First off let me nail my colours to the mast- I am a card carrying, flag waving, theme-tune warbling Strictly super-fan. I try and dance along when no-one is watching. I shout my own marks at the screen. I even attend mini strictly final parties- complete with cake and bubbly. Yet in spite, or perhaps because, of this, I was left decidedly underwhelmed by this year’s offering.
While I could actually recognise many of the ‘celebrities’ in this years’ line up (anyone remember Tony Jacklin? Dan Lobb? Pamela Stephenson?), the choices, and later the votes, caused some controversy; it became clear after the first few weeks that some of the celebrities were rather more experienced than others, giving them, what could be perceived as, an unfair advantage. In fact by the time the semi finals rolled around, all but one of the surviving contestants had received previous dance training. The lone beginner, Anita Vani, nailed a routine many pros would have struggled with, yet was still sent packing when the dance-off beckoned. How can Anita, with all her work ethic and determination, beat celebs who have trained in ballet, tap and modern? It’s not salsa, but it’s still significant.
Add to this the fact that Anita was significantly underscored- I was not alone on Twitter in decrying the judges verdicts for many of her routines. I can only suppose however magnificent her transformation, it couldn’t match up to the experienced polish of the other ‘amateurs’.
And then came the final three: Georgia, Kellie and Jay. Georgia’s Charleston was sublime. Kellie’s Lindy Hop knocked our socks off. And Jay…well Jay turned up. He couldn’t perform, but merely went through the motions. And yet he won. Boyband fans are keen voters, it seems. Yet social media remained aghast at the result, which was (assuming the fix rumours are ONLY rumours) decided by the viewing public. Perhaps to avoid an unworthy, if likeable, winner, the judges could whittle the final down to two with their votes, and then the public could decide between a duo of deserving candidates?
Or alternatively, we could just sate our dancing desires with the Christmas Strictly Special? The festive glitter-ball remains in deserving hands (bravo Harry).
Kellie deserved the trophy, but Jay won the popularity contest. Sorry Brucie, no bonus this year.