Comments from Chris and Ricky, and Christmas line-up.

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.

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’.

Strictly Come Dancing returns for a one off festive Christmas special, featuring previous celebrities’ Rachel Stevens, Austin Healey and Gethin Jones plus this year’s semi finalists Ali Bastian, Ricky Whittle and 2009 Strictly Champion Chris Hollins. Tune in BBC One 7.00pm Christmas Day.

The moment of truth!

Team C’Ola or Ricky & Natalie…

I think it’ll be Chris and Ola due to the phenomenal public support they’ve had over the whole series – and that confirms it.

Congratulations Chris, you’ve definitely been the most entertaining couple (once Ricky Groves left anyway).

I agree with the result, but how about you?

Final Leaderboard

Wow four dances later, and only 4 points separating our two finalists:

1. Ricky & Natalie…50…43…48…49…Total 190 points
2. Chris & Ola…46…44…50…46…Total 186 points

A lot closer than I think many people would have predicted, but Chris definitely deserves to be that close to Ricky.

Although Ricky is, on the whole, the better dancer I do think Chris just has the most entertaining personality and I really do think he’ll win this one.

But you’re the public, what do you think, who are you voting for?

Ricky Whittle & Natalie Lowe – Showdance

I wonder if the press lift will make a reappearance.

There’s still moments when I wish Ricky would think about his free hand, however I must say a no-hands lift definitely makes up for that.

Shame they were a little bit off balance at the end. Lots of lifts but I actually found Chris’ to be more daring.

I think having a Cha Cha based showdance was a little bit of a cop-out but I can’t fault the dancing, just wish the dance had wowed me a bit better.

Only a 9 I’m afraid Ricky.

Chris Hollins & Ola Jordan – Showdance

Now I predicted that Ricky may outperform Chris in this dance, but not having seen either this will be an interesting contest.

That answers my question about whether Chris will be able to lift Ola above his head as well as Ricky!

Needs to keep his head up, and looks a little off in the Cha Cha sections but the Jive looks good, and what a one-handed lift there from Chris.

The judges looked a little scared there at the end as Chris jumps on their desk.

As ever Chris is the consumate entertainer, a little bit sloppy in places but some amazing lifts (based on my expectations!).

I’d like to give it a 9.5.

Ricky Whittle & Natalie Lowe – Cha Cha Cha

I wasn’t a big fan of their Cha Cha the first time round, though the judges seemed to really like it. Let’s see if Ricky can change my mind.

Some of Ricky’s forward locks are really good, and then some appear to have no hip action whatsoever, and he does need to look at those hands.

It still didn’t wow me i’m afraid, but I can’t really fault it too much, will give this a 9.

Jade Johnson & Ian Waite Tango

After seeing that there’s no doubt that Jade was an incredibly strong contender for this title.

My old teacher Mary (Ian’s step-mum) choreographed this dance and was gutted when they couldn’t perform it on the night.

I feel so sorry for Ian as this was probably his best chance for making it to the final, let’s hope he gets someone equally as good next year.

Both couple’s Lindyhop

Out of the two of them I’d say in advance that Chris could well outperform Ricky in this dance – on a personality basis anyway!

Little stumble at the start from Ricky there. Chris does need to keep his head up though.

However Ricky can definitely lift Natalie easily over his head…up until that spin over the head.

Is it my imagination though or are Ricky and Natalie having more individual dance moments in the choreography?

An entertaining routine, shame Ricky very nearly had a disastrous drop.

It’s difficult to compare between the two as Ricky and Natalie’s routine appeared to have more content to it, and Chris did have the odd timing issue.

I’d give Chris and 8 and Ricky a 9 (though I might have to go back and count the on-screen couple-solos for both of them)!