At last, the end is near, and so we face the final foxtrot- but who would lift the mirrorball trophy in 2008?
First up, every couple had to redo their highest scoring ballroom and Latin numbers from the main series; interestingly enough, this led to everyone doing a foxtrot for the ballroom, but allowed for a little more variety in the Latin.
As always, we also got interludes in which all the eliminated dancers (including John Sergeant) re-performed their favourite routines, although as Jodie was ill she couldn’t join in. Sadly, unlike most years where not being under scrutiny lets the knocked out celebs perform better in the final, this time around everyone except the near-finalists seemed as bad or worse than they had been.
- Rachel & Vincent (foxtrot): Although this routine will never be as memorable to me as the best Strictly had to offer in previous years, I must admit I liked it a bit better this time around. The dance had grace, lightness and elegance, and Rachel is certainly good at what she does, but she still never managed to really hit it off with me.
- Tom & Camilla (foxtrot): As the only celebrity who had to lead, Tom had a bit more of a challenge than the girls, and although his performance was largely very good, perhaps it was this that prevented him from quite reaching their standard. He was also plagued by a stumble in the middle, an unfortunate accident that marred the dance overall.
- Lisa & Brendan (foxtrot): Although it was hard to see the footwork because of the long skirt, Lisa seemed to being doing, and certainly put on a good performance. There’s really not much more to be said.
- Rachel & Vincent (rumba): Why can I not see what everyone else sees in this rumba? I just find it overacted and a bit lacking in actual dancing in favour of striking lines. It’s a bit of an ego pleaser for the performers, and borderline indecent and packed with performance though it may be, it doesn’t turn me on.
- Tom & Camilla (salsa): I would have preferred to have seen one of the five ‘main’ Latin dances in the final, as salsa tends to be a bit wild and frenetic (or not authentic), but at least Tom put energy into this routine. A crowd-pleaser, but not especially polished.
- Lisa & Brendan (cha cha): Everyone may be calling it the best cha cha of the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything special- it’s just the best of a bad lot. Once again I wasn’t wowed by this dance, and it just makes me wonder- is there something wrong with SCD6, or something wrong with me?
To finish up, Brucie performed ‘What the World Needs Now’ with the ladies as per tradition, and although Anton tried to get on stage, he was quickly seen off again.
The results show kicked off with the announcement of who was in third place, and predictably it turned out to be Lisa & Brendan. The remaining two couples performed a ‘group’ Viennese waltz- a classy and elegant routine with not much to tell between either of them.
As with season three, even though they were no longer in the running, Lisa and Brendan got to perform their freestyle.
- Lisa & Brendan: I have to admit that I really didn’t like this routine- it was clearly modelled on pure exhibition dancing, but all that meant that it was all lifts and no real dancing without even the technical expertise of the champions. Add in Lisa’s ‘swimsuit’ costume, and there wasn’t much to recommend it.
- Rachel & Vincent: If Lisa and Brendan went a bit too far, then Vincent definitely played it too safe with this Latin medley plus lifts. It was competent, but it didn’t really hold the power to wow me. Then again, I’m sorry to say that Rachel has rarely been memorable on the dance floor no matter how good she may have been.
- Tom & Camilla: With a rare ballroom style showdance, it was Tom who stole the show- perhaps it was not quite as polished as it could have been, but Tom still shone in this combination of quickstep, tango and comically inspired musicality. All showdances should be this much fun.
- Duffy performed ‘Mercy’ in what my brother calls a ‘Chihuahua’ voice with added arm waving, but at least it was ameliorated by some sharp moves from Brian and Kristina.
- James and Ola followed up with a cha cha, showing the celebs exactly how it should have been done. Now, where can I get that dress, complete with back finished?
- Previous winners: Jill, Alesha, Mark, Darren and their partners all came back for one fun, fabulous showdance- a great way to round off the evening.
- The final result: as anyone could have guessed after the public vote was revealed, Tom & Camilla walked away with the trophy. This wasn’t Strictly’s best year, but even amidst the controversy, over-marking and press hype, there have still been some fun moments. Let’s just hope the BBC don’t kill off the goose entirely come 2009.