Saturday, 23 December 2017

Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final 2017

So I know it's a week late but I think I'm only just coming down from the high and the buzz of the last night of Strictly and oh what a night it was. The four finalists came to the floor with the professionals in a pro dance to What A Feeling, and what a feeling it must be to be in the final four. Over the last 13 weeks, the 15 celebrities that started have been slowly whittled away, with some unexpected twists and turns, to leave just one man and three ladies to battle it out on the dancefloor,performing not one, not two but THREE dances each to prove to the general public they are worthy of lifting the Glitterball trophy at the end of the show. The judge's scores are for guidance only and it is ultimately the public vote which will decide the champion for 2017. Your finalists for this year are Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee, Gemma Atkinson and Joe McFadden. Who will triumph?

So for their first dance of the evening, each celebrity will perform a dance chosen by the judges. It will be something they have already performed in the run-up to the final and it’s usually something that the judges will want to see an improvement in. It’s never usually something that was a bad performance but never anything that was close to perfect.

First up is Alexandra and the judges have chosen for her the American Smooth from Week 3. This was her Movie week dance to Wouldn’t It Be Loverly from My Fair Lady. She was praised back then for her ability to bring the character to the performance but the judges wanted to see how her footwork had improved. I remember liking the dance back in week 3 and it was just as ‘loverly’ the second time around. It was clean, precise and again she brought the character into the dance. A good start from Alexandra.

Next up was Debbie and the judges requested to see her Salsa again from week 8. The cheeky eye test start aside, I loved this routine and the one-armed lift was still just as spectacular and jaw-dropping as it was the first time around. I love how Debbie has so much trust in Giovanni and lets him throw her and spin her, trusting in both him and her own ability to produce some beautiful and daring lifts. Another strong start.

Our third performance came from Gemma and for her Judges Choice, they were dancing the Paso Doble, also from Week 4. I remember enjoying this dance the first time around and thinking it was the moment when Gemma first started to look like a dancer, that she was starting to show promise of making it to the final and now here she is. This time around, the performance was even better and it was much sharper and cleaner. Gemma was the outsider of the four coming into the final but this performance showed why she was here and could certainly hold her own with the other contestants.
Joe was last to perform the Judges Choice and they had opted for his Viennese Waltz from Movie week. A Dr Zhivago routine was a lovely dance the first time around, romantic and gentle and moving, showing the lovely chemistry between Joe and Katya. The second time was just as moving but you could clearly see how Joe has developed as a dancer and smoothed off any rough edges to make this a very polished performance.
After the first round of dances, it was difficult to say who was going to win this as no-one had made any glaring errors and yet no-one had produced a routine that was head and shoulders above the others. All evenly matched.

The second dance of the night was the Showdances. This is an opportunity for the pros to show off their skills as choreographers and highlight their partner's strengths. There are no set rules for the Showdances so there can be as many lifts as you like and most showdances tend to feature highlights from previous routines. I always look forward to these as a non-dancer I can judge them for sheer entertainment value rather than technical aspects.

The running order remains the same so first up is Alexandra. She is dancing to ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’. There were elements of Quickstep, Charleston and Argentine Tango in there, including the bit where she stands on Gorka's foot (intentionally). I loved this step in the routine, however, I didn’t love this Showdance. It seemed too choppy and skipping from one thing to another. I also felt Alexandra lost her concentration at times and didn’t seem too sure about her next move which was unlike her previous performances. Not a great dance for me.

Next, we have Debbie and she was dancing to ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’. Giovanni chose to utilise Debbie’s ballet background, yet include some highlights from her previous routines including a full split, rumba elements and the neck spin from Musicals week. It was a gorgeous routine, very graceful and elegant. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think it may just be my favourite showdance after watching it several times. Maybe joint top.

Third to dance again is Gemma. She was performing to ‘Show Me How You Burlesque’. This was a different Gemma from the previous weeks. She was sexy, sassy and confident. There were Quickstep, Jive and Charleston in the routine and I even thought I caught elements of Argentine Tango which Gemma never got to perform as a dance by itself. It was a good, energetic routine and really highlighted how far she’s come as a dancer, including featuring her solo at the start, something she would never have had the confidence to do at the start of the series. For me, this was better than Alexandra’s dance.

The last showdance was Joe and he was doing a fairytale routine to ‘You Make My Dreams’. Another solo performance at the start of the routine as Joe and Katya told the story of Cinderella in just two minutes. On the night, this was my favourite routine but as I said the more I watch Debbie’s the more it joins Joe at the top. I still love this, as I love Joe as a dancer and the whole fairytale element. There were great elements from Quickstep, Charleston and Salsa in there and the whole routine was brilliantly choreographed by Katya. My answer was yes too.

So for the final dances, the couples all get to pick their favourite routine from the previous shows to perform in one last attempt to claim that Strictly Champion title. I am proud to say I correctly predicted 3 of the 4 routines that the celebs would choose, the only one I didn’t get was Debbie.

First was Alexandra and she chose to revisit the Jive from week 4. It scored her a whopping 39/40 the first time around. This was actually one of my favourite routines from Alexandra, I felt she performed it magnificently and it truly deserved the 40 score she achieved tonight. Her flicks and kicks were sharp and precise and she threw everything she had into the routine. A truly amazing performance.

Debbie was next and they chose to perform the Argentine Tango again. I really liked this as well, although I thought they may have chosen their Tango. It was good to see this again and I love the chemistry between Debbie and Giovanni. This dance really shows this off to the max and again well worthy of the 40 score bestowed upon it.

Gemma was up next and as I predicted, they chose their American Smooth from Blackpool week. It was another dance I enjoyed and Gemma looked flawless with plenty of grace and sway, fabulous lifts and she really enjoyed herself in her last dance and looked relaxed and happy which helped her performance.

The final dance of the evening went to Joe and he had chosen his Charleston to perform again. This was one of my all-time favourite routines from the whole series. It was cheeky, plenty of swivel and content without being overly cheesy or simple. It was a fun routine and performed perfectly and a very fitting end to a very very too close to call final.

So we are then treated to a great performance by Ed Sheeran, accompanied by a lovely dance from Karen Clifton and Pasha Kovalev, although its a shame Karen isn’t dancing with Kevin due to personal issues in their relationship.

But now it’s time for the moment we have been waiting for since the beginning of the series those long thirteen weeks ago. It's time for the champion to be revealed and it is…….


So cheeky chappie Joe raises the Glitterball with his very talented partner Katya. A very worthy winner and he was my favourite ever since week 1 and his fabulous jive (if you don’t believe me, check out my week one post, it’s there in black and white). Commiserations to the three girls who put up a great fight and made it a very close final but huge congratulations to Joe McFadden and Katya Jones, Strictly Come Dancing Champions of 2017.

So I wonder who will be competing next year. I don’t know and we have a full 8 months to go until next September when the newest line up will be revealed. Whoever it is, I will be back to give you my thoughts and views of the class of 2018.

Until then everyone, keep dancing.

1 comment:

  1. Apologies in advance for this comment, it's completely out of whack with your post because they had the play list on YouTube in a completely different order, but if I re order it then some of my reactions might not make sense!

    I love that Joe did their charleston in the finale, you know how much I love a charleston and this one was just as awesome this time as it was the first. Katya sort of reminds me of the actress who played Myka on Warehouse 13. I LOVED the way they ended that dance.

    Gemma's American Smooth is still lovely, and I liked their costuming selection for her in it. She looked really happy and confident during this routine tonight.

    You have no idea how deliriously amused I was by the fact that Debbie and Gio did their tango to the same song that Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger did the tango to in True Lies. I love that movie haha. I also loved this tango, I thought it was very well done. Gio looked like an old school gangster in that suit hehe. I feel like I may have mentioned all of that the first time they did this dance too hhaha. I think I missed that these were all repeated dances hehe.

    Am I crazy or was Alexandra really channeling Diana Ross in that jive? (That's a relly interesting direction to take a CCR song haha, also I clearly didn't notice this the first time she performed this number) Her problem isn't that she can't dance, which is just unfortuante really, because she's got mad moves in the more energetic dances.

    How did I miss this adorable Cinderella themed dance the first time I watched this playlist? WITCHCRAFT! HOW DID THEY DO THAT WITH HER DRESS!!?! Awww the proposal bit at the end was adorable.

    Seriously NONE of these showdances were here the first time I went to look at these videos!!! Dayum Gemma! Bring the fierce/sexy! She's a little wooden in parts, but it's a pretty impressive routine I thought. She is bringing the fierce in that number for sure. Agree that it was waaaay better than Alexandra's number.

    Mood whiplash, from that fierce tango to the fluffy number they did for the showdance. I'm pleased he used her ballet background.

    I didn't like the opening of Alexandra's number but once she took off the dressing gown the number got better. I could have done without the switch to black and white though haha. That lift they did at the end was good. I agree with you about this number overall feeling like it was a bit all over the place.

    Okay this third set of dances isn't looking familiar either haha. I distinctively remember watching the first set but not the show dances or the judges picks hehe. Lovely Viennese Waltz from Joe and Katya! Enjoyed the Russian theming of it, (Reminds me of Jason and Katya hehe) Clearly I didn't really remember this number from way back in movie week!

    YESSS FIERCE GEMMA AGAIN! I loved Gemma's paso the first time and I love it again now haha.

    Queue more excited squeeing for Debbie and Gio's salsa which is another of my favourites and I had just been thinking about hunting it down to watch it again haha. I agree with you about loving the trust between the two of them.

    Awww they went with the American Smooth for Alexandra? I wouldn't have called that her best dance, lovely, but she had others I liked better haha.

    Gemma looked really uncomfortable and out of place in that final four couples dance to What a Feeling.

    Joe deserved the win :)