'Strictly Come Dancing' 2021's best moments of the series

The highlights of 'Strictly Come Dancing' 2021. (BBC)
The highlights of 'Strictly Come Dancing' 2021. (BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 has been one of the greatest series the contest has ever seen.

With a final four couples who all would have been sure Glitterball Trophy winners in any other year, there have been so many memorable moments that it's hard to see how any future series could improve on it.

Read more: Who's in the Strictly 2021 final?

As the strongest Strictly final ever approaches this weekend, we look back over just some of the 2021 highlights from the ballroom.

Judi Love twerks her way to glory

Judi Love had a tricky time as a contestant - she had to miss a week due to testing positive for COVID and struggled to get back into training afterwards.

Luckily, she'd already performed her standout moment from the series before falling ill, a Samba to Sean Paul's Get Busy.

Love threw herself into the party atmosphere of the dance with an enthusiastic twerk and her strong bond with partner Graziano Di Prima shone through.

Sara Davies surprises with top-scoring Tango

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 21:00:01 on 02/10/2021 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 02/10/2021 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - TX2 LIVE SHOW (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++DRESS RUN++
**STRICTLY EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 21:00:01 02/10/2021** Sara Davies, Aljaž Skorjanec - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
The judges loved Sara Davies' Tango. (BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly superfan Sara Davies hadn't expected to be any good when she signed up to the series, but surprised herself by putting in some truly memorable performances with Aljaz Skorjanec.

The pinnacle of her Strictly journey came with a leaderboard-topping Tango that scored 36 points, with even head judge Shirley Ballas saying it contained some of the best fleckles she'd seen.

Tilly Ramsay fights back with a perfect 40

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 20/11/2021 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - TX9 LIVE SHOW (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Tilly Ramsay, Nikita Kuzmin - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Tilly Ramsay is part of a select group who've earned a perfect 40. (BBC/Guy Levy)

The 2021 series will be remembered not just for the incredibly high level of talent amongst the top few couples, but also the surprising successes from every contestant.

Tilly Ramsay was the first to stress that she wasn't a dancer, although you'd never have known it going by her routines with Nikita Kuzmin.

Read more: Tilly Ramsay hits back at DJ who called her chubby

By far their crowning achievement was earning a full house of 40 points for their Couple's Choice Matilda-themed dance in musicals week.

Dan Walker proves the critics wrong

Every year, one unfortunate celebrity incurs the wrath of some vocal Strictly viewers by staying in the competition longer than some feel is fair, and this year that person was Dan Walker.

He might not have been the best dancer in the contest, but to be fair to Walker and his partner Nadiya Bychkova, they were up against some unusually strong competition.

Read more: Dan Walker 'doesn't expect everyone to like him'

Their later routines in the series, a Rumba and a Tango, both scored 31 points - proving he had managed to transform himself into a dancer.

Rhys Stephenson wins the first 10

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 09/10/2021 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - TX3 LIVE SHOW (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++Live Show++ Nancy Xu, Rhys Stephenson - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Rhys Stephenson was a worthy winner of the first 10. (BBC/Guy Levy)

In a year full of almost pro-level contestants, 10s were raining down on the ballroom like confetti.

The honour of earning the first top mark from a judge went to Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu, who got a 10 for their Spider-Man Couple's Choice routine.

However, it was immediately followed by John Whaite and Johannes Radebe upping the ante...

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe's iconic Pirates Paso

As Strictly's long-awaited, first ever all-male couple, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe have provided no end of memorable moments.

Read more: John Whaite comfortable in own skin after 32 years thanks to Johannes Radebe

One of those sure to go down in Strictly history was their hugely dramatic Pirates of the Caribbean-inspired Paso Doble in movies week.

It earned them an almost-perfect 39 points and was a series highlight.

Adam Peaty and Katya Jones' almost kiss

The intense moment kicked off a controversy. (BBC)
The intense moment kicked off a controversy. (BBC)

Pro dancer Katya Jones is no stranger to a kissing controversy, but this scandal blew up over something that didn't even happen.

At the end of their Argentine Tango, Adam Peaty and Jones were so in the character of the dance that they appeared to almost kiss, leading to a flurry of rumours about their relationship.

However, Peaty slapped down any claims, warning of "real-life consequences" to gossip about the show.

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington fire up romance rumours

Strictly loves a good romance rumour, and the most enduring of the series has centred on AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington.

Their Paso Doble, Couple's Choice and Rumba have all set tongues wagging, but it was an intense moment at the end of their Argentine Tango that really kicked things off.

Read more: Who's fallen victim to the Strictly Curse?

Rose Ayling-Ellis stuns with silent dance

Anton Du Beke called it the greatest thing he'd ever seen on Strictly, and it lead headlines about the show for a good week afterwards.

Rose Ayling-Ellis has amazed the judges and viewers throughout the series with her perfectly-timed routines despite being deaf, and she gave a taster of what the experience was like for her in her Couple's Choice routine with Giovanni Pernice.

The dance included a silent section that was a complete surprise to all watching it and which made for a moving moment that will be one of the best remembered in Strictly history.

Watch: Strictly 2021 stars share their most inspiring former contestants