Strictly Come Dancing 15 – Final Summary

So round by round.

Judges Choice So by turn either Alex was thrown under da bus because her American Smooth was boring, or Debbie was thrown under da bus by being given party latin, or Joe was thrown under da bus because his Viennese Waltz was boring, or Gemma was thrown under da bus with her paso because…I don’t know, curse of pink? Wasn’t that a thing at one point? Anyway, all four of them perform creditably in the round, with Alexandra possibly coming out ahead for me just because she put her foot down and got a nicer dress, tied with Andrea, of the singers, for getting the song right for Debbie this time. Of the others Debbie’s still a bit wobbly, Gemma is more about projecting strength than precision performance, and Joe’s not grown his moustache back, so can sod off quite frankly.

Showdance Round : Pretty much performed in descending order of quality. Alexandra does a great big defiant hoofer numbers to “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, pretty much embodying the “come back fighting, as gasping and loud as you possibly can” ethos she’s put out over the last few weeks. Debbie then does a very nice, quite safe, emotionally resonant liftfest which Darcey uses chiefly as an opportunity to remind her that she’ll NEVER be as good a ballerina as her. Gemma then does an endearingly sloppy burlesque mess, that gets away with a number of technical deficiences by being done at 100mph, with hair flinging wildly, and complete abandonment, and being such a blatant audition for Chicago she might as well have been handing out her business card to Alexandra’s friends in the front row. Then Joe is awful, in a showdance where he barely has to do anything, as Katya distracts with a dress change, a whole load of nonsense with a shoe, and a version of “You Make My Dreams” that’s initially far too slow, and then far too fast.

Couples Favourites : Nothing too unpredictable here – Alexandra did the jive that moved her so much last time, Debbie did her deeply and powerfully erotic Argentine Tango, Gemma did the only dance of hers to ever get 10s (before tonight, obviously, as Shirley and Bruno pay out nothing but, all evening) with her American Smooth, and Joe did the dance he got selected for him via a twitter poll a few weeks ago. Now that’s market research. Again, everyone performs creditably, making this really one of the better finals for PURITY OF DAHNCE, as nobody fell on their arse, broke their arm, lost control via nerves or was Mark Wright. When the worst you’re looking at is some wobbles, bad posture and terrible showdance choreography (and let’s face it, that’s a good 70% of all showdances over the years) you’re doing fine.

So who wins? Well, after last year’s shock winner, based on performance quality on the night…we’re back to business as usual, with the expected winner taking it home easily, with his betting odds barely changing all evening, despite being one of the weaker performers in the final itself. Joe is happy, Katya is happy, Debbie’s off round the back to make sure she’s got a PROPER allocation of tickets to friends and family for the tour, thank you very much, and the plans are surely in place for 2018 to be a YEAR OF THE WOMAN that’ll make 2013 look positively mild. Otherwise there’s the usual trappings of a finale – endless montages, a car-crash group dance, too much Ed Sheeran, and an opening group dance that just makes everyone remember that one time all the finalists came out as semi-nude gladiators in chariots.

Ah chariots.


Strictly Come Dancing 15 – Week 12 Results Summary

And so the stars did move, the planets alligned, and at the very last minute we did in fact get the Gemma vs Mollie dance-off I’ve been rooting for all series. At least, for as long as Brian was safely eliminated (sorry Brian). And the dance draw made it a particularly good one, with sweetheart daffy posh bird Mollie on a sweet, sappy, elegant, showmance twirly waltz and pure grit Northern bird Gemma on a ferocious, stompy, snarling, tango in which she looks like she wants to remove Aljaz’s head at all times. What a perfect scrap. So it’s a bit of a shame the judges don’t take it to its logical conclusion and make it a 2-2 split with Shirley forced to choose between her showmance faves and (sorry, again) the better dancers. Instead it’s a clean sweep for Gemma, with Mollie going home, and Tess getting whatever the lady equivalent of blue balls is waiting for some closure on their PURE AND BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE.

Elsewhere Joe reveals his showdance is going to be themed around fairy tales, Alexandra reacts to getting through to the final like she reacted to EVERYTHING on X Factor, and Debbie thanks Giovanni for giving her her sparkle back. Oh and Dance Debrief for some reason gets a Best Bits. Don’t ask me. Our guest performances are Craig David ft Dan Bastille and also a bunch of 12 year olds doing breakdancing for a pro dance which features Anton’s worst performance yet. Just…stop it guys. Please. Anton cannot hip hop. He can’t!

Strictly Come Dancing 15 – Week 12 Performance Summary

So let’s take this alphabetically :

Alexandra Burke : If any of our final five stick to the script we’d all written in our heads for them tonight it’s Alexandra. Yes they talk endlessly about the awful week she’s had in the press, yes she’s top of the leaderboard, yes she’s VERY gushy and OTT about it, yes there’s a lot of slow motion footage of her looking sad, yes they overmarked a Viennese Waltz that was slightly lacking in elegance and grace quite a bit, yes she came out and nailed her salsa and yes she will be in the final. Also fortunately, yes Gorka did get his chest out for desperation’s sake, HOORAY!

Debbie McGee : Debbie’s night also mostly goes to plan, although her jive is an even bigger hot mess than even I imagined it could be as it’s not so much “I’m So Excited” as “I’m So Exorcised” as she bounces, gibbers, and generally flings herself around the dancefloor like Pazuzu himself is exiting her body. Fortunately for my nerves, she then comes out and nails the foxtrot, although Craig does still find that dusty old 10 Second Rule somewhere in the back of his sack to haul out again. Oh Craig. Winning a dance-off seems her most likely endpoint tonight, buut we shall see.

Gemma Atkinson : Of everyone, Gemma feels like the one who most excelled her own standards tonight. Her rumba is maybe a little clompy physically, but more light and romantic emotionally than you might have expected, and her tango is a gloriously stroppy rocky romp, with amazingly coiffed hair and a constant snarl. Dynamically there’s not much storyline here, other than, you know, she’s trying hard and getting better at dancing, but if we’re coming out of tonight asking “who deserves to go home?”, then on a dancing level Gemma did enough to continue with her charmed run through the show.

Joe McFadden : An odd night for Joe, with an American Smooth that alternated between the fun and light and the awkward and fumbly, and an Argentine Tango that was either an avant-garde masterpiece or a load of old pretentious tut, depending on your perspective. What it put me most in mind of was Danny Mac’s Showdance from last year, so take that as you will. His fanbase should see him safe, but it was a disorientating evening above anything else.

Mollie King : Mollie on the other hand, has an absolute mare. Her samba is somehow even worse than it looked on It Takes Two, just a lot of wiggling and thrashing and skipping about under an absolute mass of out of control HAIR everywhere, and when set up to do a waltz surrounded by candles that is clearly meant to be the culmination of her romance with AJ, garlanded with a Shirley 10, she freezes up. It’s not a disaster, and actually in many ways her best ballroom since her Viennese, but it’s not enough for her and she spends the end of the night in floods of tears wailing about her dream crumbling before her eyes. Will that be enough to motivate her voters? We shall see.