Strictly Come Dancing 2023: Winner of glitterball trophy announced

Actress Ellie Leach has been crowned this year’s Strictly Come Dancing champion on BBC One.

The former Coronation Street actress beat EastEnders’ Bobby Brazier and Bad Education star Layton Williams to lift the glitterball trophy in Saturday’s live final.

They were the youngest trio of finalists ever to compete.

Ellie, 22, who was the bookmakers’ favourite to win, performed three dances with partner Vito Coppola.

As usual, one of the dances in the grand finale was chosen by the judges, one was their own favourite dance from the series, and the other was a show dance.

The judges gave advisory scores but the public made the final decision.

After Ellie and Vito danced their favourite routine – set to Ain’t That a Kick in the Head by Robbie Williams, originally recorded by Dean Martin – they were awarded the maximum 40 points.

They also performed their paso doble routine again, chosen by the judges, while their show dance was a Jennifer Lopez megamix.

Praising the paso doble, head judge Shirley Ballas told Ellie: “You, my dear, are the only lady standing and let me tell you, you came down those stairs, you worked that dress, the whole ensemble… was spot on.”

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola during their appearance on the live show
Image caption,The 22-year-old TV star beat two other couples – Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell, and Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin

Ellie and Vito faced a wobble in their show dance, when the final lift did not go exactly to plan.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood told Ellie: “It’s a terrible shame with the last lift because really that whole dance routine was just flawless up until that moment.”

The pair were awarded 36 points from the judges for that dance, their lowest score of the night.

They faced stiff competition from the other remaining couples – Layton and Nikita Kuzmin, and Bobby and Dianne Buswell – who also took to the dancefloor for one last time.

Layton and Nikita topped the leaderboard, scoring 119, followed by Bobby and Dianne with 117 and Ellie and Vito at 115.

But after 12 weeks of tangos, salsas and foxtrots, it was Ellie and Vito’s night as they topped the public vote.

Reacting to their win, Ellie said she “genuinely cannot believe this” – adding it was the first time she had seen Vito cry.

“For once, he’s crying more than me,” she said. Turning to her dance partner, she added: “This is for you.”

Vito, who won the contest for the first time, said Ellie was a “diamond” who had made him “so proud”. He told her: “You have been so amazing, you are Strictly, you represent Strictly.”

The Strictly professionals performed the opening dance number, dressed in black and white, with Amy Dowden making a surprise appearance.

The 33-year-old was not able to have a star partner this year due to her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.

The entire line-up of 2023 also came back for one more routine.

They included former tennis player Annabel Croft, who missed out on a place in the final after she and partner Johannes Radebe were eliminated last weekend.

She had gone head-to-head with Bobby in the dance-off, but the judges voted to save the actor.

Other highlights of the final included a performance by megastar Cher, with festive number DJ Play a Christmas Song, and Olly Alexander being revealed as the UK’s 2024 Eurovision representative after reading out the voting terms and conditions.

Who were the finalists?

Strictly's Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell
Image caption,Fans were in tears after Bobby’s tribute to his mother

EastEnders actor and model Bobby Brazier, son of the late Big Brother star Jade Goody, plays Freddie Slater in the BBC soap.

Away from Walford, Bobby, 20, has modelled for the major fashion house Dolce & Gabbana at Milan Fashion Week.

In week 10, he and Dianne received a standing ovation when Bobby dedicated the dance to his late mother, Jade Goody. The pair repeated the tribute in Saturday’s show.

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola holding the Glitterball trophy above their heads with fireworks visible behind them

Ellie Leach is best known for her 12 years playing Faye Windass on ITV soap Coronation Street.

She has been nominated for multiple British Soap Awards and Inside Soap Awards for her role in hard-hitting storylines, which have included falling pregnant at 13 and later reconnecting with the child she gave up.

Ellie has described the experience of being on Strictly as “life-changing” and totally different to her experience filming Corrie.

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, Strictly stars
Image caption,Layton formed a close bond with partner Nikita

Layton Williams has performed in London’s West End in Billy Elliot, Thriller Live and Everyone’s Talking About Jamie. He has also appeared in TV series Bad Education and I Hate Suzie.

The actor, 29, most recently provided the voiceover for the BBC Three gay dating show I Kissed A Boy.

He was paired with Nikita Kuzmin, and has said that dancing in a same-sex couple was “pushing a boundary”. “That is just my norm, but it’s not everyone’s norm,” he said.

This year’s series – the BBC dance show’s 21st – began in September with 15 celebrities in the running including actor and entertainer Les Dennis and Rip-Off Britain presenter Angela Rippon.

Casualty star Nigel Harman, Paralympian Jody Cundy, Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington and Channel 4 anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy also appeared on the show.

In October, Amanda withdrew from Strictly, citing “personal reasons”. Earlier this month, Nigel also pulled out of the show following an injury.

The series was judged by Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.

In last year’s competition, presenter Hamza Yassin was crowned winner alongside his dance partner Jowita Przystal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *