Since there was no sign of the hosting crew’s funnest member this week, I’m forced to assume Claudia started early and had either passed out in the editing suite, or had disappeared to baste herself in fake tan, much as many of us will be basting turkeys bright and early on Tuesday morning.
Speaking of which, what the tinsel was Tess wearing during the first of shows? Some people compared her ridiculously sequin-heavy body con number to the scales of an in-season salmon. I, however, prefer to think that La Daly was feeling just as festive as the Winkleman and dressed accordingly. She was in fancy dress as a bacofoil wrapped turkey, people! Keep up.
And finally, did everyone spot Brucie telling off all the contestants who weren’t Louis and Flavia at the end? They had the tenacity to storm the dancefloor to congratulate the winning couple before his most holy grotbagginess gave the official word. God, I hate him.
The judges’ scores counted for nowt tonight, as the result of the final is decided entirely by public votes. Hardly worth them turning up at all, let alone forcing Darcy into that spangly gold number in part two. Still, there they were, handing out high scores like it was Christmas or something.
The Dancing, Part One:
The show opened to the pro-dancers performing a turn-heavy Paso Doble to the strains of The Final Countdown, during which the remaining competitors arrived like jack-in-the-boxes popping up from a large purpose-built box behind them. It was great that the show started on a laugh because Bruce failed to provide any, at all. The cadaverous old goon.
Part one saw competitors challenged to perform a routine from earlier in the series that the judges felt they could improve on, and a show dance, which is an original piece of choreography designed to show off their skill sets.
First to perform were Denise and James, who performed a hugely energetic version of their Jive to Little Richard’s ‘50s classic Tutti Frutti.
Meanwhile, the matching black cat suits the couple wore for their show dance wins the award for my favourite outfits of the evening, if only because they were hilarious.
In truth Denise deserves much more credit, because no-one plasters on a smile and powers through like she does. Her movements throughout both dances were sharp, her timing bang on and there’s nothing better than seeing someone really enjoying their work. And very nice work it was, too.
Little Dani Harmer went second, reliving the Tango she and Vincent performed on week six to the butchered strains of Rumour Has It by Adele. Neither Dani’s Tango nor her show dance to Bohemian Rhapsody were as sharp as they could have been.
Given that she’s continued to work her arse when Head Judge Len said he thought she’d have left much earlier, I’m gonna put it down to nerves.
Next were (my favourites) Kimberley and Pasha, who were asked to dance their Viennese Waltz to A Thousand Years - the kind of schmaltzy number I usually rip radios out of cars rather than listen to.
I mostly remember it because of Kimberley’s pink princess with grey paillettes on the bodice. It was as beautiful as Kimber’s dancing.
Kimberley’s immensely raunchy show dance saw her channeling Beyonce for a perfectly timed and hugely confident rendering of Latin dance moves to Crazy in Love. Seriously, if you didn’t enjoy this performance (by ‘enjoy’ which I mean get up and dance along to it four times on repeat) there’s something wrong with you.
From the catsuit to the tiny fuchsia leotard to the rump-shaking, it was splendid. So want to be her.
Finally, it was Louis’ turn. Was there any surprise at all to him being this year’s winner? His partner Flavia, as well as being one of the most gifted dancers on the show, is a genius when it comes to choosing songs and choreography.
Recreating the iconic salsa from Dirty Dancing with a decidedly able Olympian? Win.There was no way the judges, whose job is in part to get the public ringing in to vote, couldn’t pick it. Double win.
Also winning was Louis and Flavia’s show dance, which saw the pair making the most of Louis’ strength and skills as a gymnast in a surprisingly elegant routine. Oh, and Flav even remembered to get Louis to take his top off for us. There’s no messing with that girl.
Despite putting on a marvellous show, Dani was the first competitor to be eliminated from this year’s final. No shame in that.
With Dani taking her place in the past competitors’ circle of relief, part two saw Kimberley, Denise and Louis invited to perform their favourite routine of the series. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that Sky + failed to record part two so all my judgments on it come from YouTube, possibly in the wrong order.
At various points Denise and James and Louis and Flavia all performed their high-scoring Charlestons again. One can assume that getting back into the Lycra did masses for Louis’ confidence as his performance of the routine had improved massively in the weeks since we last saw it.
Denise and James’ Charleston, which first premiered at Wembley, was similarly accomplished and Louis’ routine suffered by comparison. It wasn’t as original as Denise’s, nor was as he as smiley during it.
I did love Kimberley and Pasha’s Tango to Prince’s When Doves Cry. So sharp, so beautiful and such a perfect last dance from the couple who, if I’d had my way, would have won.
Oh please, as if my opinion even matters at this point. The public has spoken, and Louis Smith has gymnastically sprung his way to winning. But I should point out that three of the four finalists were favourites in my first ever Strictly recap all the way back in September. So was Jerry Hall but I stand by that. Shut up.
You know when they do the videos of all the competitors who’ve taken part this year wibbling about how much they’ve grown as people over the course of Strictly, and they all cry and talk about how their partner is their friend for life, even though they definitely haven’t slept with them? They do nothing to make any competitor any more likeable. Surely the professionals could have done a few more routines instead of the producers using so much filler?
Louis won. But you knew that already.
Alisande can be found dancing on Twitter @AlisandeF.