Strictly 2021 – The Final: A Very Handsome Boa Constrictor


Well, we did it guys. We’ve made it to the final and I’ve still got most of my fingerprints in tact. 3 more years of this and I’ll be an unstoppable cat burglar!

First of all, I wanted to open the recap by just saying a massive thank you to everyone that has supported the blog this Strictly series – not to be all “emotional on main” again but it has been the most incredibly validating experience – having people enjoy what I write means the world to me. I remember when I was over the moon if 100 people read a recap of mine, to suddenly find myself with thousands? It’s mind blowing, and has been a total privilege to at least somewhat add to the Strictly experience for so many people. So whether you’ve enjoyed the erratic adventures of Time Traveller Kai, the Abundant and Glorious Nikita Kuzmin Gif Archive, The Rise of Nadiya Bychkova: Safety Sex Face Queen or Those Pictures of Aljaz – pour yourself a big one, and join me one final recap of Series 19!

Of course to start the show we have to have the patented Finale Party Dance – no I shall not be acknowledging the Coldplay Cold Opening – the show used up its Coldplay license with John’s Jive – THAT’S YOUR QUOTA. It is of course a number that does focus more on the pros – it was afterall a brave and ill-advised decision to start with quite such an extravagant party dance given that it’s a genre both finalists visibly struggle with

they really could have done with an AJ strut cut through the endearing awkwardness of those two

it’s my mission to make AJ as much a part of this finale recap as I possibly can. If AJ isn’t on screen, all the other dancers should be asking “Where is AJ?”.

And if you’re wondering just how absolutely exhausted Vicky Gill and team are after 13 weeks of this, the women were all just wearing their Oti Mabuse Presents: Cabaret outfits and the men were all packed off to River Island to don we now our high street apparel

at least Neil didn’t stick out like a sore thumb this time, I suppose?

I SPOKE TOO SOON. Maybe we don’t underlight people?

And because it was the finale, Oti and Graziano have apparently worked through their penguin-induced separation woes and were on talking terms again

I suppose without Rhys hogging Dr. Winkleman’s Therapy Chaise all week, there were gaps in her schedule.

And if you’re wondering how the benched pros are handling their last bid for partnerships next year: Cameron was looking to camera, desperately trying to prove that his media training has paid off and he knows how to TV spot now

and Luba and Jowita were really fighting for that same sex partnership next year like a pair of duelling Suranne Joneses

Luba looking dead down the camera the entire time as though Jowita doesn’t even exist? Perfection, can’t wait for her to do that next year when she’s inevitably partnered with another sportsman who dances like a Transformer who turns into a tow truck.

And because Nancy is the newest addition to the Main Pro Roster and Nadiya is at constant risk of being put back in that Interchangeable Blondes Box, the two of them vamp HARD

it’s like two beauty gurus fighting over the only ring light.
For what it’s worth, if they bench either of them, I will be forced to seek vengeance on the person responsible.

I was rather amazed that given that AJ and Kai weren’t performing and therefore the show lost a whole 3 (three) routines in one fell swoop that the show only start 13 (thirteen) very precise minutes late. But nobody was more surprised than Tess who clearly thought she had another leisurely half an hour and only had enough time to throw her bathrobe on and play it off as some half-hearted Lady Gaga on American Horror Story glamour

Mark my words, one day she’ll catch on to the fact she could become the British Gwyneth and then BAM! £75 Orgasm Candles and she’ll be unstoppable.

Claudia meanwhile had in fact got the memo and came appropriately spangled

and then for one final time time, it’s The Judges and for the final you might as well make an entrance

perhaps it was a… sticky right foot…? But If you’re going to trip, you might as will trip while doing an overly eager shimmy in a gown worthy of a West End fairy godmother.

I was particularly excited for what Motsi was going to wear this evening, especially considering she showed up for a casual chit-chat on It Takes Two looking like The Grand Duchess of The Emerald City

Honestly, if you’re not obsessed with Motsi Mabuse, who even are you? Rethink your decisions. And having very much championed Black style and beauty all series, it made sense for Motsi to ascend to the highest echelons of the aesthetic for her final look

To see a Black South African woman on British television looking so utterly regal and unapologetically visible in African waxprint and Xhosa facepaint (umchokozo to give it its traditional name, I believe) is a delight – to quote the woman herself, “I see you and I appreciate you.”

And then we move on to Anton who very much answered my prayers for him to dress up as the walls of a Las Vegas casino restaurant

and thus very much outdoing Craig

how are you going to wear THAT when you just casually dressed like the throw pillow in a Scottish Hunting Lodge’s premium suite just to infiltrate a Rose and Giovanni training session

I suppose I should take the crumbs I can get.

Of course before we get to the dancing, there is an elephant in the room we must address – a beautiful, heartbreaking but very much bedazzled elephant in the room

Can you believe a pair of crutches out sparkled Tess Daly? Don’t answer that, it’s rude.

I won’t dwell on this too much because it’s bitterly cruel that she injured herself so close to the final, but at least she got to sit in the audience looking beautiful in her Week 1 Jive hair and most of the dress she would have worn for her showdance

meanwhile Kai sits beside her, brooding over whether or not he could feasibly go back in time to the Plio-Pleistocene period and stop whichever vaguely formed hominid decided to evolve humanoid ankles. #AnklesAreOverParty.

I’ve been umming and ahing over to how to do this recap, especially the redanced routines – last year I made the mistake of trying to recap them each individually and had a severely miserable time trying to think of anything knew to say about Jamie Laing’s Herculean Charleston other than “at least he didn’t drop Karen this time?” so I think I’m going to treat it more like how I treat the Dance Off and just discuss them more generally. By which I do mean endlessly complain about the routines the judges all chose.

Judges’ Choices are Certainly Choices

The Judges’ Choice Routine is usually based on one of 4 criteria:

  • A routine with an obvious mistake that can be rectified.
  • A routine they believe could achieve a 40 if redone.
  • An early series favourite.
  • The BBC trying to get their money’s worth out of that Disney song they paid out of the nose for.

It seemed pretty adamantly decided that Rose was going to be doing a ballroom routine from the judges with them squabbling over her Foxtrot, Quickstep and The Only Erotic Viennese Waltz – the latter surprisingly being Anton’s choice. He was also the unexpected championer of John and Johannes’s rumba, all but climbing onto a desk and chanting “GAY RUMBA! GAY RUMBA! GAY RUMBA!” over and over again like the ending of Dead Poets Society. We’ve come a long way since he squirmed in his seat as he feared that John and Johannes dressed up as a pair of pirates and setting off a glitter cannon in a paso doble might be “too camp.”
As for the other choices for John and Johannes, Shirley wanted their tango (the right choice) while Craig demanded to see the Salsa done correctly – unfortunately there seems to be an unofficial cut-off date of nothing after the quarter-final.

Rose and Giovanni end up with the quickstep, mostly because Craig wasn’t there the first time around and he wants to see if the skirt was as eye searing in person as it is through a TV screen

Why isn’t the skirt the same colour as the shoulder caps? VICKY, EXPLAIN YOURSELF. And guys, you’ve had 4 weeks to find a better wig. Sorry, I’m very bitter about this quickstep.

I wasn’t thrilled by the choice for Rose, especially given that they were doing their Couple’s Choice and a Showdance that leaned more ballroom-y in both style and tone. I can’t believe none of the judges were championing the Mr. Tumnus Disco Cha Cha

or just make her do the samba again, you liked that one and she was good at it!

John and Johannes go on to get their rumba again – I imagine it was a little bit because the tango and paso are a little too thematically similar but it was also probably a mercy given that they were about to have to dance 3 dances in the space of 50 minutes as the producers refused to pad out the middle of the show, making it more of a test of stamina than actual dance technique – whoever drops first loses!

As far as the routines go – they’re both as good as ever. I shan’t harp on too much about the fact Rose and Giovanni’s quickstep is incredibly light on the dance side of things because NO I AM NOT CONSIDERING A FULL BREAK TO DO THE ROBOT IN THE MIDDLE OF A BALLROOM DANCE PART OF THE DANCE. But I will commend Rose for managing to remain so coordinated as they raced around the floor considering the slightly more impactful than necessary headbutt the two of them shared at the beginning

My favourite thing about this routine is the fact, it’s obviously danced in the full Disney cosplay – albeit like it was bought from a costume store that can’t get away with exact replicas – which is all part of the charm of it, so when you see training footage of it, it becomes a lot less so

a pinkie promise is just a lot more threatening when there’s a flash of nipple involved. It goes very quickly from “promise we’ll be BFFs forever!?” to “This is an unbreakable oath. If you tell anyone, I shall seek vengeance upon your whole family.” real quick.

As for John and Johannes, they were of course banished to Sting’s Clockwork Dimension from which they will only be released if they do not let him down – he is a cruel overlord is Rumba Expert Sting (musician), providing the pair with only a single chair as they must fight to rest their weary bones

I do think this was a good choice of routine to revisit in terms of John seemingly having reached a point in the competition where he was beginning to feel more comfortable with being more emotional and intimate in a routine – and there was certainly a lot of it – I’m especially fond of this cheating camera angle that makes it look like the two of them having a big old snog

and the fluidity had been upped tenfold – and because of that the judges rave about it – Anton dubbing it the best rumba Strictly has ever seen while Shirley asks John to please one day dance a rumba with her. So fully expect the Christmas special featuring the Shirley and John Rumba and Anton cheating on Sara’s Foxtrot with AJ’s Quickstep. But as much as those two loved it, nobody was as wild for the gay rumba as Nikita who was basically destroying furniture in his glee

That’s allyship.

Couple’s Choice (Not That One But Also, Yes, That One)

Usually the couple’s pick for a redanced routine is either the one they scored incredibly highly for, has a lot of sentimentality or just had the best outfits because it’s usually the one you dance last and have to lift the Glitterball trophy wearing, if you’re wondering why Ashley and Pasha definitely weren’t winning the trophy in 2018 – you know, other than the fact the public decided they hated Ashley Roberts in the dying weeks of the competition…

can you imagine all of the press photos on the front pages the next day being those two? Ashley looking like a burnt out children’s entertainer and Pasha as… a sailor who killed a snow leopard? I think not.

And thus, I think the reason the showdances were danced last is because there was no way that Rose and Giovanni weren’t going to dance their Couple’s Choice and John and Johannes weren’t going to do their Pirate Paso considering it’s the routine the judges keep bringing up every time John marginally underperformed. And the BBC was not having their winner standing there in bare feet. Or dressed as Johnny Depp for that matter.

I have a few issues with having a Couple’s Choice routine in the final, especially with there also being Showdances on the menu but I really can’t deny that Rose’s Couple’s Choice routine was the pinnacle of her Strictly journey (it has 1.7 million views on YouTube, you gotta factor that in too). I just wish their Showdance had then been a little less in the same vein of a contemporary dance.

The fear with their showdance was of course that it would lose some of the impact and emotion when you watch it for a second time – however, the effortless spin and the dip into silence packs as much of a punch as ever

the same could not be said for John and Johannes’s glittery cannon fire which seemed a touch sparse on the confetti front

granted, they had a Showdance to completely submerge in enough confetti to keep the struggling confetti industry afloat – Covid cancelled weddings hit them hard.

I think there was a lot of pressure on John and Johannes’ paso in particular, it was the only real routine of the night with any bombast and high drama – the show *really* suffered from the lack of AJ’s Jive and the obligatory Final Charleston. Both dances were undeniably very good though and Craig gets his chance to correct history and give Rose’s dance the 10 it deserved the first time around.

As for our favourite Pirate Paso, it goes down phenomenally with the judges and after having been spoiled with three weeks of consecutive Argentine Tangos, Tess found herself having horndog withdrawals and had to find her thrills where she could

Vernon, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil, £16 at Boots. You’re welcome.

Both of the dances are inevitably scored the We Don’t Want To Sour Your Love For This Dance 40, a time honoured tradition.

The Showdances

Quite what a showdance is nowadays is a little muddy given the implementation of the scourge of the earth: The Couple’s Choice. Tess, unhelpfully, informs us that a showdance is about allowing the couples to express themselves “without any rules” – because you know, the rigid regulations of The Couple’s Choice protected us from Greg Wise doing sentimental contemporary discowafting…
Much like Couple’s Choice (BECAUSE THEY’RE DEFINITELY NOT THE SAME THING) they usually come in one of 3 flavours:

The Strictly Melange
This is usually a mash-up of all the dances they’ve done on Strictly – often chaotic, always slightly erratic – but good fodder for excessive praise from the judges.

A Fred and Ginger Tribute Act
The good old, glitzy Golden Age of Hollywood musical number: a beautiful dress, great hair and only a song predating 1955 will do for this. Also a great way of not having to showcase any Latin elements.

Partytime Chaos
You know you’re not going to win? Great, we’ll just most likely yeet you onto the dancefloor with The Strictly Harness and make Dave Arch play an absolute banger. It’s fine, by this point in the show everyone is just happy for some emotional relief.

Seemingly retired genres include: Slightly Pornographic Gymnastics, Wifty Wafty Sadtime and Brendan Cole Trying His Absolute Hardest.

Roseo and Gioliet
ShowDance / The Rose – Bette Midler

So this year, both of the showdances were choreographed by Jason Gilkison who tends to do most of the pro dances and who will be facing a rigorous court trial in The Hague over quite how The Halloween Pro dance featuring Sexy Saruman came into existence

I will never stop thinking about that routine. Never. Everytime I close my eyes, I just see Captain Hook unbuttoning Queer God’s robes to reveal their sparkly mini dress. THAT IS A SENTENCE I HAD TO WRITE AND JASON GILKISON IS RESPONSIBLE.

And the pop culture themed routines only continue as he informs Rose and Giovanni that they’re going to be doing a take on Romeo and Juliet (shut up, Shakespeare is pop culture to me, an erudite on the internet.) Does a romantic wafty dance make absolute sense for Rose? Yes, inject it right into my veins. However, with a Romeo and Juliet routine, there’s always the looming threat of just *how* Romeo and Juliet we’re going go with it… and with Jason Gilkison already having a Romeo and Juliet routine under his belt in which he had Oksana die at the end of a routine broadcast at 7pm on a Sunday, I was a little worried

And suspiciously Oksana was never seen again. Consider your green self lucky Mushtuk, your benched pro gimmick could’ve been routine, ritualistic sacrifice every week.
As for the fate of Romeo in that routine?

Aggressively tango’d out of town.

Fortunately, Gilkison thought it best not to have the inevitable winners of the show metaphorically off themselves in the middle of a routine and you know he was tempted because after all they did have a very high prop and when Rose ran back up to the top of it at the end of the routine well…

There is absolutely a version of this routine in Jason Gilkison’s head where Rose swan dived off that balcony into Giovanni’s hands and the BBC could not legally allow it. One day Gilkison, one day.

And yes, the Balcony Staircase Facade is indeed Giovanni’s Big, Massive, Very Gigantic Prop. I’m going need to discuss what exactly this show considers a prop and what it considers mere set dressing. Also slightly sad they didn’t have Giovanni enter the scene on Tess Daly’s Favourite Medium-sized Horse. I just need to know that it’s ok, we last saw it in Movies week when it had to be part of Dan Walker’s no good, very bad foxtrot and I think it deserved one last hurrah before being banished to The Strictly Prop Cupboard for the rest of its life.

I really liked this take on a showdance – I do love me a very narrative heavy dance and Rose doing any sort of lyrical dance is always going to be utterly sublime given that the moment a classical piano starts playing she just becomes liquid. How long do we think they spent agonising over which song with “Rose” in the title they were going to use? Just a boardroom of Strictly producers slowly crossing off La Vie en Rose for potentially giving Gilkison too many ideas and Kiss From a Rose giving everyone too much fanfic ammunition – YOU COWARDS. So Bette Midler’s The Rose it is then.

Of course in a showdance, everyone mostly just wants lifts – the less time your feet spend touching the ground the better it is – and with Rose and Giovanni having firmly established The Rose and Giovanni Lift Cinematic Universe off the back of a self-yeeting American Smooth and their Four Lift Special Argentine Tango, we were in for a treat and they most certainly did not disappoint

and of course we get a revival of the now classic Choke Me! PLEASE! Lift

It’s not quite the levels of Nancy going the full autoerotic asphyxiation but it’s certainly more stable than Tom Fletcher swinging Amy around like a slightly inebriated Olympic hammer tosser – I suppose it helps when you’re not built out of hay and hessian.

It’s a sweet routine that perfectly fits Rose and really put her lyrical strengths front and centre – I think given that she was doing both her Couple’s Choice and her Quickstep, I might have liked to see something with a little more bombast but it’s hard to argue with some good quality, well executed lyrical waftage.

The judging is as judging always is for a showdance but I thought Anton said some really wonderful things about how much of a priledge it’s been to see Rose grow over the course of the competition and then Craig had to ruin it all by needlessly making an Austin Powers joke about Anton’s teeth because I imagine he’s been sitting on that zinger all series and was rapidly running out of time to use it. It was just a complete failure to read the room but he did at least have the decency to self-cringe when not a soul except Motsi offered a paltry forced laugh

very scoring-Rose’s-couple’s-choice-a-9-while-everyone-else-gave-it-a-10 energy.

In keeping with the general Everybody Crying Their Eyes Out theme of the evening (there’s your Musicals Week replacement idea) – up with Claudia and Rose gets to talk about what the dance meant to her – highlighting the final lyrics:

Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

and how it perfectly sums up her Strictly journey and then she utters the phrase “I have become more Me than I have have been.” and, as someone who has uttered those exact words just this year, I get it and it hit me HARD. Not quite as hard as Giovanni who looked like he was ready to Adam Driver himself against those bedazzled walls

And then Claudia did have to conduct the rest of the interview, quite clearly on the verge of tears herself, which is a danger considering she has more eyeliner on than even John and Johannes’s piratesonas combined.

Judges’ Scores, A Formality:
: 10
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe
Showdance / You’ve Got The Love – Florence and The Machine

I have been fretting about this routine all week because it kept getting described in numerous different ways and then John, on It Takes Two, said “Jason Gilkison has not held back – it’s like a Lady Gaga concert” and my blood turned to ice. Visions of meat dresses, flaming pianos, those Alexander McQueen armadillo shoes, gallons of fake blood and a slow descent from the ceiling filled my mind. As it turns out, John Whaite and I have very different expectations of a Lady Gaga concert – and I imagine he was using the term as a BBC-friendly “it’s gonna be gay. Flamingly homosexual – ma’am, it’s poppers o’clock!”.

We of course start, as the series did when Tom Fletcher and Adam Peaty were inexplicably finalist favs, under the looming threat of stock image heterosexuality


Be gay, vaporise your enemies. As they say.

As to where their showdance fits into the Strictly Showdance Alignment Chart, it’s very much a Strictly Melange but with at least 2 confetti cannon shots of Partytime Chaos thrown in for good measure. Jason Gilkison had warned us that this routine had A LOT of content and it certainly did as we lurched from waltz to jive to Argentine Tango to whatever was happening when the confetti cannons went off

God knows, it breaks every streaming device going as soon as it happens. Who knew that Sarah Connor could have taken down SkyNet with a simple overstimulating confetti cannon?

I think John suffered the most in what became a rapid fire onslaught of dances fuelled entirely by Red Bull, desperation and whatever it was that Rhys left behind in his dressing room. He had after all only had about 20 minutes to prepare for this dance after his paso doble, most of which would have been spent scouring the eye-liner out of his eyes – it’s not exactly a relaxing spa treatment of a time. And so, while for the most part their synchronicity was great

it wasn’t completely on for the whole dance and there were some minor balance issues here and there but at the end of the day, there was more to this dance than simple technique, this was their last dance and their last chance to really stick a middle finger to anyone that’s scoffed at their right to dance together on this show and I think they did that fantastically

and because of that there was a lot, emotionally, riding on this routine and when Motsi started giving her speech about how amazing it was to be part of this finale and to have seen John and Johannes dance so wonderfully and so freely – and this moment with Johannes’s face – I truly believe is one of the most important moments in the show’s history

I see so much of myself in that face – the exhaustion, the fear he’s been holding back about how he and John might be received but the relief and joy of their acceptance and celebration – THAT is what has been at stake this entire time. And it coming from Motsi, someone who understands the South African culture that Johannes grew up in, is even more important and validating. This was only half a dancing competition for these two and I cannot imagine the stress they must have felt to be the faces of British queer television for the last 3 months, to be made to feel like you’re carrying an entire community on your backs because there’s so few others to do it. Kings, the pair of them, immortalised in pure dance joy forever.

Judges’ Scores, A Formality:
: 10
Motsi: 10
Shirley: 10
Anton: 10

The AJ and Kai Power Hour

I must say that it was brave of them to reconduct this interview for the fake fans who don’t watch It Takes Two after they only just managed to deflood the studio after Kai waterboarded himself and everyone else in his tears – between Kai, Liam on MasterChef: The Professionals, Giovanni and Johannes it was a strong week on the Anti Harry Judd’s Toxic Masculinity Front. I’m glad they did it though – could have maybe done it *before* the showdances just to give John and Rose some breathing space but you know, they chose chaos instead.

It’s an incredibly emotionally charged interview with Claudia just plowing straight into how disappointed they were to not get to dance – and I was rather pleased that AJ didn’t try to lacquer over her disappointment and frustration with a veneer of positivity. She’s angry, she’s hurt, she’s frustrated and she deserved to have those feeling heard and shared – when she said “We danced every dance like it was our last dance, but we didn’t know our last dance was going to *be* our last dance. WE DIDN’T KNOW.” – each word was laced with venom and it needed to be. And I imagine it took a degree of courage for her to allow herself to publicly feel that way – there’s such a stigma in regards to how Black women show their emotions, especially anger and frustration – I mean, just look at the reaction to Motsi not having a beaming smile when Rose won

the British media is on constant alert to tar and feather a Black woman for either emoting too much, emoting not enough or just not emoting correctly and that’s why I will celebrate AJ for her authenticity whether it be her effervescence or her rage – she deserves it, Black women deserve it.

And now I have to find a way to transition from talking about institutionalised racism to Ed Sheeran… “What is this blog?” I often find myself wondering.

Aljaz and Janette Ft. Ed Sheeran

Completely unable to contain her excitement, Janette did tell us on It Takes Two earlier this week that she would indeed be back to perform as part of a number in the final show – I do kind of wish they had kept it a secret and have it as a real gag of a reveal when she walked out during the Ed Sheeran number

Quite why they had to make this look as sinister as possible I don’t quite know – had Aljaz just unhinged his jaw and swallowed her whole like a very handsome boa constrictor, I would not have been in the least bit surprised. And if they were going to go for slightly erotic menace, they could have at least fully leaned in and had Aljaz revive the ol’ Bewinged Sex Demon Harness. FOR SCIENCE.

And then the two of them go on to completely upstage Ed Sheeran – which isn’t much of a surprise given the fact Janette was very much back into her wheelhouse of defying the laws of physics and calling the very concept of gravity into question

truly the 30 year old man who looks like an 8 year old that’s really, really into dinosaurs right now stood no chance against the core strength of one Janette Manrara

or you know, the strength of her joints because Aljaz was just flinging her about like someone furiously airing out their winter linen in time for the first frosty night

It is worth mentioning that not even Aljaz and Janette can really make the through-the-legs thing work particularly elegantly

maybe we retire this move to the pot stirrer bin for a while?

One Final Melange!

As ever, while the votes are counted and verified we are treated to (read, distracted by) a group performance from the entire Strictly Class of 2021 – or at least those that could make it as Tilly was absent due to a positive Covid test. And you know, Robert Webb didn’t even come to sit in the audience for reasons that definitely aren’t mightily suspicious… Dianne did not seem even remotely sad about his absence having been completely possessed by the spirit of Judi Love’s twerking

it is truly a religious experience

when I eventually topple The Louvre and erect Judi Love’s Nouveau Louvre in its stead, I will be hanging this gif up in place of The Last Supper, sorry Leonardo da Vinci, you’ve had your 520 years, Judi love’s arse is the Renaissance master now.

The performance is the usual showcase of various routines and I’m not going to say this routine was expertly crafted explicitly for me, but the return of Gorka’s Dalmatian fursona was explicitly for me – I mean, they didn’t have many other choices given their only other 2 routines were the tango nobody remembers and The Uncanny American Highschool Jive that we are banishing to another dimension to be forgotten about FOREVER

it’s incredible how almost too into it he is. Is there room for him to tour the Furry Conventions of the world? He and Dianne could make a killing as the first professional ballroom furries. CALL THEIR AGENTS.

And then of course there was also the glorious return of Sara Davies’s Big Origami Boat, the maker of which is sadly still unsung

big fan of Tom Fletcher mostly being relegated to being a confetti chucker in this routine as he sort of just follows Sara and Aljaz around, not entirely certain what to do

his only other big moment being to… just lie there as Luba’s launch show catsuit completely captivates even in low lighting

I guess Amy’s Paso Bridge wasn’t available for hire and they weren’t exactly going to revive their other standout routine for… reasons

so The Harry Styles Is Definitely My Friend Salsa it was.

The only real evidence that this wasn’t a routine generated entirely by this blog’s niche fixations was the fact at no point did Nikita rip his shirt off, but don’t worry, he was very much stealing focus at every opportunity he could

I would be mad at anyone else for stealing focus from Nina Wadia serving camp at 11, but it is physically impossible for me to be mad at Nikita. I wonder which routine he and Tilly would have revived? Given that nobody served Paso during this, I would very much hope for a revival of this moment


But as much as I do love me a Nikita Kuzmin brand hairflip, I’m not sure even he is powerful enough to compete with the utter delight of Ugo Monye’s revival of The Wig and the subsequent yeeting of The Wig

if Strictly is missing anything, it’s more wig tossing – that’s specifically a challenge to Motsi Mabuse.

With multiple props making their return in this dance, I was eagerly awaiting the triumphant return of Tess Daly’s Favourite Medium Sized Horse and I am EXTREMELY concerned by its absence – is it ethically ok to file a missing persons report for a prop horse last seen in Dan Walker’s foxtrot? Especially as the police are so busy not investigating Bad Time Christmas Parties? I guess I could go down the old milk carton route

But it was never going to make a return with Dan Walker whose only real option was to revive Dr. Bychkova’s CBT School Disco

not gonna lie, the crab walk when being performed by that many people at the same time is actually quite impressive – especially given that amongst them is Greg Wise, a man with NO RHYTHM – as is evidenced by the fact they couldn’t legally let him do more than pop up from behind an injured Karen as she luxuriating on the clamshell from their cursed samba and very much NOT wearing the accompanying Ghost of Kleenex Past outfit

That routine has to be one of the most infamous bussings in the history of the show – Greg was absolutely brought on the show exclusively to get Emma Thompson in the audience a couple of times and to be the disco linchpin for Motsi Mabuse’s campaign to normalise Disco as a themed week. And in exchange he got to do some James Bond cosplay and make everyone some damson jam – it’s the simple pelasures in life.

Sadly Adam and Katya weren’t reviving their Viennese Waltz by having Katya inelegantly crawl out of the piano again, and instead we get Adam’s freshly de-feathered Big Ring

and of course, Katya wasn’t going to let them get through a montage routine without getting to do the Sexy Self-checkout Scan Lift

and of course we get a whole segment dedicated to making sure everyone knows that Rhys Stephenson is available for any and all nostalgia musicals anyone has going

at this point, just have his agent’s number flashing on screen like it’s a local area advert for double glazed windows.

And that’s it, that’s our wonderful and slightly cursed trip down memory lane – sadly Tilly wasn’t Skyped in to do some honorary jazz hands in the background but Nikita was certainly doing enough for the two of them.

The Winner Takes It All

Having successfully padded out the show with only having to scrape 13 minutes off the runtime, I can’t help but feel the real winners of the evening are Tess and Claudia

God knows how they did it without having to resort to John and Rose having an unprepared freestyle solo dance off, I don’t know but they did it, and it all comes down to this moment…

and after 13 weeks of gruelling training, blood, sweat and tears the winner of Strictly 2021 is of course…

It’s not much of a surprise to anyone which in many ways makes it all the more special a win – to have a deaf woman be the undeniable winner of a dance competition, when in the beginning the headlines about her were often very demeaning and patronising, feels like vindication and justice. It’s a testament to inclusion and how erecting needless barriers, potentially even ones built out of well meaning concern, do nothing but quell and squander innate talent. Of course we have to mention Giovanni too, who has been nothing but a champion all series and it’s been utterly lovely to see him just run with this amazing opportunity to let Rose shine, doing everything in his power to make this as wonderful an experience for her as possible and look at the result

and try not to look at Jowita haunting the background like the spectral form of a shaved Lorax – shout out to the camera operator slowly inching her out of shot.

And of course, our runners up

just a pair of lovely guys, who may not have won the glitterball but certainly used every second of their time together on Strictly to do nothing but burn as brightly as they could, to be as joyously visible as possible and for that, I thank them from the very bottom of my queer little heart.

And that really was that. Once again, thank you to everyone who has made this a very special series of Strictly for me – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed recapping it, gifing it, screenshotting it to Hell and back. And if you would like to support the blog, you can drop a small tip over on my Ko-fi account HERE. And I more than look forward to doing this whole rodeo again next year, HOWEVER – if I learned anything from this year’s series, it was that trying to get a Main Show recap out on Monday was a recipe for a complete mental breakdown, so I might take it a little easier next year – same content, slightly later delivery, especially in the earlier weeks. And if you can’t wait for my Strictly recaps, in the New Year I’ve got Drag Race season 14, The Apprentice and The Great Pottery Throwdown all on my roster of things to cover! Sadly none of them will result in Nikita Kuzmin gifs, but you can’t have everything.

and so, once again – a massive congratulations to Rose and Giovanni, our Strictly 2021 champions

TOP: Tom Fletcher, Judi Love, Dan Walker, Sara Davies, Nina Wdia
MID: Robert Webb, Greg Davies, Tilly Ramsay, John Whaite, ROSE AYLING-ELLIS
BOT: Rhys Stephenson, Katie McGlynn, Ugo Monye, Adam Peaty, AJ Odudu

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of the Strictly’s Final and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

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