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Alex Evans

Helen Skelton shouldn't have been allowed on Strictly Come Dancing but she was the real winner

Helen Skelton was without doubt one of the highlights of Strictly Come Dancing 2022.

Her journey from dejected divorcee to dancefloor diva is up there with some of the greatest journeys (j-word alert) ever seen on the show.

Personally, I was still undecided between Hamza and Helen until the final, but as Helen brought the house down with The Return Of The Revenge Dance, my mind was made up: Helen Skelton is the real winner of the series whatever happens now.

Read More: Strictly's Helen Skelton sends message to ex with gesture to camera

But Hamza Yassin won, and in my view, he won because he's a photographer. No, I'm not saying photographers have some magic ballroom abilities because they know about the rule of thirds and aperture speed.

I'm saying this is supposed to be an amateur dance show. And I think that attitude is often reflected in the voting public.

Helen Skelton sent a message to her ex says Shirley Ballas (BBC)

Yes, scores of people moan it up when Tony Adams sails through to the next week or, last year, when Dan Walker's two left feet gave him more than a toehold in the competition.

But they were useless, at first, and they tried hard. They had absolutely zero dancing experience, yet they wanted to learn. And week in, week out, we saw them evolve from dad-at-a-wedding level to, if not greatness then certainly a monumental step towards real, genuine dance talent. And I think that's why the pair of them made it so much further than anyone predicted.

Conversely, as much as I loved seeing Helen Skelton build her confidence anew, I couldn't help but feel like it was a little bit unfair on the others. Helen Skelton has been on Strictly twice before; once for Children In Need and once for the Christmas special in 2012, where she learned a jive.

She also won a tap dance competition at age 17 and is a qualified tap teacher. No, there's no tap week on Strictly Come Dancing but surely that's a form of choreographed, regimented and tricky dance that she not only knows how to perform, but teachers others how to perform too. Surely she has a slight leg-up there.

Helen Skelton couldn't stop laughing on It Takes Two after an awkward moment (BBC2)

Then you have Fleur East, a former X Factor star, and Molly Rainford, also a pop singer. Surely pop stars get dance training? Whether up on stage or in music videos, the two of them must have been taught some choreography and have at least a passable talent for moving in time to the music? Again, it's at least a leg-up.

And then you have the likes of Tony Adams, who definitely has no dance experience, and Hamza Yassin, who is a surprisingly spritely cameraman, both trying their hardest, with two very different levels of natural ability, but who clearly have no real dance ability underneath. Whereas for example, Fleur's couple's choice for the final was as slick as any Beyonce concert.

Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez on Strictly on Sunday (BBC)

Nothing against any of those people - indeed, Helen and Fleur were among my favourites to watch this year - but the spirit of the show is about people who can't dance who discover the inner mover they never knew they had.

And that's why I'd like to see an all amateur cast of celebrities for 2023. Everyone should be totally devoid of any dance experience. People who really cannot dance learning to do their best under the glare of the ballroom, a true British underdog coming good when the pressure's on.

But having said all that, though Helen Skelton 'shouldn't' have been on the series, she's been a hero, seems totally down to earth, it's been amazing to see her confidence come soaring back and for me, and for many, is still the real winner of Strictly 2022.

Read next:

  • Martin Lewis urges everyone to get £200 free before it's gone
  • Hamza Yassin cries and apologises after error strewn final
  • Strictly judges scores complaints as fans demand change after Tess Daly announcement
  • Martin Lewis gives exact December dates for Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury's shoppers to get cheap food
  • Strictly final winner complaints as 'worst couple' Hamza and Jowita win
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