Of course you remember Jill Halfpenny’s jive. And Chris Hollins’ Charleston. But with so many routines packed into each of Strictly’s 17 series, it stands to reason that lots of dazzling performances get forgotten quicker than you can say “keeeeep dancing”. So here we take a moment to remember the performances that took our breath away.
Warning: you may be about to lose an hour of your life on YouTube…
Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse: American Smooth
We still can’t believe Danny Mac left the ballroom without a Glitterball. Lots of us remember the sizzling samba Oti choreographed for him, but just as worthy of a re-watch is their gorgeously romantic American Smooth. The costumes are dreamy, the performance is engrossing and Oti’s leap of faith at the end is heart-stopping. An incredible moment of Strictly magic.
Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace: Showdance
If you make it to the Strictly final, the usual procedure is to throw the kitchen sink at your showdance. We’re talking jazz hands, showers of glittery confetti and spinning your partner around your head until they’re physically sick. But Flavia played a blinder with this slowed-down, controlled showdance. The bare-footed pair pulled off a stunning routine showcasing Louis’ strength as a gymnast, but with the grace and elegance of a trained dancer. Beautiful.
Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko: Paso Doble
If you can’t be dramatic at Blackpool, when can you? This was Gleb’s only series of Strictly, but he certainly left us with dances to remember. Anita smouldered her way through this purposeful Paso set to traditional music. We’ve rarely seen a performance with this much attack, and it has stuck in our minds since 2015.
Aston Merrigold and Janette Manrara: Cha Cha
Instant mood booster alert: pocket rockets Aston and Janette dressed up as trolls, dancing to Justin Timberlake is all you need to put a smile on your face. Aston’s early exit from the series in 2017 remains one of Strictly’s biggest shocks, and when you see this dance you’ll remember why.
Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec: Waltz
Aljaz had a dream first series, winning the show with Abbey, and this was their most memorable dance. A classy waltz that enraptured the audience and proved that sometimes an elegant, soft routine can be just as effective as marching onto the dance floor all guns blazing.
Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton: Paso Doble
Of course there had to be something from King Kev on this list! Featuring plenty of drama, amazing power and lots of skirt-ography, this Westside Story-themed Paso was innovative, well-executed and hugely entertaining. Credit as always to the much-praised Strictly costume department for providing the finishing touches.
Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup: Showdance
We’re taking you all the way back to 2008 for this showdance that secured Tom Chambers the Glitterball. The moment he came out in a tux and tap shoes he had the series sewn up. The choreography is genius: nothing too flashy or pretentious, just sheer entertainment value from start to finish.
Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice: Charleston
This. Was. Excellent. We could literally watch it 12 times in a row. A sassy Chicago-inspired routine full of razzle dazzle and fun, it looks like Georgia and Giovanni are having great fun performing it, which is hugely infectious. Plus there are bowler hats, how could you resist?
Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone: Argentine Tango
Oh how we miss Vincent, the undisputed King of Tango – watching him in action used to be mesmerising. We loved everything about this slick and sexy Argentine tango from the choice of music (Prince, When Doves Cry) to Rachel’s costume and of course the choreography.