Strictly Come Dancing Monkies 2015 – Monkseal’s Picks


Best Judge You can weigh up fairness, technical expertise, and grammatical coherence all you like, Bruno Tonioli yelled BULLS BOLLOCKS, that’s it, he was this year’s best judge. Truly this will join the ranks of “FANNY CLUB!” and “THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF BULLSHIT!” as Bruno’s greatest moments, falling off a chair be damned. Rumours abound that this will be Bruno’s last series, mostly I guess because he’s the most obviously expendable of the line-up, so if this was Bruno’s last stand, then let’s be glad he went out as we would all like to remember him. Drunk and swearing.

Worst Judge We were told that Len quitting the Winter runs of Dancing With The Stars would make him less ratty, less tired, and less prone to picking fights with the audience. Yeah, that didn’t really happen did it?

Best Judging Moment BULLS BOLLOCKS!

Runners-Up Bruno stands up for Puccini ; Len vs Modern Rumba pts 1, 2 and 3 ; Bruno compares Helen to Giselle ; WAMPANT CWAB!
; the return of Bruno’s incredibly slow pirouettes ; those 3-4 weeks when Len’s Glans was actually useful and informative ; “Georgia and Gervada” ; Len randomly being really “nice” about Anita’s salsa entirely through gritted teeth just wasn’t his thing sorry as a vein throbbing on his forehead threatened to explode ; the inevitable and nevertheless comforting return of Craig’s beard

Worst Judging Moment Jameliagate

Runners-Up Anything Craig said about Jay’s facial expressions ever ; the unwelcome return of “SO YUMMEH!” ; Len yelling at the audience (multiply this out by 1000) ; “WANTED HAD A SONG WE OWN THE NIGHT YOU OWNED THE NIGHT JAY WE’RE GLAD YOU COME!” ; any and all of the weather puns thrown at Carol ; Peter Andre would just like to thank all the judges for being so knowledgeabble and great ; when Darcey said ON THE FIRST EPISODE THEY WANTED A MALE WINNER WHEN THERE WERE ONLY 2 MEN IN THE ENTIRE CAST WHO WAS ANY GOOD AND THAT’S BEING GENEROUS ; Darcey saying she wasn’t going to give a 10 because it was only week 3 well done Darcey, That time Darcey came down the stairs just twiddling her forefingers over one another and it seemed to last for about half an hour and it was hell indeed, that Tango getting a 40 ; Craig tells Helen that the judges didn’t put her in the bottom 2 even though they did ; Craig tells Katie he’s very personally proud of her for having made the final ; that effing speech Craig made about how Carol was so lovely he regretted being so mean about her.

The Father Jack Hackett Blue Ribbon For Most Alcohol Consumed Over The Course Of The Series

Best Pro Routine Of The Series : None of them, they were all garbage

Worst Pro Routine Of The Series : The one set in a laundry which was not only sexist and boring, it also featured a whole week of teasing of shirtless Tristan which did not then happen

Best It Takes Two Segment : The new Homoerotic Backstage Interviews section wherein Pasha/Tristan, Aljaz/Giovanni, and Natalie/Janette became the new OTPs of choice for a nation of slash shippers. The segment wherein Pasha and Tristan talked about taking one another on (/to) a desert island in particular

Runners-Up : Strictly Come Dine With Me, a segment created solely so Natalie could make up for bombing out of Masterchef ; them doing Strictly Around The World and going beyond India for once ; that time they got three journalists on and asked their informed opinions (*cough cough*) ; Joanne’s Choreography Corner ; Jamelia’s Exit Interview What A Roaring Rampage Of Revenge

The Dr Hamela Grant For Subtlety In Dance Performance

Best Results Show Guest Performance Anastasia tied with Years & Years for doing songs that I recognised.

Worst Results Show Guest Performance : Rod Stewart – good God man, give it up

Best Host : Claudia. Specifically Claudia in the dolphin outfit, with chocolate smeared around her face, lobbing marbles everyone and yes even squealing “GLEBBY GLEBBY GLEBBY! COME TO AUNTIE CLAUDE!” whilst swinging novelty handcuffs. I’m still not sold on her as a live post-dance interviewer but by God those bits became comedy gold randomly without me even noticing I was thinking it

Worst Host : Robin Windsor. That A-Z of Strictly good grief.

Best Feud Of The Series Jamelia vs Peter

Runners-Up : Kellie vs Wardrobe, Kevin vs Jay (come on, you could tell, towards the end), Helen vs the Reindeer Ghosts, Katie vs Sobriety, Pasha vs Pashastein, Katie vs the Ghosts Of Anton’s Dead Wives, Jeremy vs Darcey’s Patronising Complements

King Of All Pros : It’s hard to single out a newbie pro as having the best year, but kudos to Giovanni Pernice for being the one male pro to really have unambiguously had a good year (although a lot of them had good runs), and also for getting laid at the first attempt apparently, congratumalations.

Runners-Up : Anton, Gleb, Pasha

Queen Of All Pros Aliona Vilani for becoming the first pro to win twice and the third femmale pro to leave on her own terms as soon as she won. That’ll show them for firing her, I guess.

Runners-Up : Natalie, Kristina, Oti

Worst Celebrity (Talent) : Iwan Thomas – oh how our expectations were not met

Runners-Up : Carol Kirkwood, Jeremy Vine, Kirsty Gallacher

Worst Celebrity (Personality) : Kirsty Gallacher – at least Gabby could actually dance on top of being brittle and over-competitive. She didn’t call her pro out for his music choices on live television either…

Runners-Up : Peter Andre, Kellie Bright, Iwan Thomas

Best Celebrity (Talent) : Jay McGuiness

Runners-Up : Georgia May-Foote, Helen George, Kellie Bright

Best Celebrity (Personality) : Katie Derham – not just for herself but how she slowly morphed over the course of the series into a perfect distaff Anton du Beke, inappropriate laughter and rampant insincerity abounds

Runners-Up : Daniel O’Donnell, Helen George, Anthony Ogogo

Monkseal’s Ten Least Favourite Dances Of The Series

10. Kellie’s Samba : Iveta did it. And Iveta did it better.
9. Katie’s Cha Cha : A nice lady walking around with shopping bags does not even a cha cha make
8. Kirsty’s Paso Doble : Don’t blame the song choice hun, that was crummy entirely on its own merits.
7. Jamelia’s Jive : Michelle Williams did it. And Michelle Williams did it better. And think about that.
6. Kirsty’s Charleston :

5. Anita’s Rumba : Some things are too Gleb even for a confirmed Glebophile like me to be able to endorse.
4. Iwan’s Cha Cha : WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE YEAH! WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE YEAH! DO THE WIGGLE MAN! Seriously though, a horrible car crash wherein Iwan trying to sell himself entirely on sex appeal backfired horribly as he looked embarassingly try-hard and utterly sexless throughout. Like the David Brent Dance and Del Boy falling through the bar had a baby
2. Carol’s Rumba : Yeah a Hallowe’en themed rumba to The Partridge Family, that’ll work.
1. Peter’s Jive : Not just a bad (awful, terrible, horrible) dance in the first place, but also proof of the rot at the heart of Strictly that is the dance-off, and even worse, a terrible terrible horrible waste of Greg.

Monkseal’s 20 Favourite Routines Of The Series

20. Jamelia’s Charleston (Week 4)

Kirsty’s Viennese Waltz, Carol’s paso doble, Daniel’s Waltz…this series had a few dances where dancers who had up til that point seemed like write-offs from a technical standpoint shone. Ish. But none of them had the impact of Jamelia’s Charleston, so that’s the one that just about manages to scrape into this Top 20. Feel free to count any of the above as honourable mentions. That and a whole bunch of Anita’s dances that are bubbling around somewhere between 21 and 30 on the unexpigated version of this list.

19. Helen’s Salsa (Week 4)

Helen might never have completely come together as a candidate for the win (too many dodgy music choices and too early deployment of ballroom dances which really should have been interspersed better with the tidal wave of party latin) but as a narrative “nice young ballerina with a secret dark sexually voracious side” was an amazing narrative. It was like watching Black Swan, but with fewer close-ups of mangled feet. And never was Helen more…sexually expressive than when she played the naughty nurse. Not necessarily a great dance, but certainly a memorable one.

18. Kellie’s Charleston (Wk3/Final)

Harry Potter, Nancy, The Fresh Prince Of Bel End, Dolly Parton, “Mimi”…the whole of this series for Kellie and Kevin felt like they were trying to ape other beloved or made-up cultural figures rather than just being themselves. And really, I think, this was the only time it worked and felt fun. Joyous, nerdy, and deeply deeply silly, it bears repeating that of the three Final Night dances that birthed the massive KELLIE SHOULD HAVE WON push (which…no she shouldn’t) this was the only one I really enjoyed.

17. Jamelia’s Quickstep (Wk 8)

Less a dance, more the beginnings of a social movement. You can work as hard as you like, improve as much as you can, and deliver in spades, twice over, some days, it’s just not going to happen for you. But despite all that, it’ll still be you, and this show, at its best.

16. Peter’s Charleston (Wk 7)

Good as a dance, great as a piece of narrative, as Peter, who had seemed conclusively sunk as a long term prospect after his dismal Hallowe’en Week showing, came roaring back like Moby Dick in a Liza Minelli wig to open the Week 7 show with an absolute blitz of a Charleston, scoring a perhaps slightly overinflated 38 as he did so, and laying down the challenge to everyone else to match him. It took an entire evening for anyone to come close and the whole thing served as an object lesson to never write anyone off completely (until the next week, after which Peter Andre really could be written off completely)

15. Katie’s Tango (Week 2)

On the surface this series seemed like an opportunity for Anton, after series after series of comedy partnerships, to really show what he could do and hence what traditional ballroom dancing was all about that being his brand. So it was interesting to see two of his and Katie’s best moments coming from a slight subversion of expectations. Sure the routine wasn’t being done to anything that sounded much like the original, but a dramatic Lady Gaga tango? Just right, and really the routine that lit the burners underneath this series.

14. Anita’s Paso (Week 9)

Never has the phrase “feeling my oats” been so embodied. I’m not sure any celebrity enjoyed doing any dance this year as much as Anita enjoyed doing this. She might have spent most of it either on the floor or pawing at Gleb…oh actually, no I get it now.

13. Helen’s Foxtrot (Week 3)


12. Georgia’s samba

The dance that answered Peter’s Charleston and the point where Georgia really let it be known that she was’t happy just to make up the numbers any more. Also Giovanni in brown trousers always oddly worked didn’t it?

11. Jay’s Tango (Week 10)

In the final analysis I think I decided that I liked it more than I liked Kimberley’s tango and less than I liked Rachel’s Argentine Tango. So, y’know, not too shabby.

10. Jeremy’s Salsa (Week 6)

Darkness falls across the land
The midnite hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller
Can you dig it?!

Those being the words of the Thriller spoken word segment. Which Karen choreographed to. Madness and genius.

9. Katie’s Rumba (Week 8)

Anton & Katie doing a great tango to Lady Gaga was unexpected. Anton & Katie doing the greatest goddamn rumba of the series set in outer space to Shirley Bassey? Unfeasible. And yet…it happened.

8. Jay’s Salsa (Week 9)

Jay’s Blackpool Salsa had to bear the weight of starting Blackpool and closing Jay’s own “can Jay pull faces?” arc and it managed to do both with ease. It was also genuinely sexy, playful, and in that massive final lift that went on forever, it was what I look for most of all in a Stricctly salsa – a wanton act of showing off.

7. Ainsley’s Salsa (Week 2)

Let’s face it. We ALL wanted to touch Ainsley’s juicy tomatoes. Ainsley’s time on Strictly was a slow winnowing down from his awesomely campy enthusiastic entry to a slightly over-earnest clumsy end, but good lord what a start. His week 1 tango almost made this list until I rewatched it and realised it was an awesome gaymazing opening few seconds that never really reached a conclusion, but this dance was 100% madness from beginning to rump-shaking, Daffy Duck stomping end. The most gloriously silly routine of the series.

6. Anita’s Waltz (Week 6)

If Gleb brought anything to this series, it was undisputably rock hard abs. And also a sense of the theatrical that goes beyond what any Strictly pro has attempted before. Or wanted to, really. For me, the height of this grandeur came in Hallowe’en Week, as Anita descended from the ceiling on giant wings, with giant horns and blew glitter into Gleb’s face before using her dark magic to control him like a puppet. And this was a waltz. The technique might not quite have been there but Anita was never better than she was here, playing the villain to the absolute hilt and loving it. Bonus points at cackling like the worst kind of sorrity princess girlfriend as Gleb menaced the guy under the stairs on the way up to Claud 9 as well.

5. Kellie’s American Smooth (Week 12)

Both a triumph for Kellie – finally getting the nice dress and Fred & Ginge routine that she’d always dreamed of right when she needed it most – and for me, in that it was the only really good and memorable dance done in the entire last three weeks of the competition.

4. Helen’s Viennese Waltz (Week 10)

It took nigh on her entire run on the series, but at last Helen’s dance came along, at the very last minute to give her her 10s and a moment she can look back on on Strictly and be proud of. Nostalgic and twirly and pretty and all the rest. Hopefully it will be recreated every night on tour.

3. Jay’s Jive (Week 3)

First of all let’s say it – this was easily the best piece of choreography Aliona’s ever done for this show, technically probably the best routine of the series, and a very well-played performance in its own right, especially as it was apparently pulled from a week of atrocious and messy rehearsals. But to be honest, for me, in that last week of proclaiming the dance perfect and unreplicable Jay and Aliona managed to do for me what apparently they were trying not to do – spoil the moment. Although only down as far as being my third favourite routine of the series, WHAT SPOILAGE IT’S RUINED FOREVER.

2. Georgia’s Charleston (Week 8)

Like I said, twice, the best Charleston this show has ever seen.

1. Katie’s Viennese Waltz (Week 4)

I think my enjoyment of this series really peaked with Katie’s Viennese Waltz. It was a technical peak for her (she was never this good before and certainly wasn’t ever again). It was a technical peak for Anton (probably, idk from dancing). It was a comeback from the week before. It was narratively appropriate for Anton’s journey and also I guess for Katie’s, being done to a song about how, no matter how low or overlooked you are, it doesn’t matter as long as you can be allowed dream of victory, you can achieve it after a fashion. It was, above all the narrative and trappings and implications though a real Pimp Slot performance – dramatic without being gimmicky, the best dance of the night by a mile, and building to a true climax with fireworks and high notes a-plenty. It’s the only time this series I found myself chanting for 10s. And not just on the night, but all the way til the final, non-stop when it SHOULD HAVE BEEN REPEATED DAMNIT. Curse you Judges Choice. Curse you forever.



15 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing Monkies 2015 – Monkseal’s Picks

  1. Carl

    Great work, as always. Reading your list back I’m reminded of how many dances I’ve already forgotten…this series really had the potential to be one to remember, but the last month pretty much killed it. There was a lot of EFFORT, but little to no polish or rooting value. Something like Michael and Natalie doing New York New York is the Strictly I remember, even if he was a bad dancer most of the time – it just had magic. Little to none of that was on display this time around.

    The Jay jive is one that (and I know it was based on the film’s scenes) is always spoiled a bit for me by the somewhat forced, awkward ending. I do think I’d put his salsa above the jive now.

    Katie’s rumba is another I appreciate more each time I watch.

    Helen was so strange and endearing, which made her tabloid rep this series as a hellbitch even more amusing.

  2. missfrankiecat

    Great work as ever – I have enjoyed your recaps more than most of the shows this year. That VW was my favourite too – I suspect we may never see such a ‘throw-back’ to the early ethos of Strictly again.

  3. Ross

    Katie’s Quickstep as her Judges’ Choice, knowing that she struggled with props (like HATS), was deeply frustrating; she could have competed equally with the others’ dances with her Jive, Tango, Rumba, or even her Argentine Tango. That said, all the Judges’ choices were crap.

    1. Chris

      Ideal judges’ choices would be routines that were great first time but still had clunking great errors to iron out, and so had potential to be fantastic. That way we could’ve seen Katie’s tango, Georgia’s samba, Jay’s Charleston etc again.

  4. Gusty Gusset

    Those pics of Helen winning the Dr Hamela grant really have a touch of the Fairchild Van Waldenbergs about them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Please Monkseal could you use your influence to campaign for Joan Collins as a guest judge next season? Her presence would make Craig up his game in the withering putdown stakes, which he really needs to do.

    Also I think you could do with a Monkie for most tiresome storyline of the series, with Georgia being a little girly princess being a major contender, up against Anita’s lack of previous training. Not that either of these could ever compete with Chelsee becoming a laydee, of course.

    ALSO if we have a male weather presenter on the show this year (Schafenaker!!) I think he should be obliged to dance to It’s Raining Men, in the interests of equal opportunities theming.

  5. PerfectCustard

    Those pics of “sloshed” Katie and dramatic Helen had me giggling away.
    I think your top 20 dances are a perfect summation of the series.
    Is it true that you are a distant relation to Phryne Fisher? Because your wit and wisdom remind me of her. Thanks for all the laughter, Until Next Year xxxx

  6. pinheadpolls

    Again, a great year, and some picks I definitely agree with – Best and Worst Personalities (someone other than me LOVED DANIEL BACK!)
    PS Went back to look at Series 7, first series I watched – I was a kid *tries to block out the voice of Peter talking about his kids*. Yes Andy Williams did it embarrassingly, but do you actually (dis)like him?

  7. Pingback: Seasons Retrospective – An Introduction | dwtsrankings

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