Strictly Come Dancing Monkies 2014 – Monkseal’s Picks.

Think of it as the Oscars to your Golden Globes. Ie, better.

Best Judge : Bruno was on total autopilot this year, not even falling off his chair or accidentally swearing once so for once this award is going somewhere else. Sure Craig Revel-Horwood’s drama queening over getting his 10 out (NOBODY SANE CARES!) and love affair with Mark Wright were tiresome in the extreme, but no storyline this series was more compelling than Craig spending 12 weeks trying his damndest to flush Simon Webbe at every opportunity, only sudddenly to decide in the final that he was in fact the best of all men.

Worst Judge : Len Goodman for finally devolving into utter incoherence this year, either yelling “CAHM AHTTTTTTTTTT” or fumbling out some weak play on the lyrics of the song just danced to for 95% of his critiques. Darcey might be…Darcey, but at least she was trying.

Best Judging Moment :

Runners-Up : Bruno’s Incredibly Slow Pirouettes ; That time Bruno slide-kicked Darcey in the shins to shut her up ; ; Craig belts out “There’s No Business Like ShowBusiness like Ethel Merman never died ; ; Craig tells Gregg off for having been mean about his pink peppercorns on Celebrity Masterchef ; Any Time Anyone Snarked About The Donny 10 ; Natalie yelling about how the judges are all BORING PEOPLE ; Sunetra can’t believe she got 8s FOR THAT ; A CRAZY 9! ; ; Bruno cites Felini as an inspiration for yet another Jake Wood gurn-fest

Worst Judging Moment : Darcey decides to save Steve over Sunetra because he has nice arms

Runners-Up : Len going off half-cocked at Trent about lifts LEAVE TRENT ALOAN ; Len telling someone that they should do what Gregg Wallace does and just CAHM AHT ; anything the judges did whilst dancing on, other than Bruno’s incredibly slow pirouettes ; any time Len sang Sweet Caroline ; any time Len went all “NO I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN IN AGREEMENT!” when his casting vote didn’t get used but he still needed attention ; Craig’s vendetta against Judy Murray ; any time Darcey faked a fit of the giggles ; Donny Osmond ; Len BITING BACK at the audience ; The Boys Are Right ; Giving Caroline three 40s in the final just for something to say ; Darcey actually using the phrase “man up” ; EVERYTHING IS SUDDENLY VERY HARD FOR MEN TO DO ; SO YUMMEH! ; Bruno repeatedly demands that Caroline do her American Smooth again, then picks CHA CHA for her Judges Choice dance in the final :

The Glenn Close Award For Finding Novel Ways To Cook Rabbit

Watch your hutches Numbers Bitch

Best VT Storyline : Judy Murray repeatedly trolls Andy Murray

Runners-Up: Ola Jordan vs lemurs ; Anton teaches Judy how to be a lady in a Forte Travelodge ; Frankie’s Wild Day Out In Grimsby ; Natalie stumbles upon Tim dancing with his wife ; Pasha in the Turkish baths ; Spaceman Pasha ; Barman Pasha ; Pasha Interacts With Small Children ; Pasha The Director ; Pasha The Fortune Teller ; PASHA! ; Iveta plays rugby ; Judy does silent movie stardom ; Frankie’s adorable son is adorable ; TRENT SINGS ; Trent and Pixie ride the donkeys ; Trent & Pixie enjoy some SPECIAL CHEESE ; Alison runs round the moors swinging a tea-towel above her head ; Anton in a dalmatian onesie ; Aljaz and Alison Go Bowling ; Kevin is ill, Frankie wins a Fierce Fabulous Friends Award ; Judy Goes And Flies A Kite, Simon & Kristina’s Melancholy Belgian Adventure; Bonnie. Langford ; Jake’s Family Crisis Summit

Worst VT Storyline : PIXIE LOTT IS BUSY!

Runners-Up: MARK IS BUSY! ; SIMON IS BUSY! ; JENNIFER IS IRISH! ; Yet another Acting Coach ; Alison Hammond believes she is Beyonce ; Scott’s Not Really That Famous Friends ; Tim Wonnacott’s Fantasy World ; Thom is rendered even more dull by adding his dull brother to the mix ; …and here’s Lisa Riley ; Karen Hauer haunts Heart FM ; Jake on the Titanic ; Steve does judo to make him seem less gay ; Mark’s Entire Extended Family Visits, One A Week, All Series ; Steve spies on the female dancers in their dressing room ; Mark and Karen go to Vegas…themed bars in Magaluf ; Jake is taught to smash plates

The Bette Davis Memorial Award For Emotional Range:

Best Pro/Group Dance Of The Series : Iveta & Aljaz skank around to Gregory Porter

Runners-Up : Baby Iveta Has A Dream, Iveta’s Wartime Munitions Factory , Kristina’s Wicked Queen Routine

(You may notice a theme there)

Worst Pro/Group Dance Of The Series : Counting Stars

Runners-Up : The Blackpool Michael Jackson Speakeasy Disco Montage ; Bollyweird ; That RADICAL BOUNDARY PUSHING SAME-SEX ROUTINE that turned out to be 5 seconds of LOLGAY comedy as per usual.

Best It Take Two Segment : Ask The Pros – a section that was both informative and entertaining, and which Digital Spy Mentals had been asking for for years. What did they do when they got it? Complained that certain pros were spoken to more than others. *slow clap*

Runners-Up : This year’s Pro Challenge, which featured many moments of hilarity (Anton looking baffled at Iveta’s thrashing limbs, Janette falling on her arse…) ; any bits of the Teachers Routine that focused on Mr Frame (HELLO MR FRAME) ; Robin and Ian having a Queen-Off on the Results Show that one time ; Friend Of The Blog (HE HAS BEEN IN MY HOUSE) Mark Siddall winning the Superfan Quiz despite Lisa Riley’s complete inability to run a quiz properly (IF SOMEONE BUZZES IN, STOP ASKING THE BLOODY QUESTION)

Worst Results Show Performance : Barry Manilow “duetting” with Louis Armstrong’s corpse

Runners-Up : Annie Lennox refusing to share her precious space with the dancers yet again ; McBusted With Cheese ; Katherine Jenkins, the Human Equivalent of the Missing Vowels Round from Only Connect. (I’m letting Boy George off because he clearly wasn’t well and also the manic flailing of one Kevin Clifton pushed it into the realms of high comedy)

Best Host : Zoe Ball – who both pulled back It Takes Two after a slightly iffy year last series, and also provided more than adequate cover for Claudia

Worst Host : Tess Daly. It’s still…not really working for me.

Best Feud Of The Series : Caroline vs Wardrobe

Runners-Up : Ola, Brenda and Aliona vs looking like they give a shit ; Natalie vs BORING PEOPLE ; Trent Whiddon vs Nancy Reagan & The Kids Of Grange Hill

King Of All Pros : Pasha Kovalev – truly in terms of his talents as an actor, he has now peaked.
Runners-Up : Trent Whiddon, Aljaz Skorjanec, Anton du Beke (just for this series Anton, don’t go getting any ideas)

Queen Of All Pros : Natalie Lowe – back where she belongs and loving life (except for BORING PEOPLE)
Runners-Up : Iveta Lukosiute, Kristina Rihanoff, Janette Manrara

Worst Celebrity (Talent) : Gregg Wallace
Runners-Up : Scott Mills, Judy Murray, Tim Wonnacott

Worst Celebrity (Personality) : Gregg Wallace
Runners-Up : Mark Wright, Simon Webbe, Pixie Lott (when she was BUSY BUSY BUSY)

Best Celebrity (Talent) : Pixie Lott
Runners-Up : Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Frankie Bridge

Best Celebrity (Personality) : Alison Hammond
Runners-Up : Judy Murray, Sunetra Sarker, Jake Wood

Monkseal’s Ten Least Favourite Dances Of The Series

10. Alison Hammond’s Tango : Less a dance, more an advert for migraine relief tablets.

9. Simon Webbe’s Rumba : In a series of truly, truly panic-stricken male rumbas, Simon managed to somehow look the least like he wanted to be there.

8. Scott Mills’ Charleston : JUSTICE 4 JUDY!

7. Mark Wright’s Rumba : Like Pixie’s tragic self-indulgent post rumba artistic meltdown BUT AS AN ENTIRE DANCE.

6. Judy Murray’s Cha Cha :

5. Steve Backshall’s Charleston : The most slow-motion car crash on the Strictly floor since Richard Arnold forgot his foxtrot. Genuinely impossible to watch.

4. Scott Mills’ American Smooth : Joanne aims for kitsch, ends up with glitsh.

3. Gregg Wallace’s Charleston : Chosen over his cha-cha just because that at least had the camp appeal of Aliona acting like a complete bitch to him for the entire routine (<3)

2. Jake Wood’s Argentine Tango/Jennifer Gibney’s Foxtrot/Scott Mills’ Tango : All awful, but to music choices that so obviously hampered them from the off that I’d feel bad having them at number one. Rest assured, they were all garbage though.

1. Jake Wood’s American Smooth : Almost content-free posturing and posing, relying mostly on backing dancers for the actual…dancing, and applauded like it was the second coming of Christ. AND STILL, if “Our Way” had aired a few days earlier it still would have only managed to be the second worst relaity tv Frank Sinatra related thing of 2014.

Monkseal’s 20 Favourite Routines Of The Series

20. Jake Wood & Steve Backshall’s Tangos (Week 1)

Well if you’re going to start anywhere, start with a cheat I guess. With the mixing of the genres these days, the “Surprisingly Good Male Week 1 Waltz” has now become the “Surprisingly Good Male Week 1 Tango”, and I couldn’t quite decide between Jake’s domestic psychodrama and Steve’s honest-to-goodness campfest greaser biker number. Next year : the Surprisingly Good Male Week 1 Showdance probably.

19. Mark Wright’s Waltz (Week 7)


18. Pixie Lott’s Samba (Week 5)

For the first month of this series Pixie was dull, irritating, constantly busy, and underdelivering as a dancer. Then…she plonked some Carmen Miranda fruit on her head and she was never quite the same again. Well…until the third month of this series, but there we go.

17. Tim Wonnacott’s Waltz (Week 2)

Natalie Lowe + Ballroom + A Great Big Fuck-Off Star = Magic.

16. Mark Wright’s Samba (Week 5)

I don’t want to call it the Series Of The Samba or anything because…well partly because this is the last one on the list, and it’s still a samba, but Caroline and Jake easily could have got theirs on here as well. And whilst Pixie used hers as a stepping stone to greater things, this was probably as good as Mark Wright got for me – wiggling his bum at Karen’s vibrating legs like it was 12:30am in Faces and a world of posibilities had only just opened up.

15. Alison Hammond’s Foxtrot (Week 2)

Sure Aljaz may have won last year, but he showed Alison Hammond something that he never showed to Abbey Clancy. Calm down Janette, I’m talking about his sense of humour. Abbey’s foxtrot was a sweet, slightly dull, slightly overwrought romantic number to Olly Murs. Alison’s was an all-out sexual volcano to Etta James, complete with Aljaz losing his mind to her gigantic bubbies as she stomped around an imaginary 1980s Human Resources office. I don’t have to say which was better, right?

14. Steve Backshall’s Quickstep (Week 3)

Pretty much the last place where I thought Steve could make it happen and really convert his obvious voter appeal into an actual win, before dodgy ankles and forgotten routines and tabloid rumours got in the way. Of course, this was one of the few Movie Week routines that Donny Osmond didn’t dribble himself silly over because…well, that’s Donny Osmond I guess.

13. Frankie Bridge’s Quickstep (Week 8)

One of Frankie’s more forgotten dances, but of all Kevin’s desperate attempts to recapture the 1950 and 1960s over his two series I think this was the most effective. A real BBC 1 Sunday evening dinnertime drama of a dance, and probably Frankie as her most convincing, performance wise.

12. Judy Murray’s Tango (Week 4)

The drama! The excitement! The sexual tension! The DRAMATIC LAUGHTER! That lift! That other lift! Anton throwing Judy across the floor like a bowling ball in a red nightie! Judy’s tango saw her natural stiffness, as wwell as her unnatural stiffness, used to best effect, as she and Anton stalked one another around the floor and occasionally, accidentally, the audience.

11. Simon Webbe’s Quickstep (Week 7)

Simon’s storyline this year was that, despite his being on hot pop combo Blue, he was really more of a ballroom guy. Eventually. His tango was awkward, and his Viennese Waltz was an unholy hyperactive mess that I have to turn down to half-speed to even find it watchable (for further examples of this phenomenon, please see “All Dances On Dancing With The Stars”). But his quickstep? His quickstep was where he got it. His foxtrot and Waltz may have gone on to greater praise, but this is where he had me most.

10. Caroline Flack’s Rumba (Week 3)


9. Sunetra Sarker’s Viennese Waltz (Week 5)

Unlike Simon, Sunetra was hooked on ballroom from the off. Every week she wasn’t in hold, looking elegant, and showing off her byootiful arms was clearly a week wasted so far as she was concerned. Her American Smooth easily could have made this list, but it was her dramatic, lovelorn, ITV1 drama bandwagoning Viennese Waltz that I loved best. So much emotion from her…any emotion at all from Brenda – their highpoint.

8. Caroline Flack’s Salsa (Week 12)

Oh sure she ran out of puff towards the end, and it didn’t really deserve to be the first 40 of the series, buut this year’s dog’s dinner of a semi-final badly needed grabbing by the scruff of the neck and dragged into watchability, and Caroline charging full-tilt at her salsa, grinding her hips and boobs and everything in between was just hat I needed to reassure me that the final might actually be worth watching after all.

7. Jake Wood’s Salsa (Week 2)

Its impact was muted somewhere by the fact that he revisted the basics of it in salsamcha after salsambcha after salsambcharleston but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t screaming swear-words from the second he started using Janette’s head as a football to the very last move of the dance. If you’re going to hire a pro just because they’re a salsa specialist then…this is why, I guess.

6. Pixie Lott’s Paso Doble (Week 8)

Alien bitch queen gladiatrix from beyond the stars, doing the paso doble at Blackpool with a whole army of burly slave-boys? Thank you Trent, you glorious toker you.

5. Caroline Flack’s Charleston (Week 10)

If anything justified “Around The World” Week it was…well not this, because you can do a themed Charleston pretty much any week of the series because that’s what it’s for but…well this was a good dance, is what I’m saying. Errant fezes, Gordana, insane lifts and sassy personality, it was the whole reason Caroline decided to do the show in the first place. Well, until she met Pasha. And then, til she won. But…well…it was a motivating factor…to erm…let’s start this summary again.


4. Simon Webbe’s Argentine Tango (Week 8/Final)

The first time out it was one of the highlights of Blackpool, pushing Simon further than he’d gone before, the audience into greater interest in him than ever before, and Darcey into the sort of shameless panty-flooded frotting that even Arlene Phillips would think was a little unsubtle. In the final, it was the closest anybody came this year to touching the divine. Top 5 at least.

3. Frankie Bridge’s Tango (Week 6)

As the “Least Favourite Dances” list shows, this was a bad series for song choices, particularly for Tangos. Spice Girls Tangos and Greekentine Tangos and Beethovens 5th and EDM after EDM after EDM routine. And it seemed like Frankie’s tango would go the same way. “Defying Gravity?!” a nation cried. DEFYING GRAVITY?! And yet, even though he arguably had a subpar series, Kevin somehow managed to find a way to make it work, against all the odds. Dramatic, exciting, and ultimately triumphant. Really she should have done it again in the final but well…such are gallons of make-up and props and hydraulics to wrangle I guess.

2. Pixie Lott’s Tango (Week 6)

Hallowe’en Week was the narrative high point in the battle between the Pop Princesses. The whole of It Takes Two for the week before was about whose tango was going to be better. Would it be Frankie, the boyish brunette who looked the part, or Pixie, the blondie ringer who perhaps had more experience to bring to bear? In the eyes of the judges, and the public, and let’s face it, the ultimate result, it was Frankie who won it, and the series, of the two of them. BUT! DID SHE HAVE THAT WIG? NO.

1. Alison Hammond’s American Smooth (Week 6)

Sometimes, a concept, a performer, a piece of music and a dance routine all combine together to produce a magical moment in dance that a nation will never forget. Such was Hallowe’en Week. Such was Alison Hammond’s American Smooth. Such was Caffee. Top 5 without the supplemenntary material of Alison clocking Aljaz in the face with an arm-hankie in the dance-off, then spending the next half-hour in hysterics, Top 1 with it. Nice one babes.

See you all in September!


15 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing Monkies 2014 – Monkseal’s Picks.

  1. KL

    I would pay serious cash for an Alison Hammond-authored York Notes of Wuthering Heights. Her interpretation of the plot and characters truly appears to be something…. quite special.

    Muffology aside (I wish), I’ve just realised what has bothered me about Judy’s cha cha since it aired… something about Anton’s physique in that outfit makes it look like he’s squeezed into about five layers of clothing underneath it?

  2. Huriye

    Bruno references Fellini everytime that style of background filmic music is danced to (barrell organ, accordian, fairground-ey). It’s his standby, go to reference, dating back to Zoe & Ian’s Paso in series 3, which had a “soft Fellini soundtrack” that didn’t quite work for him, and he obviously wanted something more bombastic, like Pixie’s Paso this year.
    You always capture superb photos Monkseal, (which I sometimes save, I hope I’m not breaking your copyright or anything) and I think I’ll go back and watch Pixie’s Tango on mute, as her and Trent’s characterization was great, but I couldn’t hack the godawful singing. “Danger! Danger! High Voltage!” was, I think, the WunnerfulOrchestraAndFabulousSingers’ worst moment of the series. (Mind you I went and watched the original video on Youtube and that made me feel even more sick, eek!)
    This was also the series which brought us the colour BROWN – very successfully, I thought.
    Best brown dressed Lady: Sunetra (who had a succession of glorious Ballroom dresses, the ones that Caroline never got) in her “Anyone Who Had A Heart” VW.
    Best brown dressed Man: Trent’s 1940’s inspired ‘L’Homme Du Paris’ stylee suit for their Waltz.
    BTW, I also love the song “Weekend in New England”. 😉
    Great read, thanks, Monkseal, will miss you till September.

    1. Huriye

      Incase you’ve forgotten, as it was week 2, Trent in brown,….”Yummmeh” (thanks Darce) and different wiv his swept back locks. ❤

  3. MorticiaA

    “…and Darcey into the sort of shameless panty-flooded frotting that even Arlene Phillips would think was a little unsubtle”.
    Oh monkseal, how I will miss you and your splendid recaps. It’s comments like these (and my favourite Monkseal-Bruno moment of “FUCKUS, INTENT, FUCKUS” to Lira in series 10) that will keep me cackling until next September. I can hardly wait for Strictly to start again in order to read your recaps. You have brought lustre to a truly mediocre series, though thank you PTB for Trent.. He’d better be back next year (Bobbie would be no great sacrifice and if he went he might take his BFF Funnity Fun with him) is all I’m saying. Couldn’t agree more for your favourite dance of the series, though I might have channelled Darcey and frotted myself into oblivion over Aljaz’s guyliner and THOSE ball crushingly tight white trousers.. See you in September. xxx.

  4. Gusty Gusset

    I love Weekend in New England too! We could form a support group.

    Can’t argue with your choice of best dance, although you missed “a pair of tight breeches” from the list of elements that combined to create that particular moment of dahnce perfection.

    Excellent recapping this series as always Monkseal. I daresay after all your hard work you could do with a spell in the sanatorium a la Sue Ellen. Hope they let you out in time for the next series.


  5. Agrippina

    I have done my own version of the Zoe Ball snort laugh over your montage of Jake’s emotional range. Bored bored bored bored bored GURN!!!
    It only remains to ask… will you be recapping the Christmas special? I didn’t bother to watch it because I couldn’t bear the thought of a festive helping of both Lisa Riley and Russell Grant, not just after I’d had my dinner, but I could put up with it in the form of words and still pictures.

  6. Pingback: Seasons Retrospective – An Introduction | dwtsrankings

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