Strictly Come Dancing 2013: “This is the closest and most exciting Strictly final I can remember”

"My heart says Susanna Reid will win but my head says Abbey Clancy," writes Mark Jefferies, after a visit to the studio

At Elstree studios today, the nervous Strictly finalists had their last rehearsals in the ballroom before the show proper.


I was lucky enough to be invited down to watch by the BBC, and unsurprisingly I can guarantee you are in for the time of your lives on Saturday night. It is the closest and most exciting Strictly final I can remember.

At this late stage I don’t really want to choose a winner. I have previously urged readers to give Natalie Gumede a chance, and Sophie Ellis Bextor and Brendan Cole are wonderful together.

But I suppose if pushed, my heart says Susanna Reid will win whereas my head is leaning towards Abbey Clancy.   

The second dance of the night will be the Showdance and I think as vote lines will be open now they will largely decide who lifts the Glitterball trophy.

Show bosses have helped create four very different performances, showing off lots of variety on the dance floor.

Sophie and Brendan are dancing to Whitney Houston with giant disco balls and lasers to really get the party started.

Natalie Gumede has poles to dance and skip around, but I think it is one of the two other girls who will steal the show.

Abbey Clancy and Alijaz Skorjanec have sharp spiky moves which brilliantly compliment their song choice of Sweet Child O’ Mine.

With dry ice and fire they are going down in flames if they don’t win.

And Susanna Reid and Kevin “from Grimsby” Clifton are trying to tug on the heart strings with their dance. There were even a few BBC workers welling up at Elstree as they went through a version of Your Song.

There will be a third dance in the results show but the Showdances are the new and unseen ones for this week which I feel will shape the voting.

Abbey is possibly the best dancer, the most graceful. But like millions of others I love watching Susanna and Kevin, and their popularity, as well as a great Showdance, could be enough for the win.

Whatever happens, all four women may well cry. The mood at Elstree is not one of competition and rivalries but the feeling that something special is ending.

The finalists all watch each other rehearse and cheer and encourage.

Their bond was summed up by Susanna who I overheard telling the other three girls: “We are friends for life”.

Mark Jefferies is Showbusiness editor at the Daily Mirror