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Strictly Come Dancing 2017 grand final recap

Which couple walked away with the glitterball trophy?

Strictly Come Dancing 2017 final
Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

The Strictly Come Dancing 2017 grand final took place tonight and it was a hotly fought competition.

With four couples left, it really was anyone’s to win. Tonight each of the couples had to perform three times before the glitterball trophy winners were crowned.

Each couple had to perform a routine picked by the judges, their showdance and their favourite routine of the series.

Keep reading to find out how everyone got on and who won the series…

The Judges’ Pick

Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez

Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

The judges chose for Alexandra and Gorka to reprise their My Fair Lady-themed American Smooth from Movie Week due to her characterisation. They scored 33 for this first time round – could they make it a 40 this time? In training Alexandra spoke about her excitement at doing the dance again and determination to pull it off.

The dance: Alexandra has always had excellent musicality and that shone through once again in this routine. She acted it beautifully and had a lovely connection with Gorka, as well as great rise and fall, and was light on her feet in the side-by-side sections. I loved the romantic feel of the ending too. A strong start to the final and I reckon she’s got an excellent shot at the glitterball based on this performance.

The comments: Shirley said Alexandra captured the essence of what the Strictly Come Dancing final is about and called the routine ‘exquisite’. Bruno said it was lovelier than ever and had love, truth and honesty. Craig couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it, whilst Darcey loved Alexandra’s expressiveness and ability to create a narrative.

The score: 10, 10, 10, 10 – 40 out of 40

Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice

Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their first routine in the final, the judges chose Debbie and Giovanni’s Salsa. In training Debbie spoke about her memories of first taking to the ballroom floor and her determination to make the routine perfect. Could she get 10s all round?

The dance: I’m still not a fan of the optician-themed opening, but this was a big improvement on Debbie’s previous performance. She had much better hip action and excellent armography, and looked far more confident performing the routine. Plus those incredible lifts brought plenty of wow factor! It was yet another accomplished performance and should give her an excellent chance of winning the whole thing.

The comments: Bruno said Debbie was like the Tardis – defying the laws of physics and the concept of time – whilst Craig called it ‘spectacular’ and praised Debbie’s hip rotation. Darcey loved the chemistry between Debbie and Giovanni, and Shirley complimented her ‘brilliant’ focus and the flying lift.

The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40

Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec

Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Gemma and Aljaz’s chosen dance was the Paso Doble, which in my view was a real breakthrough moment for her. In training Gemma talked about her relief at getting through last week’s dance-off, as well as her determination not to let Aljaz down.

The dance: This was a much more accomplished routine from Gemma. She had attack and drive through the floor, great hands and arms and fantastic synchronisation with Aljaz. And her leg lift at the start could give Debbie a run for her money! She may be the underdog but it’s clear she’s determined to give the final everything she’s got, and I think she’s now got a fighting chance of lifting the glitterball.

The comments: Craig said the dance suited Gemma’s frame and praised her focus. Darcey loved the drama and determination. Shirley praised Gemma for keeping her mind open throughout the competition, and Bruno called the routine fierce and powerful.

The score: 9, 9, 10, 10 – 38 out of 40

Joe McFadden & Katya Jones

Joe McFadden & Katya Jones

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Joe and Katya also reprised their Movie Week routine, with the judges choosing their Viennese Waltz. In training Joe spoke about his joy at reaching the Strictly Come Dancing final and focusing on improving his footwork and posture in the routine.

The dance: This was a confident performance from Joe once again. He had beautiful rise and fall, lovely posture and glided around the floor. I loved the romantic feel of the routine and felt he led Katya really well throughout, as well as acting it beautifully. It’s a little more understated than some of the other judges’ choices tonight, but that made it all the more magical. If he can repeat this standard in his next two performances that I think he’s got a fantastic chance to take the trophy.

The comments: Darcey loved Joe’s flow and said the routine was one of her favourites of the series. Shirley said she’d give Joe an 11 for his fleckerl and called it a professional level routine. Bruno fell in love all over again, whilst Craig said it was a no-nonsense proper Viennese Waltz and loved the storytelling and drama.

The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40

Showdance

Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez

Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their showdance, Alexandra and Gorka danced an Old Hollywood-themed routine to There’s No Business Like Show Business, mixing in elements of Quickstep, Charleston and Argentine Tango. In training Alexandra spoke about her struggles with the amount of tricks and lifts whilst Tess and Claudia paid them a visit and got a sneak preview.

The dance: This dance was a fantastic showcase for Alexandra’s talents as a dancer. I loved the slow, sensuous opening before the two of them launched into a fast and fun routine with plenty of fancy footwork and a wonderful sense of humour throughout. I thought Alexandra acted it beautifully and performed well both in her solo sections as well as side-by-side with Gorka. It was light, bright and full of energy and would definitely be a worthy winning routine.

The comments: Shirley loved how much Alexandra used the space of the dancefloor and praised her energy. Bruno said it was like 20 dances crammed into one, calling it pure showbiz. Craig thought Alexandra’s natural ability oozed out and loved the little surprises throughout. Darcey was impressed by Alexandra’s versatility and flair and said she is a real artist.

The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40

Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice

Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Debbie tapped into her ballet roots with her Showdance, which began with her performing on top of a music box. In training Giovanni spoke about pushing Debbie to deliver her best routine and the two of them gave Tess and Claudia a sneak preview.

The dance: I loved the beautiful solo opening to this routine to One Day I’ll Fly Away and felt it really showed Debbie’s grace and elegance. There was a lovely dreamy quality about the whole dance too which I really enjoyed. However I felt it was a bit too heavy on the lifts and tricks (including Debbie’s impressive splits) and would have liked to see a bit more actual dancing. That said, it was utterly gorgeous to watch and I was completely transported.

The comments: Bruno said it was like every little girl’s dream, whilst Craig thought Debbie pulled it off really well and loved the storytelling. Darcey praised Debbie’s control and balance. Shirley found the routine emotional and said it showed Debbie’s growth throughout the series.

The score: 9, 9, 10, 10 – 38 out of 40

Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec

Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their cabaret-themed Showdance to Christina Aguilera’s Show Me How You Burlesque, Gemma and Aljaz mixed Foxtrot, Charleston, and Quickstep. In training Gemma spoke about her nerves doing the lifts before Tess and Claudia popped in to watch her and Aljaz rehearse.

The dance: The routine opened with Gemma performing on top of letters spelling out her name and showing off a sexy side we haven’t seen much in the competition before going into an uptempo section. It was packed with sass and full of personality, and I thought Gemma had great synchronisation with Aljaz. The lifts were the best she’s delivered in the competition so far and she looked like she was having a whale of a time. It was a frantic routine which ran the gamut of emotions and once again boosted her chances to snatch the glitterball.

The comments: Craig liked it but didn’t love it, but praised the daring and how Gemma has grown as a dancer. Darcey liked seeing Gemma’s sassy side and the change in dynamics. Shirley loved the attitude and focus, whilst Bruno said it was wonderful and singled out Gemma’s Quickstep technique in particular.

The score: 8, 9, 10, 10 – 37 out of 40

Joe McFadden & Katya Jones

Joe McFadden & Katya Jones

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their Showdance, Joe and Katya performed a routine based around Cinderella. In training Tess and Claudia paid them a visit, whilst Katya spoke about using the routine to realise Joe’s full potential. Could it get them a perfect score?

The dance: I loved the switches in tone in the dance, from the romantic Waltz opening to Joe’s beautiful solo section and then picking up the tempo to Hall and Oates’ You Make My Dreams. Joe acted the dance wonderfully and lead throughout, with brilliant movement across the floor and plenty of energy. The storytelling was fabulous too, but I didn’t feel the emotional connection I’d been hoping for and consequently was left a little disappointed. A technically accomplished routine but not my favourite of the night.

The comments: Darcey said Joe was dreamy and loved the mix of Jive and Quickstep. Shirley thought Joe was the true Prince Charming and had made Katya’s wish come true by reaching the final. Bruno loved the originality and said the routine had a real magic about it. Craig said Joe was complete and absolute showbiz and that the dance was fantastic.

The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40

 

Couples’ Choice

Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez

For their favourite routine of the series, Alexandra and Gorka chose to perform their Jive to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. In training Alexandra spoke about how much she’d enjoyed her Strictly experience, particularly her Blackpool Quickstep and her relationship with Gorka, whilst her family and boyfriend sent her messages of support.

The dance: This was a full-on routine with bags of energy, and Alexandra brought plenty of sass to her performance. She had sharp kicks and flicks, great timing and excellent co-ordination with Gorka. It was yet another seriously impressive performance and I felt she really conveyed just how much she’d enjoyed being part of the show. With these three routines, I think she’s become the new favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing.

The comments: Shirley thought it was magnificent from start to finish, and Bruno said it was his favourite dance of the series.Craig simply gave Alexandra a standing ovation, whilst Darcey said she was outdoing Gorka and loved her energy and performance.

The score: 10, 10, 10, 10 – 40 out of 40

Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice

Debbie and Giovanni picked their Argentine Tango to Por Una Cabeza for their final dance of the series. In training Debbie spoke about what Strictly has meant to her, particularly working with Giovanni and regaining her confidence, before receiving messages of support from her family. She also wanted to improve her ganchos and deliver an emotional performance.

The dance: I love the beautiful traditional feel of this routine and feel it’s a tremendous showcase for Debbie’s flexibility – not least those stunning splits! There was plenty of drama and passion and Debbie’s feet caressed the floor throughout. Her flicks still lacked a little sharpness for me but I thought she captured the sensuousness of the dance brilliantly and performed it very well. It was yet another strong routine from her and should see her in with a great chance of winning Strictly Come Dancing.

The comments: Bruno said it was sublime and that Debbie set the benchmark, saying she’d exceeded expectations every week. Craig said it was a new beginning for Debbie and that she was stunning to watch. Darcey called her fearless and praised her finesse and strength, whilst Shirley said Debbie’s balance was outstanding and praised Giovanni’s choreography.

The score: 10, 10, 10, 10 – 40 out of 40

Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec

For their final dance, Gemma and Aljaz performed their American Smooth from Blackpool to Petula Clark’s Downton. In training Gemma described Strictly as a rollercoaster she didn’t want to get off and thanked Aljaz for helping her get through the series. Meanwhile, Gemma’s family sent her messages of support.

The dance: Gemma looked utterly overjoyed to be dancing this routine and delivered another wonderful performance. She acted it beautifully, had lovely movement across the floor and excellent footwork, and I loved the carefree feel to the the dance. The lifts were yet another improvement and I felt that she finished her Strictly journey on a high. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as other performances tonight but it should still give her a good chance to surprise everyone and be crowned the winner.

The comments: Craig called it simple, elegant, understated and classy, and Darcey thought it had all the magic of Blackpool. Shirley said Gemma had turned into the most beautiful dancer, praising the changes in speed and her ‘professional’ frame, whilst Bruno burst into song that she was ‘still glowing, still growing, still going strong’.

The score: 9, 10, 10, 10 – 39 out of 40

Joe McFadden & Katya Jones

Joe and Katya closed the final with their Charleston to Alexander’s Ragtime Band by Ella Fitzgerald. In training Joe talked about how much he’d enjoyed the Strictly dancing experience, particularly the challenge of the Tango and the breakthrough of his Paso Doble and how much he enjoyed dancing with Katya. Joe’s family also sent him a video of messages to cheer him on.

The dance: What a way to finish the series! Joe brought plenty of fun and energy to the Strictly dancefloor, perfectly capturing the cheeky character of the Charleston and delivering bags of personality. He also had lovely swivel, particularly in hold, as well as pulling off some major lifts and having great synchronisation with Katya in the side-by-side sections. I did feel his hands were a little throwaway in parts but it was still a slick, fun and bright routine and the perfect end to his Strictly story.

The comments: Darcey said it was the perfect end to a great final. Shirley thought Joe pushed the boundaries and praised his synchronisation. Bruno said Joe rose to the occasion with an exciting and original routine, whilst Craig simply called it ‘fab-u-lous’!

The score: 10, 10, 10, 10 – 40 out of 40

 

 

The leaderboard for the night was:

Alexandra Burke & Gorka Marquez – 119
Joe McFadden & Katya Jones – 118
Debbie McGee & Giovanni Pernice – 117
Gemma Atkinson & Aljaž Škorjanec – 114

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Christmas Day for its Christmas Special on BBC One. See all of the action from the dress rehearsal earlier today in our gallery:

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