Town waltzes into TV spotlight

Finalist Harry Judd with his partner Aliona Vilani

Finalist Harry Judd with his partner Aliona Vilani

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Blackpool will be shining in the spotlight this weekend as Strictly Come Dancing waltzes its way back to the home of ballroom.

Hundreds of people are expected to hot-foot it to the resort when Blackpool Tower hosts the grand final of the popular BBC dance show.

Chelsee Healey with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev

Chelsee Healey with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev

Australian actor Jason Donovan, McFly boy band drummer Harry Judd and Waterloo Road actress Chelsee Healey will pull out all the stops to sparkle in the world famous ballroom.

Natalie Wyatt, managing director of Marketing Blackpool, said the event is a perfect opportunity for the resort to show off its regeneration work. She said: “We have been working up to this. This is the third year Strictly Come Dancing has come to Blackpool and we have proved in the last two years we are capable of hosting the event.

“It’s great to have Strictly in the home of ballroom – especially after all the regeneration work we’ve had.

“It’s a nice opportunity to showcase what’s on offer. We hope people will come and stay overnight, see some of the attractions, do some Christmas shopping and look around some of the new businesses.”

Jason Donovan with his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff

Jason Donovan with his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff

Preparations for Saturday’s 3D live show, which is screened at 7pm, will begin at The Tower today and the excitement is already mounting over who will be crowned the 2011 winner. Despite both Jason and Chelsee being awarded 40 points last Saturday, the betting suggests Harry Judd is well ahead at 1/3 with Chelsee 11/4 and Jason the 16/1 outsider.

Rupert Adams, William Hill’s spokesman, said: “Strictly is a competition but Jason has perhaps come too competitive and we feel has ruined his chances of getting the public vote. Conversely Chelsee is peaking at exactly the right time and she is in real danger of grabbing the glory from Harry.”