Strictly Come Dancing 2011: The Final, Live Blog!

by Gerard McGarry

It’s time for the final dancing showdown, my friends. Strictly Come Dancing‘s final three will go head to head tonight: Harry Judd, Chelsee Healy and Jason Donovan will take to the floor and dance

Our elimination prediction: Earlier today on Twitter, I published my prediction for the elimination order. My gut feeling is that it’s going to be a win for Harry Judd tonight. Jason Donovan will be eliminated first, and Chelsee Healey will be a very deserving runner-up. I think much of this will be down to the McFly fanbase, but if Chelsee Healey continues with the same level of improvement as recently, she may well outperform Harry. However, since the public vote is everything in tonight’s show, Harry Judd could spin around the floor on his butt and still win.

The show kicks off with a gladiatorial dance by the professional dancers to Bon Jovi’s Living On a Prayer. And the show wastes no time showing what a ratings success it’s been this year. Quite right too. I find when a rival show like X Factor becomes overwrought and exhausting to watch, it’s refreshing to watch a show where there’s no agenda being crammed down your throat week-on-week.

Harry Judd and Aliona: Harry’s up first, dancing a quickstep to The Pretenders’ Don’t Get Me Wrong. It’s poised and professional and fast-paced. And it ends with a nice little air-drumming move from Harry. Len Goodman likens tonight to “The Battle of Blackpool” and tells Harry that he came out all guns blazing. Alesha Dixon calls it “a very strong start” while Bruno Tonioli raved about Harry’s “timeless elegance”.

Scores: Craig: 10, Len: 10, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 10 Totals: 40

Jason Donovan and Kristina:Ah, the feather dance! We can’t criticise the dayglo pink they’re wearing, because  that’s our colour! Brilliant to see a more entertaining dance set to a fast-paced version of I Will Survive, and Jason and Kristina danced it brilliantly. Alesha told Jason that he excelled and gave a joyful tango! Bruno described it as a “tango with split personalities”, but loved it overall. Craig gripes that Jason’s bottom was “sticking out”, but praises the number and Donovan’s hard work. Len points out that Jason’s much older than his rivals tonight, but matches them for energy.

Scores: Craig: 9, Len: 10, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 9 Totals: 38

Chelsee Healey and Pasha: Reprising her brilliant Shrek-themed dance from a fortnight ago, Chelsee’s chosen the right routine to showcase how well she’s come along since the beginning of the show. And quite rightly too – she was a complete unknown at the start of this show and now she’s a serious contender. I love her bubbly personality and the fact that she seems to be just a normal girl…who dances almost as well as the professionals! An excellent, fun-packed performance from Chelsee tonight! Bruno calls it a “premium grade jive”, and even Craig is buzzing with positive comments. Len Goodman notes that Chelsee had no dance experience before this show, and Alesha calls it her “favourite jive of the series”.

Scores: Craig: 9, Len: 10, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 10 Totals: 39

It’s the midpoint of the show, and Harry Judd’s leading the field so far. Though if we’re honest, people aren’t happy that Jason and Chelsee got lower marks. The standard is incredibly high this year, and many people think Jason and Chelsee were equally good.

Harry and Aliona: Performing a showdance to Great Balls Of Fire seems apt. If I was dancing with Aliona that’s what I’ve have too. Judd’s showing off the right amount of flesh to secure the phone vote. Although apparently McFly have promised to strip naked if Harry wins tonight. The duo give a fantastic performance, acrobatic and energetic in all the right places, with flips and lifts and Harry finishing off ON THE DRUMS. Alesha said some of the lifts bordered on dangerous, but loved the excitement, while Len and Craig compliment Harry’s talent. There are some criticisms about how much more smooth the routine could have been, but on the whole, the judges loved it.

Scores: Craig: 9, Len: 9, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 9 Totals: 37

Jason and Kristina: Jason wants to take full advantage of the “no rules” element of tonight’s showdance, so he’s going to be throwing the kitchen sink at it tonight. He’s dancing a salsa tonight, and like Harry Judd, the routine is laced with exciting lifts and flips. You know what? I think Jason edges it over Harry for pure showmanship. Kristina discards her costume for something a touch more skimpy along the way and the two collapse on the floor at the end. Brilliant routine. Alesha tells Jason that if it was a marathon, he’d have won already while Bruno calls it a “showbiz extravaganza”. Craig describes it as “ferocious and full on”, which we know is amazing praise and Len tells Jason that he’s a showman.

Scores: Craig: 10, Len: 10, Alesha: 10, Bruno: 10 Totals: 40

Chelsee and Pasha: Chelsee comes out looking like a bargain basement Beyonce to One Night Only. I want to like. The energy is there, but the finesse is not. It’s a rambunctious, energetic affair, but not as smooth as it could be. Which is disappointing, because I’d hoped Chelsee would squeak an all-10’s score on her last dance. Bruno notes a few rough edges in the performance, but Craig compliments the lifts especially for the danger element. Len compliments the “elements of hustle” and says all the finalists have given their all tonight. Alesha Dixon finishes by saying that Chelsee was set free and that she dances with her heart.

Scores: Craig: 9, Len: 9, Alesha: 9, Bruno: 9 Totals: 36

Gerard McGarry is a jet-setting, world-renowned Reality TV critic. In real life, Gerard works with web and social media strategy. His personal blog is at GerardMcGarry.com or follow him on Twitter @gerrybot