The GRAND FINAL
Tx Saturday 18th December 2010
So! Previously on Strictly! People danced! Previously today I set out for London and travelled three miles in three hours and have had all my festive plans for the night cancelled and had to go back to the bloody provinces where my parents live and I'm really pissed off, so I'm in no mood for the kind of shit Strictly can churn out when it's not on form - so this had BETTER BE GOOD.
We begin with a pathetic scripted piece performed by BBC News staff about a "virus" striking all of the UK as from three months ago, the only cure being, of course, to sit on your sofa and watch Strictly every Saturday (and vote, obviously). Tess breaks in to tell us that Pamela, Matt and Kara are dancing tonight for the chance to win the glitterball trophy, and the engraver is standing by. Oh, but we mustn't forget that this series has really been all about Ann sodding Widdecombe. For. Fuck's. Sake. She's GONE, must we continue with the charade that she was in any way entertaining?
We open with a pro dance to Eye of the Tiger. Brendan is loving exeerting his alpha maleness amidst a throng of Robin, Vincent, Anton and Jared. Their lady partners are in black underwear and a face cloth. Then the finalists come out in boxer-esque dressing gowns. And then we hear the announcement, "Let's get ready to rumba!" Was that all just an elaborate set-up for that gag? [Considering Kara was the only contestant planning a rumba for this evening, it seems even more bizarre. - Steve]
Right, Bruce and Tess are here. Let's get on. She's looking very nice in a white dress and a silver strap. Well done, Tess! Time enough for a quick gag at Paul Daniels' and Ann Widdecombe's expense? Oh, I think so. Bruce then utterly cocks up his tenses, which makes it sound as if the results have already been decided. Tess takes us through the rules as always, because we are utter idiots who can't remember what the point of this show is from one week to the next. Oh, no, that's Len.
Matt and Aliona are first to dance tonight. Their Strictly Story is prefaced by a quick weather report from Bruce, seriously. Matt tells us that it's been emotional, and whines a bit more about the judges "hurting" him. Oh, shut up, Baker. I'd hurt you a lot more given the opportunity. He initially thought that Strictly would be light and fluffy, but he soon learnt, and very much enjoyed incorporating (pointless) props into his routines. He thinks he and Aliona think similarly, and then Aliona sniffs, "I'm sure the other contestants will say they have been on a journey, but I really have been." To be fair, she has been on a literal journey, following Baker around the country like a puppydog as he tries to do two jobs at once. Quick mention of their QUEST FOR TENS, satisfied in BLACKPOOL, as if we could forget. Yawn.
Right, it's their BLACKPOOL samba to Young Hearts Run Free, with its grotesque amounts of grinding and a nonsensical amount of gymnastics. The audience go mental, and Bruce exclaims at how exciting it is to see the amount of appreciation, as if they're not told to cheer like sheep. He then introduces the judges with some really inept jokes, as if you couldn't have guessed that; Alesha is wearing a claret-red satin dress with a crazily large ruffle on the shoulder. Len has the flu, apparently. Alesha thinks it was the best samba of the series. Bruno thinks it was even better than it was in BLACKPOOL. Craig says it was all good, including the "torrid" hip action.
Tess welcomes them up in the Tess Circle, where the losers are all hanging round. Matt says he wanted that routine to be a celebration. Perhaps you should have danced to Celebration then? Scores - Craig 9, Len 9, Alesha 10 and Bruno 10 for a total of 38. Tess says we should vote for Matt if we want his new nickname to be Glitterballs. Why on earth would we want that?
Kara and Artem next. Bruce utterly fucks up the delivery to his creepy gag about how gorgeous Kara is. Now their Strictly Story! Kara says reaching the final of Strictly Come Dancing is one of the biggest achievements of her life. There then follows a moment of epic brilliance from the fx team as Kara confesses she originally wanted to dance with James (sound effect: a whip cracking) or Anton (sound effect: a comedy car horn). She says it took her a few weeks to get going properly, and says the Phantom routine was the first time she did well. She reminisces about the wonder of BLACKPOOL. She then reels off her scripted lines about how much she loves Artem. Except she can't get through them without laughing and sobbing all at once. What a strange little girl. [I'm understanding where the phrase "tired and emotional" came from more and more with each series. - Steve] Artem says their partnership has been special because they are IN LOVE AND GETTING MARRIED BECAUSE TESS SAID SO. Kara likens Strictly to "a life camp" and says it has been one of the most amazing experiences of her life.
They're doing their rumba, which is incredible, and not just because Artem has his chest out. They're dancing amidst much less dry ice this time as well, but with the same amount of chemistry as previously. Gorgeous stuff. After thanking the singers, Dave Arch, and who could forget his wonderful orchestra, Bruce throws to Alesha, who is crying. For goodness sake. MAN UP, DIXON. Bruno says it was a glorious rumba of hypnotic beauty. Craig says Bruno is absolutely right. Everyone whoops. This is because Craig is the only judge worth listening to. He then points out an illegal lift and everyone boos. Bruce says, "We can tell you've never had an illegal lift." [Good job it wasn't Bruno he had to say that to, because Bruno seems to get an illegal lift right before the show every week. - Steve] Len says that routine reminds him of himself - irritating, inconsistent and tiresome? No, "the more you see it, the better it gets". Tess rubbishes the idea of there being an illegal lift, and then everyone boos Craig for being the only judge never to award her a 10. "I'm not going to ASK him for it," declares Kara. Quite right too. If you ten-grubbed, that'd make you as bad as Matt. Scores - Craig 9, Len 10, Alesha 10 and Bruno 10 for a total of 39. Artem cries.
Bruce introduces Pamela and James by likening himself to Pamela through their shared sexiness and sensuality. Their Strictly Story - Pamela mocking James for crying, her husband who is BILLY CONNOLLY poking his nose in, her saying it was weird to get back in the limelight despite trading on her former celebrity to flog her psychological "insights". James says he didn't think they'd get any further than halfway; Pamela says that it's been the most fun experience of her entire life. That doesn't speak well for her life with her HUSBAND then, does it? James wells up a bit when he says that Pamela has made him proud of her. Pamela says that people of her age (NB: 61) sometimes feel invisible [perhaps because people only think of them in terms of the people TO WHOM THEY ARE MARRIED? - Steve], and she hopes she can maintain this positive feeling.
They're reprising their dance to Unchained Melody. Let's hope the singers can make a better fist of the upper register bits this time, eh? The routine is as elegant and old-style Hollywood as previously. Backstage, Katya looks like she's crying. Why is everyone so WEEPY on this show? Bruno says it was beautiful and focused - "simply brilliant. Craig says it was simple and effective and likes that they play by the rules. Len interjects that the correct three have got into the final. Oh, shut up, Len, it's got fuck-all to do with you anyway. Lest we forget, you gave a 7 to Ann and Anton, thus your opinion is entirely invalid forever. Pamela tells Tess that routine is BILLY CONNOLLY's favourite. James tells us that this is his first final in five years, and he would like a glitterball to have as a bookend to Ola's. Scores - Craig 10, Len 10, Alesha 10 and Bruno 10 for a perfect score. If the scores meant anything tonight, I might attempt to deconstruct that, but I really can't be arsed. Tess then reads out the voting numbers, naming only the celebrities, not their partners. How rude.
Bruce introduces the showdance by talking utter gibberish, just to make a change. Matt and Aliona will go first. She says the showdance is the most important one of the night, which is obviously why they're dancing it second of four. Matt reminds us how much strength and energy it takes. And they dance theirs to I Like The Way You Move, complete with two golden haybales. I say "dance", this is a string of acrobatics and feats of strength. Aliona is RUBBISH. This is alongside Erin's dreadful idea of the bloody blow-up dolls in terms of showdance fails. [Don't forget this one. - Steve] Len says with a showdance you want a routine that makes you feel good and that inspires you. "A few too many stunts and tricks for me," he says, which is entirely true. Alesha liked the tricks and street-dancing and notes that it was nice to see him showing off his gymnastic ability, and Bruno says he had no idea that Matt had so many tricks up his sleeve with the gymnastics...and I suspect Alesha and Bruno have agreed to take the piss out of this pair, haven't they? Craig thought it was too static and it didn't flow or link together. "The whole idea and concept didn't completely come together," he concludes. Matt says they wanted to lay all their cards on the table, which seem to be entirely gymnastic-performing cards on that evidence, but he reminds us that he competed when he was a teenager, not a big grown-up man. Scores - Craig 7, Len 9, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 34. Aliona glares at Craig and says, "We're used to it." Matt enlightens us that he would love to win. O rly?
Kara and Artem next. Bruce says, "I wonder what special tricks they've got lined up?" Having sex live on television if Tess had her way, I'll be bound. Kara VTs about how much rests on the single performance - "either everyone will love it, or we'll end up in a heap and they'll be calling an ambulance." Oh Kara, talk about tempting fate. They're doing a jive-flavoured routine to Don't Stop Me Now, complete with Freddie Mercury outfits. It's an amazing piece of work, complete with air guitar, and Kara does some gymnastic feats of her own. Somewhere along the way she hurts her arm, because by the end she can't hold on to him properly. Craig notes a ruined lift; Len thinks it was too fast; Alesha loved it; and Bruno too was disappointed with the "incidents". As they run up to the Tess Circle, Kara's right arm is hanging fairly uselessly at her side. Tess asks her about the rumour that Artem let her choreograph some of the routine. "Yes, two seconds!" she exclaims. "It was more than that," says an embarrassed Artem. "OK, three," she concludes. Scores - straight nines. 36 out of 40. Tess asks Kara what she'll do with her weekends now. Brendan makes suggestive comments, as if we would expect anything else from him.
Pamela and James to finish. He says he will push her RIGHT TO THE EDGE, even though she is older (please note, she is 61) than Kara and Matt put together. They're dancing to (I've Had) The Time Of My Life. Somewhere backstage, Brendan is being held back as he shouts, "I'VE GOT COPYRIGHT ON ALL DIRTY DANCING ROUTINES EVER, JORDAN!" It's a nice routine, though with an excruciating ending which doesn't even fit with the routine where Pamela flies through James's legs and we get a crotch shot. Not needed. Alesha thinks it was a brilliant song choice and the routine was perfectly played with a lot of dance content. Bruno enthuses about how great Dirty Dancing is. Craig points out a stumble and James apologises because it was his fault - "I DID notice," retorts Craig. Len likes that they put in elements of different dances they've performed over the course of the series. "A medley of lovely things!" screeches Bruce. Up in the Tess Circle, James apologises to Pamela. Get that clipped, BBC - this may be the first recorded incident of James Jordan apologising to anyone. Tess tells Pamela she is an inspiration to women, and neatly Pamela thanks all the women AND MEN who have voted for her. James says, "Nobody puts Granny in a corner." Lolarity ensues. Scores - all 9s apart from a 10 from Bruno.
Right, that's the first section of the show over with. The utterly superfluous leaderboard has Pamela and James at the top, Matt and Aliona at the bottom. What will happen? Wait an hour and you'll find out...
Tess does a dramatic voiceover telling us there have been hundreds of dances and thousands of hours of training and millions of votes cast, and so on. The mini-titles kick in and Bruce welcomes us back. The lemmings in the audience scream as Tess reads out the contestants' names and announces that the lines have now been FROZEN, much like the UK's ROAD SYSTEM. Bruce tells us that we should prepare for the loser procession. Hooray!
Montage! Artem and his bosom are proud of Kara. Matt warmed up backstage for his acrobatic routine masquerading as a showdance. Kara says she hasn't done a backflip since she was 11, which is probably why she hurt her arm, and then she cried. Matt says winning would be magnificent. Kara tries to do a plea for votes but she's got a lump in her throat. Pamela leaps up and down with glee at the prospect of the Argentine tango.
Back to the studio, where one couple will LEAVE. Who will it be? Why, it's Pamela and James with the fewest number of votes. Billy Connolly, who is PAMELA'S HUSBAND, looks sad and applauds. Bruce patronises Pamela a bit and then she does her thank-you spiel, telling James he has made it the most joyful experience she has had in a long time, and thanks him for his patience. Is that the same James Jordan? Quick compilation of Pamela's highlights - Alesha saying she was born to dance, lots of Pamela's clothes being romved, James shouting at Pamela and her laughing at him, talking about BILLY CONNOLLY.
So now Matt and Aliona must take on Kara and Artem. All votes have been carried over, and the lines are now OPEN again as the couples prepare to dance once more.
Matt and Aliona are dancing a paso. Matt talks about it being the last week of dancing and wanting it to be a celebration "of what we've done" - so, gymnastics, mostly? He will miss Aliona's drive and methods and shouting - but not her choreography, unsurprisingly. Aliona likes that Matt has enjoyed the intesity of their training.
Matt has his acting face on and some decent shaping in his arms before his hands transmogrify into squashed spiders. He lets a smile cross his face every so often, and the end goes a bit disco. Not enough attack for my liking, but admittedly I'm biased because I loathe them. Len notes that Matt lacked "that haughty matador look" and concludes it was OK but not fantastic. Alesha says that the paso is made for him - "you come alive in the tangos and the pasos", despite him having not done a paso before. Bruno agrees with Len and then shouts over the idiot audience. Craig "rather liked it" and Alesha collapses with laughter. Tess asks: "Fair comments?" and Matt says, "Yeah, well, whatever." Oh Matt, you are NOT WINNING ME OVER. Then again, I don't suppose you care because you've got the rest of the public convinced that you're a such a nice young man. Scores - Craig 9, Len 8, Alesha 9 and Bruno 9 for a total of 35.
Kara and Artem walk past my road on their VT, which must mean they've been training at the Virgin Active near me. How did I not know this? Kara reminisces that she will miss coffee breaks and lunch with him (though I have no idea where they'll be eating in Cricklewood); Artem will miss her changing her hair and clothes every three minutes. Kara buys him a vocoding megaphone to use on his next student. Of course, most of all they'll miss each other, but there's no reason to because of course they will be getting married just to shut Tess up.
Aw, they're dancing to If You Don't Know Me By Now. Kara seems to be suffering a few ill-effects from her injury as her feet seem weird as she completely cocks up at the end and he has to haul her across the floor. Still, it's pretty and graceful, as Kara always is. Except when she falls over. Alesha notes the understated performance and says Kara is a great example of what can be achieved. Bruno says it's as if they are playing the music with their bodies - "if you can't see that you're BLIND!" Craig noticed the wobbles and the adjustments but still thinks Kara is the most amazing dancer he has seen on the competition. Len says there were "a few foot-things" but the performance was great. Tess asks whether they think they'll get a 10 from Craig for this one (clearly not), and Kara just ignores the question and decides just to thank everyone for voting and explain that she can't straighten her arm because it's knackered. Kara says it's an emotional evening, and then Tess brilliantly says, "But it doesn't take much for you two to start sobbing." Scores - 9s from Craig and Len, 10s from Alesha and Bruno, for a total of 38.
Time for loser montage - clips of Goldie and Kristina; Paul and Ola; Peter and Erin (nice glimpse of the WAITE in the results show); Tina and CHICKENPOX and Jared; Jimi and Flavia; Michelle and Brendan; Felicity being bendy and Vincent being creepy and tiny; Patsy and Robin and the vests and no confidence; the forces of right-wing evil; Gavin and his self-deprecating metrosexuality and Katya; and of course Scott and Natalie. Let's hope for some epic Natalie Lowe faces on her return. Are they going to dance? Apparently not. Booo. Jimi does a really sarcastic interview with Tess, as does Felicity, and Tess doesn't appear to notice. Ann says she and Anton would have flown in for their showdance and "danced in the air". Gavin says that he's glad to be back playing rugby. Everyone squeals. Michelle goes a bit crazy [just for a change - Steve] in affirming how much she has been watching the show. Patsy has been doing the school run and dancing round the kitchen. Tess then tries to get people to commit to saying who they think will win. They all just bellow at her.
Back to Bruce, and it's one last dance for the couples, playing their "best hand" - their best routine of the series. Matt and Aliona are doing their Viennese waltz of mentalness danced to the song about murder with a Brian Friedman memorial swing in the middle of the floor. Bruno says it was a very nice waltz, and both he and Craig call Matt "darling". Craig thinks the thumbs were better, but the head was worse. Heh. Len says Matt is an excellent dancer and an excellent ballroom dancer, and comments on a problem with the fleckerling. Aliona pulls a face of "Well, I didn't notice it, so it COULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED." Len says it was hardly worth mentioning, and Bruce asks, "Well, why did you then?" Um, because it's his job? Matt says the whole experience has been "dreamy" and that they will leave with their heads held high whatever happens. Scores - Craig 9, Len 9, Alesha 10 and Bruno 9 for a total of 37. Matt brags about how their programme tonight has tried to demonstrate as much "diversity" as possible.
Kara and Artem are dancing the American smooth that broke Artem's neck earlier in the series. When Artem takes her arm to lift her, it genuinely looks like she's trying not to scream. Oh, poor Kara. Some good fake smiling going on. And it's still a magnificent routine. Artem is such a lovely choreographer. At the end, Kara marches over to Bruce as instructed and Artem just stands back to let her take the applause. "I would kill to be able to dance like that," says Craig. Len says, "Unfortunately..." and Kara starts to spew apologies before he even starts to criticise the amount of time spent in hold. Alesha says they have been a delight to watch, and that Kara is a beautiful woman inside and out. Bruno calls it an inspired performance. Artem starts to blub a bit and Tess tells him off. Kara says they did the American smooth despite Len not liking it because she likes it. HA. GO KARA! Tess nudge-nudges about Artem taking Kara out on a date. Shut up, Tess. Scores - Craig 10, Len 7 (fuck off, Len), Alesha 10 and Bruno 10 for a total of 37. That secures them the top spot with the judges, with 150 points to Matt and Aliona's 144, as if it matters.
Ooh, some filler! Who knew? Strictly red carpet launch, pros dancing, random members of the public lying about their favourite moments of the series. This is not a patch on the gospel choir singing "We want Alesha to win Strictly Come Dancing!", which was my favourite thing ever. A lady says she would like to run her fingers through Scott's chest hair. Ew. A small child mocks Bruno's accent, the racialist. I get utterly bored with this montage and stop watching. Sorry. Steve might have paid more attention. [I was too busy voting for Kara. Sorry readers. - Steve]
Ooh, more filler! And hooray, all the contestants take to the floor. Ola circles Paul in her patented "can't be arsed" choreography; some sicko cameraman does several close-ups of Michelle's arse. Then the decentish dancers come in to jive a bit. Brendan is singing. Gavin gets his tits out, hooray! Widdecombe gets to do a floor spin, because of course everything is about her. I half-think Michelle has never seen this routine ever before. Then there's a bit where she just has to walk a few steps forward, which she's had several years of practice at. Gavin pulls an epic "is this over?" face at Katya, which directly precedes a giant lift or two. Everyone beams and cheers. Hooray for this series' losers!
LINES HAVE NOW CLOSED. Dramarama!
Matt talks about how amazing Aliona is, and the judges have made him believe he can dance, because he is so humble, just like Danyl JOHNSON. He reminds us of how much he fucking ten-trolled for weeks. Then Kara says that Strictly has been everything she thought "and so much more". She feels like a different human being to the one who started the competition three months ago. Artem finds her laughter "irresistible"; Kara says she and Artem are friends for life. Oh, don't sleep with him then. It'll ruin it.
Right, time for the MOMENT OF TRUTH. And the winners of Strictly Come Dancing 2010 are...Kara and Artem! As they should be. Well done them both. Matt does a bit of humbling and says if he were at home then he'd be voting for Kara and Artem too. Hey ho. Just like Eoghan QUIGG, Matt is far less objectionable when you know he's not going to win. Kara and Artem, obviously, are sobbing, because that's what they do; Kara thanks him, Artem calls her amazing, they lift the glitterball trophy and the singers, Dave Arch and his wonderful orchestra play us out with "She's The Greatest Dancer." Artem grabs Kara and forces her a bit into a snog, which is a little bit odd and uncomfortable, but how else could this forced-showmance series end? Apart from perhaps a glittery ambulance driving on to the floor to get that girl to a hospital.
Well, it's been a definite improvement on the past few series, that's for sure. Worthiest winner since Queen Alesha. We'll be back on Christmas Day for the special, featuring Fern Britton, Ronni Ancona and THE BARROWMAN, and we'll be over at Bitching on Ice at the start of January when C-list celebrities at best take on the danger of the blades. Thanks for your company this series, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!