It’s finally here. After weeks of glitz and glamour, the final of Series 15 of Strictly Come Dancing takes place this weekend.
Strictly aficionados will have no doubt been glued to the show throughout its latest run. But what if you’re only in it for the extravagant and extended show that is the final?
Here’s everything you need to know to get you clued up ahead of Saturday.
Who will be dancing in the final?
From 15 budding ballroom wannabees, whittled down to just four flamboyant finalists, months of gruelling dance-offs and routines have left us with the best of that initial batch of celebrities.
Alexandra Burke and Gorka Marquez, Joe McFadden and Katya Jones, Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice, and Gemma Atkinson and Aljaž Škorjanec are the couples who will by vying for the Strictly crown.
What are the songs and dances?
The final is certainly an event, and the winner of Strictly Come Dancing will be decided over two and a half hours of demanding dancing.
That time will be filled with each couple performing three different routines, a total of 12 dances overall.
Each of the couples will dance a Judges’ Pick (selected by the judging panel to challenge the pairs) their own Favourite Dance (the couple’s favourite routine from the series) and a Showdance.
The Judges’ Picks and Showdances have been revealed ahead of the final – though what the couples are dancing to as their Favourite Dances won’t be revealed until the final itself.
The Judges’ Pick
- Debbie McGee will perform a Salsa to Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Boys Town Gang
- Alexandra Burke will American Smooth to Wouldn’t It Be Lovely from My Fair Lady
- Joe McFadden will Viennese Waltz to Somewhere My Love from Dr Zhivago
- Gemma Atkinson dances the Paso Doble to Viva La Vida by Coldplay
- Debbie McGee will Showdance to One Day I’ll Fly Away by Vaults
- Alexandra Burke will Showdance to There’s No Business Like Showbusiness by Ethel Merman
- Joe McFadden will Showdance to You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates
- Gemma Atkinson will Showdance to Show Me How You Burlesque by Christina Aguilera
This year there is a slight change to the format, and all four finalists will be performing a Showdance (in previous series, one dancer has been eliminated halfway through the show).
Who are the bookies’ favourites?
At the time of writing, the favourite to win Strictly is Joe McFadden (source: Oddschecker), which may come as something a surprise, seeing as the Holby City star hasn’t really dominated the conversation in previous weeks – as good as his dancing has been.
In close second is Debbie McGee, whose age-defying routines have wowed audiences over the weeks, despite not initially being expected to last very long in the competition.
Alexandra Burke should probably win the prize in terms of technicality, with many of her dances racking up near-perfect scores throughout the series. But the X Factor winner hasn’t been popular with viewers, not helped by accusations of her faking emotional reactions.
Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson is currently least favourite to win.
What’s the pre-final gossip?
Alexandra Burke has had perhaps the toughest time of any contestant on this year’s show. Her mother passed away shortly before the competition began, but despite battling on in the face of grief, she has come under fire throughout.
Alongside the claims of pretend emotional outbursts, there have been accusations of backstage meltdowns, and even a feud with dance partner Gorka Marquez.
Debbie McGee’s journey through the competition has come against the emotional background of the death of her husband Paul Daniels last year.
She has also denied a feud with Burke which the tabloids have been fuelling, calling it “all fiction”.
Gemma Atkinson recently revealed on Radio 2 that starting each routine with eye contact with partner Aljaž Škorjanec helps keep her nerves in check. Ominously then, her final Showdance begins with the pair facing away from each other.
Holby City actor Joe McFadden seems to have kept his head down for the most part. A jokey revelation in an interview with Chris Evans that partner Katya Jones might be using a whip to get him into shape for the final show is as scandalous as it gets.
Who is the guest music act in the final?
Ed Sheeran, that’s who.
When is the Strictly Come Dancing final?
You can watch the Strictly Come Dancing 2017 Final this Saturday (16 December) from 6.30pm on BBC One.