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Robin Windsor picks his Strictly winner and defends 'wonderful' Alexandra Burke over 'fake' claims

PUBLISHED: 10:57 16 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:15 16 December 2017

Katya Jones and Joe McFadden on Strictly Come Dancing 2017. Picture: GUY LEVY/BBC/PA Wire

Katya Jones and Joe McFadden on Strictly Come Dancing 2017. Picture: GUY LEVY/BBC/PA Wire

Ipswich dancing star Robin Windsor reveals his top tips for the Strictly Come Dancing final tonight, profiles each finalist, and defends Alexandra Burke over recent negative online comments aimed at her. We also have details of Robin's latest tour - ticket links below.

Robin Windsor with Deborah Meaden on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013. Picture: GUY LEVY/BBCRobin Windsor with Deborah Meaden on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013. Picture: GUY LEVY/BBC

The former Strictly professional has assessed all four finalists vying to lift the coveted glitterball trophy on the BBC celebrity ballroom dancing show tonight (6.30pm).

This year’s series is officially the most popular in the programme’s 14-year history, attracting 11 million viewers every weekend.

Robin, who at this stage last year correctly predicted Ore Oduba (8/1) as the champion, said: “This has been one of the best series. The right mix of celebrities and professionals has been 100% spot on. There have been some shockers, such as Aston (Merrygold) leaving, and there have been some special routines.”

Joe McFadden (Betting odds: 4/6)

He is my favourite to win. He wasn’t earlier in the season but he is everything that Strictly is about. Last year, Ore won. He pulled it out of the bag in the final, so you should wait to vote until after the final dances. Ore proved anything can happen. Danny (Mac) made a couple of slip-ups, and Ore saw the finish line and quick-stepped through it.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Joe McFadden. Picture: DVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIREStrictly Come Dancing contestant Joe McFadden. Picture: DVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

But Joe has just got better every week, and his dance partner, Katya Jones, has been the best choreographer of the series. She has done an exceptional job of showing all of his strengths.

I’ve always said the winner should be the person who makes the best progress. Everyone enters at different levels. He is not the best technical dancer but he is hot on their heels (Alexandra Burke and Debbie McGee).

He is such a lovely character. I think everybody is in love with him just a tiny bit. He’s got a great personality. I’ve been to the studio to watch the show and he is absolutely adorable. That Argentine Tango (last Saturday) was absolutely phenomenal.

Debbie McGee (Betting odds: 9/4)

Debbie is phenomenal. She is a huge inspiration at 59 years old. Whether she has any dance experience or not, anybody dancing like that at that age is spectacular. She has worked incredibly hard. She is an absolute sweetheart.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Debbie McGee, who has promised that her final dance on Strictly Come Dancing will be Strictly Come Dancing contestant Debbie McGee, who has promised that her final dance on Strictly Come Dancing will be "a very nice swansong". Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

She’s had a couple of dodgy weeks. Blackpool (samba) did not suit her and since then has been determined. From week one, Debbie was one of my four finalists – only Joe was not – and she has proved that if you look after your body and keep fit and healthy, you can be a huge inspiration to lots of people.

Doing Strictly will open lots of doors for her. She would be the first person over 40 to win and I would be thrilled if she won. She could also perform again her Argentine Tango. I gasped when I first watched it.

Alexandra Burke (Betting odds: 7/1)

Alexandra was my winner from day one, before anyone started to dance. She started with such a bang, I wondered if she had peaked too early. She had a couple of dodgy weeks, like her rumba, which exposed a lot of her flaws. But she is the ultimate performer, and when you are doing an entertainment show, you have got to be able to perform, and she can perform like no other.

I’ve been reading a lot of comments online about Alexandra and through the press and I think it is absolutely disgraceful the way she has been treated. She is somebody that is confident, and you have to have confidence with a competition. She is actually the loveliest person and I think all of the hatred online has been an absolute disgrace this year.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Alexandra Burke. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIREStrictly Come Dancing contestant Alexandra Burke. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

In a way, I think I would like her to lift the glitterball just to show them all ‘you know what, I can do this, I have worked really hard’. Of course, she had the horrible tragedy of losing her mum at the very beginning of the series, and she has managed to hold it together all the way through, and she is absolutely superb.

There have been a lot of claims that she comes across as fake and overly confident, but for me I love watching her and her enthusiasm. It is very rare you see somebody on a show like this with that much enthusiasm and getting that much enjoyment out of it.

It’s been really nice to see ex-Strictly celebrities and presenters from other shows get behind and stick up for Alexandra, because they need to, because she’s a wonderful girl.

And on Saturday night, I’d like to see again her Paso Doble from week two. That got me standing up on my feet, and I watched it three times in a row.

Gemma Atkinson (Betting odds: 20/1)

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Gemma Atkinson. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIREStrictly Come Dancing contestant Gemma Atkinson. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

Gemma has sort of bubbled under the ‘fab three’ shall we say, just sort of sat there in the middle, going unnoticed. But in the last couple of weeks she has blossomed and got this confidence coming out of her. Her dancing is getting better, and I have got a very sneaky suspicion that Gemma may just sneak ahead of the other three finalists and take that glitterball home.

I’ve been watching It Takes Two a lot this year and the relationship with Aljaž Škorjanec is absolutely hilarious. It is TV gold. They have an absolute together and I think that plays a part.

As far as the dancing is concerned, she has really improved 10-fold in the last couple of weeks. My favourite dance of hers was the Jungle Book Charleston dance. That was executed perfectly, and I think she could ‘pull an Ore’ and take home that glitterball trophy and surprise everyone. She has been in bottom two, but so have Alexandra, twice, and Debbie.

It is probably going to be one of the closest finals we have seen. I have my personal favourite in Joe but it is all down to the public.

Betting odds were correct as of Friday afternoon (December 15).

Suffolk star Ed Sheeran. Picture: PA WireSuffolk star Ed Sheeran. Picture: PA Wire

Ed Sheeran is set to perform during the Strictly Come Dancing final tonight. The Suffolk singer is expected to perform Perfect, the current UK number one single which could be a Christmas number one.

Robin Windsor said: “I hope he gets the Christmas number one. He is a fellow Suffolk boy and we have got to get behind our own.”

Meanwhile, Robin said Strictly’s new head judge Shirley Ballas should return for next year’s show.

The Sun said that the head judge, 57, will be offered a new contract on the BBC1 show next month.

Ballas, who replaced Len Goodman on the judging panel, told the newspaper: “I’ve had a brilliant experience. One never presumes – but I have enjoyed it. It would be an honour.”

Robin said: “She has been incredible. She taught me when I was younger and all of her criticism is constructive with ballroom terminology, so that the contestants and the public can learn.”

Dance to the Music – UK Tour

Robin is teaming up again with Kristina Rihanoff for the Dance to the Music Tour across the UK next year, including Suffolk and Essex.

The dance show will feature all genres of dance and portray the evolution of dance through musical eras, starting from the roaring twenties, with tap and Charleston, going through every decade of dance crazes up to modern day Ballroom and Latin.

It visits West Cliff in Clacton on Friday, February 2 2018, and two days later at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday, February 4 2018.

See here to buy tickets.

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