Featuring the most heart-stopping, jaw-dropping, pant-wetting, knee-knocking, lung-blowing, eye-popping stunt ever in the history of Strictly Come Dancing EVER!
A wall moves a bit.
We open on
the studio being possessed? By a mysterious demonic force? Whilst a very slow and even more ominous cover of “In The Air Tonight” plays on the soundtrack?
Oh wait, it’s just Faye, never mind. This is all a flashback to when our Final Four were first interviewed, with very much a “oooh weren’t they all so fresh-faced and naive back then” angle which…it was only three months ago, and they’re just saying “oooh I can’t wait” and “it’s so different to anything I’ve ever judg…I mean done before!”. They’ve not changed that much. This is then immediately contrasted by a weird Stomp (the West End show, not the Steps song) infused “and this is them now” section with them all clapping and stomping and flicking lightswitches to the beat like they’re in an artsy Channel 4 documentary about living with OCD, talking about what an amazing journey it’s been and how they’ve had such a great time. This sadly isn’t also overlayed with dreamy voiceovers from the eliminated 11 celebrities saying “Graziano was shit and Shirley screwed me ooooverrrrr” or “I didn’t learn a new skill after all but at least I got laaaaaaaid”. This all culminates in a shot of Stacey Dooley as
actual God? Remember when the intro to the final was just Alesha Dixon stumbling into the studio with a kebab and a Lucozade in her hand because she was still hungover from the night before? Good times. It’s a Strictly Final guys, not 2001 : Stacey Dooley Investigates A Space Odyssey.
OH MY GOD, STACEY AND KEVIN, DANCING NEAR THAT “N”, IT’S THE MOST EXHILIRATING EDGE-OF-MY-SEAT STRICTLY FINALE MOMENT EVER! SHE COULD HAVE DIIIIIIED!
To the studio now, where as usual we begin with a great big schmozz of a pros and finalists group number, and it doesn’t NOT set the tone for the evening when as soon as he appears
some VERY hormonal sounding woman screams “KEVIIIIIIIIIIN! KEVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!” from halfway across the studio, sounding like a dog chew toy being torn to shreds, and then after a few seconds of all of our other 152 other pros coming out and dancing in costumes displaying various degrees of undress…she screams “KEVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!” again. Glad Joanne could get tickets anyway. Our four finalists giant faces descend on video walls which then flip around and
oh my God (*squints*) THERE THEY ARE! OUR FINALISTS! They descend and tart around a bit to a mash-up of “This Is It” by Dannii Minogue and “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston that’s a lot more of the former and less of the latter than I’d like, and Faye looks like she attended the rehearsals for this and Stacey looks like she attended an hour of the rehearsals for this before binning it off to go get a kebab, and as for the other two…yeah
STRICTLY FINALISTS 2018 BABY!
They shuffle off and if you’re wondering what the dress-code for our two hosts is this evening then
Tony Awards Host 1989 and Your Mum At A Toga Party Sponsored By Debenhams is your answer. They welcome us to the show, and in this finale dominated by millennial bubblegum pop stars, Youtubers, and BBC 3 documentary hosts, here, middle-England, is a salve for your ageing nerves
Mary Berry and Angus Tozer, together at last. Get some 40s for dad in the final Faye!
Anyway, Tess warns us to get ready for an epic night, and indeed “epic” is the watchword. Honest to God, there are Ancient Greek poems that take less time to get through than this evening. All of our finalists will perform three times – first of all the “Judges Choice”, then the “Showdance”, then the “Do The Charleston If One Is Allowed By The Rules Round”, then Michael Buble’s gonna sing us out, then everyone’s gonna spend 20 minutes very studiously avoiding talking to Seann Walsh in case he calls someone gay live on television, then we’re going to announce a winner, then we’re going to have to finish 3 minutes early so the cleaners can come wipe Kevin Clifton’s jizz and tears off the camera-lenses. One last Darcey Bussell
“I’m not bloody dancing on and you can’t make me” stare down the stairs? You betcha!
Ashley Roberts & Pasha Kovalev dancing the salsa
Tess reminds us that Ashley danced this routine in Movie Week originally, and is hoping the sequel is even better than the original. Ah yes, the cinema classic Dirty Dancing 2 : Havana Nights. It’s fondly remembered. Now, on the actual show, this segment saw us all transported to the Judges Holodeck for them to explain their choices, but as usual, it’s wantonly inconsistent and pointless, and as this is a patented Monkseal Finale recap it’s time for…
HELLO IT IS ME, IVETA, THE QUEEN OF SOCIAL MEDIAS, HERE TO EXPLAIN THE INTERNET TO YOU YET AGAIN! I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT ALL PATREONS, KICKSTARTS, GOFUNDYOURSELFS AND CROWDSURFING APPS THAT IVETA HAS HACKED INTO PRETENDING TO BE THESE CELEBRITIES THIS YEAR! TO CALL FOR JOESUGG LITTLE GIRLS, PLEASE VOTE FOR THIS PREMIUM RATE NUMBER, NO NEED TO ASK FOR BILL MAKER’S POSITION, JUST DO IT, OTHERWISE YOU ARE NOT REAL FAN, CALL FOR JOE SUGG FOR THREE HOURS CHALLENGE! ANYWHOMS, THIS FIRST BIT IS FOR TALKING ABOUT ASHLEY ROBERTS FROM PUSSYDOLL PARADE! AS ASHLEY NOT HAVE BIG SOCIAL MEDIAS PRESENCE DUE TO HIDING AFTER UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT WHERE JOESUGG FANS REPEATEDLY CALL HER UGLY BIG SLAG CHEATING WHORE, IVETA HAS TO RELY ON NOTES FROM HER GOOD FRIEND, AND ALSO GOOD FRIEND OF ASHLEY ROBERTS AND FORMER GOVERNATOR OF CALIFORNIA, NICOLE SCHWAZZERNEGER! IT SAYS HERE ON NOTES THAT “ASHLEY ROBERTS IS MINE, SHE IS MY LITTLE BITCH, I OWN HER FOREVER, SHE DOES EVERYTHING I SAY, DON’T TOUCH HER IVETA, I’M WARNING YOU, I WON DANCING WITH THE STARS SO I’M RIGGING EVERY SERIES OF EVERY OTHER SHOW SO THAT NO OTHER PUSSYCAT PARADE CAN EVER WIN ONE LIKE I WON ONE, IT WAS ME VOTING FOR JANINE BUTCHER IN LAST MINUTE SURGE ON I AM A CELEBRITY, IT WAS ME THE WHOLE TIME, ME, I’M THE BEST ONE, NONE OF THE OTHER PUSSYCAT PARADES CAN EVER WIN ANYTHING I WILL ALWAYS BE THE BEST ONE AND THE BIGGEST ARTIST, ME, NICOLE, I’M THE BEST ONE”.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
Can I just say that, as well as the repeated orgasmic screaming of “KEVIIIIIIIIN!” from earlier, someone is quite clearly singing along with the intro to Dirty Dancing from the audience here? I know it’s cold but how many hot toddies were consumed in the queue for the studio this evening? This is of course the iconic routine that Flavia and Louis made eternal way back in…sorry, most memorably performed back in Series 5 for a group routine where everyone fought over who got to be the ones doing That Lift and Kenny & Ola won because he was built like a brick outhouse and Brenda threw a strop over not getting to be Johnn…I mean, of course, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, I do apologise. What I’m saying is, like the slayer, into every Strictly generation is born one who gets to do the Dirty Dancing, and this time it was Ashley Roberts, can’t wait for the comedy version from Stacey Solomon in 2023. Oh and speaking of That Lift
they get it bang on this time hooray. A good strong start for Ashley here, probably my favourite dance of the round and definitely my favourite dance of hers on the night, the final multilift looks a bit laboured, other than that, good work all round. If they can convincingly dowdy her up, I’d definitely…look at the poster for her starring as Baby in The West End in 2019, I’m not paying money for it.
They toddle over to Tess, who breathes that “JOHNNY AND BABY ARE BACK!”. This baby of course, having been put repeatedly into the corner, week after week, for the last month. Ashley gasps that that’s the best they’ve ever done That Lift and yes, good, you keep on trying to carve out a journey for yourself hun, good for you. God loves a trier. Whilst she gets her breath back, Tess introduces our new souped-up, boosted, and enhanced
FIVE singer line-up for the final. Presumably that’s in case one of them actually dies whilst attempting “I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor”.
Shirley starts for the judges, saying that just when you think something can’t possibly get any better, Ashley goes and takes it to the next level. Shirley, the whole point of this round is the judges giving celebs something you thought they could do better. That’s what it says on the tin. I know I don’t recap the VT but that’s what that was. That’s what you said. You telling her how to make it bet…y’know what, never mind, there’s 12 Bruno comments to come this evening on top of this madness
see? I’ll pace myself (thanks Bruno).
Craig’s next, and he thanks Ashley for taking all the judges notes on board when improving her score in that dance (again, I skipped the VT, but I would imagine said notes summed up to “dance it in the final and not in Week 3”), and then Darcey closes by thanking Ashley for wowing her with that iconic lift, and praising her fearless determination. Pussycat Dolls update?
Kimberley sat with her hot, quite dull husband (he was a judge on Britain’s Next Top Model, and I know the job of the male judges on that show is to just sat there being pretty OR be a loud gay but…woof) and Melody
sat with Ashley’s mum, examining her weepy eye-goop.
Up to Claud 9 they wiggle, which is stuffed all of the eliminated celebs and pros once more, and both Ashley and Claudia have a giggle about how great it is to have the entire family there for Christmas
the two brothers who fell out over the fact they were both shagging the same bird within striking distance of one another there. Ashley then goes on to talk about her very real love of the dahnce, and also that she was surprised that the judges picked salsa, because she thought there was more room for improvement in her ballroom. You and me both love. Maybe you could have done that tango again, with your heels touching the floor this time. Anyway, scores in
40. Dirty bit.
Stacey Dooley & Kevin Clifton dancing the foxtrot
Oh Christ he’s started in with the beard again. Kev, honestly, even with the run-up you’re not going to have the Rock Of Ages look by the time you start, just let it be.
HELLO AGAIN, AND WELCOME TO IVETA LUKOSIUTE INVESTIGATES : STACEY DOOLEY! STACEY DOOLEY IS DOCUMENTARY CLOTHES LADY WHO TRAVELS THE WORLD LOOKING FOR WORST SPOTS AND POINTING AT THEM AND GOING “THIS SPOT IS BAD I NEVER EVEN KNEW OR NOTHING!”. STACEY DOOLEY HAS IN MANY YEARS INVESTIGATED ISIS, BAD TRAFFIC WITH CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN IT, DOGS THAT AREN’T EVEN CUTE, JUST YAPPY AND SMALL, AND ALSO HORRIBLE HORRIBLE SITUATION IN ATOMIC KITTEN! ONE TIME, KERRY KATONA DID DRUGS AND STACEY DOOLEY DID NOT EVEN KNOW UNTIL SHE WENT AND SAW IT FOR HERSELF! STACEY IS NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIAS MUCH, AS SHE IS TOO BUSY LIVING HER BEST LIFE, BUT IVETA SAY PAH! PAH! WHY LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE WHEN YOU CAN LIVE BEST LIVES OF OTHER PEOPLE WITH THEIR BANK LOG-IN AND SECURITY DETAILS? STACEY IS PARTNERED WITH SAD KEVIN MAN WHO NEVER WINS, IVETA WON THREE TIMES AND ALL CHRISTMAS SPECIALS! LOSER! IVETA STILL LOVES YOU THOUGH KEVIN, LIKE JAM ROLY POLY IN MY SOUL!
(Thanks to the editors by the way for
giving me the Safety Sex-Face we missed out in the Results Show)
Could they not get the health & safety to have her take her foot off the floor as they ride through the countryside? It’s kind of spoiling the verisimilitude here. Anyway, I think everyone here knows that I like Kevin Clifton because he is, if nothing else, a great source of inspiration for words that I can put on this here attention-seeking blog, and I’m perfectly happy for him to win, and I’m even perfectly happy for him to win with this partnership, but above everything else this evening, above the complaining and the subpar showdance, I would have traded a lot to not have to sit through 60s Mod Kevin again, it is my least favourite Kevin, trampling over ballroom elegance, swinging his fists about like Scrappy Doo in a barroom brawl, overdancing the bejesus out of everything to pander to boomers who haven’t seen a film without Michael Caine in it since 1978. In Stacey’s favour is that this looks like it’s her tidiest pure ballroom routine of the series, and she really looks like she’s being led rather than being tugged for the first time. Against it is the stompy skippity stomp of it all, it makes me wish for the days when her storyline seemed to be the vaguely patronising perennial favourite “becoming an elegant lady” rather than “Stacey Dooley takes over every dance with her infectious personality and we make the singers burn their lungs out on a week by week basis by performing only songs where you have to yell the chorus”.
And here’s a showmance ending worthy of Joe & Dianne, we’re all in play this evening.
Over to the judges they go, with Stacey saying that she loved that routine last time, because it was Kevin’s 36th birthday. Ah yes, I remember it well from when Kevin tried to nosh Aljaz off three five layers of solid fondant, we’ve all been there. Kevin gets all “THANKS STACEY, NOW EVERYONE KNOWS HOW OLD I AM!!!” about it, the great big diva. He was quite happy to live in that happy liminal zone in the eyes of the audience of “younger than Anton, older than AJ” that all the rest of the male pros on the show live in for a bit longer yet.
Bruno starts for the judges
thanks Bruno. Craig follows, saying that he can see that Stacey worked so hard on her frame, and that entire dahnce was just gawjus dahling. That CRAIG. Never happy with Kevin is he, the biased bastard. Darcey follows by saying that Stacey’s topline is much improved and she oozed elegance, and then Shirley closes by saying that Stacey’s Strictly journey has not been a walk in the park, with “low scores, middle scores, and high scores”. The low scores mostly being all concentrated in the one week, but they did happen. That 20 she got for the cha cha is lower than any other winner’s got ever, apart from Darren Gough, what a rollercoaster. Anyway, Stacey put everything together tonight, from her musicality to her body positioning woo hoo well done Stacey.
Up to Claud 9 they pedal, where Stacey immediately breaks into an impersonation of her Week 4 ballroom frame
yes, it’s uncanny. We then chat some more about how Stacey Dooley turned out to be a ballroom girl and she never expected to be and…overall I think I still prefer her in the latin, but then I do occasionally throw bonus points in for dancing to Gina G, so don’t mind me. Sadly, I have to report that it becomes obvious during this interview tonight that one journey tonight will go uncompleted
Kevin’s trousers still don’t fit him properly. Unless of course the journey in question is of his scrotum up his hoohah. Sorry, do excuse the vulgarity, Stacey Dooley’s obviously making me come over all relatable. Scores are in
Faye From Steps & Giovanni Pernice dancing the Viennese Waltz
This really is the ultimate Dinner Party Faye & Giovanni look isn’t it? Won’t you come in? There’s Michael Buble on in the living room and coq au vin bubbling away on the stove! Here’s Faye’s face as Bruno burbles away to Tess that he can’t wait to see her Viennese Waltz again.
Super! Now if you take your coat off and leave it in the rack in the vestibule, she’s just going to fetch the amuse bouche and a glass of fizz!
HELLO IT IS IVETA AGAIN, HOW ARE YOU! HERE IS MY UPDATE FOR FAYE FROM STEPS! EARLIER THIS SERIES, FAYE FROM STEPS ASKED WHO IS FAYE TOZER? THIS IS EASY QUESTION! ACCORDING TO HER TWITTY PAGE BIOBITS, FAYE TOZER IS
Steps – Info@fascinationmanagement.com Theatre/Film/TV – @OliviaBellMgt Voice over – @DamnGoodVoices
FASCINATING! FAYE FROM STEPS WAS ALSO IN THE BAND STEPS, WHO WERE AN ABBA TRIBUTE ACT, JUST LIKE ALL OTHER DANCERS ARE A TRIBUTE ACT TO IVETA! IVETA GREW UP AS VERY VERY VERY SMALL GIRL IN LITHUANIA (ALSO RUSSIA, MIAMI, GLASGOW, ISTANBUL, MELBOURNE…IVETA GREW UP IN MANY PLACES AND CAN SHOW YOU IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS TO PROVE IT) AND SHE PARTICULARLY REMEMBERS THEIR BIGGEST HITS “TRADEGY”, “5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12” “IT WAS THE LAST THING THAT I WAS THINKING OF IN MY HEAD”, “LOVE HAS GONE INTO MY HEART”, “THANK YOU ABBA FOR YOUR MUSIC” AND “SAVE YOUR KISSES FOR ME”! FINAL, IVETA HAS HACKED INTO FAYE’S GROUPON ACCOUNT, AND FOUND OUT THAT HER HOBBIES ARE SINGING, DANCING, COLLECTING ROYAL FIGURINES, NODDING A LOT, AND PUSHING DOWN THE DEMONIC FORCES WITHIN!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
I’m seeing double! Ten Giovannis! Can I just say here, as someone who tut-tutted at the IGNORANCE of everyone who didn’t understand the MAJESTY of the storylining and acting behind Stacey Dooley as Fantine, I still don’t get why there’s multiple Giovannis here? Other than that the graphics people are just showing off yet again. Honestly for the final I think they should have pushed the boat out and had each Giovanni be one of the many sides of Faye that we’ve seen (/that I’ve invented) this series. Middle Class Faye with him wearing some oven gloves and doing eager-to-please smiling at her mummy and daddy; Faye From Steps, with those iconic white-girl dreadlocks in ; International Super-Assassin Faye, with Ashley Roberts’ blood dripping from his cloak
Demonic Puppet Demon/Fayezuula Faye ; and of course the greatest Faye Of All
“Why The Fuck Am I Standing On This Bridge?” Faye. Then they could all have enveloped her to form the one complete (who is) FAYE TOZER. Or y’know, one of them could have been nude. One of the ones with their backs to us, it’s still before the watershed. Instead though, we’ll just have to settle for
Faye hamming her face off like she’s playing the Miss Scarlett in a reboot of ITV gameshow Cluedo and she just got caught out, and doing a very good Viennese Waltz. I do like this dance, but other than multiple Giovannis circling around the routine like you have to work out which of them is the REAL boss baddy in a video game, there are two other significant unavoidable spectres hovering over it. Firstly after the last week there is of course the vision of Joanne Clifton grimly staring at it with a stopwatch in her hand (wish we could have got that red button style) and the other is Giovanni apparently hearing the line about man “carrying the heavy load” and using it as a prompt to choreograph in a move
where he clarts Faye down on her arse like a sack of spuds. I laughed every time.
Ahead of Stacey, behind Ashley, that’s where I’m putting this one.
Over to the judges they go, where Tess breathes that she can really see why the judges wanted to see Faye dance that again. Can you? Even after the 9th go at it I’m still not sure of the point of this round. Craig starts for the judges, saying that he loves a bit of drama and so he loved that. He says it was so much better than last time and you can hear the little pause as he tries to think of something technical to say along those lines to back himself up and he absolutely can’t. Better luck next time Craig, should have told her she had smoother phalanges or something, it’s the end of the series, Joanne’s not gonna fwap you with the rulebook. Darcey’s next and just tells Faye straight-up that she’s the best ballroom dancer in the competition. The Fayce we get for this comment is amazing
33% smug, 33% poised and regal, 33% just threw up in her mouth a little.
Tess turns to Shirley next and tells us all that Shirley gave that a standing ovation, and Shirley’s all “yeah, it was great, fabulous, marvelous, redefined dance forever Tess, whatever
BUT WHAT I REALLY WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS THIS DIRECT QUOTE FROM CRAIG IN WEEK 2″. Reader, I died, came back to life, and died again. Shirley 2.0 hasn’t been quite as amazing or revelatory as Shirley 1.0 (outside of the chicken) but using the final as a chance to have a petty dig at Craig, it’s everything I watch this show for. Anyway Shirley reads out Craig telling Faye to ignore her comments about her footwork and not bother with polishing up her technique and Shirley decided that based on that reprise Faye actually did listen to her, so SHE WON, THE CONTESTANTS LISTEN TO SHIRLEY MORE THAN THEY DO CRAIG, POINT BLANK, CHECKMATE, DO VICK HOPE NEXT SHIRLEY! Bruno closes
Up to Claud 9 they romp, where the first words out of Faye’s mouth are about how the final feels like a real celebration. Yeah, she knows she’s not winning. She’s just so glad to BE HERE Claudia! Giovanni for his part says that Shirley is right – they worked very hard on getting the technique significantly improved. Whether they ever worked on dynamics at any point, remains moot. Scores are in
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Joe Sugg & Dianne Buswell dancing the paso doble
By way of intro, Tess tells us that all series, Craig has never scored Joe higher than an 8.
Loving Craig’s “senior moment” face here, he genuinely doesn’t know if he has. Maybe Dianne should have asked AJ about a little thing called “cosmic ordering”.
HI GANG, IT’S ME, JOE SUGG, DOING MY OWN SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE! I KNOW, LITTLE OLD ME, JOE SUGG, FROM A TINY VILLAGE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF! I THOUGHT SOCIAL MEDIA WAS WHEN YOU SHARE A NEWSPAPER WITH YOUR OTHER TOTAL NORMAL FRIENDS WHO AREN’T ALL MILLIONNIRES! BEFORE I DID THIS SHOW, I THOUGHT DIANNE BUSWELL WAS ONE OF THE DINNERLADIES, AND STRICTLY COME DANCING WAS A GAME SOME OF THE SIXTH FORM BOYS USED TO PLAY AFTER LIGHTS OUT THAT GOT BANNED BY THE TEACHERS! BUT NOW HERE I AM, IN THE FINAL! BEFORE I MADE THE FINAL, I THOUGHT A FINALIST WAS, LIKE, THE LAST LIST, LIKE A WILL OR SOMETHING BUT TURNS OUT IT’S ME! I’VE NEVER EVEN MADE A QUARTER FINAL OF ANYTHING BEFORE, LET ALONE A FINAL! IT’S BEEN A RIGHT OLD UP-AND-DOWN RIDE FOR ME ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA THIS YEAR, AND NO MISTAKE! I HAD THE MOST FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER, MY DANCES GOT THE MOST VIEWS ON YOUTUBE, MY INSTAGRAM STORIES GOT THE MOST SHARES, AND I STILL LOST, WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT GANG, DON’T YOU LOVE ME ENOUGH? NEVER MIND! GET MORE OF YOUR FRIENDS TO LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE YOU LITTLE SHITS! BEFORE I DID STRICTLY, I THOUGHT LOVE WAS JUST FRENCH FOR “THE EGG” BUT NOW I KNOW IT’S A SPECIAL FEELING YOU GET IN YOUR TUMMY WHEN ONE OF YOUR DANCES GETS MORE THAN A MILLION LIKES! I USED TO THINK “DANCE” WAS, LIKE AN ANT CALLED DAN, BUT NOW I KNOW IT’S A VERY SPECIAL SKILL INDEED THAT I NOW HAVE, MY NANA TOLD ME SO! AND YOU CAN WATCH HER TELLING ME SO ON BOTH MY AND HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL, AND ALSO YOU CAN WATCH A SPECIAL REACTION VIDEO TO HER TELLING ME ON MY SISTER’S ACCOUNT, AND A RAP BATTLE BASED ON IT ON MY BEST FRIEND CASPER’S ACCOUNT! OH AND DIANNE IS NOW MY GIRLFRIEND, WE RAN THE NUMBERS AND THE ANALYSTICS AND FOUND OUT THAT NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO TELL YOU FOR MAXIMUM CLICKTHROUGH, RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS! BEFORE DIANNE, I THOUGHT A GIRLFRIEND WAS A SPECIAL SEAGULL WHO WAS YOUR MATE, AND WAS A MILLIONAIRE BECAUSE OF A YOUTUBE CHANNEL WHERE HE DOES THE SPECIAL SEAGULL SNAIL SMASH CHALLENGE, BUT TURNS OUT I MISHEARD TEE HEE! IVETA SAYS SORRY SHE HAD TO GO BUT SHE HAD THREE FORMER CHIEFS OF STAFF TO PUSH UNDER A GREYHOUND BUS TO STOP THEM INFORMING ON THE PRESIDENT TO MUELLER, WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT GANG, I THOUGHT MUELLER WAS A TYPE OF YOGHURT!
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
I have to admit I did giggle a bit when they revealed this was his Judges Choice, because I really don’t think anybody had it down as one of the dances that they wanted to see again from him but…it’s a bit better this time?
Like, the canape distribution is done slightly more or an arch to his back, he’s a bit more grounded and sturdy and the face is
maybe 5% less ridiculous? 10%? Well
for most of it anyway. Having said that, it’s still not really his dance at all, because he’s just not built for it. Just as TALL PEOPLE cannot jive, and STUBBY LIMBED SHORTIES shouldn’t try and get away with anything balletic whilst Darcey’s around, people with a lot of…length of bone and not a lot of torso just look a bit stiff doing paso. In terms of comparison with last time, he gets the knee slide more right but the final drag through the legs more wrong
in that he’s flapping at her left arm like she’s got a moth on it.
Maybe a bonus point on last time cuz it’s the final, I don’t know.
Over to Tess they go, where Joe is immediately very pleased because the kneeslide went right. Hooray! Darcey starts for the judges, proclaiming that to be a wonderful comeback. From…what? Oh I guess she was mean about his Argentine Tango last week? That? Anyway, she thought she showed so much more command of his body there than before, and she really liked how he…stood still for a long time in the endpose. OK? I think if we’re about to crown a paso the best ever by a male celebrity in the history of the show we might need more than “well done on standing still at the end” but sure. Shirley’s next, and pulls out a little piece of paper and reads
“@teamjoanne4lyfe said three months ago on twitter that that bitch Shirley Ballas doesn’t know what she’s talking about, Joe’s American Smooth was the best dance ever on Strictly, he was even sexier than Zac Efron, she should go back to America because she doesn’t know real class” WELL WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT NOW, @teamjoanne4lyfe?! (Not really she just said he had great shaping in his arms and she thought it was cute how he smiled after getting the kneeslide right)
thanks Bruno. Craig closes us out by saying that the shaping was forced but he admired Joe’s commitment. Dianne
finds this funny, rather than, say, threatening to get her dad in with a tape measure and a copy of the ballroom form guide, which is why Dianne Buswell hasn’t won yet. You’ll find that extra mile within you one day Di.
Up to Claud 9 they wiggle, where Claudia reveals that, like Ashley, Joe was very excited to have the whole gang back together, and then he frets that maybe Shirley might knock a mark off for his having smiled inappropriately in the paso. It seems unlikely
THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH LEADERBOARD?
I think this is actually the first time that the Judges Choice round had the highest scoring average of all three rounds, I guess they really do know best huh guys? Oh and here’s your last Terms & Conditions poll participant of the series
Ashley Roberts & Pasha Kovalev dancing SHOWDANCE!
Tess actually introduces the showdance round as “a chance for the celebrities to show off everything they’ve learnt over the course of the series”. Into these two. Doing contemporary. Is she including Pasha as the celebrity there, I’m confused? Because Ashley didn’t learn none of this stuff over the course of this series. At least Faye does some stuff in ballroom hold later. They try to cover this up with another Claudia and Davearch sex joke but nah.
Training now, and Ashley tells us that she and Pasha will be doing their showdance to “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdy, and the most exciting part is that there are going to be no rules! Everyone else of course having been so restrained by them so far this year. I think Seann got told off for an illegal lift once? By one judge? Anyway, free from the constraints of Darcey Bussell : Rules Master Camp Guard Of The Strictly SS, Ashley’s gonna do a load of lifts and tricks and stunts and gags
Oooh aaahh etc. But wait, you may have noticed there, the BIGGEST STUNT OF THEM ALL (madam)
IT’S A REVOLVING STAGE! And as soon as they go off air, Mary Berry’s gonna stick a load of cakes on it like a rotating bakery stand and Pasha is gonna have at it. It’s been so long since he had to stick to his on-season diet for three whole months, he’s so hangry. Pasha says that the very slowly revolving stage will bring the art of showdance to a whole new level and…it really won’t Pasha, but bless you trying to think of something that hasn’t been done, 16 series in. It’s less sad than “a wall moves” at any rate. Ashley says that she’s worried, and that she hopes it all comes together, but at the moment it feels like a bit of a mess. No Ashley, that’s just a Strictly showdance. Ask Thoopafan Faye, they’re all like this.
As is now customary for this VT
Tess and Claudia pop in for a little squizz, and to hype up the routine. Ashley is so daring! There’s a really big finish! Erm…the song is nice? Claudia lampshades how the song being about triumphing over adversity really sells Ashley’s Strictly journey of late and good grief, we just did Don’t Rain On My Parade into Aint That A Kick In The Head enough with this already. We run through all the dangers of using a revolving stage and they basically amount to “she might fall off!!!”. Ashley then says that the dance is going to be empowering, just like she said earlier in the night and…if you say “empowered” Ashley, it means you’re in your bra and gym knickers Ashley, those are the rules of 21st century feminism.
TO THE REVOLVING STAGE OF DOOOOOOOM!
Can I just say, that from one brief horrible moment here I thought that she was supposed to be being crucified here and oh my goodness, the glorious bad taste, I almost wish they had. Ashley Roberts died in the name of dahnce to cleanse us all of our sins of preferring to vote for someone who hasn’t been doing this since before she could walk, thank you for gracing us with your divine light, Dance Jesus. Forgive them, for they knew not what they did when they voted for Lauren Steadman’s pool table salsa over your holy majesty. Ashley descends from on high and then mostly does a lot of stuff that looks like her last contemporary routine again, but more thrashy in an independent way rather than an interdependent way, or something like that and I dunno…I think her dancing with Pasha mostly as a support system rather than side by side worked better for them because
he’s quite a lot more of an expressive dancer than her when they’re on their own and it’s pushing her back into her major weakness – looking thrashy and shark-baity. Also, no, I still don’t like the choreographer they’re using
why are we halfway through the showpiece dance for one of our most experienced ringahs ever and she’s feeling like Chicken Tonight? The lifts are really spectacular though, I’ll give them that. I’m sure the three people in the audience who love lifts and vote for lifts all voted for it. Although actually one of those three people is AJ, and we’ve established he’s firmly Team Kevin so even fewer than that. The rotating stage, ultimately, is one of those things that’s technically impressive but ultimately is clearly just being done for the sake of it, because it has no artistic impact whatsoever, and it’s only even turned on and rotating about 50% of the time they’re on it. Let’s face it, the cameramen do enough rapid circling around these couples like the vultures circling Piers Morgan’s career as it is most weeks, half the dances look like this one, they were doing this just to do it, like those lifts from last week.
Feh. I dunno, showdances aren’t for me at the best of times.
Over to the judges and Tess tells Ashley that, between the rotating stage and flying in from the rafters, Ashley doesn’t do things by half. Ashley grins that it felt like being a 15 year old cheerleader again and woops her head off and this is her one interview moment in about a month that isn’t entirely a Strictly cliche and
I love that everyone’s ignoring it as best they can. Shirley starts for the judges by saying that she respects Ashley so much that she’s going to stand up to say this comment
when did this become a thing? Like, a standing ovation, yes, this just feels like she’s got numb-bum from the interminable length of this finale and is trying to shake it off. She calls Ashley “the epitome of extraordinary” and currently
The Epitome Of Extraordinary has her lipstick smeared all over her teeth. Is this humanising her too late in the day? Almost certainly, but it’s a start. Bruno next
Craig follows by saying that he had a small problem with Ashley’s right toe, but then he decided to get over himself. Hang on, “right toe”? Does Ashley just have the one? Has she been doing this whole series with a foot-related disability and we were never told? LAUREN STEADMAN OUTSOLD. Darcey closes by saying that that routine really did showcase all of Ashley’s strengths. And there’s an accidental backhanded compliment for us to get this year’s showdances going with.
Up to Claud 9 they rise in the holy name of dahnce and Pasha, bless him, is very quickly all
“sweetheart, fix it”. You can tell that between Anya and Numbers that he dated pretty much exclusively stylists and wardrobe girls right? He’s got an eye. Fortunately Claudia is
right on it as soon as they land. I’m sure we all know how the tabloids would have reacted if Pasha had started sliding his fingers in and out of his partner’s gob mid-finale. And lord knows Flackers tried to make it happen. Once her mug’s fixed, Ashley thanks the choreographer, and Claudia harps on again about how the dance really represented Ashley’s Strictly journey. Constantly going round and round with a vague sense you’ve seen it already? Sounds about right. Ashley again uses the word “rollercoaster” in response, because she really is gunning for Rachel Stevens all time record again huh. Scores are in
Stacey Dooley & Kevin Clifton dancing SHOWDANCE!
Training now, and Kevin tells us that they’ll be doing something that’s never really been attempted live on the show before. That “live” is very telling isn’t it? Because this feels like something that’s been done in about 15 different pre-recorded pro numbers on the Results Show where everyone went “no that was dumb, just do ballroom and latin” as soon as it was over. Remember that entire routine where they turned the studio into an entire rapidly changing and rotating nightclub and bar set? No? Exactly. Anyway, Kevin says the dance it’s going to tell the story of them getting ready for the final and no “spraying on some hairspray” is not a “story” Kevin. Maybe as part of The Mezzanine I don’t know, I doubt Strictly’s ever going to do a showdance about the profundity of the mundane. They are, at least, going one step above Ashley and having a variety of styles in there, incorporating jive, closed hold ballroom, and street dance.
Oooh, look, three styles. Kevin goes on to list the risks of the routine, and we get all the way down through “for a third of the routine we won’t be able to see one another” and “some idiot props boy might ruin the whole series for me by moving a bit of wall at the wrong time” before I just think God, aren’t these things supposed to be fun? It’s a dance not a Heath Robinson deathtrap. I know there’s various people whose greatest joy is fantasising about ways Kevin Clifton might decapitate himself on the set, but I’m not one of them. Stacey’s entire contribution to the VT is pretty much saying “I dunno, might as well take a risk, mightn’t you?”. Is the showdance the dance where it’s supposed to feel like the finalist is having the least fun, I feel like it’s not. Anyway, the most ominous moment in the whole VT isn’t this, it’s Tess and Claudia coming in and watching the whole runthrough and then them having to get Kevin to explain what it was supposed to be afterwards. And even at the end of him Steve Spielberg’ing it out
Claudia’s still not really sure.
TO THE BACKSTAGE AREA!
So let’s pick this opening tableau apart, because I kind of love it. First of all, why is Stacey drinking hairspray? Why is Kevin reading a magazine that fully has pictures of himself on the front and back cover? Why is there no glass in the mirrors? Why does Stacey have a picture up on the wall of, and I screencap this show a lot so pardon me for knowing, Kevin at the premium butt angle? Why does Kevin’s dressing room
have a giant letter K on the wall and Stacey’s have a
giant letter S, do they worry they might forget their own names and need a prompt? I guess with all that hairspray she’s drinking…Oh and why has he kept that skintight yellow onesie from the Minions routine, do I want to know? This opening is all very busy, with Kevin doing press-ups and checking himself out in the mirror and
sniffing his pits and eye-mugging me and Stacey…mostly doing rudimentary Tina Turner 60s dancemoves and trying to not to stack it over a chair despite her dress getting stuck to it? Mostly.
She’s spraying that hairspray around the entire time God love her, I can’t believe we didn’t cover the major health and safety hazard here of Stacey actually asphyxiating to death mid-routine in that long list in the VT. They then slip out those doors and are
…I don’t know, down an alley? Outside the studios? The muted cheers (compared to what she gets the rest of the evening) kind of tells me that the audience don’t really know how to react to this bit either. Then, after they do one lengthy standing spin in hold that’s barely worth it, the walls move and
ooh ahhhh fireworks and thing and she just does a lot of her jive and that one “GET UP ON STAGE AND SHOW ME YOUR THING BIG BOY!” move from her samba, which I kind of miss. I loved Stacey’s wild party latin energy and this is the form we’re getting it in for the finale? No thanks. The one thing I do like about the routine, and which elevates it above that mess Joe did last year, is Kevin doing the same
lift twice in a row at the end, just because he can, and because it’s a ridiculous routine topper and then they
both die at the end. Well that felt too much of nothing, too little of nothing, and then too much of everything all stacked one on top of the other.
Over to the judges, where Bruno starts
thanks Bruno. (Yes, he said “Stacey’s Greatest Tits”, yes the entirety of the next minute or so is everyone cacking themselves laughing, particularly
Miss Ranjie, oh Bruno) Craig’s next and he says he didn’t really like it, because it was too “bitty” (tits and bitty in one judging segment, goodness me) and felt like too much running around setting stuff up and not enough time dancing. Kevin throws a minor huffty, muttering “just running around was it?” (I mean…a lot of it looked like that yes) and that this happens “every time”. Can’t believe his daring risk-taking genius of moving walls around and sticking chairs in the way of all the movement has gone unrecognised YET AGAIN.
Darcey follows, calling it a disco mash-up of all Stacey’s most iconic moves, but the one she’ll never forget is the one from her Minions routine where she yelled “BANANA!”. Personally I’ll never forget how Darcey just pronounced “Minion” as in “filet minion”, what a classy dame. Shirley closes by saying that Stacey, like Joe, has come this far as a complete beginner, and she liked that Kevin pushed her just enough, but didn’t give her anything she couldn’t do in that routine. Other than “get out of a chair without almost pulling half the set down around you”.
Up to Claud 9, where Stacey spends most of her time wailing about how she got stuck to her chair and she couldn’t see Kevin. Still, so glad we all took that amazing one-of-a-kind all time risk there. Scores are in
36. Kevin bitches that every year this happens with Craig in the final, EVERY YEAR, and oh my God, do you know that at this point in my Internet life as a Strictly Thoopafan the last thing I would ever want to do, ever again, EVER, is to rehash the Series 13 final, but by gum if I have to then I will.
Faye From Steps & Giovanni Pernice dancing the SHOWDANCE!
Tess tells us that for her showdance, Faye will be dancing on a giant top hat, and will be hoping to pull something magical out of it to get herself the win. Forgive me for going to the well one more time but…God I hope it’s Debbie McGee.
Training now, and Faye tells us that she’ll be doing her Showdance to Lullaby Of Broadway, because she loves Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers so much and that old Hollywood style. Someone ENJOYING a showdance and not doing an entire VT based around worrying about Isadora Duncan’ing yourself on a loose nail? REVOLUTIONARY! She does do some minor mithering about how she’s going to dismount from the Top Hat, but it’s really more about doing so elegantly (ie without flashing her knickers to everybody) than about potential contusions. Even when Tess and Claudia come up for a gawp they talk about how much Faye is enjoying the routine and yes she is
as long as you factor in that even Faye From Steps enjoying something looks half a beat away from a minor public nervous breakdown. You know when you laugh so hard you just start to cry? Alone in the shower? Because you just love being on Strictly SO MUCH!!!! That! Tess and Claudia ask Faye how she’d like the audience to respond to her showdance, and she says she’d like them to just smile. Giovanni says that he and Faye are living the dream so he’d like everyone at home to live the dream with them. Faye looks very much like
she doesn’t think the public would enjoy living out her dreams. When Fayezuula and Milkmaid Puppet Demon Faye start battling it out like a Dragonball Z? They couldn’t handle it. They’d wake up SOAKED Giovanni. SOAKED! THE TERROR!
TO THE TOP HAT!
First of all
this is how you start a flipping showdance, not with someone drinking beauty product from the can or wantonly abusing religious symbology because nobody voted for you on a gameshow whilst Pasha sits sadly on a roundabout in a plum chiffon blouse. If this whole showdance was Faye ordering a bespoke West End calling card to drop her right into whatever it is Caroline Flack’s been spending the last few years doing bits and pieces of around Love Island, then well done Giovanni’s Amazon Prime account because this just got delivered in mint condition just in time for Christmas. There’s
“oh I didn’t see you there” sensual neck touching, there’s
debonair partnership arm-taking, there’s
a dramatic dip, there’s
yes getting off the top hat without revealing your knickers and going into a flawless lift with three rotations, there’s
the old “I’m a SHOOTING STAR baby, headed right to the TOP!”, there’s quickstep, there’s glamour, there’s cutesy lip-sync’ing for your life, there’s
SPOTLIGHT GLAMOUR, there’s
SPOTLIGHT FUN, and it all leads to Giovanni doing the memorial six “well done on yer” spins into a
big finish, in which if she didn’t actually yell “FAYE!” at the end I’d be very disappointed and surprised, turn that mic up.
One of the best showdances ever, I would say so. Step RIGHT over that bar Faye Tozer, you cleared it. The audience scream for it all, and that is of course partially the theme, but yes also because, finally, somebody just kicked this round into gear.
Craig kicks off for the judges with a “FAB-YOO-LUSS!”, and Darcey follows up by calling Faye’s dance “clean, crisp, stylish, and sophisticated but never forced”. Kevin. Shirley’s next, saying that Faye brought Broadway to Strictly (I feel like she might be hoping moreso that it was Strictly bringing Faye to Broadway, but yes, that’ll do), with everything synchronised to a t and great fun and then Bruno closes
Up to Claud 9, where Claudia reveals that that routine had Charles in tears, and made him feel like he was back in the 1940s. In a good way, hopefully. She asks Faye to say how it feels, as this year’s THOOPAFAN, to actually do a showdance, and Faye says that that showdance right there was what Strictly is all about – beauty, glitz, and glamour. Yeah, alright, don’t gas yourself up too much. Also it’s 2018, it wasn’t what Strictly is all about NOW. Where were the giant inflatable basketballs? Where were the harnesses? Where was Jenny Thomas to tell us all that you’re definitely not shagging? Giovanni for his part says that he really thinks the showdance showed the best parts of Faye, and no they didn’t, she got off the hat fine. Scores are in
Joe Sugg & Dianne Buswell dancing the SHOWDANCE
Tess tells us that Joe has trained so hard, and put so much effort in, and learned so much, and achieved so much more than he ever thought possible. Also got a shag out of it as well didn’t he, apparently
Training now, and Joe tells us that his showdance will be to “I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor”, which is one of his favourite songs. I am at least glad that we’ve hauled the School Disco of Joe’s Musical Choices into this millennium now. In one of my favourite moments of the final, Dianne then announces that the whole dance is going to be “ROCK! AND! ROLL!”, prefacing this shot
of them doing some dinky weeble quickstep training in a little trotty circle around the dressing room in their joggy bottoms. It’s like Keith Moon reborn. They run through the elements their routine will have (quickstep, jive, Lindathon, and “street” (ie rolling around on the floor)) and then say it’ll also have lots of height, lifts and particularly, lots and lots of speed. Certainly it will feel like it. We get to see their rehearsal set being built up and
this does look a lot more risky than “the props boys will be moving the walls” yes. There’s a trampoline on one of those things! Tess and Claudia pop in to rehearsals, and here’s the pair of them being rock and roll.
Tess is really not into is she? I bet Vernon’s got nothing but XFM on at home, she’s sick of the bloody sound of The Arctic flipping Monkies, the Strictly final’s normally her safe space, nothing but 80s Whitney bangers, how dare they. Oh and not to harp on Tess (WOULD I?!) but her attempts at empathy face as Joe tells her there’s so much going on in the routine that if he slips out of the choreography he’ll probably just be done for
is a classic even by her standards.
TO THE DANCEFLOOR!
I…erm…I have to admit Dianne has done a really good job of contorting herself to look like an actual guitar there but I really don’t want to think about the biology of it. I have to say, after Faye’s very tightly choreographed and performed number, it’s kind of nice to close out this round of the show with a big ol sloparound end-of-term party of a routine. Not that I don’t prefer Faye’s, but she’s a very controlled woman, so the contrast with Joe
just bouncing around on the set any old how, looking like this is basically all being made up off the top of his head (and danced like it too) is a great palette cleanser after a rich meal of a dance. Joe jumps up and down on every single one of those amps, he charges around the floor in quickstep hold like a bull in a china shop, he capers, he moshes, he bashes his head about everywhere, Dianne’s does a ridiculous forward walkover over his head… Maybe not so much the
strumming the lady’s leg bit, that’s never great but I’m very much a-for
him crashing through the set string-bean legs first and
smashing a guitar to bits at the end. If last week’s Viennese Waltz to the same song was Joe showing all the areas where his Strictly journey didn’t quite reach the peak of Harry Judd’s (the dancing, mostly) then at least this rock’n’roll showdance showed that he can at least pride himself on being more purely fun. (No, honest, Harry Judd did do a rock’n’roll showdance. I know right? Just remember his ballroom, you’ll be happier that way, honestly)
It gets a strong reception (although I still think that Faye’s was louder) and Joe immediately drops the rockstar persona to apologise profusely for smashing up the guitar there. I have to say, I was sceptical, and it’s not my type at all but
the whole “Billy Idol/Spring Awakening” thing he’s got going on here isn’t NOT doing it for me, Joe Sugg look wise. Y’know, comparatively. Darcey starts for the judges and calls it a “modern, rockin’ quickstep” and I’m sorry, the words “rockin’ quickstep” out of Darcey’s mouth are even less natural than Joe’s hair colour. She admires how much Joe still kept control as he “unleashed the beast”. Mmm hmm. Shirley’s next, yelling that she is now a “HEAD BANGING, BODY BANGING, GUITAR SMASHING TYPE OF PERSON” thanks solely to that routine. Yes, Joe officially turned Shirley on to the power of modern chug-rock by that routine alone. Tess has still got her earplugs in mind. And none of that bloody KASABIAN either.
thanks Bruno, and Craig closes by saying that he loved the routine because it had the quirk of a Charleston. Yes…Charleston. I got…so much Charleston off that routine for sure.
Up to Claud 9 they mosh, where Claudia gushes that Joe NEVER expected to make it this far and not EVEN to Blackpool (the scriptwriters on It Takes Two certainly did for the entire first month of the show) and asks him how it felt to be dancing in the final to his favourite song of all time. Joe says it was amazing and the best feeling. Yeah, I remind myself how bland I thought this inevitable Final Four was going to be, and they’ve turned out better than expected but…still not the full ticket, “entertaining interview” wise. Claudia then asks Joe about the trampolines and he full on lies that he never even rehearsed that bit because he wanted it to be a surprise on the night. We saw the tramp in yer VT m8, don’t overegg it. Scores are in
TWO THIRDS OF THE WAY THROUGH LEADERBOARD?
And now…a break in the recap so this thing isn’t over 15,000 words long…