Well, hullo. I really didn’t expect to be back here after last time. Me and Strictly were finished. The love had died, it was trying too hard and I discovered a new Saturday Night Chippy (The Blue Dolphin in Hastings, in case you’re interested – half-price gherkins if you mention PLA. Probably)
Anyway, thanks to The Quirks of Fate*(*The Blogging Rota) here I am for The Final! So, Strictly, can you win my love back? You feelin’ lucky?
Following the handy rundown of previous weeks and their themes – Broadway = Good, Halloween = Bad, Wembley = Ugly and Movies = Yawn – we now find ourselves at The Final in BLACKPOOL! It’s just like Old BLACKPOOL Times! After the Wembley Dancing Disaster 2011 (for all you Bee Gees fans out there),Blackpool actually works brilliantly for the final. It’s exciting, atmospheric, spacious yet doesn’t have that Bloody Awful Echo (…Bloody Awful Echo) (Sorry).
And the Opening Number. Oh My God. The dancers come out dressed as Gladiators to LIVING ON A PRAYER. Despite the fact that Artem really does still look far too nice to leave anybody off his Christmas Card list never mind kill them, they do damn well. And just when you think it can’t get any better: a) there is That Key Change (still The Greatest Moment In Rock in my opinion) and b) At the key change the finalists come in on giant foam Chariots! Bonus points to Chelsee Healey for belting the song out like she’s on a Hen Night. It’s camp, hysterical, entirely unnecessary and possibly the best thing I’ve seen on telly all year (take that, jumper-toting Swedish lady!).
The presenters and judges continue to “delight” on a sartorial level. Universe-sized shoulder pads mean Aleesha looks like she could have somebody’s eyes out, whilst Tess as ever looks like she’d been styled by somebody with no eyes. The Director then ups the ante by presenting us with a big-screen close up of The Glitterball Trophy that looks like a slowly-descending meteorite from outer space. Christ, I love this show when it’s this good.
And finally, it seems like Strictly is listening. The results are on the same night! And they have put the show dance, which I hate because it’s basically My Lift Is Bigger Than Your Lift, halfway through, hence diminishing its importance!
First up, Harry and Aliona. Like everybody, I love Harry, even if I think that Aliona has that whole “sugary nice but likely to pinch your lip gloss from your handbag when you go to the toilet on a night out” vibe (hey, it happens). Despite a tedious VT with all the Elbow/Take That backing track clichés, they do a magnificent quickstep and even the judges are cheered. The whole thing is so much more good-natured. I know this is because it’s the final but still, here’s hoping this is a pointer for next year.
I don’t know what’s happened, but Bruce’s Jokes Are Funny. I know! First his Bitter Lemon joke about Craig, then the Blackpool Landlady crack. Strictly is walking on water. To the extent that not even Jason Donovan’s arrival ruins this. I don’t like him – he’s good but he’s too Will To Win. He’s not even original at this – Ricky Whittle, Matt Baker etc. Having said this, his and Kristina’s Tango to I Will Survive is unbelievable and this (and indeed the whole show) is nicely summed up by Bruno; “Incredible and barking mad – but I LOVED IT!”. Plus we get the return of Floor Spotlight That Looks Like R2D2 – easily my favourite piece of television equipment this year. And we get a fantastic new catchphrase from the judge that has up until now pissed me off the most this year – From Len, A Ten!
Finally, Chelsee and Pasha! I like Chelsee so much – anybody who is that good-natured about the fact that nobody still knows who the hell they are gets my vote. Her Jive can be described in just one word – Joy.
Next, The Showdances. And Strictly’s winning streak continues, in that people actually dance! Harry’s rock and roll number to Great Balls Of Fire (beloved of out-of-control kids at infant discos everywhere) is magnificent. Jason’s is the campest thing ever and provides a great comedy moment when he lays on the floor at the end utterly spent whilst Bruce shouts “Hello? HELLO? You’ve done it, you can GET UP NOW” in the background and Chelsee’s grammar may be appalling (There ARE no rules, NOT IS *dissolves into perpetually-single rage*) but her show dance is also amazing. It’s just a shame that One Night Only appeared to be One Night Too Many for the singer, but then so rarely can we have it all.
The second half begins with Jason coming third. Bad luck, but then he wasn’t that likeable. Oh well. There’s some banter between Bruce and Tess that actually works for once (“I was just going to say all that” “I wish you had!”) and then the final dances. Firstly Harry and Chelsee have to do new dances. This is a great idea. Harry’s American Smooth is magic, even if Craig is justified in neatly summing up the spirit of glasnost when he says “if it wasn’t the final, darling, there are a plethora of things I could say about your hands”. Chelsee’s Rumba is its equal.
And then – their favourite dances! The format for the final is so much better this year. Harry’s Argentine Tango is possibly the best I’ve ever seen, plus there’s a welcome return for Chelsee’s wonderful quickstep, although I miss the cute aeroplanes on the floor.
There’s a group dance that is… well, a group dance. And then, the winners are… HARRY AND ALIONA! It was close, but deserved. As somebody pointed out on twitter, you never can beat the virulent voting blocks of gay men and teenaged girls. Meanwhile, the rest of Harry’s group McFly then promptly stage the best pitch invasion I’ve ever seen. In a way, this sums the final up – unexpectedly brilliant.
Posted by a Rejuvenated Velocity Girl