Sunday night saw the end of an era, as Ed Ball’s Strictly journey and fight for the glitterball came to an end after 10 weeks of sheer joy.
Before Strictly 2016 started, I was extremely excited to see Ed Balls take to the floor, and over the past 10 weeks, like many other people I have come to fall in love with him.
Many people felt that he should have left the competition weeks ago. I am not one of those people and will genuinely miss seeing Ed take to the floor for Musicals Week this Saturday. A few weeks ago I got drawn into a conversation with a colleague (and fellow Strictly fan) who told me that Ed’s time on Strictly was up. I was quick (quicker than he danced in his quickstep quick) to jump to his defence, saying that he truly deserved his space in the competition and embodied everything that we love about Strictly.
Ed may not have been the best dancer but in the Strictly awards he will most definitely win the award of most-improved in our eyes. He started the series as a non-dancer. Yes, he had good rhythm and musicality but had no prior dance training. His timing was impeccable and we were really impressed with his progress from week 1. Even Craig Revel Horwood told him he had improved (after watching his Quickstep!) We loved watching him develop as a dancer and transform from a former politician to a dancer.
His professional partner Katya, choreographed routines which not only challenged Ed, but also took risks. Who could forget the Gangnam Style Salsa, and those daring (and almost deadly lifts in his American Smooth? These risks would not have been possible had it not been for his effort. The hard work he put in helped him become a good, loyal friend who Katya could trust to pull off such choreography.
One of our all-time favourite sayings is dance like nobody is watching. Ed did just this! We were watching in our many milllions, but the thing that we love about him is how he committed to a performance. Tried his best and performed with all he could. He was never embarrassed, hid his nerves well and most importantly was himself on the dancefloor. He did this at the same time as showing a new side to his personality.
Any contestant who embraces Strictly and turns themselves into a metaphorical (or literal) Human Glitterball, gets our vote. Ed embraced sequins from day one, and even had a full spray tan (a la Jeremy Vine) to get our vote.
Ed Truly embodied what Strictly is about. If Mr Men were to create a Mr Strictly, they would cast Ed Balls in the role. He tried his hardest, embraced Strictly and danced like nobody was watching (Ed, if you’re reading this, we were watching and loved all of your dances.
So we love a trier, and Ed, we loved you! Strictly certainly won’t be the same without you. Thank you for giving your all and showing us that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and if you believe!