Strictly finalists eye Glitterball trophy in showdown countdown

STRICTLY Come Dancing’s finalists have a sneak peek at the Glitterball trophy as they count down to the last dances they hope will clinch the coveted prize.

After 12 weeks of gruelling competition, Bad Education star Layton Williams and professional partner Nikita Kuzmin, EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier with Dianne Buswell and former Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola are vying for the dancefloor crown.

Each couple aim to get their hands on the Glitterball for real by capturing the public’s hearts and votes as they perform three routines each.

Iconic singer Cher, 77, will be the BBC show’s star turn and the cast of 2023 return for a grand final flourish.

Sparks have been flying consistently and impressively on the dancefloor for the bookies’ red-hot favourites Ellie and Italian pro Vito.

And questions have been raised again about whether the same applies offstage.

The pair insist they are working so hard there is no time to date. But Ellie, 22, did nothing to quash the speculation after telling Vito: “With you as a teacher, as a partner, I genuinely do feel like I’ve won.”

Vito returned the compliment, saying: “She’s my winner since day one.”

Asked what he thought about the romance rumours, Vito, 31, laughed: “We have so many things to think about and choreography. We really are so focused on this beautiful experience.

Words cannot describe how we are enjoying every single day, every second of this amazing Strictly.”

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The couple, who will perfom a Paso Doble, American Smooth and a showdance, are the only pairing to have avoided the dreaded dance-off this series.

Ellie believes one of her greatest achievements was to rebuild her confidence which she says was “at an all-time low” after being axed from Corrie following 12 years as Faye Windass.

She added: “Strictly has really helped me. I just feel really, really grateful to be here.”

● Strictly Come Dancing: The Final is on BBC One tomorrow at 7pm.

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