Strictly Come Dancing season 6 week 14: the grand finale

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.

Ballroom Round

  • 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.

Latin Round

  • 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.

Freestyle

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.

…and more

  • 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.

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One thought on “Strictly Come Dancing season 6 week 14: the grand finale

  1. STRICTLY NOT DANCING –

    I am sorry to rain on the parade and frankly I suggest the more fanatical of you start erecting the heretics’ pyre preparatory to hurling me onto it, but please, somebody tell me, exactly what Strictly Come Dancing is actually for or about, except yet another opportunity to allow the Meejuhmachine to mess even more with our already completely addled minds?
    As if the Soaps with their endless, mindless, breathless and over-wrought trivialities about the lives of drab nonentities at the bottom of the social food-chain were not enough brain damage.

    Strictly Come Dancing is neither strict, nor comely nor strictly dancing. It is a bunch of c-list lumpen-TV totty shoe-horned into dresses which frankly would disgrace a Nevada knocking shop, hulking stiff legged sportsmen and the oddest assortment of sundry other “faces” most of whom would get passed over instantly in any sort of breeding or natural selection programme without a backward glance.

    These incredibly inappropriately chosen oddities from the ruling cultural triumvirate of Television, Sport and Journalism, gallump inelegantly and for the most part unmusically around in front of four “ Judges” all of whom look to a person to be suffering from a lethal combination of terminal embarrassment and personal plumbing issues.
    Allow the entire sorry mess to be presided, or should that be, lorded over by Bruce Forsyth who has raised the art of banality and mugging in the Wunnerful Whirl of Showbizzyness to an act of such pornographically buttock-clenching embarrassment, frozen in time somewhere between the death of Variety and Sammy Davis Jrs final hair weave, and lo! we have a televisual phenomenon!

    Throw in some Sports Dance partners, yes I said it, Sports Dance, which is the bastard offspring of Hairdressing and the final thrashings of rabies, without the soul, the focus or the duende (look it up if you like) and you have a nightmare world caught somewhere between Saturday Night Fever and a bad hand-job in the toilets at Madam Jojos. All to an accompaniment of a mediahype of white noise pitch and astonishing ubiquity.

    SCD – it even sounds like a terrifying public health menace – is the perfect opiate solution for the masses – actually the very one George Orwell promised would end-up being delivered to the drooling classes the moment the Advertising Industry (aka Big Brother’s mouthpiece) cottoned onto TV as an unique opportunity for mass mind control.

    The contestants are not dancers, their professional dance partners are twinkly toed hair-dos who specialise in the mind numbingly banal world of competitive ballroom dancing –they are NOT dancers either. They are exercise fanatics in sequins and make-up and that’s just the men.
    The whole farrago has as much to do with the rest of the vast, creatively complex and challenging world of “real” dancing and dance making as Margaret Thatcher has to do with Thug Kultcha.

    The judges have to a person, never actually featured as dancers of any merit whatsoever themselves – honestly, try and find their dance CV’s – not their Step-Maker CV’s a WHOLE different thing to choreography or dancing for that matter – have somehow been empowered like some fantastical Star Chamber, to hurl at these hapless non-dancers a hair curlingly vitriolic mix of patronising professional jealousy, spite and breathlessly delivered poorly scripted judgemental criticism week after week.

    The fact is when it started, it was just a chance for some hapless slebs with too much time on their hands (aka rapidly fading careers and aggressive agents) to dress up as the amateur denizens of Cat Houses or 50’s gigolos to fill a cheap Saturday night telly slot for some Car-crash TV Fun commissioning wonks.

    It is interesting that when the redoubtable Mr Sergeant, the first of the grown-ups on this odd merry-go-round finally and very politely asked to get down from the mad-hatters tea-party on the grounds that the joke had worn too thin, the first people to saddle up and ride out with the media-lynch mob, were those judges who clearly had failed to understand that the first defence of the terminally untalented, who have been shot through the ceiling of their relative competencies, is to take themselves waaaay too seriously.

    There is perhaps an ironic symmetry in this, in as much as it requires no more than the truly incompetent to judge the merely incompetent for the edification of the uninitiated.

    All of this is preamble to the key point that Strictly Not Dancing has been and continues to be held up as the summit of achievement in the current “dance world”.

    We now have a situation in which seriously weak, under-rehearsed and amateurishly underpowered performances of appalling bland and banal “choreography” is being passed off week after week as dancing that anyone should take seriously.

    As far as hoping that this will encourage the next generation of genuinely interesting, committed and aesthetically challenging dance artists to buckle down and aspire to any idea of excellence, it is tantamount to the world’s great Renaissance artists trying to guide the next generation of painters by showing them the daubs of children and letting them throw paint around rather than the brilliant inspirational glories of the great ecclesiastical frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.

    If we balanced any of this arrant pap with the occasional flash of the vast store of available and truly inspiring examples of genuine choreographic design going on throughout the dance world, by getting it anywhere near our television screens, ever, it would not be so bad.

    The problem is that Strictly Come Dancing, we are ALL now reliably informed ever more hysterically, is as good as it gets. In the absence of any competition, this may very well become true simply through repetition.

    It was once opined by a wit far greater than mine that if you have been doing “it” whatever “it” may be for two years got away with it, you can call yourself a professional. The time frame seems to have drastically shortened.

    A society gets both the government and the culture it deserves, particularly when both are clearly ever more willing to sell their souls for good ratings.

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