In one of the most nail biting finals ever seen on Strictly Come Dancing, sports presenter Chris Hollins was voted Strictly Come Dancing Champion 2009, battling it out in a dramatic grand final against Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle.
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On winning the competition with his professional partner Ola Jordan, Chris said:
‘I’d just love to thank everyone so much especially you two (Ricky and Natalie) you’ve made it a wonderful final, a very wonderful final. I’d love to thank all our family and friends, our loved ones because without you we wouldn’t have been able to do half the training, and I’d also like to thank all our fellow professionals, they are so generous with their time they are absolutely brilliant! And I’ve got to say last, and definitely not least, little Ola chops - thank you so much for believing in me all the way along, I did test you a little bit, the jive and the quickstep come to mind! Thank you so much you lovely little girl.’
Ola Jordan said of lifting the coveted Glitterball trophy: ‘I just want to say you’ve been the best partner, you’ve been a dream to work with – thank you so much because that experience was fantastic for me.’
Runner up Ricky Whittle said of his Strictly experience:
‘I’ve had an absolutely amazing time; I’ve had the time of my life. I want to thank all of our supporters firstly for getting us here and getting this far – we’ve had a great time and the opportunity to dance on the biggest show out there in Great Britain . I’m going to keep dancing. I want to say thank you to a lot of people, my family here at Strictly, everyone back on Hollyoaks who helped us out – the press team, Vicky, Rachel, Lucy, Anne. Natalie (Lowe) who has been absolutely amazing! My Mum and Dad who are here, my friends, my family.’
In the climax to a thrilling seventh series, both couples performed their highest scoring Ballroom and Latin dances plus a group Lindy Hop and a ‘no holds barred’ show dance in a bid to be titled Strictly champion 2009.
There was a special performance by Strictly’s very own Bruce Forsyth and Alesha Dixon, singing a sparkling rendition of ‘Something’s Gotta Give’.
The final also saw the return of many of this series’ eliminated couples who took to the floor one final time, performing their most memorable dance from the show.
In a poignant moment, athlete Jade Johnson who was forced to withdraw from the competition because of injury, returned to the dance floor with her professional partner Ian Waite to dance the Tango – the fateful dance they never got to perform in the live show.
As an added treat, last years finalists, singer Rachel Stevens and model & presenter Lisa Snowden paired up with their professional partners from last series; Brendan Cole and Vincent Simone to dance a Cha Cha/Tango to ‘Sister’s are doin’ it for themselves’ by Aretha Franklin/The Eurhythmics. As one final Brucie bonus Strictly Professional dancers Kristina Rihanoff and Brian Fortuna dazzled the audience with a magnificent Cha Cha Cha to Lady Gaga’s ‘Just dance’.
On Chris and Ola’s Foxtrot to ‘Could Have Danced All Night’ by Frank Sinatra the judges said: Craig: Timing and footwork of course is very difficult, as you know, in this dance and I think you did that very, very well. However, your hands are still a problem and it lacked swing and sway but, for me, it was a lot better than Blackpool .
Darcey: For me, in this, you show the best of your dance ability. You look so comfortable and you look like you enjoyed it. It was lovely. Well done.
Len: Well you have turned into a prince; you’re prince charming. No, you are, I think you’ve got a charming personality and I think this foxtrot has travelled well because I thought it was top notch in Blackpool and it’s travelled all the way down to London. Top notch again.
Bruno: I want to take this moment to congratulate you, Ola – you’ve turned a frog into a prince! You really did because this was elegant, it was charming, beautifully danced, no mistakes, not too many funny faces, a tiny bit of a funny hand but I’m telling you, what you’ve done is brilliant
Alesha: Well it was a magical moment when you danced it in Blackpool . I think that was a really defining moment for you, wasn’t it, Chris? You’ve been on an incredible journey, you’ve improved so much, it’s been a pleasure to watch and I just want you to really enjoy this moment tonight, Chris.
On their Lindy Hop to ‘Sing Sing Sing’ the judges said: Len: To be honest Chris, I thought you held your own very very well. Ricky was maybe a little bit sharper and more rhythmic but overall, there really wasn’t anything in it, was fantastic well done.
Alesha: Chris – it was nicely controlled, funny and entertaining. Your brain must be frazzled by this stage of the competition, but for me it was very close to call; it was neck and neck really!
Bruno: Well I must say, you really crack me up! It was like watching a cheeky frantic monkey, but I loved it! Was like watching a scene out of the Jungle Book – I almost threw you a banana! I enjoyed it, it was wonderful
And of their electric Charleston performance to ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam by Paul Williams, the judges said:
Bruno: ‘Exhilarating! Uplifting, exciting! The look on your face when you did that end sequence when Ola was riding you and taking you to the realms of ecstasy – a Strictly Come Dancing Classic!
Craig: Quirky, dynamic, animated all those wonderful things and actually your mouth being open so wide really did suit that whole thing – it really helped deliver and I loved it.
Darcey: You did it Chris, you transported me to the golden era of movies – it was brilliant it was brilliant, and you and Ola are so perfectly in tune together in that Charleston it was made for you.
Len: This is turning into the best final ever. The classic confrontation, the dancer and the entertainer, and I tell you what, sunshine, that was fantastic entertainment – I loved it!!
On Chris and Ola’s Show Dance to ‘Do you Love me’ by The Contours the judges commented: Darcy: Wow Chris that was great partnering, your timing the technique was perfect. I was really taken a back. And there was no strain on your face at all in every lift.
Len:They talk about journeys on this show and some people’s journeys are tougher than others, and you’ve had a real tough journey. Some weeks good, some weeks bad and occasionally a little bit ugly, but always coming out full of energy, full of enthusiasm and full of get up and go and this is no exception. Great dance, well done.
Alesha: I like the fact that you combined different styles within your dance, you put some jive in there, some cha cha some you had the classic Chris pivots in there. There were some cheeky funny moments, some clever lifts, the song says, do you love me - the answer is yes!
Bruno: Chris – where did you get the strength? Did you eat spinach for a month? It was like Popeye – I cannot believe what you did! A great performance!
Strictly Come Dancing returns for a one off festive Christmas special, featuring previous celebrities’ Rachel Stevens, Austin Healey and Gethin J ones plus this year’s semi finalists Ali Bastian, Ricky Whittle and 2009 Strictly Champion Chris Hollins. Tune in BBC One 7.00pm Christmas Day. For more info, visit the official website or get the regular updates via @bbcstrictly on Twitter.