Finland emerge victorious in first Eurovision Dance Contest
Tonight on BBC One, Finland were declared winners of the Eurovision Dance Contest, after viewers from 16 participating nations across Europe cast their votes and awarded them a total of 132 points.
Dancers Jussi Väänänen and Katja Koukkula saw off competition from UK entrants Brendan Cole and Camilla Dallerup, both familiar faces to BBC viewers after four series featuring in Strictly Come Dancing. Tonight, they fell into 15th place, having performed their last dance together after splitting three years ago.
The spectacular, sequinned ceremony, transmitted by 24 different international broadcasters and hosted by Graham Norton and Claudia Winkleman, was screened live on BBC One from BBC Television Centre in London in a two-and-a-quarter-hour ballroom extravaganza.
Victors Finland danced two set routines – the first, a choice between traditional Latin or Ballroom, the Rhumba-themed All In Love Is Fair, the second a freestyle piece offering viewers an insight into their own national culture, a Paso Doble to The Unforgiven. They were closely followed in second and third place by Ukraine (121 points) and Ireland (95 points) respectively.
Strictly Come Dancing favourites Brendan and Camilla injected one final dose of choreographic chemistry into two routines, the poignant and appropriately titled tear jerker The Way We Were, and a faster paced, up tempo James Bond medley. They polled 18 points, one place ahead of bottom placed Switzerland, who received no points.
Brendan and Camilla said: "What a fantastic event, we are so proud to have taken part and it's been a great honour."
Countries competing in the contest were: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and, of course, the UK.
The top five on the night were:
1. Finland – 132 Points
2. Ukraine – 121 Points
3. Ireland – 95 Points
4. Poland – 84 Points
5. Austria – 74 Points
5. Portugal – 74 Points
Jussi Väänänen and Katja Koukkula
Both Jussi and Katja are professional dancers who have been fascinated by Latin rhythms for over 20 years. For additional power of expression, they have added classical and jazz dance to their repertoire.
Having ended their competitive career in 2005, Jussi and Katja have continued performing and teaching in corporate and other events and dance sport clubs and contributed to a number of TV and theatre productions.
The foundation of their work is to develop the dancer's basic facilities. Other focus areas include the expressive qualities and freedom of dance. Through their own hands-on experience as active dancers they are able to help others.
Notes to Editors
Eurovision Dance Contest is a co-production between Splash Media and Sunset + Vine with assistance from the International DanceSport Federation and in association with the European Broadcasting Union.
Jane Lush and Fenia Vardanis of Splash Media were the two main creators of the BBC's highly-successful format Strictly Come Dancing; Sunset + Vine is the UK's leading independent sports production company specialising in live events.
Eurovision Dance Contest was commissioned by Elaine Bedell, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, BBC Vision, and Peter Fincham, Controller, BBC One.