HomeTVStrictly Come Dancing 2022 week 12 Grand Final recap

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 week 12 Grand Final recap

After 13 weeks of sweat, toil and tears, it’s arrived at last – the Grand Final of Strictly Come Dancing 2022!

Our four remaining couples have been on an absolute rollercoaster ride since the series began back in September, and now that glitterball trophy is within touching distance. But who will join the ranks of Strictly Come Dancing winners tonight?

Unfortunately Will Mellor just missed out, after the actor and his professional partner Nancy Xu were eliminated last week, losing the dance-off to Fleur East and Vito Coppola.

Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were both on hand to take us through the action for one final time this year, whilst judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas shared their views on a whopping 12 routines.

The show also featured a special guest performance from the full Strictly Come Dancing class of 2022, as well as a stunning opening routine from Strictly’s troupe of professional dancers and the four finalists to ‘I’m Never Gonna Not Dance Again’ by Pink. Florence and the Machine also appeared to perform their song ‘My Love’.

Read on for our full recap of what happened on the dancefloor this evening…

Hamza and Jowita – Judges’ Choice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

The judges selected Hamza and Jowita’s Salsa to ‘Ecuador!’ by Sash featuring Rodriguez for them to reprise as the opening routine in the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 final. In their VT the judges spoke about some of their other favourite routines from Hamza, including his Cha-Cha and Foxtrot, and how they wanted him to extend his body. Motsi also visited Hamza and Jowita in training to tell them the decision, whilst Hamza spoke about working on the details of the dance to get a perfect score.

The dance: I loved the cheeky energy Hamza put into this dance – his acting skills have come on leaps and bounds – and felt that he had a great fluid hip action too. He looked so free on the dancefloor and like he was having the time of his life, as well as great control in the tricks and lifts, nice synchronisation in the side-by-side sections and fantastic leading skills throughout. There were a couple of throwaway moments with his arms, but overall he handled a difficult routine (including some tricky footwork) very well and delivered a brilliant opening to the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 final.

The comments: Shirley was overwhelmed and praised the intimacy, as well as Hamza’s lifts and the precision of his turns. Anton agreed – there was a freedom to this performance and Hamza was ‘joyous’. Craig thought there needed to be more control in Hamza’s free arms but it was smooth as silk with armography to die for. Motsi loved it even more than the first time and said Hamza had improved, particularly in his body movement.

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

Molly and Carlos – Judges’ Choice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Molly and Carlos were given their Quickstep to ‘Love On Top’ by Beyoncé as their Judges’ Choice for the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 final. In the VT the judges spoke about Molly’s determination and bringing more personality to her dances, as well as looking back on her Tango and Cha-Cha. Shirley also visited them in training to give them the news and share some tips.

The dance: This routine had a great playful quality and tons of light, bright energy, with plenty of bounce in the opening section and excellent umbrella-ography. I felt Mollie absolutely flew across the floor and her frame in hold has improved a ton since week 2, and she had some lovely footwork too. Although it somehow didn’t quite take off in quite the way I’d hoped it would, it was still a really joyful performance and showed her personality as well as technical quality. (Plus I’m very much here for that yellow suit!)

The comments: Anton said Molly’s line was ‘tremendous’ and it was as smooth as a Werther’s Original (other sweets are available). Craig agreed – Molly’s frame has improved and it was light and bright. Motsi liked the fast pace and co-ordination, whilst Shirley praised Molly’s footwork and reduced gapping.

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

Fleur and Vito – Judges’ Choice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their Judges’ Choice routine, Fleur and Vito were assigned their Samba to Arrow’s ‘Hot, Hot, Hot’. In the VT the judges spoke about Fleur’s competitive spirit and looked back on her Waltz and Argentine Tango, before Shirley gave them the news of their chosen dance in training. She also provided some training tips for Fleur.

The dance: I loved Fleur’s confidence and sass, particularly in her opening section, as well as her lovely controlled arms and great hip and body action. She had an amazing performance level throughout and I felt she really mastered the energy of the dance, as well as some brilliant African walks. Her co-ordination in the side-by-side sections with Vito was excellent too. I felt it perhaps needed slightly more drive into the floor to help with bounce, but overall it was a really entertaining performance and a great choice for her.

The comments: Craig was furious – he couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Motsi loved Fleur’s strength and called her ‘the Queen of Samba’. Shirley didn’t have a paddle high enough – it was ‘worthy of a world-class final’ and Fleur made difficult steps look easy. Anton said it was better than last time and ‘the best Samba ever seen on Strictly’.

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

Helen and Gorka – Judges’ Choice

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

The Judges’ Choice for Helen and Gorka was their Jive, performed to ‘Tightrope’ by Janelle Monae. In their VT the judges spoke about how Helen’s confidence and quality has grown, as well as looking back on her Foxtrot and Quickstep. Motsi then visited them in training to let them know what dance they’d been given, whilst Helen spoke about how grateful she was to being doing the routine again.

The dance: I loved this first time round and I love it even more now. It had a real celebratory feel for me, and the look of joy on Helen’s face at the start was great to see. She coped really well with the speed of the routine, had great synchronisation with Gorka, sharp kicks and flicks, strong lines in her arms and just oozed cool throughout. I loved the cartwheel trick too! It was a clean, slick performance that showed off her sense of swagger and how far she’s come as a dancer, and I think the judges made the perfect choice.

The comments: Motsi was happy, singling out Helen’s level of detail. Shirley loved Helen’s cheeky attitude and lightness on her feet. Anton liked that it combined both styles of Jive and the smooth quality of Helen’s performance. Craig wanted slightly more retraction but it was clean, precise and Helen danced it brilliantly.

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

Hamza and Jowita – Showdance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Hamza and Jowita promised old school Hollywood glamour with their showdance, performing to Irving Berlin’s classic ‘Let’s Face The Music And Dance’. In their VT Hamza spoke very movingly about wanting to blend all his favourite dances from the series, as well as wanting to put in one particularly impressive lift and his journey on Strictly with Jowita. Strictly’s creative director Jason Gilkison also visited them in training to see the routine.

The dance: Looking dapper in a tuxedo, Hamza delivered a showdance straight from a classic movie, with a beautiful flow across the floor and great leading skills. His posture in hold was great, as was his rise and fall, and I thought he showed Jowita off really nicely. The finish of his moves was great too and he handled the lifts brilliantly (although did we really have any doubt about that?), particularly the last one. There was a slight wobble at the beginning, but it was an utterly gorgeous moment that showed exactly why he’s this series’ Ballroom boy and with tons of gorgeous storytelling too.

The comments: Shirley praised Hamza for picking up after his error and called him a ‘beautiful’ dancer. Anton was impressed by his transitions in the lifts, but Craig thought it was rocky and underwhelming and Hamza’s hands need to be more expressive – but it was classy and classic. Motsi said Hamza brought joy and delivered a moving performance.

The scores: 8, 9, 8, 9 – 34 out of 40

Molly and Carlos – Showdance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their Showdance, Molly and Carlos chose to perform a routine to ‘Kiss/1999’ by Prince. In their VT Molly spoke about wanting to impress and surprise people as well as showing how far they’ve come and keeping up her performance level. Jason also visited them in training to watch their routine, whilst Carlos spoke about how proud he was of Molly.

The dance: Molly definitely showed off her sassy side in this routine, with some great leg extensions and impressive athleticism (shades of Kara Tointon from back in the day!). I loved the cane work as a nod to their previous routine and felt she handled the tricks well, as well as having great synchronisation with Carlos in the side-by-side sections. She looked like she was having tons of fun and it was a slick performance that felt like it really highlighted her technical skills as well as a part of her personality we haven’t seen yet.

The comments: Anton liked Molly’s dark and edgy attitude. Craig, however, wanted more attack, but loved the concept and felt it was danced well. Motsi thought Molly had matured in the competition and praised her strength and power. Shirley enjoyed the commercial spin but noticed there were a few out-of-sync moments.

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

Fleur and Vito – Showdance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their Showdance, Fleur and Vito performed a routine to ‘Find Me’ by Sigma featuring Birdy. In their VT Fleur spoke about including elements of Argentine Tango, Paso Doble and Rumba, as well as wanting to deliver a powerful and passionate routine. Jason also visited them in training, whilst Fleur and Vito talked about their experience on Strictly as well as the journey they’ve been on together.

The dance: When a dance starts with fire you know it’s going to be dramatic – and Fleur didn’t disappoint. I loved her control in this routine and the sultry, passionate quality she brought to the performance, as well as her sweeping movement across the floor. She had some fantastic sharp kicks, great confidence in her lifts and plenty of power too, as well as good synchronisation with Vito. If I had any criticism it would be that sometimes the emphasis was off her a little bit, but overall this was an amazing performance and showed just why she deserves her place in the final.

The comments: Craig thought it was passionate, striking and bold – everything he wanted to see in a showdance. Motsi liked that the dance showed a different side of Fleur and how she showcased her power. Shirley said it was ‘absolutely amazing’ and praised Fleur’s core strength and the passion of the routine. Anton called it ‘superb’ and enjoyed the balance Fleur brought to the dance, delivering a complete performance.

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

Helen and Gorka – Showdance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Helen and Gorka’s Showdance was performed to Emeli Sandé’s hit ‘Shine’. In their VT Jason visited them in training to see the routine they’d created, particularly the elements from their Quickstep in Blackpool, whilst Helen and Gorka also spoke about how she’s grown throughout the series as well as the strength of their friendship.

The dance: I loved the romantic quality of this routine, which really showed off Helen’s fun side too. She moved across the floor beautifully, had great lines in her arms and coped brilliantly with the lifts – the flow of the whole routine was fantastic. It was an utter joy to see how much she loved performing the routine and the quiet strength she brought to it, as well as her nice rise and fall and posture in hold. Now is it just me or is it dusty in here?

The comments: Motsi saw the joy in Helen’s dancing. Shirley thought it was beautiful but the dismounts were unsteady. Anton loved the celebratory feel. Craig said ‘it was great’ and praised the dynamic between Helen and Gorka, but agreed with Shirley – getting in and out of the lifts could have been smoother.

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

Hamza and Jowita – Favourite Dance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their favourite dance, Hamza and Jowita picked their Couple’s Choice Afrobeat routine, dancing to ‘Jerusalema – Remix’ by Master KG featuring Burna Boy and Nomcebo Zikode. In their VT Hamza and Jowita looked back on their Strictly journey, with Hamza speaking about the support he received from Jowita and the breakthrough of their Salsa and Couples’ Choice routines. They also received messages of support from their loved ones.

The dance: Hamza had great control and energy through this dance, with a lovely sense of flow and fantastic co-ordination with Jowita. I loved the fun and free vibes he brought, handling the lifts well, and his energy levels were top notch as well. The ending felt much sharper than the previous performance too. For me it felt like that dance summed up his and Jowita’s Strictly Come Dancing journey and it was a completely uplifting note to end on.

The comments: Shirley praised Hamza for coming back strong from his showdance, as well as the dynamic of their partnership. Anton said ‘it’s like the clouds part and the sun comes out’ when Hamza dances. Craig thought Hamza was everything he’s not, spreading joy to the world and calling him ‘incredible’. Motsi was trying not to cry, and Hamza broke her with a dance that brought everyone together.

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

Molly and Carlos – Favourite Dance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

The only pair not to go for their Couples’ Choice routine, Molly and Carlos instead plumped for their Rumba as their favourite dance, performing to Whitney Houston’s ‘All The Man That I Need’. In their VT Molly spoke about how honoured she felt to make it to the final and how much she felt she’s grown, as well as received messages of support from her family.

The dance: It was really nice to see Molly’s confident, grown-up side in this routine, from the slinky opening section to the drama and passion she delivered in hold with Carlos. I thought she had great control throughout, fantastic timing and some beautiful lines, especially through her arms and hands. The whole performance had a really strong, powerful quality and overall I felt she’s showcased her amazing technical abilities tonight as well as different sides of her personality.

The comments: Anton thought Molly chose perfectly – her leg action has improved and she brought a maturity to the routine. Craig agreed; the storytelling was phenomenal and it was a controlled, measured performance. Motsi said it was beautiful and classy. Shirley felt Molly was self-assured and had a sensuality and feminity.

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

Fleur and Vito – Favourite Dance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

Fleur and Vito chose to reprise their Couples’ Choice routine to a medley of Beyoncé hits for their favourite dance. They scored the only perfect 40 of the series before tonight with this – could they do it again? In the VT Fleur spoke about how her Strictly experience has been life-changing and what it’s taught her about her strength, as well as the support of her family. Vito also spoke very movingly about their friendship.

The dance: I loved the fierceness and sharpness of this routine. It had tons of drama, great musical timing, swag and sass from Fleur as well as those classic Beyoncé moves and just a huge sense of confidence. She had so much power and strength, excellent synchronisation with Vito and just enough intensity to make the whole thing work brilliantly. Whilst it didn’t pack quite as much punch for me as it did in Blackpool, it was certainly another strong routine that showed off all her skills and why she deserves to have made it to the Strictly Come Dancing final.

The comments: Craig said it was incredible and Fleur gave Vito a run for his money. Motsi thought it was fantastic, and even spotted Craig dancing! Shirley called it ‘pure magic’ and praised Fleur and Vito’s partnership – the dance ‘will go down in Strictly history’. Anton wished he had a 12 paddle and said ‘in 10 years time we’re still going to be talking about that dance’.

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

Helen and Gorka – Favourite Dance

Credit: BBC/Guy Levy

For their favourite dance (and the final dance of Strictly Come Dancing 2022!), Helen and Gorka opted for their Musicals Week Couple’s Choice routine to ‘Mein Herr’ from ‘Cabaret’. In their VT Helen spoke about how Strictly reminded her who she is and how grateful she is for her friendship with Gorka. She also got some lovely messages from her parents and children.

The dance: I thought Helen had fantastic sharpness and timing in this routine, but what really stood out was her confidence and self-belief. The drama was fantastic – even that drop into the splits – and she had a real sense of liveliness in the whole thing, handling the lifts brilliantly too and almost bringing a touch of humour to the whole thing. She was in complete control throughout, a great sense of theatricality and delivered a superb kiss-off at the end. What a way to show how far she’s come and amazing finish to her Strictly Come Dancing journey.

The comments: Motsi encouraged the crowd to get on the feet and chant Helen’s name, saying ‘what a night, what a final, what a dance!’. Shirley thought Helen peaked at the right time and loved the message the dance sent – it was polished and clean. Anton said Helen has grown into an unbelievable performer. Craig called it ‘a dance that should win a final’.

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

The leaderboard at the end of the evening was:

Fleur and Vito – 40 + 39 + 40 = 119
Helen and Gorka – 39 + 37 + 40 = 116
Molly and Carlos – 39 + 37 + 39 = 115
Hamza and Jowita – 39 + 34 + 40 = 113

Strictly Come Dancing will return for a Christmas Special on Christmas Day at 5.10 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Laura Cooney
Laura Cooney
Laura has been writing for Entertainment Focus since 2016, mainly covering music (particularly country and pop) and television, and is based in South West London.

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