somewhere in the middle – I just checked the last time I updated my list of Top 60 Strictly contestants ever and my top 20 is either 11-9 ringers vs non-ringers, or 12-8 depending on where Chelsee’s background is and frankly who knows?. I can appreciate the romance of a journey when one exists, but I wouldn’t prioritise it over everything.
Up to Claud 9 they jiggle, where everyone is doing a mini jive and chanting 40 at them. Claudia remenisces with Ore, once they’ve finished, about how when she first met him on the first day of rehearsals he told her that there was no way he’d even make it to Blackpool, and here he is in the final. Whether his lack of faith in himself was a lack of faith in his talent or if he was thinking of that time he did Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief and got beaten in the public vote by Vanessa Feltz stomping around in Cher’s cast-off fishnets I don’t know. Joanne thanks him for working so hard, and then scores are in
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton dancing the Argentine Tango
Tess tells us that Louise’s Argentine Tango was first danced in Week 7, and is full of tension, drama, passion, and most importantly of all, lampposts.
Louise’s Journey VT
makes me really sad Live & Kicking isn’t still going so she can be the presenter it truly deserves. Conor Maynard and Becca Dudley holding down the fort at the front whilst Louise potters around in the background in her penguin print dressing gown picking up after them with a glass of wine in hand, periodically stopping to yell “KEEP IT DOWN FOR CHRIST’S SAKE IT’S 9 IN THE MORNING”. She tells us that she’s so grateful to have got the chance to learn dances like the Viennese Waltz and the Argentine Tango, because who gets to do that? Well by my count, 32 other people on this show alone love, so you ain’t that special. (Maybe 31 depending on whether you count what Jason Donovan did as Argentine Tango). Kevin meanwhile
,dressed in a way that frankly I think Anton would view as a little old-fashioned, says that it’s been amazing. I say “oh you say that every year”, and actually for once it’s literally true. We cover how Louise went from plateauing (rumba) to excelling (Argentine Tango) whilst gliding neatly and seemlessly over the fact that there was a whole week between those two states when the show kind of argued that she’d broken through and nobody else agreed. It all then devolves into a bit of a weepfest between Kevin and Louise as they both go moist at the eyes over what true friendship they’ve found together, which thankfully is undercut nicely by the
immediate appearance of Jamie sprawled on his sofa at home looking bored off his bum saying that Kevin has done a really good job with Lou and that. And no it doesn’t hurt that he’s got his forearms out.
TO THE BACKSTREETS OF BUENOS AIRES!
See, this is far more like it. This is Louise as strong independent woman. Hide Kevin behind a lamppost, don’t have him stalk around like Valentino whilst Louise rolls around on the floor stroking her face. In all honesty, Louise made it clear in her VT that she’d probably be rather doing her paso doble because it was barking mad but the show couldn’t run to the Blackpool budget again, oh well. Still
there’s drama enough to go around here to make up for the shortfall. For my money, as I said, this is really the only one of these reprises to come close to the energy of the original, but then Louise is the only contestant here this evening who had the benefit of having an actual gym warm-up for her first routine to ease her in gently. Anyway, Louise lunges and vamps and rubs her legs about with abandon and it’s nice that as much as she ended the series on one long muted note that lasted for about three weeks, her very last dance was a good one.
They saunter over to the judges table, with Kevin raising Louise’s hand in “victory” the whole way and her looking like she’s not that into it, where Darcey starts by calling the dance “one special Argentine Tango”. She loved the power, the control, and the fact that Louise never got lost in a lunge, as she so easily could have. Len’s next and tells Louise that over the course of the series, Louise has been the most consistant celebrity with him, as he’s only ever scored her 8 and above. Mmm. Delicious consistancy. He also says that that Argentine Tango showed why she definitely deserved to be in the final. Ooft backhand.
thanks Bruno. Finally Craig finishes by saying that he’s so pleased that it’s the audience at home who are deciding who’s going to win, because he couldn’t based on tonight’s display. Although on his scores Louise is dead last so….
Up to Claud 9 they sleaze, where thankfully, finally, after the last few weeks of being spoken over, Louise is allowed to give a nice little speech about how she’s made so many good friends on Strictly and it’s been great dancing with Kevin. Finally. Scores are in
Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse dancing the samba
By way of introduction, Tess reminds us that this samba is the only one in Strictly history to have received a perfect score. It’s also about to become the first latin dance ever to score 40 twice in the same series (Hamela’s Viennese Waltz already having taken that honour for the ballroom half of the draw). So he at least set a record of some sort here tonight.
Danny opens his Journey VT by saying that Strictly Come Dancing has without a doubt been the greatest experience of his entire life. What, better than winning Inside Soap Sexiest Male for the third time on the bounce, I doubt it. He pinpoints the foxtrot as his one real low-point, but even then he was glad to have the best pro partner with him to guide him back into place. It didn’t hurt that he was literally tied to her either. He says that Oti has taught him so much, not just about dance, but about himself. She’s taught him what degree his arm can be pulled behind his back before it fractures, she’s taught him how long his head can be held underwater before his brain becomes oxygen deprived, she’s taught him the maximum temperature of heated spoon that he can withstand being pressed into the back of his arm… We also hear from Danny’s friends
two Hollyoaks and two civilians. If we’re casting for next series I’ll take the one on the far left please. Also his cousins, his mum, his nan, his brothers and sisters…if we’re talking family support then Danny’s is certainly the most visible at this point. Carley on the other hand just has to settle for a montage of shots of her in the audience. Bet she was seething.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
So Danny’s samba then – I think it falls somewhere between two stools as a reprise. Yes it’s lacking a bit of the energy and impact of the first time, but I think in this case, unlike with Ore, the more controlled and regulated and purposeful tempo that he’s having to take the routine at helps him neaten up some of the edges that were ragged the first time. For example this time he manages to get out of the segment where he and Oti both face one another and flail their arms and legs about at the same time as she does, rather than trailing after her (I do love that the one routine all evening where there’s not supposed to be any room for improvement technically is the one where I’m seeing it…). So really it depends which flavour of Danny Mac you’re into – technical precision or wild untamed energy.
He’s got his nips out both times, so I suspect for a lot of people they’re happy either way but this performance definitely consolidates this samba as one of the better routines this series.
Still not sure about this face mind you.
They walk over to Tess, as Danny
spends a long long long long time struggling to get this button done up again for God knows what reason. Got to appear modest I guess. Len starts for the judges, saying that the chief make-up lady came to his dressing room before the show, took one look at him, and refused to put any on him. Len says this is because “you can’t improve on perfection”. I think it might be more due to the fact you were wearing nothing but a revolving bow tie Leonard. Anyway, he then contradicts this by saying that Danny’s samba was perfect last time, and this time it had even more control to it, so it was even more perfect. Len clearly having a dig at his own scoring there bless him. Bruno’s next
thanks Bruno. Another stellar year of judging completed succesfully and without permanent injury to you or any bystanders.
Craig’s next, and spins out “FAB-YEW-LUSS” one more time before for some reason we’re left with Darcey to give the last word from the judges this year, as she tells Danny that she’s sorry that she has to say anything (me too) but the articulation of his body isolations and his wild abandonment certainly made for a winning combination. Well it turns out not, but here we are anyway.
Up to Claud 9 they sprint, and I can think of no greater capper to the Team Doti experience than the fact that, after a series of being the ultimate hard-nut, Oti is wailing and weeping uncontrollably. She howls to Claudia that she hates that she’s crying on tv and Claudia snarks “ask Ore about that”. Danny thanks Oti, says he’s so so grateful more than a few times, and then the scores are in
oh look another 40.
So that was the final. I have to say, I went into the final as a solid Danny voter, and if my Internet had been up and I’d had my free votes I would have happily punched in my 6 for him. HOWEVER, if he hadn’t screwed up his quickstep or done something that I didn’t find actively embarassing for his showdance I probably would have taken the hit and paid to vote for him. I was never going to vote for Ore (sorry Ore) and Louise…well we all saw what Louise did in the first two rounds, let’s not labour the point, she seems like a neat lady. As it stands I didn’t vote for anybody for the first time since Series 10. (For those interested
Series 1 : Natasha
Series 2 : Denise
Series 3 : Didn’t vote because I was out
Series 4 : Mark
Series 5 : Alesha
Series 6 : Didn’t vote because Tom had it in the bag
Series 7 : Ricky
Series 8 : Kara
Series 9 : Chelsee
Series 10 : Didn’t vote because Louis had it in the bag
Series 11 : Natalie & Smugsana
Series 12 : Caroline
Series 13 : Katie & Jay even though Jay had it in the bag because I wanted Anton to get a well-deserved 10 in the second half and also fuck Kellie to be honest
Series 14 : Didn’t vote due to my Internet being dead and Danny underperforming
LET’S GET READY TO FILLAAAAAAAAH.
First up, we have member of the public telling us all what their own personal totally unscripted favourite moments of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 were.
This chap loved Louise’s Blackpool paso doble.
This woman’s favourite two celebrities were Naga and Laura and not at all because nobody else is going to mention them all VT because they never really did anything interesting and memorable but we have to fit them in somewhere
This woman thinks that Tameka was a fucking irritant and she’s glad she buggered off in Week 3 to be…oh no wait, she thinks Tameka was amazing and it was a terrible shame that she had to leave us so soon.
This chap thinks that Cloudia’s attention to detail in her routines was amazing although to be honest he thinks he could do better backflips than she did, do you want to watch Alex, do you, do you, he’ll do them for you right here and now if you want, he’s still got it.
These two hope they’re still moving like Lesley when they’re 70, grinding up on all the boys and swigging Campari from the bottle.
These two really admired how Gorka was Anastacia’s knight in shining armour when Brenda had a tickly cough
This chap has a fish that reminds him of Judge Rinder. In fact some times, on dark and lonely nights, he pretends that he is Judge Rinder, and sets up his fishmongers like a court room, with a hake as the plaintiff and three prawns as the defendants and a squid as Michelle the glamor…wait where are you going?
These two really enjoyed Will’s Bollywood Salsa and thinks it was so authentic and the show definitely did the right thing including it in their opinion as brown people controversy what controversy it was great, they do the Bollywood like that all the time!
This guy is desperately pretending that he didn’t go on It Takes Two and say he wanted Louise to win, he’s been in his mate Ore’s corner the whole time. THE WHOLE TIME. BEST FRIENDS AND BREAKFAST BROTHERS FOR LIFE.
This guy would like to remind you that he did this show once and was a PUBLIC FAVOURITE (/made it one week further than the bird who does the weather who literally could not let go of Pasha without nearly vomiting)
This lady says that Ed gave her the “oomph” she needed this year (poor Yvette)
These three would def well bang out both Tess and Claudia phwoar
These six are definitely going to miss Len they say (number 6 there definitely isn’t, which means we are kindred spirits and he should call me immediately)
Once we’re all done confirming that yes the general public think this was the greatest series we’ve ever had, it’s back to the studio for some Emeli Sande.
Can we talk about how nobody in music history has aged more between album campaigns than Emeli Sande? Four years ago she was edgy with her buzzcut sides and her nose-ring and her repetitive banger dance tracks and now only one Olympic cycle she’s running around everywhere in caftans and Noel Coward dressing gowns singing Gabrielle b-sides and clicking and scrunching like an off-Broadway Aretha Franklin tribute act. WHAT HAPPENED EMELI? I know everyone got bored of you via overexposure but there’s no need to come back as an entirely different person. I’m actually not convinced we’re not in some sort of “Paul Is Dead” scenario but for real. Anyway, at some point we learn that the honour of doing the final pro accompaniment job of the series has fallen to
Giovanni and Katya, which seems odd on the face of it, but the song is about “Highs & Lows” and these two have probably had the worst and best seasons of all the pros, respectively, so I guess it works.
Next up, as it’s Len’s last episode ever ever ever ever ever, we’re going out with a tribute to him. Starting with
a flashback to the panel as it appeared in the early days of Strictly. Len with hair. Bruno dressed like he’s come straight from a day working at Foxtons. Craig with…that face. ARLENE. So many memories. We also get tributes to Len from the other judges, the presenters, the longer serving pros, celebrities of Strictly History from Jake Wood and Caroline Flack to Jill Halfpenny and Chris Parker. No Will Young though. Or anyone from Series 7. Most excitingly for me personally though is the presence of
Susanna Reid, mad-eyed as ever purring that as a contestant you want all the judges to like you, but you want Len to LOVE you. What an icon. Less exciting is the horrible reminder of
what Pasha’s hair looked like in Series 10, as Kimberley waxes lyrical about what an honour it was when Len gave her a standing ovation for her American Smooth. The horror, the horror. It’s a really nice moment and compilation of talking heads – the only thing that feels missing is benediction from Brucie given what a pair they were back in the day, although I appreciate that he was probably indisposed unavoidably.
Back in the studio, after Craig has led everyone in a standing ovation, Claudia asks Len what he’s going to miss most about Strictly. Len fudges by saying that he’ll miss everything about the show, from the anticipation and the dancing to getting to sit alongside the three best judges on television (…), the band, the presenters and most of all, the pay-cheque. And the free buffet. Not so much the death threats from fans when you dare to give their woobie a 9 for a dance that BLATANTLY DESERVED 10S IT’S SO RIGGED LEN BADMAN.
Tess and Claudia next introduce a special treat for Len, a classic ballroom routine performed straight by our professional dancers, led off by Anton and Natalie.
Sod Len, I’m pretty sure this is a treat for all of us. Not an egg and spoon in sight. It’s all danced to “May Each Day” by Andy Williams and it’s pretty much just 150 seconds of straight ballroom.
I can’t think of a better tribute other than an announcement that the scoring will be changed from the metric system to imperial and now everything will be scored out of 12. It’s been far too FRENCH for far too long around these parts.
Once they’re done, Len and Bruno share a little moment
(KISS!) before Bruno cackles right into his mic that they’re still stuck together anyway. YES BECAUSE THEY’RE GETTING MARRIED, WHAT A CHRISTMAS LOVE STORY, STICK IT ON CHANNEL 5 IN THE AFTERNOON. Len then embraces Darcey and Craig as well, but you can tell it doesn’t mean as much.
Next we get a montage of all our eliminated celebrities talking about what their time on the show was like, which doesn’t really tell us anything new, although is notable for the part where Ed says that he remembers on the Launch Show, just before the rocket revealed the celebs for the red carpet, turning to Lesley and asking her if it was too late to pull out.
This is of course naught but a meandering preface for our last act on the dancefloor – all the celebrities who weren’t quite good enough to make it to the sprint for the finish comnig back for
……a nice sit down? It says a lot for this series that supposedly had the HIGHEST STANDARD EVAH that so many of these celebrities are being brought back and are made to just stand on the spot. Although Anastacia does manage to work her famous
splits in I guess. Fortunately once we get past Daisy everyone’s given a bit more to do – Greg does a spectacular lift, Ed OF COURSE does Gangnam Style, Rinder has a whole random Latin Showcase section (probably the most anybody’s given to do of the entire routine to be honest) before Cloudia finishes us off with a cartwheel into five consecutive backflips.
It’s a living.
After a brief advert for the Christmas Special
we’re back for one last spin around Claud 9. Claudia asks Ed first of all if people are yelling at him in the street to do da Gangnam Style and he says that he’s got a lot of 7 year olds and 5 year olds doing it at him at train stations and in the park. Not 6 year olds though. They’re in that brief time period when they’re too cool for it. Ed goes on to say that really it’s the people at home who make the show not the celebrities. It bloody isn’t. Claudia and Daisy then have a brief confab about how Daisy has definitely kept up dance lessons after Strictly which sounds incredibly unconvincing (“I HAVE TO DANCE EVERY DAY NOW CLAUDIA OTHERWISE I WILL DIE!”) before Tameka does the usual
shouting incoherently and laughing at her own jokes that exist in her head alone in a way that I am mostly tolerating for the sight of Greg’s chest being in shot the entire time. Finally Greg and Rinder reveal that they are no such good friends that they recently went on a skiing holiday together and had a very good time. I’ll bet.
After another montage, this time about our three finalists, it’s time to crown the winner.
IT’S ORE! Joanne screams “WHAT?!” and sinks to her knees and Ore
well Ore does the entirely predictable and cries everywhere as his face collapses like an Ed Balls lift. Oddly enough the first person to give Ore congratulations is Danny, who sprints across to do it from the other side of the glitterball. Normally I have to write fanfic for things like that to happen! In turn, Kevin is the first to hug Joanne so I’m not imagining there’s going to be any Ricky Nipple style “I DEMAND A RECOUNT”s this year. For me the enduring image will be of Ore’s dad
reacting slightly in the audience (and well done to Carley Stenson, thwarted Kingmaker yet again, being equally as gracious as her husband-to-be in defeat I wish them every success in that touring version of Sleepless In Seattle The Musical she’s apparently doing with him, apparently from the same producer who’s just stuck Jay McGuinness in Big.)
We also cut to the shadows where
Karen is greetin for her sister-in law, Daisy is being as chirpy as she’s been all finale, and Greg is either whistling or downing a celebratory oyster. Once everyone’s settled down both Louise and Danny give gracious loser speeches (the words “amazing” and “incredible” get trotted out a lot) and Ore
tells Joanne that he loves her yet again, a development that she again looks a little “edges away slowly” about, before going on a grand tour of thanking everyone involved in the show, including a birthday shout-out to someboody in the wardrobe department (presumably not whoever put his Charleston outfit together…). Joanne says she’s speechless but just about honks out that she’s so proud to have turned Ore into a dancer.
So Ore then. His win has a number of obvious narrative appeals (first winner ever to be in the bottom 2 twice, first male winner to be in the bottom 2 ever, the idea that he won based on how he performed in the final, Joanne putting a pasting on Kevin which is really all I’ve wanted from the Clifton Clan since they started materialising on the show four years ago) but he’s not really one of my favourite winners, just because he never quite lost that sheen of presenter-waffle. Still he undoubtedly deserved it based on his performance on the finale (hey, maybe the producers should take note of how a winner is more likely to feel deserving if you let them do their best routines in the finale rather than LUMBERING THEM WITH, SAY, A FORGETTABLE RUMBA OR A WK 1 CHA CHA?).
And that, other than the Monkies, is it for Strictly 2016!