Ellie Leach has become the youngest winner of Strictly Come Dancing with her professional dance partner Vito Coppola.
The 22-year-old TV star beat two other couples – Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell, and Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin.
Upon winning the glitterball trophy, the former Coronation Street star said: “I actually, genuinely cannot believe this.”
“For once, you’re crying more than me,” she told Coppola.
She added: “This is for you, this is for you.”
Talking about their win, Coppola said: “I mean this is like the cherry on the cake.”
He turned to Leach: “You have been so amazing, you are Strictly, you represent Strictly. You are finally, you know, the diamond I was talking (about).”
The winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 was decided for by the public.
On the judges’ scoreboard, provided as a guideline, Williams and Kuzmin had been in the lead with a total of 119 points.
Second to them was Brazier and Buswell who had received 117 points, and they were followed by Leach and Coppola with 115 – who cinched the trophy with the help of the public.
Leach and Coppola’s first performance of the night was their dramatic paso doble to Insomnia by 2WEI, as chosen for them by the judges.
Head judge Shirley Ballas told the Leach: “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.
“I have to say, that was a woman in control.”
Anton Du Beke added “I love this”, and Craig Revel Horwood said the dance “was absolutely fantastic”.
For their show dance, the couple performed a Jennifer Lopez megamix and Leach was praised for taking a “risk” with a lift that she was unable to execute.
Revel Horwood told Leach: “It’s a terrible shame with the last lift because really that whole dance routine was just flawless up until that moment.
“That’s the sort of beauty of live television, I think, and proving that taking a risk can or can’t work out for you.”
Their third and final performance, which they chose from their back catalogue of performances, was the American smooth to the song Ain’t That A Kick In The Head in the style of Robbie Williams.
After the dance, Du Beke said he was “getting emotional” before he told the soap star he was proud of her.
During the show, Brazier and Buswell performed their couple’s choice for the show dance, which was dedicated to the star’s mother Jade Goody, who passed away from cervical cancer in 2009.
The dance, which left the actor’s father Jeff Brazier in tears, was described as “extraordinarily beautiful” by Ballas.
Other highlights included Williams and Kuzmin’s quickstep to Puttin’ On The Ritz, which was the first dance to be awarded full marks from the judges during the series’ live final.
The series’ only same-sex couple had also been awarded full marks for their Argentine tango to Tattoo by Loreen.
At the beginning of the show, Amy Dowden had performed an opening dance number alongside the other Strictly professionals, who were dressed in black and white.
The 33-year-old dancer was unable to have a celebrity partner this year on the BBC One show following her diagnosis and subsequent treatment for stage three breast cancer.
At the end of the show and before the results were announced, former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis was lifted onto the Strictly dance floor via a giant glittery anchor for the series’ last group performance.
Elsewhere, broadcaster Angela Rippon showed off one of her famous high leg kicks while the rest of the Strictly professionals and celebrities danced in the background.
Last year, wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin and professional dancer Jowita Przystal won the glitterball trophy.
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