I, like many other people, found myself crying for the full two hours of the Strictly final - for the second year in a row. But this year did feel different. The 2020 final was a celebration of joy and glitter and sparkles and fun after a dreadful year. We needed that release. This time, although we still need that in our lives, it was more about the couples taking part. If AJ had been able to participate, then all three would have been representing in their own way - powerful, talented black woman; inspirational and groundbreaking deaf woman, moving and strong same-sex couple.
Sadly, AJ was unable to participate and whilst on the one hand I was happy that one of my preferred couples was guaranteed to win, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her. AJ was so brave, getting right into the spirit of the night despite having to sit off to one side… albeit with glittery crutches and walking boot.
We were left with lovely Rose and wonderful John and I think for the first time ever, I really, truly wanted them both to win. Sometimes I say that but secretly you always know who you actually want to win. This time, the only way I could decide was that during It Takes Two the previous night, John had said he didn’t care about winning, it had been the journey. So that seemed only fair for Rose to take the crown. But first they had to dance.
Rose & Giovanni - Quickstep
Craig didn’t see this one in person so was looking forward to it, and it was just as adorable as the first time - a great representation of Rose and Giovanni’s friendship. He admitted being nervous about making the mistake again, but they sailed through relatively easily.
John & Johannes - Rumba
Is this the first time a rumba has been danced in the final? It really is one of the few rumbas that isn’t cringy, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Johannes was emotional from the off - somehow living his best life but also in absolute bits at the same time. Anton said this was the best rumba he’s ever seen… and he’s seen a lot!
Rose & Giovanni - Couple’s Choice
This was a risk, doing this dance, because it was such an iconic moment first time round - would it lose impact second time? Maybe it did a little, the element of surprise was obviously gone, but it’s so important that it still holds you rapt in attention. Everyone getting emotional at this point… particularly Anton.
Giovanni says: “I might be the dance teacher, but I’m the one who learnt a lot.”
John & Johannes - Paso Doble
I can totally see why John got into this so early on in the competition, effectively able to hide behind that character and put his performance out there. Now he’s learnt how to do that without needed the pirate costume, so putting those two things together made it even better - super fierce and everything improved.
THE SCORES ARE NOT AT ALL HELPFUL, JUDGES.
I’m usually nervous going into the showdance because you never know what to expect, but these two are such good dancers that I didn’t feel the same nerves - whatever it was, it was bound to be good.
Do they usually get Jason Gilkison so involved and talking through it? I wonder if that’s a function of the Couple’s Choice stealing the thunder a bit, so then the Showdance has to be that one step better - even more professionally choreographed. No complaints here, though, you have to love Jason.
Rose & Giovanni
Featuring the biggest prop ever, apparently. It was very beautiful and we established, if we hadn’t already, that Rose can basically fly now. It may not be what I would expect from a showdance but it did show off the best bits of Rose and Gio and was lovely to watch.
John & Johannes
This is more what I would have expected, glittery and loud and wonderful. It probably wasn’t as technically perfect as Rose’s, but it was absolutely joyous and a celebration of life - the perfect dance to end the show on.
And so, yes, it was ROSE that won. Amazing, brilliant, wonderful. I loved how gracious John was as a runner up, not just in that way that covers up your real emotions. He genuinely looked super thrilled and happy, which fits with what he said earlier in the week.
We were truly lucky this year, as everyone kept saying, the standard reached new levels of high and we saw some incredible partnerships and dances. I really don’t know how next year is even going to begin to touch it. But then I say that every year… meet me back here in September!