Strictly Come Dancing LIVE as Ellie Leach tipped to take home glitterball trophy

With just hours left to go until 2023 crowns its Strictly Come Dancing champion, soap star Ellie Leach has been named as the frontrunner to claim the glitter-ball trophy

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ByPhoebe TonksLifestyle and Features Writer

  • Updated22:47, 15 DEC 2023
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  • With just hours left to go until Strictly Come Dancing crowns the 2023 glitter ball champion, fans will no doubt be eagerly counting down to the show’s grand finale on Saturday night, when the remaining three couples will be given one final chance to dance their way to victory.

    But while there is still everything to play for, Layton Williams and Bobby Brazier were dealt a crushing a blow ahead of the live show, when bookies shared their predictions that Ellie Leach will be this year’s champion.

    The former Coronation Street star, who even sparked romance rumours with her professional partner Vito Coppola is currently the favourite to win, with William Hill offering odds of 1/12 for her to be crowned the winner.

    This is a considerable way ahead of Layton Williams and his partner Nikita Kuzmin, who so far have been the only couple to achieve a perfect score from the judges, but currently carry odds of just 7/1.

    Meanwhile Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell are expected to come third this year, with odds of 16/1 that they can claim this year’s trophy.

    While the bookies odds are merely predictions, there does seem to be some agreement from the judging panel, as Shirley Ballas told It Takes Two earlier this week, that Ellie Leach “isn't leaving without the trophy” as she shared her predictions for this year’s champion.

    Appearing on the show on Thursday 14 December, Shirley explained how Ellie and Vito, the only couple to have avoided the dreaded dance off this series, wouldn’t be going home without a fight.

    "I know Vito very well and he's got a strong mental approach for this, he will be taking Ellie into this final as if it's just the last practice that he's done in the practice hall. He won't be trying to lift his performance on the evening, because he would have put it all into the last practice in the ballroom,” said Shirley.

    The head Strictly judge then added: "So I feel like she is going to give us a real, everybody a run for their money so I think this is a very very tight final. Don't underestimate Bobby, Layton is coming in with all the strength and Ellie is determined as the only female standing, she's isn't leaving without the trophy".

    Ahead of Strictly Come Dancing’s final show of the series on Saturday 15 December at 7:00pm on BBC One, OK! will be here live-blogging with you every step of the way.

    So without further ado…let’s get dancing!

    Key Events

    • Final song & dance list

    Dianne Buswell’s emotional tribute to ‘buddy for life’ Bobby Brazier ahead of show final

    Strictly Come Dancing star Dianne Buswell has shared a poignant tribute in honour of her celebrity dance partner on the show this year, Bobby Brazier.

    EastEnders actor Bobby, 20, and Australian professional Dianne, 34, are competing against Ellie Leach, 22, and Vito Coppola, 31, and Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin for the coveted glitterball trophy in tomorrow night's live final, 16 December.

    After their last full day in the training room, Dianne, who recently shared the special moment she met best pal Amy Dowden's dad, took to Instagram to share an incredibly emotional message to her dance partner.

    Along with a lengthy essay, she also shared a video montage packed with some of the best bits from their incredible journey on the show.

    Dianne reflected: "Today was our last training session. I left with so much pride so much gratitude so many memories and a buddy for life!

    "Bobs, I say it to you daily but thank you for giving me your all these last 3 months I could not of asked for any more from you!" the dancer went on to gush. "You really wanted to learn to dance and you have!!!! And you're so good at it now."

    "Whatever happens this weekend we honestly couldn’t of done anymore than we have," Dianne shared, adding that the pair have tried their "very, very best" every week.

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    Bobby Brazier suffers major blow before Strictly Come Dancing final

    Bobby Brazier, the 20-year-old EastEnders star, has received disappointing news just hours before the Strictly Come Dancing final.

    Despite consistently impressing with his dance partner Dianne Buswell, bookies have replaced him as favourite to win the Glitterball Trophy.

    After finding himself in the bottom two with Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe last Sunday, Bobby's chances of winning seem to be slipping away.

    Now, all eyes are on Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola, who have been tipped for victory after an outstanding season.

    Alex Apati from Ladbrokes told The Mirror: "All the signs are pointing towards a comfortable night for Ellie this weekend… she's headed the betting for some time now, and anything other than a win for the Corrie star would be considered a major upset at this point."

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    Strictly fans ‘rumble secret plan’ for axed dancer to reach final

    Strictly Come Dancing fans think they may have rumbled a secret plan from show bosses for Nigel Harman to be in the final, before he had to quit with an injury.

    Casualty star Nigel, 50, had to drop out on the day of the quarter final after breaking a rib in rehearsal, but eagle-eyed viewers think they have uncovered a clue that he was expected to be in the final, related to Bobby Brazier and tap dancing.

    Bobby, 20, appeared on Strictly: It Takes Two with his partner Dianne Buswell where they revealed that there was some tap included in their show dance, leading fans to speculate that the routine was originally meant for Nigel who had tap experience.

    Writing in an online forum about the show, one Strictly fan commented: "Don't think anyone mentioned that there is a bit of tap in Dianne and Bobby's show dance. I just thought – what? Surprised at that, especially if Bobby really is a 'never danced before' (and there is absolutely no evidence he has danced before) – seems a lot to ask to pick up some tap technique on top of everything else he has to learn and relearn this week."

    "I wonder if there will be any tap in Layton and Nikita's? There are a few intense tap routines in Billy Elliot even if he hasn't done any since school."

    Another person replied: "Yes I picked that up. I did wonder if this was a showdance that had been pre choreographed especially for Nigel as I believe he has had some training in tap. Now Nigel is not there they have palmed it off on Bobby. Probably not…..but who knows? Bobby seems happy with it which is the main thing."

    To read the full story click here

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    Craig Revel-Horwood reveals change to judging panel after host demanded it

    Craig Revel-Horwood has opened up about being the "longest serving Strictly judge in the world" as the final three celebrities prepare to battle it out on the dancefloor to lift the GlitterBall trophy this weekend.

    But the judge, 58, also shared a Strictly secret as he reminisced about when the show started nearly 20 years ago and revealed why his position on the judging panel changed in 2004, after the dance competition first aired.

    Craig admitted that legendary presenter Sir Bruce Forsyth, who co-presented Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 to 2013, demanded the judge's position change after Craig's comments were hit with boos by the audience.

    Craig explained that the veteran entertainer and presenter, who died aged 89 in 2017, didn't learn the judges' names, as he detailed his fond Strictly memories on Good Morning Britain on Friday, 15 December.

    Looking at a picture of the Strictly judging lineup 20 years ago which included Bruno Tonioli, Arlene Phillips, Len Goodman and Craig, GMB presenter Ben Shephard joked: "Is that a bit of a mullet there?"

    Craig replied: "Yes it is, unfortunately, but it was more than 20 years ago! I was in that seat and the reason I was moved the following week was because Bruce used to go down the line instead of learning our names when we first started.

    "I was last and always ended on a boo! He said, 'we've got to move him up the other end' and start with that and finish with a positive."

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    Final week is finally here!

    After 12 intense weeks of jaw-dropping performances, the time has finally come for Strictly Come Dancing to crown this year’s Glitterball champion.

    Last week, fans at home saw each couple perform two dances in the hopes of securing their place in the final, but after a tense dance off between couples Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe and Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell, it was sadly Annabel that was sent home.

    This week however, the remaining couples will be taking on the mammoth task of performing three dances each – all with distinctive choreographies that will need to be perfected to stand a chance at winning.

    As usual, the couples will be scored by an expert panel of judges consisting of head judge Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood,Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke, but crucially it is the public vote which will determine which of our favourite stars will be crowned the winner.

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    Final song & dance list

    This week, the remaining couples will each be dancing three times, with the songs and dances as follows:

    Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell

    • Showdance to La La Land Medley
    • Judges' Pick: Samba to Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton
    • Favourite Dance:Couple's Choice to This Woman's Work by Maxwell

    Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

    • Showdance to Jennifer Lopez Megamix
    • Judges' Pick: Paso Doble to Insomnia by 2WEI
    • Favourite Dance: American Smooth to Ain't That A Kick In The Head by Robbie Williams

    Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin

    • Showdance to Friend Like Me by Ne-Yo
    • Judges' Pick:Quickstep to Puttin' On The Ritz by Gregory Porter
    • Favourite Dance: Tango to Tattoo by Loreen
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