This Saturday, 2016’s Strictly Come Dancing draws to a close, and after 12 impressive weeks, a winner will be crowned, and will get to take home the coveted Glitterball trophy. The 14th series has seen Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls hop his way across the dance floor to Gangnam Style, Judge Rinder swinging his hips to Duffy’s Mercy, and Danny Mac score the first 40 of the series for his samba.
Now, just Danny Mac, with professional dancer Oti Mabuse, Louise Redknapp, paired with fan-favourite Kevin Clifton, and Ore Oduba, paired with Kevin’s sister Joanne, remain to fight it out in the final. On Saturday, each duo will perform two dances – one will be repeat of their favourite dance of the series, with the second a showdance choreographed by the professional dancer.
Danny and Oti are set to perform the samba first, and will do his showdance to Set Fire To The Rain by Adele, while Louise plans to sashay her way across the dancefloor with an Argentine Tango, followed by a showdance to Whitney Houston’s One Moment In Time. Ore and Joanne plan to repeat their most successful dance to date, the jive, and round up their time on the show with a showdance to upbeat I Got Rhythm by George and Ira Gershwin.
So what are the finalists thinking ahead of Saturday night? Read below to find out…
What does being in the final feel like?
Ore: Being in the final of the show was something I didn’t even consider to be an option at the beginning. I’ve watched the show for the 12 years it’s been on and I’ve always dreamt about doing it. So when the opporunity arrived, it was the realisation of a dream. So being in the final is beyond belief.
Louise: You can’t imagine ever imagine even being on the show. I’ve watched it for years too, and I never thought I’d have the guts to do it. So when I got there, it was a mix of nerves and excitement. But I’m just going to give the final my best. Choosing to do Strictly was really personal for me. Anyone who has kids will know, your life gets so wrapped up
in them, and you end up doing nothing you love doing. So for me, Strictly was always about getting back out there and
remembering how much I love performing.
Danny: The final is what you dream of at the start of the competition but you only ever take it one week at a time. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done – and to be in the final, it feels like you’ve gone the whole way.
Most challenging moment of the whole series?
Danny: I cannot explain how much of a challenge every single dance has been on the Monday and Tuesday that we start rehearsals! None of us will ever be as good as the pro’s, which means there is always so much to learn. But even if our dance is working, Oti will always make it harder! She will push me, but that’s why I feel like I’ve achieved so much in this. No day is easy, but the sense of achievement is brilliant when you get there.
Ore: My worst moment was being in the dance-off the first time. We’d done a salsa, which we loved doing, but ended up in the bottom two. In that moment, the whole of your Strictly experience flashes before your eyes, and you think, I might not be able to do this again. And it’s crushing. But in the end, we came out fighting and we’re still here.
Louise: Apart from wearing a fruit hat one week, which wasn’t my finest moment! I think it was in rehearsals when we were practising the samba, and I cried. And I’m not someone who cries when they can’t do something, I just get on with it. But that made me think, this is really affecting me. I never though Strictly would affect me like that. But then of course you have to pull yourself together and say, ‘Come on, you can do it’.
What has been the best moment?
Ore: Lot’s of moments that I couldn’t possibly say! At one point, we were all dressed as the Von Trapp family, and I thought, right, we’re in Strictly now, let’s get on with it! But working with Joanne who has become a brilliant friend has been the best part.
Danny: I think the fact that we’ve all got on so well. It’s been unbelieveable. Everyone has been really supportive of each other. We all have the coolest WhatsApp group! It’s mad – even when people have left the show they’re still chatting on the group supporting everyone else.
Louise: When you do a show like Strictly, you know what someone’s going to have an opinion on you. And for me, it had been a long time since anyone had an opinion on me, which is what I was nervous about. When I first started the show, I thought, this is so not up my husband’s (Jamie Redknapp) street. But now I can’t get rid of him! He’s there every week in the front row, and I wasn’t expecting that. But when I was asked to do the show, he said that it was about time I got back out there and showed everyone who I was. But him being there in the front row every Saturday has made this even more special for me because it’s so nice seeing someone you love extremely proud of you. It even takes me back to how we were 20 years ago, when we had first met and I was on stage with All Saints.
And a word from the pro’s…
Would any of you like to replace Len on the judging panel?
Joanne: I’d like to be on the judging panel – I’d love to critisice my brother! (Kevin Clifton)
Kevin: They haven’t approached me to replace Len! Personally, I’m just happy being a dancer at the moment. If it is one of the other pro’s that becomes the judge then I’d be happy with that because they’re the best bunch of pro’s in existence – they know their stuff.
Oti: My sister is a judge on the German Strictly, and I know it’s such a big responsibility, because you have to be really honest, and sometimes the dancers don’t take well to it or the celebrities don’t quite understand it. I don’t think personally that I’d like to sit there! Or at least not yet…
Watch the Strictly Come Dancing final on BBC One, at 6.40pm on Saturday.