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So, this was it. After weeks and weeks of sequins, hairspray and fake tan, the dancing came to an end on Saturday night. There was no Sunday result show to look forward to, but the grand finale shouldn't be split over two nights, especially when everyone knows the result show is pre-recorded. So this weekend we were treated to four couples dancing for survival, and they barely disappointed.
Their first challenge was a dance set by the judges, who obviously picked the dance they found the hardest and could improve upon. Most of the couples looked worried at the prospect, but it is safe to say they did better the second time round. First up was Frankie and Kevin, who were set the challenge of dancing their Week 7 Samba again. It improved vastly with more hip action, and they didn't mess up the armography. They started the evening with a score of 39. They were followed by Mark and Karen, who were given the task of dancing their Week 1 Cha Cha. It wasn't that brilliant the first time round, but the judges praised Mark for the long journey he had made and how he had a natural rhythm and understood the timing of the dance. It wasn't good enough for a perfect ten, but a score of 35 wasn't horrific. Caroline and Pasha were also given the task of dancing the Cha Cha, but theirs was considerably better. There was plenty of clean action and movement, and even Craig was speechless. It was almost inevitable that a perfect 40 was on the way. The first round finished with Simon, a man who had never been tipped to make the final, but found himself there with thanks to the vast improvement he had made. The judges wanted to see their Cockney inspired Charleston from week 4, and he definitely delivered on the personality front in a dance which required lots of that. The judges placed him joint second with Frankie on the leader board with a score of 39, but it was all irrelevant as their opinions didn't count towards the public vote.
The next round was the showdance where anything goes - within reason, of course, but lifts are legal, any dance can be danced, and props are used. Frankie and Kevin danced first with their showdance, which was inspired by Fred and Ginger, and it definitely shone through. It was a quickstep/foxtrot/American Smooth, but it worked entirely and brought an air of Hollywood glamour. Their sophisticated take on the dance was given a score of 38. Mark and Karen followed and danced to 'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen with a jive inspired routine. It was full of lifts, jumps and running. It seemed a bit frantic, and there wasn't a great amount of dance content, but it definitely was interesting to watch. Mark and Karen were given another score of 35 and finished the night bottom of the leader board. Caroline and Pasha decided to push the boat out and dance to Robbie Williams' 'Angels', pushing aside the need for fireworks and lots of jumps and tricks. Instead it was understated, and Caroline's shaping was something to applaud. The judges praised her transitions, footwork, and poise in lifts. It may not have been loud, but it was definitely memorable, with a score of 40 once again. Simon and Kristina finished the first part of the show with their showdance to 'A Little Less Conversation' by Elvis Presley. It was a stark contrast to Caroline's soft performance as Simon came out with the jive, Charleston and salsa. He even managed to throw in some body popping and robotics. It was full on and definitely a showstopper to earn him 39 points.
But only three couples could make it into the next round, and the public decided it was time to be ride of Mark and Karen. The lucky final three couples were allowed to pick their favourite dance from the series and dance it in one final bid to win that Glitterball Trophy for their mantelpiece. Frankie and Kevin picked their West Side Story inspired Paso Doble which guest judge Donny Osmond gave a ten to (but it obviously didn't count, because Donny's scores were completely bonkers). It was theatrical and Frankie made the best of the music and accentuations. They just missed out on that perfect score of 40 and ended the night with another 39. Caroline and Pasha chose to dance their Charleston from the Around the World Week (which was definitely not geographically accurate), and it was just as perfect as the previous time. It was full of swivel and the couple were very much in time with each other. Once more they received a score of 40 and finished the night without dropping a point: a first in Strictly history. To end this series (sobs) was Simon and Kristina, who picked the Argentine Tango from Blackpool Week. It was intense, moody and full of perfect leg action and a stunning final lift. Simon and Kristina managed to bag their first 40 of the series and, with that, the dancing finished.
Whilst the votes were counted we were treated to a performance from three fifths of Take That. It is pretty impossible for them to lose anymore members and, if they do, they'll have to start recruiting from tribute bands. Afterwards all of the dancers from this series returned for one final dance, and yes, Judy Murray and Scott Mills were back. Make of that what you will. But after all the weeks of training it came down to the final three and a winner was finally crowned...and Caroline Flack lifted the Glitterball Trophy. Queue tears, congratulations, commiserations, and the champions being swarmed by the other dancers. She was a well deserved winner who put in great performances week after week, and a mention should go to Pasha for coming up with such intriguing choreography. But that was it for this year. Strictly 2014 has been a year of perfect dances, imperfect dances, and dances which cannot be categorised.
So until next year, remember to keep dancing!
Underrated Professional Dancer of the Series: Kristian Rihanoff has been brilliant with her partner Simon. Her choreography has been superb and to his strengths all of the time. Hopefully she will be back next year!
Where Did Ola Jordan Go?: Yes, I keep up to date with the Strictly dancers, but it might have been nice for Strictly to mention that one of their most popular dancers has been injured in a ski accident which has put her out of dancing action for nine months. Get better soon, Ola!
Best Sarcastic Comment of the Evening: Gregg Wallace asking 'Are you sure it's not me who wins this series?' Pretty sure, Gregg, pretty sure.