For the last six or seven years, Strictly Come Dancing has been the highlight of my television calendar. From September to December I religiously watch every live show, every results show, and most episodes of its sister programme It Takes Two. With Series 10 reaching its grand conclusion last night, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of my thoughts on the 2012 competition and explain why I’m such a Strictly addict.

Let’s start with something positive: why do I love Strictly? In short, because it’s fun and nobody’s livelihoods are at stake, unlike in some reality/entertainment shows I could mention (cough X Factor cough). There are no real sob stories, everyone genuinely seems to get on well every year, and it makes me smile. Dani and Vincent Viennese Waltz

Series 10 has been no exception to these generalities. An excellent celeb line up, the addition of Darcey Bussell to the judging panel, and a great new pro dancer have all contributed to making twelve fantastic weeks of television. Oh and the dancing’s been rather wonderful too!

If I had to pick a favourite dance of this series it would probably be Dani and Vincent’s Venetian-themed Viennese Waltz; it was so beautifully choreographed and performed. I had been routing for this couple, nicknamed Team Smurf, when the final kicked off last night, and I do believe that with a different show dance they might have won. It was such a shame that nerves took hold and that perhaps their show dance was a tad too ambitious.

I always feel a bit of loyalty towards some of the professional dancers who have been on the show a long time, so much so that I admit it actually affects my voting to a degree. I never do vote until the last two weeks of the competition, but right from the start I wanted Vincent, James or Flavia to be in with a chance of finally lifting the Glitter Ball trophy. Of course I would never vote for the pro alone, which is why I was delighted to see that all three had celebrity partners who not only seemed to be nice people, but who steadily developed as talented dancers.

JamesDeniseCharlestonHowever, it seems I have been in a minority when it came to supporting James and his partner Denise van Outen. It actually saddens me a little to write something negative about Strictly, but it has been truly disappointing to read how vindictive and unpleasant some fans have been about Denise and her performance background on various forums/social media channels this year. So what if she’s been on stage and danced in Chicago? Kimberley is from a musical background and appeared in Shrek, and several past contestants have also attended stage school and had some dance training. Was there ever a backlash like this against them? I don’t believe so. It’s a shame that, for whatever reason, people were so vocally negative about a contestant who actually trained around 100 hours more than anyone else in this year’s competition and who didn’t have prior experience in the Ballroom and Latin disciplines. The mistakes she made  – and there were a few – should have been proof that she was learning too.

Right, I’ve got that off my chest and promise to rant no more in this post. On to the final!

After Dani left I still had my hopes for Denise (what a spectacular show dance!), but had an Louis-FlaviaSCDChampionsinkling that it would be Louis or Kimberley taking the crown after the second round of voting. Kimberley was absolutely fantastic over the second half of the competition, whilst Louis had found his inner performer and proved his popularity by never being in the bottom two. Any of the four finalists would have been deserving champions, so I wasn’t disappointed when Louis and Flavia were declared the Strictly Come Dancing 2012 winners. With the judges’ scores only putting one point between all of the top three couples, it was always going to come down to a slight popularity vote and that gymnastic physique may well have swung it in the Olympian’s favour!

I could go on for many more paragraphs, discussing dresses, more dances, the wonderful Lisa Riley, Halloween night, the judges, and the bewilderment I feel whenever Claudia Winkleman appears on screen, but I’ve probably babbled long enough. Suffice to say there will now be a Strictly-shaped hole in my weekends and I have absolutely loved this series. Bring on the Christmas Special and I look forward to more FAB-U-LOUS dancing in autumn 2013!

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