She might have been denied a place in last week’s final, but actress Ali Bastian was crowned Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas champion in the programme’s festive television special on Christmas Day.
The Bill star even beat this year’s main competition winner, sports presenter Chris Hollins, as well as a host of other past contestants from the BBC1 dance contest.
Despite being a consistent high scorer in this year’s series, Ali and dance partner Brian Fortuna were knocked out of the competition in the semi-finals, leaving Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle and BBC sports presenter Chris to battle it out.
Chris eventually took home the title following a closely-fought contest last weekend.
However, Ali triumphed in the Christmas edition of the show, which also featured former Strictly contestants such as pop star Rachel Stevens, rugby legend Austin Healey and television presenter Gethin Jones.
Performing a Viennese waltz to The Eagles’ Please Come Home For Christmas with dancer partner Brian Fortuna, the pair scored a perfect 40 from the judges and won over the studio audience, who voted for their favourite to win.
As she was crowned the festive winner, Ali said: ‘I can’t believe it. Thank you very much… This is fantastic.’
Describing how it felt to be Christmas champs, Brian said: ‘Awesome, it’s Christmas, I’m with Ali, we won the show, beautiful!’
And the judges lavished praise on the couple, who this week confirmed they are also an item off the dance floor.
Judge Bruno Tonioli told the actress: ‘Ali, that was an impeccable Viennese waltz of supreme beauty. I’m so happy to see you again because it really brings back to me the full intensity of your dancing.
‘You’re superb, you’re a fantastic dancer, technique and artistry all there to be seen. Fabulous.’
Fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood said: ‘I totally agree with all of that actually – stunning, gorgeous and an absolute classic.’
Head judge Len Goodman chipped in: ‘I tell you what, Ali, you are a stocking filler, you are. You’re Cinderella, the belle of the ball, absolutely gorgeous.’
And Alesha Dixon told the pair they were a ‘beautiful couple’.
She added: ‘I feel like you are keeping romance alive and that was just a wonderful Christmas treat, thank you.’
Ricky Whittle, whose fancy footwork had made him a favourite to win the main contest, and professional partner Natalie Lowe took to the dance floor again with a quickstep to Jingle Bells.
Austin Healy and Erin Boag performed a paso doble to Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Gethin Jones and Flavia Cacace showed off their American smooth to Baby It’s Cold Outside, while Rachel Stevens and Vincent Simone performed a rumba to Miss You Most (At Christmas Time).
Series champ Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan opted for a foxtrot to Santa Baby.
The climax of Strictly Come Dancing’s seventh series also saw a special performance by the cast of hit musical The Rat Pack of White Christmas.
Source: Daily Mail