Louis crowned Strictly champion

Gymnast Louis Smith is celebrating after being crowned champion of Strictly Come Dancing.

The Olympic silver medallist came top of the public vote on Saturday night after stripping down to a pair of skin-tight leggings for a showdance with professional partner Flavia Cacace.

The 23-year-old delivered a spectacular routine to pick up the glitterball trophy ahead of Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh and actresses Denise van Outen and Dani Harmer.

When asked how the victory compared to the London Olympics, he replied: "They are both very different, but I can finally say I've won something in the year 2012."

He earned a quartet of 10s from the judges after lifting his partner high above his head and performing a handstand on top of a giant globe.

Judge Darcey Bussell told him: "You blew me away. That had grace, it had fluidity. It was sensual as well." Len Goodman said: "If this show goes on for another 20 years I don't think we'll ever see a showdance that was as magical as that."

Smith received praise from all four judges, with Bruno Tonioli saying he had the "strength of a superhuman" while Craig Revel Horwood described it as "fabulous and amazing".

Harmer was first to be eliminated after each finalist performed two dances. The remaining pairs then performed their favourite dance from the series, before Smith was revealed as the winner.

Van Outen and her partner James Jordan came top of the judges' leaderboard on the night, scoring 119 out of a possible 120 in their three dances. But they lacked the support of the viewers which was the only factor in deciding the winner.

After the result was announced, van Outen said: "I'll miss James so much, you've made me laugh every day." Walsh added: "It's been absolutely amazing. We've loved every minute of it. I'm so happy for Louis."

This year's series has been a triumph for the BBC, regularly beating its ITV rival The X Factor in the ratings - at one stage taking a lead of two million viewers.

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