Belfast Telegraph

Unpredictability led us a merry dance for the best series ever

By Claire Harrison

It was a series of Strictly Come Dancing that didn't promise much at the start.

But, boy, weren't those of us who scoffed at the star quality of the celebrity line-up proved wrong by the end!

What we know now is that the fame of the actual celebs doesn't really matter, it's the 'journey' they go on (to use that awful stalwart phrase of reality television).

And we know now that the Strictly Come Dancing 2014 grand finale will go down as a spectacular seal on the best series the BBC has ever bedazzled fans with.

Back in August it was hard to get excited about a line-up of 15 contestants that largely read like a list of cast-offs from other reality shows - with the usual Casualty, EastEnders and dunce dancer thrown in.

Not one had the wow factor, nor any kind of real global recognition. No one predicted back then that presenter Caroline Flack would emerge clutching the glitterball as statistically its best ever dancer.

And that's what was riveting about this year's series - the unpredictably.

Of all the competing couples, five topped the leader board at various times. Three of the four finalists - including Flack - had been in the bottom two.

Unusually, Saturday night's final felt like anyone's game - and it was raining more 10s than ever before.

Apart from the nail-biting finish, the final was a spectacular piece of entertainment - and genuine emotion.

Even evil panto dame judge Craig Revel Horwood looked choked up by singer Simon Webbe's progress from vast outsider to Argentine Tango sensation.

Yes, it was schmaltzy and teary but never veered into the cynical, contrived territory so staunchly held by The X Factor. It was a prime example of how the BBC has ramped up the pressure on The X Factor by continually evolving the show in its 12th year.

The showdances were bigger and better than ever, the themed weeks brought crazy outfits, dancing dogs and gigantic props.

The professional set-pieces boasted dazzling choreography and the guest singers were there to add to the occasion, not flog a new single.

Everyone involved swore they were having the time of their life - and it showed.

Belfast Telegraph

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