Bad jokes from Bruce, more glitter than a Christmas tree, and the most amount of bare flesh a BBC family show can cope with. It can only mean one thing. The Strictly Come Dancing Final 2013 hits television screens this weekend, and makes show history for being the first time ever that no male celebrity will be competing for the glitter-ball trophy.
Susanna Reid, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Abbey Clancy, and Natalie Gumede (newsreader, singer, model, and soap star, respectively) are the four finalists for the two-part live show, airing at the weekend on the run up to Christmas.
This is the eleventh series of the show, and it has had one of the strongest celebrity line-ups. Credit goes to the producers for managing to persuade the likes of Dragon Deborah Meaden and Hairy Biker Dave Myers to take to the floor, alongside ex Bond Girl Fiona Fullerton and rugby hero Ben Cohen! With a diverse line-up of familiar faces for all generations, Strictly Come Dancing 2013 has seen some of the best and most innovative performances. After twelve weeks of knockouts, it’s all come down to this weekend’s final.
The semi-final saw Casualty star Patrick Robinson left at the bottom of the leader board against the four remaining female contestants, despite an impressive couple of dances. Things went from bad to worse for the last male celebrity, who in a surprising turn of events was pitted against the judge’s favourite in the dance-off. Patrick was regrettably voted out, but the fifty-year-old was highly commended for the amount of energy and technical skill he brought to the competition.
The events of the semi-final heightened anticipation for the coming weekend. Gumede courted controversy early in the series due to revelations that she had been a dance student from the age of four, leading to criticism for an “unfair advantage” over the other celebrities. She didn’t receive enough public votes to be automatically saved. Despite her position as top of the leader board, with one dance having scored a perfect forty, the public’s decision to see her in the dance-off could be a bad omen. If this is a resurgence of the criticism, it may mean a push to see one of the other ‘novices’ crowned champion. There is also the question of how far her technical ability can carry her against the public vote. BBC’s own newsreader Susanna Reid avoided the dance-off, which she should have been in if the judges’ scoreboard is to be followed, and her popularity with the viewers is arguably unrivalled.
Of their two fellow female contestants, Clancy and Ellis-Bextor, the competition is close. With mere points between their scores, only the performances on the night will count. Clancy has been described by the judges as “the biggest surprise of the series” for her flawless routines, while Ellis-Bextor has had noted improvement week on week. Could the final be her time for a perfect score?
The Grand Final is set to be the highlight of the BBC’s pre-Christmas programming. Couples have to perform two new routines, including the notoriously challenging ‘show dance’, which embodies any number of lifts and gymnastic feats. Both the elimination of a celebrity and the vote for the overall winner will be decided by the public, the judges’ scores only being used for advisory purposes. After the first dance one contestant will leave. Votes will then carry over for the remaining three, who will perform their second routine. There is also the likely possibility of a still-to-be-revealed guest, since the shows of the previous two years featured singers Robbie Williams and Jessie J.
One thing is for certain; budget cuts or not, there’ll be no limit to the amount of sequin, lavish costume, and lighting spent on what promises to be a spectacular finale, of one of BBC’s most popular and enduring series. Let the battle for Strictly Come Dancing 2013’s Queen begin!
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