Why Russian siren Katya is the REAL winner of Strictly 2017: Millionaire’s daughter who led Joe to victory – and previously turned dad-dancer Ed Balls into a sensation – left fans open-mouthed with her choreography
- St Petersburg-born Katya, 28, joined show last year to replace Kristina Rihanoff
- Has stunned fans with performances, including cantilever move in semi-final
- Last year was partnered with Ed Balls and made it all the way to week 10
- Milionaire's daughter has danced since the age of six and is fiercely ambitious
Joe McFadden may have lifted the coveted Strictly glitterball trophy, but fans of the show have ordained his dance partner Katya Jones as the real 2017 champion.
The 28-year-old from Saint Petersburg only joined the show in 2016, but she's quickly become one of Strictly's stand-out stars thanks to her choreography skills that sprinkle magic over any performance - no matter who she's dancing with.
Last year, she may have appeared to get a raw deal by being partnered with the former Labour shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, then 49, who was famous for his ‘dad dancing’ at party conferences and was given 100-1 odds of winning.
It was a testament to Katya's talent that she took him all the way to week 10, just shy of the quarter finals, and won crucial public votes thanks to performances such as Gangnam Style in which the former politician performed several dangerous lifts.
This year her move with Joe in the semi-final was one of the standout moments of the series, when she balanced her partner's entire weight while effortlessly sinking into the ground backwards, as she cantilevered him to his feet - winning a standing ovation.
And nobody will be enjoying basking in the triumph more than ambitious millionaire's daughter Katya, who was drafted in last year to replace professional dancer and Strictly veteran Kristina Rihanoff, and previously said: 'I am fierce, fabulous and would love to win.'
Joe McFadden may have won Strictly 2017, but fans are hailing his dance partner Katya Jones, 28, from St Petersburg as the real winner of the show
Katya's cantilever move with Joe in the semi-final was one of the standout moments of the 2017 series
Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls was the underdog in 2016, but Katya turned him into the unexpected star of the show during her first year as one of the pros
Fans of the show have not forgotten how Katya performed an amazing turnaround with Ed Balls last year
Born Ekaterina Sokolova, her father Andrey, 53, is a millionaire energy executive while her mother executive Tatiana, 54, is a Korean civil engineering graduate.
She grew up in a large red brick house by the sea and a family source previously told MailOnline that she's always had the support of both parents.
Katya started dancing at the age of six and would attend lessons daily, driven by her mother, who bought her costumes costing around £650 each.
As well as Ballroom and Latin-American dancing, she trained in gymnastics, singing, drawing and piano.
KATYA'S STANDOUT 2017 DANCES
While dancing the tango to Human by Rag’n’ Bone Man in the semi-final, Katya pulled off a gravity-defying move that left fans open-mouthed as they tried to figure out how she did it.
In a move that bagged them scores of three nines and an eight, Katya was seen hoisting Joe slowly to his feet as she squatted in heels, sinking slowly into the ground backwards as she held him up by his legs
Fans of the show started to rate Joe as a contender when he and Katya performed a near-flawless Charleston.
They scored a 38 after dancing to Jumpin’ Jack by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the only time they topped the leaderboard throughout the contest.
In Saturday's final they recycled some of the moves that caught fans' attention.
Joe and Katya recycled some of the popular moves from their quickstep for Saturday's final
Katya was praised for making the Foxtrot to 'Trouble' by Coldplay modern and contemporary in week six.
After descending from a web in a spider dress, she dragged Joe across the floor to start the dance.
praised for making this Foxtrot modern and contemporary
'She had excellent marks in school, was never lazy, always industrious and hard working,' a source said. 'She was not interested in parties. She loved dancing and devoted everything to it.’
However, it was when she met her equally ambitious British dancer husband Neil Jones, who she married in 2013, that her career started to really blossom.
The pair made their first major final within a year of starting to dance together and went on to win the WDC World Championships and three titles at the World Amateur Latin Championships.
They are also four times undefeated British National Professional Champions.
How Katya performed THAT Cinderella costume change
The Russian dancer stunned on Saturday night when she managed to sport three different costumes within the same routine, including transforming from one dress to another right in front of viewers' eyes.
Now Strictly costume designer Vicky Gill has revealed the secrets behind the amazing transformation.
Katya began the routine in a blue ballgown as Cinderella before running off and returning in gray rags.
After Prince Charming discovered she was the owner of the glass slipper, she spun around the dancefloor transforming her rags into a glitzy sequinned dress.
Katya began the routine in a blue ballgown, which had a secret Velcro strip so it could be quickly ripped off
She then appeared in a grey rag dress, which was hiding a sequinned number underneath
The change was Katya's idea as she'd done it in one of her own shows, but Vicky was nervous about pulling it off. However she knew that if anyone could do it, then Katya could.
Her first blue dress had a Velcro section at the back so that one of the costume assistants could quickly pull it off when she ran up the stairs to reveal the gray rag dress.
Vicky told The Sun: 'The section that was up, with the rags on, housed all of the fringe and sequins for the final dress, so it was still a bit bulky but because of the constant movement of the rags you couldn’t see.
'It’s secured at the shoulder with elastic and Velcro, but it can’t be too much Velcro because otherwise it really sticks and you don’t get that sort of pop release.
'When she released it she had to manually push the material down. So what was up and was over her bustline from her hip, then became the skirt and all the fringing and everything else fell out.'
As Katya span around the dancefloor, her rags were transformed
Her final outfit was a seuqinned number that had been cleverly concealed
The couple turned pro in 2013, the same year as they married and a year later they were part of a troupe, Kings And Queens, that made it to the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals in 2014.
They then joined the Strictly tour, where they charmed Craig Revel-Horwood and found themselves used in showdances in Strictly 2015, and made a good enough impression to be invited back.
Appearing on today's episode of Lorraine for a post-victory chat, Joe heaped praise on his dance partner, admitting he feels jealous of all the people she'll dance with next.
Katya and her dancer husband Neil are four times undefeated British National Professional Champions
The millionaire's daughter from St Petersburg grew up wanting for nothing, but she certainly wasn't one to opt for an easy life, attending dance classes daily and studying piano and gymnastics
The dancing sensation shows off her fabulous figure during a sun-soaked break
Despite poor scores from the judges, Ed Balls was popular with the public week after week thanks to being partnered with Katya
The pro dancer couldn't hide her emotion when she learned that she and former Holby City actor Joe McFadden had triumphed
The dancer's father is a millionaire energy executive, and as this picture of her posing on the bonnet of her Jeep shows, she certainly enjoys the finer things in life
'Any partner is going to do well with that girl,' he said. I’m jealous of all the partners that she’s going to have because they’re all going to do well because she wouldn’t have it any other way.'
Speaking of Katya’s reaction to their victory he said: 'She was so, so happy and I’m so happy for her. She has literally dragged me through kicking and screaming!'
'We’d had a not very good dress rehearsal in the afternoon. Katya turned to me and said, ‘If we do it like that then there’ll be no glitterballs tonight!’
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