It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again. And that can only mean that it’s the Strictly Come Dancing Final tomorrow. Get out those festive, three for £5 nibbles, finish off that already-opened bottle of wine, and relax. Feel safe in the knowledge that Tess Daly will make at least twelve patronising sounds in the first half hour, Bruno Tonioli will make many a risqué innuendo, and the British public will make poor voting decisions. It’s glitter, it’s glamour, it’s gratuitous, and we love it. Mostly.
The British staple which unites young, old, and students alike, it summons that coveted pre-2016 nostalgia which makes you feel like everything could just be alright in the world. It boasts the best ingredients for prime-time telly: sequins, live music, and celebrities you’ve not quite heard of. And there’s no lack of drama, either. This year’s show hasn’t escaped injuries, scandals and shock exits, and this year’s line-up has even left some feeling as dissatisfied as Craig Revel-Horwood is ninety-nine percent of the time. It is a show with a format that never changes; it is our comfort zone. So, when things don’t go quite to plan, we go into excited overdrive. We’ve also had some standout highlights this year- breakthrough performances, wonderful group numbers, and a new judge.
In no particular order, (we all know there’s a particular order) here are my top 5 memorable moments from this year.
ANTON MADE IT TO THE FINAL
It’s only taken him seventeen series to get a 10- now he’s had six of them and has a place in the final to boot. The charming favourite of your mum’s, and secretly your own, Anton Du Beke is the pro-dancer that’s really seen and been through it all. Partner to Anne Widdecombe, Nancy Dell‘Olio, Jerry Hall… he’s deserved a break for longer than some first years have been alive. Now, with Emma Barton, he’s finally made it. “This must be how Kevin Clifton feels”- it probably feels better, Anton.
Will Bayley had to drop out
This series has been marred by untimely dropouts. Jamie Lang didn’t even make it to the first live show before an injury ended his Strictly journey. (Though, if rumours are to be believed, he has a golden ticket into next year’s line-up) Then, poor Will. Such a sad part of this series. We all fell in love with his infectious smile and wonderful resilience. He performed a stunning Couple’s Choice dance that brought Motsi, and millions at home, to tears. Soon afterwards, a serious knee injury sent him out of the competition, to the extreme sorrow of everyone involved with the show. But he really did light up this year’s series and will remain a memorable contestant in Strictly history.
Motsi makes her grand entrance
She arrived with a bang!. The new judge commutes from Germany every week to take part in the show and brings lots of vibrant energy, and enthusiasm, with her. It must be a huge relief for the producers to see her so well-received- there’s always a decent amount of skepticism surrounding a new judge. Like I said, Strictly is a comfort zone which change only disrupts. The public took a fair amount of time to warm to Shirley Ballas when she replaced Len Goodman, and replacing a National Treasure, Dame Darcey Bussell, is no mean feat. However, Motsi has secured the support of the Strictly audience with her fair critique and lively attitude. Even the faux pas aside! (To Alex and Neil-“Well I feel like we’re seeing a new couple that we knew, but someone had an affair and now the light is back on!”- EEEK)
The Judges’ group dances
The opening show performance received mixed reviews, with some asking what Bruno was trying to achieve in his little blue box, but with everyone agreeing that Shirley and Motsi were quite sensational. It’s a fun and welcome addition to see the Judges performing- reminding us why they’ve been entrusted with judging everyone else. Bruno singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ was a wholesome number that conjured memories of Brucie and his classic performances. Then the ‘Hello, Dolly!’ routine from Musicals Week. It had it all. Anton and Kevin singing. Shirley and Motsi dancing. Craig completely stealing the show in drag and looking classier than Shirley, Motsi, Tess, and Claudia combined. Definitely the highlight of this year’s series.
Michelle and Giovanni dance to Vogue
HOW DID THEY GO OUT ON THIS DANCE? #justiceformichelle. Having already given us some iconic performances like their Halloween Addams Family routine, their final performance was arguably the best of all. Their Couple’s Choice routine was decried for not being technical enough, forgetting that Voguing is a dance in its own right. On her choice to pick a dance which holds huge significance for the gay community, Michelle made the following post:
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Babies, friends both new and old, I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am by your responses of love and support. I had the time of my life and i will NEVER forget it! THANK YOU @bbc and thank you @bbcstrictly for allowing this woman to live her dancer fantasy and to give me a platform to try to teach everyone that there is more to life than the binary. That we ALL need to be accepted for who we are as individuals. We have one life to live, let's do it in love and not hate….. KEEP DANCING I know I will! Thank you x3!. PLEASE SWIPE TO READ ALL….. 💕🇬🇧
Some Honorable Mentions:
Teethgate. Oh dear, Craig. Was Anton’s Austin Powers costume just too convincing?
Tess being caught running off to the wings after sending every contestant up to get their scores. Always very entertaining.
Claudia being a precious gem. That’s it. That’s the mention.
It now only remains to be seen who will lift the Glitterball Trophy on Saturday night. Does Karim have the voting support? How ironic would it be if latecomer Kelvin actually won the whole show? And do Emma and Anton stand a real chance if they’re the voting public’s favourites? Leave a comment on this post in Facebook or Twitter with who you’ll be rooting for!
Feature Image: Available on The Guardian, under Creative Commons, photograph: Guy Levy/BBC/PA.