Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Monkseal’s Picks

Just my picks for the top 20 and bottom 10 routines of the series this year, again, blame the INTERNET.


Monkseal’s 10 Least Favourite Routines Of The Series

10. Judge Rinder’s samba : No Melvin on the list, just because he failed in the least interesting way possible, so we kick off with the Rinder pips having been squeezed as dry as they could go, as his patented “leap off things with your mouth flapping open” schtick slammed hard into a Jersey Boys themed dead end.
9. Claudia’s jive : GREG WUZZ ROBBED!
8. Lesley’s tango : Anton had a more than decent series choreographically but this one misstep – having Lesley try to recreate Katie Derham’s tango with a septugenarian. The bit where she climbed awkwardly onto the table only to promptly fall off it will live with me for far longer than it should.
7. Ed’s American Smooth : No he CAN do the lift. HE CAN. Watch him demonstrate that he can 50 bloody times.
6. Greg’s Cha Cha : Natalie playing it straigt at absolutely the worst time to do so.
5. Ore’s Tango : No really, can anyone tell me what that storyline was supposed to be. Anyone? Joanne?
4. Anastacia’s salsa : Not entirely her fault, and it feels churlish to have it on here given the reasons, but this was a sloppy improv mess that opened up a Pandora’s Box of bad feeling that lasted for about a month.
3. Naga’s tango : That torch handling… (Please note that I could have added about three more tangos on this list what a series)
2. Ore’s Charleston : Not his fault. Not Joanne’s fault. Still probably the worst routine ever done by a winner.
1. Ed’s Paso Doble : An apocalyptic mix of trying too hard in the theming, not trying hard enough with the technique and not even bothering with remembering the actual choreography. It takes a lot to give camp a bad name, but this managed it.

Monkseal’s 20 Favourite Routines Of The Series

20. Ore’s American Smooth : Not short of small irritations (his dancing it on tiptoe, the umbrella shagging, the feeling throughout that he might me mugging to camera just a little too much, Gene Kelly’s Widow lurking in the shadows from the second it finished) but I don’t know what a Movie Week American Smooth is for if not for people to live out their Old Hollywood fantasies, and this was that done to perfection, mostly due to the dead-on choreography from Joanne.

19. Ore’s Rumba : An under-rated routine, but one I will chiefly remember for being the one where Joanne cast off three series worth of “ooh I’m just a prim squeaky Northern lass who loves fish’n’chips and mushy peas I don’t know about sex not like all these Eastern European vixens” schtick and basically had Ore rawdog her in the middle of the dancefloor. By the final he was saying he was in love with her every 5 seconds, what power.

18. Rinder’s Foxtrot : As time has passed this routine has grown on me more and more, to the point where it feels like the best touching point of what Rinder was trying to present (good old fashioned conservative moral values taking us back to when BRITAIN WAS GREAT) and what Oksana was trying to present (her in with an Anna Nicole wig producing the gayest routines possible with her bubbies hanging out). That it was all being watched over by the actual Rinder grandparents was just the cherry on the cream.

17. Ed’s Cha Cha : OOOH! AHHH! I’ve not seen many people pick this as their favourite Ed routine, but it’s the one that did it for me the most and which in my opinion best encapulsates the silliness and frivolity of Ed Balls on Strictly, bringing him back from the brink after two tough weeks, but before people actually started arguing that in all seriousness he was actually good and what Strictly is all about. Also props to him for taking out the Elvis inspired choreography Katya put together and replacing it with Beyonce inspired choreography of his own. True taste.

16. Danny’s Quickstep : The first version obviously, not the one he vibrated through in a mental flat spin that cost him the entire series.

15. Claudia’s Charleston : Where Claudia first really let rip with the cartwheels, tricks and most importantly lifts that formed the basis of her charge for the title. Would be between 6 to 7 places higher if it handed with the truly epic pie fight that it was clearly supposed to.

14. Anastacia’s Quickstep : A very nice quickstep elevated both by the fact that it allowed Anastacia to tap into the raw brute force of her American side and also the fact that Brenda was glowering from his hospital bed the whole time, almost certainly fully aware that everyone would be talking about how much better Anastacia was doing without him there. Also bonus points for propelling Gorka to prominence and hopefully a renewed contract in a more edifying manner than…whatever we know think happened to him in Blackpool.

13. Louise’s Waltz : Another underrated routine from a finalist, and really the only time that Kevin indulged in Classic Kevin Choreography rather than trying to reach into a bag of lyrical contemporary tricks that it never really felt like Louise had. A chintzy masterpiece of repressed subrban emotion all topped out with spin after spin after spin after spin after spin.

12. Lesley’s Charleston : I almost went for her cha cha just because it was PEAK DORIAN but the highlight of the Lesley Joseph Strictly Experience in the end for me was her putting out a step-perfect old school Charleston, the dance genre that has most consistantly tripped up the older contestants before, even the ones with a theatrical background. She was gone a week later, but at this point it really seemed like Lesley might just make it to Blackpool.

11. Danny’s Charleston : Chutzpah is putting in a one-handed cartwheel in direct competition with an Olympic gymnast and pulling it off better than her. At this point in the series Danny had his hand on the tiller and even if he didn’t know it then Oti and his other choreographers did.

10. Louise’s Argentine Tango : One week later than planned out on Evil Moira Ross In A Rainbow Wig’s Series 14 Mood Board, Louise’s Argentine Tango (and its attendant lamppost) gave her the performance breakthrough she sorely needed via the medium of a moody sultry performance with lifts and hair-tosses a-plenty. But it wasn’t just Louise on a journey. Think back on Kevin’s…effort with Susanna, and marvel at how far he too has come.

9. Greg’s Rumba : A masterclass in theming as Ghost Natalie returned from beyond the grave to claim Greg’s soul as he wandered around his spooky Scooby Doo mansion late at night, although no performance was as compelling as the one Natalie gave when Craig pointed out that it wasn’t really a rumba darling. You’d better watch she doesn’t back and haunt your ass next Revel-Horwood.

8. Claudia’s Quickstep In a “stronger than has been the case recently” semi-final, Claudia’s quickstep stood out as a full realisation of her potential to overcome the obvious physical incompatability between her and AJ and produce beautiful basic ballroom. And without any lifts! Given that her whole exit storyline was how she learnt via Strictly that she was a strong and individual woman outside of the restricted life she’d allowed herself so far as a dedicated gymnast, it felt like a better end to her storyline than a showdance full of…gymnastics, that’s for sure.

7. Laura’s Tango : Laura’s one good routine of the series, the one good tango of the series, and the one good Hallowe’en routine that was good only because it was GOOD rather than because of the insane delirium of Hallowe’en theming.

6. Danny’s Samba If you listened to Danny himself, as much as Strictly was the greatest experience of his life, it also wasn’t exactly an easy ride free of neuroses and strife. Every week he turned up on It Takes Two to proclaim that he was FULL OF NERVES and CONSTANTLY ON THE EDGE OF MESSING UP and OH GOD ZOE I CAN’T GO THROUGH ANOTHER EXPERIENCE LIKE MY FOXTROT AGAIN I JUST CAN’T. So it was great to see him cut loose, not worry, and just have a good time. Just once. And in his samba, he certainly did that.

5. Louise’s Paso Doble : Louise Redknapp In Game Of Thrones. Enough said really.

4. Ore’s Jive : He looked hot in it. I think I’ve said that enough times now right?

3. Daisy’s Waltz : Nothing like having to constantly defend a routine to make it one of your favourites, but Daisy’s waltz came with two major demerits in the eyes of the public – firstly that it was dedicated to her recently deceased grandfather, which some people found tacky, and secondly that it got a 9, which set off all the people already eager to tear down anybody who got over an 8 and wasn’t called Danny Mac to shreds. The tabloids screamed that the entire show was RIGGED FOR DAISY, Len got raked over the coals for calling it the best Week 1 routine ever (it was, get over it) and unfortunately she never quite hit this peak again, but as far as I was concerned, it was just lovely

2. Rinder’s Paso Doble : Judge Rinder flinging himself off the balcony dressed as Buffalo Bill whilst Oksana tried to headbutt her way out of a giant condom, at Hallowe’en, as Born This Way blaring away constantly in the background. And as well as all that, an actually good paso doble. I’m not sure we’ll ever see the likes again.

1. Danny’s American Smooth : I still don’t understand how this was bottom 2 to be honest. After a whole series of dashing about manically, doing every routine at 100mph, in the semi finals Danny Mac finally slowed down, channelled his inner Gene Kelly and showed some grace. And what grace it was.


21 thoughts on “Strictly Come Dancing 14 – Monkseal’s Picks

  1. Toasted Toad

    Love this selection. Favourites so much more interesting than “best”, even though there is always likely to be overlap. Didn’t expect to see Daisy’s lovely waltz to be in there, so that made me smile. And the Judge’s almighty paso! Boringly, I would have had Danny’s AS and Samba as top 2, but I’m really not inclined to argue with a lot of your choices (except I would have chosen Lesley’s whatever it was dance to “We’re a couple of swells” rather than her Charleston, and Ed’s salsa). 10 worst also gave me a giggle, except I can’t even remember Naga’s tango.

  2. Lightfantastic

    Fresh from watching the Christmas Special on catch up, this has come as a mighty relief. (WHAT ON EARTH WAS THAT ABOUT????!!!!)
    I loved Ed’ char char char too and his Laurel and Hardy routine.
    Danny’s AS was sublime and perfect.
    Right this is the year I go and do some dance myself. There. I’ve put it out there. Committed now.
    Til September then. Maybe Darcy will get her wish and Boris Bleedin Johnson will be shuffling along in Series 14. Who knows?
    Happy 2017 Monkies!!

  3. vampadvocate

    Funnily enough both the rountines that both you toad and you lightfantastic mentioned were quicksteps – it was truly a vintage year from them – when the worst of the bunch were Louise’s which had possibly less QS in it that Greg’s had basic rhumba or Ed’s had recognisable salsa (and was much much less entertaining than both) but was still entertaining, Greg’s which wasn’t bad despite being danced to totally inappropriate music (sadly not an uncommon phenonem) and Laura’s also not bad despite the music being too fast and her head position looking like she had neck strain then that says something compare it to the crashing awfulness of some of the tangos, the snoozefest of boring foxtrots and waltzes and you realise. Most people’s best dances or second or third bests in some cases were QS’s this year and it wasn’t anyone worse dance despite the fact that most people did one.

  4. vampadvocate

    BTW – Monkseal I do hope that we get more of your thoughts when your internet is better. All I can wish is that it gets well soon and thank you for gettting our results for the Monkies up even the bitter bastards who voted Ore the fourth worst dancer – like I know he’s marmite guys and gets on a lot of a wicks and Danny should have won but like seriously :-O

      1. BeyonceCastleWantsToBeAHolisticAssassin

        ^annual monkies toad. Ore was in top 5 of both best and worst.

        Nice choices Chris. It was a bad year for tangos.
        Given it was week one, I would have had Will’s tango in mine despite his socks. Rindy’s cha cha.
        And I liked the two non salsas. Ore’s paso grew on me as did Lou’s Charleston.
        One I hated was Cloud’s paso, not the choreo just the choreo with That Music. On mute with any other sodding tune and it’s awesome. Look forward to stalking you again in the Autumn (unless you are tweeting about DWTS Ireland on Rte or Search For A Fat Gary on the beeb. They do both clash with the Voice though). Warmest wishes for 2017.

      1. BeyonceCastle

        Vamp has it (thanks Vamp). Sorry toad, only read your request now or would have responded. Was delighted Rindy got best personality although I think I gave Daisy a vote. Gutted Will came 2nd for worst…I gave him benefit of the doubt re most of the crap written about his exit/declining to take part in the final. I loved him when he was on, #helpWill etc made me laugh. Am easily pleased I guess 😉

  5. vampadvocate

    Beyonce – Claudia’s paso is just crying out for someone to put a soundtrack of a song or piece of flamenco music that actually suits the dance to the dance instead. I’m surprised one of their fans hasn’t already done it.

    I wasn’t a fan of Louise’s waltz or her paso but apart from that I agree with most of the picks here. Also some of Ore’s charleston was his fault – his swivels weren’t great and the botched lift was the fault of either him (despite Jo trying to shoulder at least some of the blame) but the things that made it truly grotesque weren’t and even Mr Smiley Soundbite himself has half admitted he hated the costume (which since it made what even his worst enemies have to admit is at least a half decent looking bloke look like a right state is perfectly understandable).

      1. BeyonceLikesAPassableDoble

        Thank you SO much for this. Could cry for Cloud’s music choices this series. She really drew the short straw.

  6. Sparklemotion

    Aww thanks Monkseal for all the entertainment over the series – and for recap and this post despite internet issues. We’re pretty much in sync though Ore was more Clancey-like for me…though he defo deserved it on the night.
    Happy new year to you and yours.
    For 2017 – I’d like ringers for Gorka and Katya plus wardrobe to keep Pasha away from the polonecks and Aljaz away from clothes in general.

  7. vampadvocate

    Beyoncé I too liked Daisy a lot and gave her a vote in the most liked personality this year. She is adorable and I don’t know why her boyfriends keep dumping her (or maybe she dumps them). However she said on a daytime telly interview that everyone could do with Rinder in their lives so she probably agrees with him taking the crown. I didn’t vote for him but since my other vote went to his bestie I think that he’d understand and of course the bestie would have no problem with a Rindy victory either so honour is satisfied on all counts. I did like Rindy myself so I don’t have a problem with it.

    I felt sorry for Will too – I wasn’t sure that he was the great dancer he was hyped up to be but I feel he got blamed for something with the Bollywood salsa content that wasn’t his fault and perhaps answering bad wasn’t the wisest thing he ever did but I think he was genuinely confused and that conflict between what the producers wanted and wanted Len did may well have been a contributing factor to him leaving. I’m even more easily pleased as I liked pretty much everyone this year personality wise or at least I didn’t actively dislike anyone as a person but my vote for worst personality went to Naga as nice lady that she seemed she badly needed to loosen up.

  8. Mr. AsNTM

    Seconded – hopefully we’ll get to see your usual Monkies for this year, Chris. I’d love to see your usual amazing series wrap-up writing for this year, which has been a great series, more or less.

    At first I thought Ore’s Charleston is the highest-scoring dance to ever placed second on your worst list, but then I remember Natalie’s LASIK Tango to some Rihanna bollocks which somehow got 37 also ended up second.

  9. Evenratsdance

    I’m another one who felt sorry for Will – if he has had any sort of ill health (mental health) problems, being to to shut up by Len on live TV was never going to help. I actually thought that was really rude of Len.

    Thanks again Chris, for making Strictly (particularly this season, which mostly went by in a blur of painkillers for me) much funnier and far more interesting than it otherwise would have been.

    1. Evenratsdance

      Oh, and nearly forgot – thank you for that last pic of Danny, which proved without doubt that: he was right about being nervous – they even let him have a quick fag during the dance to calm him down ;
      the sun really does shine out of his arse ; he was VERY pleased to see Oti …

  10. Minxy

    4,3 and 3 of the favourite dances to the finalists – so the right ones made it through then? (Who knew the Cliftons would come out so well)
    And for once it did come down to the dancing on the night and not being the fan favourite -whether the general public at large or the narrow focused and very vocal obsessives on DS (for or against).
    I may even be tempted to go rewatch your list. I rarely do that even for routines i love

    I still would have liked to have seen more of Will – but he had to do what was right for him. And i am sad for Karen.

    Justice for Greg
    And you were spot on with Claudia.

    Anastasia and Brendan reminded me of Michelle and Brendan too. I know she is mostly remembered for the Time Warp but for me it was always about the waltz she did with Ian while Brenda was at his pa’s funeral. She danced so well and confidently with Ian. I thought then, and still do now, how Brenda would have been dragging her around – so very much like it was with Anastasia and Brenda/Gorka. Brenda does not know how to bring out the best in his partners or how to get them back on track. Tho i do enjoy his DS blog when i can find it

    I like all the new pro’s or am willing to give them a chance – well Oksana i can take or leave (but please no more of her husband’s bloody shitty choreography)

    So another year over – wow that went so fast
    Maybe next year the pro’s can have more input into the music too.
    And EMRiaRW will have more faith in letting the action evolve organically rather than trying to force it.
    Hopefully you will find some new show to blog and entertain us with to keep us going till next season.

    Thank you

  11. Mushypea

    Not generally given to supporting conspiracy theories but something didn’t ring true with the semi-final and final this year. Danny and Oti given an Adele song for the final? Someone who sings about angst, betrayal, heartache? Definite feelgood stuff there to choreograph for the big night but not. One of the biggest unfair moves of the whole series was Len criticising the start of Danny’s QS as ‘faffin abat’. It tempted Oti to ‘fix’ something that was already perfect in order to please Len and win 10s in the final. The beginning of the dance was homage to the film in which Ginger tries to get Fred to put down the baton and dance with her, all to the tune of ‘I Won’t Dance’. I thought Len would have recognised this. The whole dance, including the introduction, was perfectly calibrated to the sense and the rhythm of the song and the changes obviously messed up with Danny’s muscle memory of the original dance (that he loved so much). The new, rushed beginning of the dance and the insertion of a whole new section was all so unnecessary and must have made him doubly heart-broken when he made a mistake. It did me on his behalf. Ore may not have put a foot wrong on the night but it was a performance that was curiously devoid of a real connection between the dancers and fell short of what I look for in a winner. The effortless, natural chemistry between Danny and Oti was a million times more appealing, mistakes and all. 2016 definitely a year when the voting public was full of surprises.

  12. WCS- WH

    The more I think about the repercussions of Danny effing up his 2nd QS, the more I come round to thinking that Jay&Aliona did the right thing in not reprising their jive, given that they said they only danced it error-free once and that was on the night. I know they then did it on the tour, but they had more time to practise then, and less pressure.
    That said- Jay had probably built up enough goodwill to withstand a spoiled jive, but it still shows how fragile dances are.


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