A DAZZLING series of Strictly Come Dancing ends tonight with the fab four finalists all hoping to waltz off with the Glitterball trophy.
Here, the Sun’s Strictly columnists JAMES and OLA JORDAN former pro dancers on the hit BBC1 show, rate the remaining contestants. We give the Sun Bets odds and hear from the hopefuls . . .
JAMES’ VERDICT: Debbie is flying the flag for the more mature people to prove that age is just a number.
I believe she will win because it’s been put in people’s minds about the whole age thing. If an older lady wins Strictly it will tick another box.
OLA’S VERDICT: Giovanni did a fab job with Debbie, as well as choreographing and everything. Debbie is amazing.
From week one, when she did that Paso Doble, she was just brilliant.
IF 59-year-old Debbie claims the Glitterball trophy tonight she will be the oldest contestant ever to win Strictly.
The widow of magician Paul Daniels has been a revelation all series, skilfully performing complex routines with dance partner Giovanni Pernice, 27.
Debbie – who has been nicknamed “Flexy McGee” by Giovanni – is planning to release a yoga DVD off the back of her success on the show.
The former magician’s assistant swears by Ashtanga yoga, in which a set sequence of movements is performed in time with a specific breathing technique.
Asked about her post-Strictly future, Debbie says: “There’s lots of things sort of bubbling under and I haven’t decided on anything yet. But after Christmas I’m going to look with my agent at everything that’s come in and a DVD is certainly something I’m going to consider.”
JAMES’ VERDICT: Gemma started off extremely awkward. She is one of the most improved throughout the series.
You can clearly tell she’s a non-dancer and she should be proud. I’m very happy for her that she made it to the final.
OLA’S VERDICT: Gemma and Aljaž are a very good-looking couple so it is easy to look at them and enjoy them.
I can tell, as a dancer, that she had never danced before. She has improved such a lot.
SOAP star Gemma, 33, went into the contest as a “non dancer” and improved dramatically to make it to the final.
Yet the gym-loving former glamour model, who is paired with Slovenian heartthrob Aljaž Škorjanec, 27, was initially written off because of her tall, muscular build.
Gemma, who has appeared in Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, says: “I never in a million years thought I’d have a frock on dancing a Viennese waltz with Aljaž.
“I feel more comfortable in the boxing ring. But I’ve done it.
“I’m broad, I’m tall and everyone said to me, ‘There’s no way you’ll be able to do it because you’re too muscular or you’re too much of a tomboy’.
"Obviously just getting here is a massive achievement.”
JAMES’ VERDICT: I would say that Alexandra and Gorka have been the most consistent couple throughout the whole series.
People will point out that she’s a trained dancer. However she is not a ballroom and Latin dancer and I think she has probably created the most epic performances throughout the series.
OLA’S VERDICT: Alexandra has been brilliant from day one.
Gorka, as a choreographer and teacher, has done an amazing job with her.
In fact, she has had only one weak dance out of all the routines she’s done during the series.
IT has been a rollercoaster ride to the final for the X Factor winner.
Alexandra, 29, has visibly struggled with her emotions throughout the series – following the tragic loss of her mother, Soul II Soul singer Melissa Bell, in August – with some viewers even accusing her of being fake.
But no one could ever doubt her amazing dance skills.
Alexandra and her partner, Spanish professional Gorka Marquez, 27, have been brilliant from the off.
Their energetic charleston to the Mary Poppins tune Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was a revelation.
So it is no surprise that she has made it to this year’s final.
Despite Alexandra shooting to glory on X Factor in 2008 – and being one of that show’s most successful winners – she admits she is nervous about tonight.
She says: “There’s always an element of pressure, of course there would be, but this was the week that
I’ve said to myself, ‘I’m just gonna be so relaxed and cool, calm and collected – because when Saturday hits I’m going to be a mess’.”
JAMES’ VERDICT: As a couple, they have the likeability factor, they’re just cute.
Joe and Katya are really nice to watch and have improved so much.
OLA’S VERDICT: Joe showed potential at the beginning but he could have quite easily gone off the radar.
He was the person from the line-up you didn’t expect to get into the final. Joe is definitely the biggest improver and could go all the way.
BEST known for playing Raffaello “Raf” di Lucca in Holby City, Joe was a relative unknown when the series started.
But now the 42-year-old Scottish actor, who is partnered with Russian dance professional Katya Jones, 28, is a household name – and favourite to win.
They have been consistently good. In the first week they notched up 29 points and came third, and in last week’s semi- final their incredible quickstep saw them top the leaderboard with 44 points.
Joe faces an uncertain future after Strictly – not least because his Holby character was killed off last week.
Talking about what he’ll be doing next, Joe jokes: “Sleep for about a month. Find out what my life’s like.
Pay some bills, do some laundry. That’s the exciting thing, I’ve just left another TV show so it’s a completely clean slate.”
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