Strictly Saturdays: Week 13 aka THE FINAL

I can’t believe we’re here. After 13 weeks of dancing and drama, the Strictly Come Dancing 2018 final is here. It’s been a really good series. At the beginning I was worried that this would be the year I would fall out of love with the show, no-one was jumping out at me to support them, and I was really concerned, but in the end it’s turned into a good year and two of my favourites have made it to the very end. There’s been lots of controversy this year, so I’m hoping that at the end of the show, we’re all happy that the right person won for the right reasons.

Last week, we saw some incredible dances and some of our couples buckle under the pressure of two performances. After a tense dance off with Ashley and Pasha, Lauren and AJ left the competition. Semi-final week is an awful week to go out in but it was most definitely time and leaves the best dancers left to battle it out for the glitter ball trophy. The finalists? Here they are:

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell: Possibly my favourite couple and the ones I would like to win. They’re fun and have turned my opinion around from the start of the show. They are the definite surprise package of this years competition.

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton: My other favourites and the happiest people on the show. They’re a great pair and have done some really awesome dances this year with a touch of comedy and bags of talent.

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev: The controversial dance-off participant from the previous 3 weeks and ex-professional singer and dancer. She is undoubtedly the most talented of this years crop, but is also the most unpopular.

Faye Tozer Smith and Giovanni Pernice: They were my favourites at the beginning, but as the weeks have gone I have fallen out of love with them as a pair, and I think her dance experience may hinder the voters.

That was a slightly over the top for an opening number, but I really like the fact that they gave the dancers in the final a bit of a moment. They go a little un-noticed (well they don’t, but they’re unappreciated in comparison to the celebrities) and it was nice for them to shine. The reveal of the celebs was a tiny bit extra but I liked it. I have to say as well, Tess, you’ve disappointed me and I don’t like your dress but Claudia, dang gurl you have nailed it because that is stunning and jazzy. The judges have done well as well, the dresses look really nice and the boys have scrubbed up well. Yes, this is a good start to proceedings.

Judges Pick/Redemption Dances

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev Salsa to ‘I’ve Had The Time Of My Life’ (watch here)

This is a smart move because it’s big and jazzy and there is room for improvement. The lift is risky in the middle of a dance in the final, but if they nail it then it will be something spetacular. What a song to dance to as well!

OK, that was seriously impressive and incredibly danced. The lift was so much better and there was so much energy and accents and yeah, that was brilliant.

Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 10

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton Foxtrot to ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ (watch here)

Look how cute they are! This dance is so them that I feel like it will show off her personality perfectly and really set her final off in the right way. She has improved so much since then, and I really hope she gets a 10 from Craig.

That was joyful, it was exuberant, and it was everything I wanted it to be and so much more. She took their comments on board and really improved and it was one of my favourite dances of this season. I feel like it showed how much he has fallen back in love with dancing as he taught her.

Craig: 9 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 39

Faye Tozer Smith and Giovanni Pernice Viennese Waltz to ‘This Is A Man’s World’ (watch here)

I really liked this dance the first time round, and even though I find them less genuine now than I did then, I am looking forward to this. This could be something incredible, it’s so elegant and if she improves it then this will be a full house on the scoreboard. Someone should have changed her look under those judges spotlights though, she looked awful.

That was so dramatic that it hardly felt like a Viennese Waltz, but I really do like that dance. She is stunning in hold and in frame and it was elegant and great.

Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 40

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell Paso Doble to ‘Pompeii’ (watch here)

Oh these two, look at them! He looks genuinely surprised to be here. I am a little but gutted that the judges have chosen this dance, because the personality and the size of the man makes it more difficult, but if he nails it then it will show just how far he has come.

Oh I am so proud of him that was SO much better than it was last time. The shaping was amazing, the free arm did things, the mastery of the dance was insane. I bloody loved it and I am so pleased. It was fierce and powerful. Oh well done!

Craig: 9 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 39

Freestyle Showdance

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev to ‘Keeping Your Head Up’ (watch here)

OK I don’t think I will love this but I think the judges will if it works and I have an issue with no shoes and contemporary and oh dear. I know that technically this will be incredible, and they will push boundaries, I just don’t think it’s going to be for me.

The lifts and the end was really impressive, but I didn’t like the interpretative no shoes rest of the dance. I also feel like I saw a lot more of Ashley than I would have ever want one.

Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 40

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton to ‘Land Of A Thousand Dances’ (watch here)

I love the fact that they are going to really go for it but I am definitely nervous that this sounds huge and something that could go wrong. But, I guess if the risk pays off, then it should be special and amazing. The sets and the story, I mean, this looks big and it’s the warm up.

Crikey holey moley, that was high octane and unbelievable. It worked! It really worked! It was so good, it was so them, it fitted their personalities and I bloody loved it. That said, I actually thought it was a little dance light. There was so much story and crowd pleasing moments and possibly less dancing because of it but yes, loved it.

Craig: 8 Darcey: 9 Shirley: 9 Bruno: 10 Total: 36

Faye Tozer Smith and Giovanni Pernice to ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ (watch here)

Oooo Fred and Ginger and top hats and quick music makes it sound very Quicksteppy and that is right up my street. I have hugely high hopes for them, I want this to be good because I want to like her again. I want her to look like she loves it and is having a great time to.

I really really liked it when it wasn’t on the top hat. It took off and was amazing and quick and synchronised, but it took a while to get going. The bit in Spotlights was so good, and it was undoubtedly a show dance. I did think it could have been to any music though, and probably would have been better to something else, but it looked fun.

Does anyone else feel like when they watch her they are watching one big audition for a West End Show?

Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 40

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell  to ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ (watch here)

This song is seriously quick, but he nailed the Quickstep and the Jive and the Charleston so maybe it is going to be a good thing for him. It looks like it is going to be epic, I love that they’re going for it with props and extra bits and so up his street. I really hope this is good. It’s so nice he’s

I just absolutely loved that. It was so ridiculous and full on and even though there were weird bits that were so him, but it was such a great mix of dances. It was wild and looked like it was on the verge of losing it but never did. It was so clean and full of energy. It really was a showdance that felt risky and like it was one slip from losing it. I loved that the judges loved it too. The surprise of the night.

Craig: 9 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10  Bruno: 10 Total: 39

Couple’s Favourite 

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev Charleston to ‘Witch Doctor’ (watch here)

I actually really don’t love these journey moments and with these two I find that it irritates me because she had the dance ability to start with. I do think their friendship is so great, and I have started to like her a little bit. I like that they’ve gone for a fun dance that they clearly can be their goofy selves.

That remains such a good dance and is one of the most memorable ones on this show. Clever. Seriously though, cute, incredible, well danced, full of content and personality. Yeah I really love that. It was the best kind of quirky.

Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 40

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton Paso Dobe to ‘Malaguena’ (watch here)

Oh this is a slight surprise but it was so them and I am pleased she has gone for something that is less jokey and more serious, even if it is still so them. Their friendship is amazing and I think we knew it would be like this for them, but to see how much it means to him as well as her is just, oh these two, yeah I would be pleased if these won.

What a way to go out. That was so dramatic and it was bloody ridiculous. Not only that, but it was so much better than the first time as well. The shaping and the drama and the intensity but also the flavour and passion and the sass, it was such an extra Paso. *Cough* how much of Stacey did we see there. Was it a leotard or did we see the full Stace?

Craig: 9 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 39

Faye Tozer Smith and Giovanni Pernice Theatre and Jazz to ‘Fever’ (watch here)

This was pretty epic and like nothing we’d seen before, so to recreate that will be hard because part of the magic was it had never been seen before. I feel like her crying and obsessive Strictly fan mentions is what puts me off them now, but they are amazing.

The trust required for that dance is so high and they were so good, but it just shows for me that she is a previously trained dancer which is a shame. It lost a bit without the make-up for me as well. It was danced better but it had less impact.

Craig: 10 Darcey: 10 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 40

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell Charleston to ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ (watch here)

I love their journey because I feel like I have gone on it with them. I didn’t know them and I (unfairly) didn’t like them and they’re now my favourites. They have shown the most improvement, been the biggest surprises, and I am so pleased they have gone for this dance because it shows them at their best (and we predicted it). They’re so funny.

I bloody love that dance and it was so them. It was more controlled than last time and was so much better than last time and I just really love them and want them to win. AND TO KISS.

Craig: 9 Darcey: 9 Shirley: 10 Bruno: 10 Total: 38


1= Ashley and Pasha – 40 + 40 + 40 = 120
1= Faye and Giovanni – 40 + 40 + 40 = 120
3. Joe and Dianne – 39 + 39 + 38 = 116
4. Stacey and Kevin – 39 + 36 + 39 = 114

*dances to follow when uploaded*


I thought that was a bloody brilliant final and I truly loved it. They all danced well, no-one fluffed it or forget steps, and everyone really gave it there all without losing anything. The old cliché of it being anyone’s game is most definitely true when you see the scoreboard, but I think we all know that when it comes down to it the real battle is between Stacey and Joe. We love a good underdog and a journey in this country and they both count as that when you come up against trained dancing might.

Ashley and Pasha: OK, I am not surprised that they came out and got 120 out of 120 because she is phenomenal. I have flitted between liking and loathing them this year, and have definitely been slightly down on her at points. It’s not her fault that the producers let her on with dance training, and it’s fair once she is on there that she used it. She was given a hard time because of it and I really admired that she came out and did dances that are far away from the dance training she has and did styles and took risks that she didn’t need to do in order to show that she has learnt and improved. I don’t want them to win, but they are definitely my third choice.

Faye and Giovanni: I came into this show loving her and I have left wishing she never took part. I know that is harsh, but she is the reason that the show gets a bad name. Yes, she is a Strictly fan but at no point did it feel genuine, whether it was the dances or the partnership. For me it felt like she was going through the motions to audition for a role she wants and that was shown most in the final. Where everyone else stepped out of their comfort zones and into new styles and techniques, she reverted to her prior knowledge and it felt a little like cheating. She is a brilliant dancer, yes, but at the end of the day, she is the one I would be most disappointed to see win.

Joe and Dianne: The surprise of the series and the real journey. They started as a pair I didn’t know and didn’t like, and I think the same can be said for much of the population, but he has captured everyone. They’re funny and infectious and I genuinely enjoy watching them a lot. I really hope the rumours about them are true because they are so adorable together, and I think it would make me really happy to see them win after their incredible final performances. The risks and the hours paid off, you were incredible.

Stacey and Kevin: I liked these from the get go, and even though I tried to be a little wary as I was worried she would irritate me and that Kevin would be his new weird self on the show, I loved them so much by the end. They danced some of the most memorable dances of the show, and even though their show dance fell a little flat, their drive and personalities are just so infectious. I would love to see Stacey win, I really would, but I think we are all thinking the same thing and that is that we want to see Kevin lose his shit and win this thing, right? I am so conflicted, Joe or Kevin, Joe or Kevin….

Michael Buble is just the best and he really is a great showman to get on the final show. I don’t think that the sound quality was the best, but who cares, he was crooning and grooving his little socks off up there. AND WOW Aljaz and Janette, them lifts, the flicks, the energy, that was an action packed, non stop performance. Even Michael had to applaud you repeatedly. Watch it here now!

D’you know what? As far as filler dances and what not goes, that was a pretty good ‘get everyone back on the dance floor so you can remember who actually took part this year’ kinda dance. Everyone loves a bit of Wham on a Saturday night, and it really showed that there were very few truly dreadful dancers this year (Susannah aside). I forgot some of the people who competed though, that’s never good really is it? Check it out here!

Let’s leave it with the winners this year. I voted for both Joe and Dianne, and for Stacey and Kevin, and I have to say that the show as a whole has been one of the best finals. I have lost it a little over the shows this year because of the inconsistency and the biased scoring, but ultimately I can’t give up on it, so until next time, keep dancing, and celebrate this years winners…..


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