Where the heck have the weeks gone? No sooner is Strictly Come Dancing back on our screens, it seems that the end has come far too quickly.
Tonight’s final was the first all-female final in the show’s history as Susanna Reid, Abbey Clancy, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Natalie Gumede fought it out to take home the Glitterball Trophy. The show kicked off with a stunning dance from the pros which saw the final four celebs lowered from the ceiling before they joined the female pros for a dance.
All of the couples tonight had to dance at least twice with three of the couples dancing three times over the course of the evening.
Kicking off the show tonight was Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton. A favourite of the public, Susanna has sailed through each week and has never been in the bottom two. The first dance for all of the couples tonight was the Judges’ Choice and they picked the Quickstep for Susanna and Kevin. It wasn’t one of their best dances so how did they fare tonight?
Len said the dance had the feel-good factor and called Susanna ‘knockout’. Bruno said ‘the final is off to a flying start’ complimenting the ‘high performance’ standard. Craig said there was a bit of ‘gapping throughout’ but said Susanna delivered ‘the most amazing performance’. Darcey said it was ‘cheeky, sweet, fast and fun’ before saying there was no ‘faux pas’ in the routine this time round.
Susanna and Kevin scored 37 out of 40 from the judges.
Second to take to the dancefloor was Abbey Clancy with her partner Aljaz Skorjanec. Abbey has been one of the top-performing celebrities this series and has improved week-on-week. Despite battling nerves she’s regularly topped the leaderboard and impressed the judges. The judges picked the Waltz for Abbey and Aljaz to dance again which they first performed in week 1. Did they iron out the issues from their previous performance of the Waltz?
Bruno said ‘simply stupendous’ and told Abbey he was experiencing ‘everlasting love’. Craig said his week 1 hunch was right and told Abbey she was ‘amazing’. Darcey said the difference was ‘magical’ and called the Waltz ‘beautiful’. Len said that no girl celebrity has had a topline as good as Abbey.
Abbey and Aljaz scored 40 out of 40 from the judges.
Coronation Street’s Natalie Gumede took to the dancefloor next with her partner Artem Chigvintsev. Last week Natalie and Artem were shockingly in the bottom two but thankfully survived for another week. After consulting with the judges, Natalie and Artem were told that their first dance would be the Cha Cha which they originally performed in week 1. Did Natalie follow the judges’ advice and let go?
Craig said that the timing was impeccable and noted Natalie had improved. Darcey said the added hip action was great calling Natalie’s performance ‘terrific’. Len said ‘excellent is never a fluke’ and told Natalie her performance was ‘excellent’. Bruno said ‘hips hips hooray’ in reference to Natalie’s improved hip action.
Natalie and Artem scored 39 out of 40 from the judges.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole were the last to dance tonight. Sophie has been the underdog throughout the competition failing to match the glory of her Charleston in week 2. Even though she’s scored consistently well she’s fallen short of the other three celebrities. The judges gave them the Viennese Waltz which scored well for them the first time round. Did they improve their score tonight?
Darcey said that Sophie captured the style and character of the performance. Len said it was all there and admitted he loved the ‘whimsical’ feel of the dance. Bruno said Sophie’s ease of movement was gorgeous and told her she captures the style so well. Craig said that Sophie’s posture let her down a little but told them they moved as one.
Sophie and Brendan scored 39 out of 40 from the judges.
With all four couples having danced once, it was now time for the showdances which are always our favourite part of the final.
First up was Susanna and Kevin hoping to take the floor by storm with their showdance. In their intro VT they talked about understanding how important it was to get the dance right otherwise they could be out of the competition. Emotions were running high when Susanna gave Kevin a thank you gift during rehearsals. Did they keep them under check on the dancefloor?
Len said it was a ‘beautiful song beautifully danced’. Bruno said Susanna was floating on cloud 9 and told her it felt like a celebration of ballroom. Craig called it ‘classy, stylish and airborne’. Darcey called it ‘romantic, glamorous and classy’ but said it lacked a wow factor.
Susanna and Kevin scored 36 out of 40 from the judges.
Abbey and Aljaz were next to do their showdance. In their intro VT Abbey revealed that were doing a Paso/Tango and it seemed the couple were struggling to get it up to scratch in training. Determined to get it right on the night, they put in the hours to perfect it. Did their hard work pay off?
Bruno said Abbey was ‘on fire’ and told her she rocked his world. Craig said that Abbey created some ‘magnificent shapes’ throughout. Darcey said it was packed with ‘drama and intent’ and said Abbey gave it perfect power. Len said it was full-on but admitted he thought some bits were surplus to requirements.
Abbey and Aljaz scored 38 out of 40 from the judges.
Third to do their showdance was Natalie and Artem. Their routine was sure to be one of the highlights of the night and in training Natalie gave Artem a onesie as a thank you present for all his patience and hard work. Promising to be uber-classy, how did Natalie and Artem get on?
Craig said ‘wow’ and told Natalie and Artem they were ‘absolutely magnificent’. Darcey said ‘fab-u-lous’ and admitted she loved the tap dancing bit. Len said it was ‘eye-popping, show-stopping, jaw-dropping’ and told Natalie she should be in the final 3. Bruno said they combined the ‘best of ballroom with the best of Hollywood’ and called it ‘a total smash’.
Natalie and Artem scored 40 out of 40 from the judges.
The last couple to do their showdance tonight was Sophie and Brendan. In the intro VT Brendan said he wanted to celebrate all of the dances they’ve done this series so far. Sophie said she wanted to bring her confidence and technical ability to the ballroom and show everyone why they voted for her. Did they wow the judges?
Darcey said she could see the joy in Sophie’s face and commented on the amount of content in the dance. Len said he loved ‘the lifts, the energy and the performance’. Bruno said he loved seeing Sophie throwing caution to the wind and told her ‘well done’.
Sophie and Brendan scored 35 out of 40 from the judges.
The leaderboard for the first live show was:
Natalie Gumede and Artem Chigvintsev – 79
Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec – 78
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole – 74
Susanna Reid and Kevin Clifton – 73
Tune into Strictly’s second live show of the evening at 8.40pm to find out who will be crowned the 2013 winner. Take a look at pictures from today’s rehearsal below in our gallery: