13 weeks of ball-room glitz and glam. 14 incredible dancers (and one Ed Balls). Too many rhinestones for us to count. All of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 came down to this: the live final.
And it was BBC sports presenter Ore Oduba that got his mitts on The Glitterball Trophy after beating off tough competition from former Eternal singer Louise Redknapp and Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac.
Here’s how the Grand Final unfolded…
9.45pm Right, that’s it from us tonight. And until the Strictly festive special on Christmas Day, keeeeep dancing!
9.31pm Also, looks like the overall quality of the final three could have improved from last year. Ore, Louise and Danny scored an average of 36 for their dances through the competition, but the finalists last year (Kellie Bright, Georgia May Foote and winner Jay McGuiness) only scored an average of 34.
Either the dancing’s getting better or the judges are going soft…
9.20pm How does Ore compare to past winners? Well, his overall score on final night was 119. That’s 10 more than last year’s winners Jay and Aliona, and three more than 2013 winners Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec. However, the biggest winner of the past four years in Strictly is Caroline Flack, who scored 120 in her Grand Final.
9.15pm See this tweet here…
— Kelly Florentia (@kellyflorentia) December 17, 2016
8.56pm And here comes the glitter. And whatever face Ore is pulling. Stay with us for reaction and analysis!
Although seriously, I think we broke Ore.
8.53pm Very interesting. Ore actually had the lowest average score of the top three (35.7) across the 13 weeks. Louise had an average of 35.9 and Danny 36.6.
8.49pm And the winner is… Ore!
8.48pm Our poll says Danny Mac is favourite to win…followed closely by Ed Balls
Who should win #Strictly tonight?
— Radio Times (@RadioTimes) December 17, 2016
8.41pm ED BALLS ED BALLS ED BALLS ED BALLS ED BALLS ED BALLS ED BALLS. He’s back!!
8.36pm Who needs another montage when we’ve already narrowed down the best two minutes of the series for you:
8.30pm LEN IS CRYING. Why? Because there’s only so much brilliance that one man can hold before it bursts out his face.
8.21pm You’re welcome.
8.19pm All the dances are out of the way, which means about 20 minutes of montages, the Strictly equivalent of Bake Off’s history segments. Go on, put the kettle on. We’re not judging.
8.15pm The final scoreboard…
8.10pm And Danny’s final score of the night is… 40!
Len: “It was even more perfect this time round!”
Bruno: “You were two magnificent animals! You were sex on legs!”
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) December 17, 2016
8.05pm SOUND THE KLAXON. Next up is Danny Mac with dance partner Oti Mabuse with their favourite dance of the series, the Samba to Magalenha by Sergio Mendes. And unless Danny trips up or fails to display his early-Take-That-era hairless chest to viewers, this is a shoe-in for a perfect score. No pressure then, Danny.
Of course, in week 10 Mac got a 40 for this dance – the first time a Strictly samba has ever gained 100%.
8.04pm And Louise’s score: 40, her first perfect sweep of the night.
8pm Just a reminder: we’ve got another 40 minutes until the winner is crowned. 40 MINUTES. If that doesn’t call for a twix then nothing else will.
7.57pm Louise Rednapp and Kevin Clifton time. They’ll be having a re-run of the Argentine Tango to Tanguera by Sexteto Mayor.
Last time she tried this the judges gave her 39. But hey, it’s the final night and it will take somebody incredibly cruel to not pull up a 10 paddle. In other words, somebody like Craig Revel Horwood, who only gave her a nine last time. THE MONSTER.
7.54pm Mark the day you heard Craig Revel Horwood say it: “I can’t bare it. You’re so good. I’ve got nothing to complain about and I hate it!”
Yes, Ore’s last dance blew away the judges. His score: 40 (obviously).
7.48pm And here he is: Ore is up dancing a Jive to Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars (an absolute belter of a track). This picked up 39 when Ore tried this in week four, which at this point seems a lifetime away. Like, it was a pre-Ed-Balls-gangnam-style age.
7.42pm MORE standing ovations for Danny Mac. AND NOW HIS MUM IS CRYING. It’s all too much.
He scores a perfect 40 from the judges.
Bruno: “It was like a firework of passion! Stunning, my darling, stunning!”
Craig: “Two words: totally brilliant!”
Darcey: “There were sparks coming off that dance-floor! A perfect showdance!”
Len: “There were moments of magic!”
7.36pm And it’s what you’ve all been waiting for: Danny Mac’s showdance to Set Fire To The Rain by Adele. Not your usual dance-floor filler, but hey, it’s Danny Mac, right? He could pull some shapes to the Chuckle Brothers theme and it’ll still work.
So, why Set Fire to The Rain? Oti has a (rather lengthy) explanation for it:
“We tried to make it about the journey that not a lot of people got to see, because I think when you start with your first dance you have three weeks to prepare for one dance, and our three weeks was like, ‘You’re going to smile. you’re going to look confident. You’re going to look like you own it because you’re the best.’ But people didn’t get to see that he came in like, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this.’
“So it’s really me saying, ‘Danny this is all about you, this is how you accepted who you are and began to see the worth in you through this dance.'”
Fun fact: the last time somebody tried dancing to Adele on Strictly it didn’t go so well. Back in 2015, Helen ‘the one of off Call the Midwife’ George tried it with Aljaz Skorjanec but only got 31 points.
7.35pm Louise performs a “knockout” performance, according to Len. And not only did it make Bruno’s heart flip, but Darcey found it “very emotional”. Craig has some gripes about her knee positioning, but hey, when is he truly happy about anything?
She scores 38 (9,9,10,10).
7.28pm And now it’s Louise with her showdance to One Moment In Time by Whitney Houston. And it was an absolute ballache to choose that song. Not my words, but the (extremely paraphrased) ones of Kevin Clifton.
Speaking at a press conference earlier in the week he said:
“I actually think the Showdance is the most difficult one to choreograph, because when you’ve got week by week, you’re given a dance – say, ‘Oh this week you’re doing foxtrot, and it’s movie week and you’re doing this movie.’
“That’s sort of the easiest thing to do because there’s boundaries to it. You’re playing this character, this is the dance, you’ve got this bank of steps, you make something out of it that is your own. You’ve got these rules to go by.
“When it comes to Showdance they just go, ‘Oh you can do what you want.’ So you can pick any song in existence, any kind of props, any kind of style. It’s almost too blank a sheet of paper, so it’s quite difficult to go in one direction of what you want to do.”
7.25pm Well. That went well. Very very very well. Ore scores a perfect 40 AND MAKES HIS PARENTS CRY.
Darcey: “That was fun, full and fast … I’m so impressed, well done!”
Len: “Who could ask for anything more?”
Bruno: “That exceeded all expectations”
7.19pm It’s Ore showdance O’Clock and he’s performing to I Got Rhythm by George and Ira Gershwin. You know, the one from Crazy the musical? Nope? I hadn’t heard it until tonight either.
So, why pick this song? At a press conference earlier in the week, Ore’s partner Joanne said it was “because I thought he suited the characterisation quite well and stuff like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire – that kind of thing – I’ve done it to I’ve Got Rhythm.
“All I’m going to say is, we’ve got massive props.”
We’re expecting big things here. Get it?! BIG things?!!
I’ll let myself out.
7.19pm 10/10. Would watch.
When Len goes, can we have a Gogglebox-style spin-off where he awards marks from his living room in slippers & golf jumpers? #StrictlyFinal
— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) December 17, 2016
7.15pm A mixed review for Danny. All judges say some of his timings were out and it costs him: Mac picks up 36 (9,9,9,9) – the same as last time.
7.10pm And the judges’ pick for Danny: his quickstep from week four. Here’s a reminder of his last attempt:
7.05pm And it’s a great start for Redknapp. Her “red hot” performance scores a 38 (9,9,10,10) – seven more points than last time.
7.00pm Next up is Louise. The judges have chosen for her to re-dance her cha cha from week three.
6.58pm NEWSFLASH: Russell T Davies now has this on his face.
6.57pm And Ore starts off on a high: 39 (9,10,10,10). Four points above his last effort.
6.51pm The judges have picked Ore’s American Smooth to ’Singin’ In The Rain’ from week three as the dance for him to have another go at.
It’s a very very good choice. Last time Bruno Tonioli declared that “Gene Kelly himself would be proud”. Patricia Ward Kelly (Gene’s widow) also said: “I thought it was a beautiful tribute to Gene.”
So, what did that dance look like? Well…
6.47pm Obligatory reminder: this is Len’s last Strictly show as a judge. Which is a shame, as there’s plenty of reasons why we’re REALLY going to miss him. Seven, in fact.
6.42pm Just a head’s up, guys: This is what the Strictly contestants will be dancing to in the final tonight.
6.40pm This is it, people! We’re just a couple of hours away from finding out who’s the Strictly 2016 champion!
6.25pm Current mood:
6.23pm Right, here’s your ultimate guide to this week’s Strictly news. Don’t say we don’t do anything for you…
6.04pm ‘fess up, who’s got your vote?
Who should win #Strictly tonight?
— Radio Times (@RadioTimes) December 17, 2016
6.00pm Stop what you’re doing unless the thing you’re doing is squinting desperately at the clock, counting down the seconds until Strictly: you’ve got 40 minutes!
Fortunately, we’ve got just the way to shrink down a minute off your wait: the Strictly Come Dancing #MannequinChallenge – complete with mid-gangnam Ed Balls.
— Neil Jones (@Mr_NJones) December 14, 2016