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Dancing - with tears in their eyes?

FINALE! Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1, 5.50pm and 9.25pm

Strictly Come DancingGah, we've only just got over the excitement disappointment of this year's X Factor final, and now it's time for the final showdown in the Saturday night show that we actually gave a toss about this year: Strictly Come Dancing. It's been a thrilling series with more than its fair share of controversial moments, but Alesha Dixon and Matt Di Angelo have made it to the final and only one of them can win. Who will it be? We don't know, obviously, but let's have a quick(ish) look back over the highs and lows of the series:

First to get the boot was Brian "Richard Hillman" Capron, possibly as a result of Gail getting on the phone and furiously voting for all the other contestants. He was partnered with Karen Hardy, and we were a bit relieved to see her go out first - it's not that we're vindictive, because we like Karen a lot, but she's far less scary as a pundit on It Takes Two than she is as a contestant. There was lowculture-based outrage in week two when the iconic Stephanie Beacham was dismissed by the judges after the dance-off in favour of Letitia Dean, despite having clearly performed better. Could this, gasped the tinhat-wearing internet conspiracy theorists, have anything to do with the fact that Letitia had just signed on for the live tour, whereas Stephanie had not? We'll never know, but in all fairness Stephanie seemed grateful for the chance to put her feet up so soon, and Letitia went on to get a lot better, so really it was a win-win.

Week three was the calm before the storm, when Willie Thorne was ejected in favour of John Barnes (who, you may not have noticed, is a SPORTSMAN and dances LIKE A BLOKE - just putting that out there), but week four was when the shit hit the fan, as Gabby Logan and Penny Lancaster-Stewart were in the bottom two. Cries of "wtf?" were heard around the country, since nobody had expected either of them to go out so early. The judges elected to save Penny, and Gabby did an impressive gracious loser face, though it became apparent later that even several weeks after the fact, she still hasn't quite managed to see the funny side of it. This was also a massive smack in the face to those of us who assumed that Gabby and James would be the obvious victors in the contrived battle of the houses of Logan and Jordan.

Next to be sent home was Dominic Littlewood, who also proved himself to be a poor sportsman, especially when faced against John Barnes in the dance-off, considering that John Barnes is an actual SPORTSMAN, so we lost him and with him the lovely Lilia. The following week, Penny's luck ran out as she was up against the unexpectedly unpopular (that week, at least) Matt in the bottom two. He got saved by the judges, and Penny turned out to be one of those few but fortunate people who can still look incredibly pretty while crying.

John and Nicole were in the dance-off again the next week, and were joined by Kate Garraway and Anton du Beke, who had been living on borrowed time for quite a while. We would like, however, to take this opportunity to congratulate Kate for being a fantastic sport about the whole thing, and to wonder why people always single her out as the worst in the competition when Kenny Logan was no better. Anyway, John had also been dancing on the edge for some time and met his match the following week when up against Kelly Brook in the dance-off (Kelly having delivered an uninspiring samba due to having barely rehearsed that week, which we later learned was due to her dad being very ill).

Kelly then chose to withdraw from the competition following the death of her dad, leaving the top five as Alesha, Matt, Letitia, Kenny and Gethin Jones. One of those names does not belong, you may have spotted it: yep, Kenny was eliminated that week despite his lifting prowess, and not a moment too soon. Which not only meant that for the first time in two years, the show would definitely not be won by a SPORTSMAN, but that we realised we actually liked everyone in the top four, which seldom happens. Also this week, Gethin finally got over his well-documented "intimacy issues" and learned to shake what his mama gave him. Girls and gay boys countrywide were delighted with the results.

Still reading? Well done, we're nearly there. The quarter-final brought surprises aplenty as Matt forgot his steps twice and was bottom of the leaderboard with the judges, but was hastily saved by the voting public, leaving Alesha and Letitia to fight it out for the last spot in the semi-final. Letitia lost out, but bowed out of the competition with complete grace, so good on her. The semi-final brought even more surprises as Alesha delivered a beautiful Quickstep and Matt's Waltz got the competition's first perfect score, which had the unfortunate side effect of kicking Gethin out at the very last stage, in a decision that was not exactly approved of by all.

So here we are: Alesha and Matthew versus Matt and Flavia, and it could still go either way. They've both done amazing performances: Alesha's Cha Cha Cha and Waltz, Matt's Waltz and Salsa. As we said above, we liked everyone in the top four this year (and a few who weren't), so we're not going to be too disappointed whoever wins. We do have our favourite, but we're not saying who it is because we've learned from experience that doing so tends to jinx that person, so we'll just say: hurrah, both of you!

Don't forget that the results show is on the same night this week only, and Carrie will be doing a live blog of the evening's events over on Strictly Come Bitching. And, since this is probably the last time we'll get to use this for some while, we'll end by saying:

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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