Strictly 2014 – The Final

Best Strictly Evarrrrh – is the general consensus from the tabloid media and online masses as another season of Strictly Come Dancing comes to a close, with Caroline Flack and partner Pasha lifting the glitterball. Vikki Jane Vile gives us her considered opinion…

It was emotional, it was dramatic, and the climax was genuinely compelling (and that was just Take That’s dad-dancing in the musical interlude). Producers desperately angled for Simon Webbe and Russian siren Kristina Rihanoff to be in with a fighting chance as they took to the floor for the final time, but for most the decision was clear. With her perfect combined score of 120/120 (never achieved before under this format) Caroline was to be the deserving victor.

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Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton were worthy runners-up but on the night lacked that extra punch that elevated Flackers above the rest. Mark Wright and partner Karen Hauer were voted off in fourth place and although they made a valiant effort, Wright’s lack of technique was made apparent against the other finalists.

So was this really the best Strictly ever? Most seem to think so, but interestingly, despite the initial reaction, this weekend’s final peaked at only 11.5 million viewers, its lowest since 2009. So what were the highlights and what was could have been done away with?

Highlights:
The shock exits: the number of genuinely shock departures made this year great fun and kept us on our toes. Handsome rugby bod Thom Evans got the boot in week four – I’d thought he was a dead cert for the final. Then two weeks ago there was the demise of Pixie Lott, a boot now so renowned it defines OUTRAGE. On paper Pixie was probably as good as Frankie and Caroline but her cutsey routines, slightly aloof outlook and rather unnerving brother/sister likeness to partner Trent meant their days were numbered by the quarter final.

Judy Murray: No series is complete without the token comedy act, usually partnered by hapless Anton du Beke and this year Judy Murray more than filled this role. A woman who needed live dalmatian puppies as props to distract from her dancing, left the stage via helium balloon at Blackpool and regularly wielded prop wine bottles during group dances, Judy genuinely handled the whole manufactured situation with grace and humour.

Memorable dances: Of course, personal favourites are totally subjective but if you missed Pixie’s Charleston, Frankie’s Argentine Tango, Jake’s Salsa or Carolines’s Foxtrot I recommend you take a peak.

Lowlights:
Around the World week: you know in my last piece how I was adamant that things couldn’t get worse than the week when Donny Osmond was a guest judge and gave Scott Mills a seven? Well, it did … in the politically incorrect fest that was Around the World Week. Lederhosen were donned, Jake had to dance an Argentine Tango to a Greek folk song and there were even more backing dancers.

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Terrible music/lack of dance content: In the same vein, much of the content on offer this series was so many universes away from what would be considered acceptable in a Ballroom and Latin dancing competition. It was Frankie’s Tango, danced to Defying Gravity from Wicked that embodied all that is wrong with the show in its current form. Chief judge Len Goodman excitedly announced that the rules for the climatic Showdance were that there “are no rules”. Just like every other week then!. Judy was routinely flung around the floor like a doggy chew toy and Pixie’s Cha Cha featured three lifts in ninety seconds. Rules schmules.

Scott Mills/Gregg Wallace: For every Judy, there is one who lacks rhythm and a sense of humour too. A brutal combination, personified by these two.

But despite all my gripes will I stop watching? Of course not. It’s camp, compulsive and compelling viewing that pulls me through the cold winter months. Same time next year?

First published on LondonDance.com

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