Strictly’s most memorable showdances – the best the final has to offer

This lot pulled out all the stops to try to win the Glitterball Trophy.

Strictly Come Dancing's grand final is one of the TV events of the year, as the remaining couples go all out to put on the best show possible in hopes of winning.

Not only do we get to see two of each pair’s best dances from previous weeks again, but they’ll also be taking on the infamous showdance – where they can throw as many styles as they like into the mix to show what they’ve learned.

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It’s often a chance for some of the best routines of the season, as these past showstoppers prove.

Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup


Way back in 2008, when the showdance was called the freestyle, Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup set the standard for every Strictly final to come.

At this point, the Charleston hadn’t been introduced as a regular series style, but you’ll see elements of the couple’s showdance in pretty much every Charleston the show has seen since then.

Showdances can tend to get a little worthy and serious, but this one was light, fun, full of character, and a joy to watch.

Jason Donovan and Kristina Rihanoff

The setting could not have been more perfect for Jason Donovan and Kristina Rihanoff’s 2011 showdance, as it took place at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

It’s a tough job at the best of times to fill the huge dancefloor there, but the couple’s packed routine of lifts, jumps and leaps made it seem effortless.

Kristina also stripped off layers to go through three different outfits during the routine, which scored a perfect 40 from the judges.
Interestingly, watching it now we can see things such as their use of props being out of time with each other which would have been picked up on now and probably would not have resulted in a 40.

The standard is tough on Strictly these days!

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice


Of course, age should be no barrier to success on Strictly, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Debbie McGee was 59 when she danced this routine in 2017.

She has all the flexibility of the ballerina that she used to be, takes on some incredible lifts, including an unsupported spin where she clings onto Giovanni’s neck, she even does the splits, for goodness sake.

But even aside from the bells and whistles, it’s just a beautiful dance which perfectly showcases how graceful the lovely Debbie is.

It’s incredible that she didn’t win her series.

Colin Jackson and Erin Boag


Oh dear, Colin Jackson and Erin Boag – this 2005 effort was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Bizarrely, the pair decided to dance their routine not with each other, but each with a life-sized rag doll attached to their feet as a pretend partner.

The aim was apparently to prove that Colin could dance on his own, and it may have worked for a few seconds at the start, but this went on for the entire routine making it one of the weirdest things we’ve ever seen on Strictly.

The judges were unimpressed, with Bruno Tonioli saying: “It was an end-of-pier show, it didn’t belong to the final of Strictly Come Dancing.”

Arlene Phillips agreed: “I was thoroughly disappointed, I last saw this show in an awful casino in Vegas about 20 years ago.”

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace


Olympic gymnast Louis Smith must have had the best year of his life in 2012 – not only did he win silver and bronze medals at the London Olympics, he also won Strictly Come Dancing.

Of course, in a year that the whole country had become superfans of Louis’s gymnastic skill, it made sense that it should feature in his showdance with Flavia Cacace.

It began with an incredible display of his strength as he performed a series of handstands on a giant globe, and the highlight was a breathtaking lift where he held Flavia upside down without her slipping an inch.

Strictly pros must dream of getting matched with a partner like Louis, as it makes it possible to do those sorts of lifts that they’d never normally risk with an amateur.

Denise Van Outen and James Jordan


The 2012 series was a strong one, with Denise Van Outen also giving us one of the most memorable showdances ever.

She and partner James Jordan kept things fun and celebratory, with an upbeat routine inspired by Flashdance and including many of the film’s most famous moments.

It’s a precise, well-rehearsed routine with many stand-out moments, but what really makes this so memorable is the partnership between Denise and James.

They were obviously a brilliant match, and the dance really shows off the bond that they developed over the series.

Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton


The 2016 winning couple Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton embodied absolutely everything we’ve come to know and love about Strictly in their showdance.

High on entertainment value, making full use of props and the talented wardrobe department, and packed with every dance move Ore and learned over the series, it was the perfect finale to his competition.

Ore made the whole routine look effortless, even when jumping up onto the props and spinning Joanne around in complicated lifts.

It was amazing to see how the sports reporter, who had no dancing experience, had become a match for his pro partner by the series end.

Strictly Come Dancing’s final airs on Saturday, December 15 at 6.30pm on BBC One.

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