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Surprise champion Melvin Odoom wins the Strictly Come Dancing 2016 Christmas special as Len Goodman says goodbye

The radio DJ was the first to be eliminated from Strictly 2016, but he showed his "full potential" with an Elf-themed Charleston

Published: Sunday, 25th December 2016 at 7:00 pm

A stunned Melvin Odoom is having his "best Christmas ever" after being crowned champion of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special. 


Ed Balls led the dance floor invasion as the class of Strictly 2016 ran out to celebrate Melvin's victory, lifting him in the air as he clutched the Christmas Silver Star Trophy. 

The radio DJ was the first to be eliminated from Strictly 2016 in week two, and never got above a 23.

But it looks like we missed out on a real contender for the Glitterball Trophy, as Melvin and his partner Janette Manrara gained an (admittedly generous) perfect score of 40 for their Elf-themed Charleston. 

Craig Revel Horwood told him: "It's great to finally see your full potential, darling. Ah-may-zing."

Head judge Len, who awarded 10s to every couple in the spirit of the season ("it's the time for giving and being generous"), declared: "It's a lovely Christmas present to see you back again. Everything's alright in the world when you've got your 'elf."

Giving that we won't be seeing Elf on TV this Christmas, thank goodness for Melvin.

Melvin shared the top spot on the leader board with Frankie Bridge, but was declared champion after the judges' scores were combined with the studio audience's vote.

For the last dance of the evening, Frankie transformed herself into Queen Elsa to perform an American Smooth with pro dancer Gorka Marquez, to Let It Go from the movie Frozen. 

It was an emotional moment when it came to the judging. 

"The movie was Frozen but you were on fire," said Len. "You really were. Beautiful lifts, flying across the room like Santa on his sleigh, bringing us a fantastic gift. What a dance, what a Christmas special. It's been great."

Producing his ten paddle, he announced: "This is the last ever ten from Len."

Len was in a generous mood all the way through the show, but so were all the other judges – even Craig, who struggled to keep a stern expression while dressed in a cute lion outfit to play Aslan from Narnia. 

Series two star, sports pundit and former Olympian Denise Lewis clearly hasn't forgotten how to dance in the last 12 years, scoring 38 for her Meet Me In St Louis Viennese Waltz, which incorporated a merry-go-round. She paired up with Anton Du Beke, one of only two pro dancers left over from her time on Strictly. 

"Meet me in St Louis?" Len asked. "Denise, I would meet you anywhere, because that was lovely. You had a merry-go-round: you were going round, I was merry, it was better than a bit of cheese and a pickled walnut on a Christmas evening. Beautiful!"

Ainsley Harriott made quite an impression with his Jive, which saw him team up with Karen Clifton as the pair of burglars from Home Alone.

"I am absolutely sure it wasn't a turkey this time!" said Bruno Tonioli. The judges awarded him a 35, with Craig's 7 dragging him down to the bottom of the leader board.

Gethin Jones, who has been unable to let go of Strictly since competing in 2007 (even serving as a roving reporter for It Takes Two), took to the floor with Chloe Hewitt to perform a Polar Express-themed Quickstep. 

"Gethin, you steamed through that with ease," said Darcey Bussell, while Len added: "It was a Christmas cracker. I've got to say, you got my baubles bouncing." Gethin scored 38.

Pamela Stephenson made a triumphant return to the dance floor, earning a score of 39 by playing the secretary to Pasha Kovalev's Prime Minister Hugh Grant in Love Actually. The performance (to the tune of Jump) even featured a daring lift that made Craig "scared for his life".

Len told her: "Pamela, you are like Santa. Always on time and always deliver. What a Cha-Cha-Charmer you are."

The head judge was in high spirits as he made his final appearance on Strictly Come Dancing, having announced in July that he was leaving the show after series 14. 

It was an emotional goodbye as the judges danced in a routine with the pro dancers and Christmas special celebrities inspired by It's A Wonderful Life, to the tune of Auld Lang Syne and Kelly Clarkson's Underneath The Tree. 


"We love you, Len," said Claudia Winklemen, before Len Goodman said his final goodbye: "Merry Christmas!"


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