Honestly, the most thought I’ve ever had to put into chiselling down my list of least favourite routines of the series, get ready.
Best Judge : I am admittedly probably overvaluing “IT’S THE SEMI-FINALS, I’M GETTING THINGY!” just because it was one of the biggest laughs I had all series and came as late as…well, the semi-finals, but my vote in this category goes to Darcey Bussell for settling nicely into her role of being the burblingly posh lynch-pin of calm on the judging panel. Shirley might have had her iconic adventures with the CHICKUN, but without Darcey there to pat her hand and reassure her every time Bruno almost punched her in the face, would she have had the mental wherewithal to keep it together for the entire series, I don’t think so.
Worst Judge : This hurts to say, just as it hurt to do the same thing last year, but Bruno really does give out too many 10s now, it’s out of control. I don’t mind a bit of enthusiasm but he threw out almost as many 10s over the course of this series as were given out in the entirety of Series 5. By all four judges. It’s just too much. Bonus points for wrangling the Lindathon Trainwreck and going on The One Show and repeatedly trying to reminisce with Matt Baker about how he won the show, and then points off again for sullying Graeme’s exit by being an eejit with Craig.
A Special Award For Stacey Dooley : A Winner Of Firsts
- First celebrity ever to dance the quickstep in Week 1
- First celebrity ever to dance lyrical style street-commercial on Strictly Come Dancing
- First celebrity ever to dress as a Minion for Movie Week
- First ginger winner
- First celebrity ever to top the leaderboard with a song by Jeff Beck
- First female winner ever to dodge the rumba
- First winner ever to win from 4th on the leaderboard in the final
- First winner ever to dance the American Smooth in Musicals Week
- First winner ever to be partnered to a pro who has divorced a Venezuelan
- Winner with the most vowels in their name, if you count Ys as vowels
Best Pro/Group Dance Of The Series : I enjoyed CanDoCo and Arlene’s collaboration, and Oti and Aljaz warring over who had control of his magic balls, but ultimately I’m giving this one to the opening Hallowe’en routine, just for being the one routine all series to properly incorporate the celebs into a big group number beyond having them walk down some stairs
Worst Pro/Group Dance Of The Series : Giovanni doing Singin’ The Rain is a reasonably tantalising prospect. That it then turned into all the pros thrashing around and falling over in a giant toddler’s paddling pool means this lands at the bottom through wasted potential alone.
Best Guest Performer : Gloria Estefan brought the spectacle, The Backstreet Boys brought the nostalgia, and Trevor Dion Nicholas brought the pipes, but at the end of the day I can’t argue with Gladys Knight being Gladys goddamn Knight. I’m only sorry that Dancing With The Stars got her first so she can’t be a contestant.
Worst Guest Performer : Take That on trampettes with Mark Owen looking like he just crawled out of a skip
The Best It Takes Two Moments – A Visual Journey 2.0
Best Contestant Who Was Also A Diagram
Best Host : It’s still Zoe Ball, I don’t need no sex jokes about Dave Arch in my life thanks very much.
Worst Host : I think when you have a pro who hasn’t done a lot of hosting before, it might be a good idea for the show to send her to chat to people who are used to being interviewed. Not, say, the lovely nerds who run the visual effects department. Sorry Amy.
King Of All Pros : He won, he cemented his legacy, he went absolutely bugfuck insane over the course of the final week and started unironically posting “A LION DOES NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THE OPINION OF SHEEP!” memes to his Instagram, he produced consistantly innovative choreography over the series, even if it was innovative in the worst possible way. It has to be Kevin Clifton, we love a mad monarch.
Runners-Up : Giovanni Pernice, Pasha Kovalev, Pissy Legend Gorka Marquez
Queen Of All Pros : I’m so tempted to give this to Luba, because I am obsessed already, but I’m going to have to do the boring thing again and go for the one who finished highest – Dianne Buswell produced one of those rare visible actual improvements in ballroom technique with Joe (if you forget the semi finals) and that deserves credit.
Runners-Up : Oti Mabuse, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton
Most Awful Tedious Scandalbollocks Of The Series : lol Seann & Katya
Runners-Up : Danny gives The Sun an interview and then the Sun twist it all and then Danny calls the reporter names on twitter so The Sun then rakes up an argument he and Amy had and call him a bully and then he gets eliminated and throws a huffty and doesn’t turn up for It Takes Two ; Faye and Giovanni are DOIN IT ; Stacey is a DIVA ; Vick decides that her elimination is everyone’s fault but hers ; that whole week that Stacey had an injury and people complained that the show mentioned it because apparently mentioning someone was injured is favouritism now ; Zoe Ball spends the entire last month of the show telling people off for not voting for Ashley ; the tabloids take two and a bit months trying to scrape up nasty quotes from Dr Ranj’s ex wife and then manages, like, a few lines of perfectly reasonable stuff from her dad and then run it as puffed up as possible ; Shirley hates Seann, no wait she hates Faye, no wait she hates Ashley, no wait she hates Vick, no wait she hates…
Most Welcome Interjection To Leaven The Awful Tedious Scandalbollocks Of The Series : Gleb crashing through the window wearing his pants to yell about how as far as he’s aware backstage at Strictly is just everyone shagging everyone else (except Pasha because he’s good and pure and innocent), 24 hours a day, threesomes, foursomes, anything goes, swinging, swanking, doin’ it sideways, he walked in on Ben Cohen taking Kevin Clifton up the arse one time, honestly, they’re all filthy perverts, can I have my £200 interview fee now please.
Worst Celebrity (Personality) : I mean all in all, Seann was at least moderately likeable for…two episodes, Susannah gave me nothing but refried beans from other better contestants with a constant pout on.
Runners-Up : Seann Walsh, Danny John-Jules, Ashley “it’s been a rollercoaster Tess” Roberts
Worst Celebrity (Talent) : LOL Susannah again, it’s not even close
Runners-Up : Seann Walsh, Katie Piper, Lee Ryan
Best Celebrity (Personality) : Graeme Swann turned up, played the game, committed, cracked jokes, had a personality, and posted constant pictures of himself in tiny pants. I’m not even into him, but I have to respect that.
Runners-Up : Kate Silverton, The Many Personalities Of Faye Tozer, Miss Ranjie
Best Celebrity (Talent) : Faye Tozer
Runners-Up : Ashley Roberts, I dunno, why pretend they obviously weren’t by far the best two to the extent that the show felt broken, why bother?
Monkseal’s 10 Least Favourite Routines Of The Series:
10. Lee & Nadiya – Cha Cha : The last two thirds of this mostly resolved down into fairly bog-standard bad cha cha, but everything about the opening salvo, from Lee wobbling around on that “hoverboard”, to Lee desperately trying to get the audience to react to Lee wobbling around on that hoverboard, to Nadiya vamping forever as a sexy stripper scientist to cover up how long it took him to get out of the harness (which malfunctioned in the results show reprise and almost killed him), to that…moonwalk step, were the purest cringe of the series.
9. Kate & Aljaz – Samba : Anyone remember that dance that Rachel did in Series 1 of The Apprentice? This was that, for 90 seconds, with added “oooh I do love Africa!” pains
8. Susannah & Anton – Samba : On the one hand, at least it had a gimmick. On the other, they showed us what the gimmick was before they started so it didn’t come over at all.
7. Danny & Amy – Quickstep : Was destined to be one of those dances where Danny either soared into being a genuine contender or crashed and burned, and it’s nice to know that for all the show feels like it’s on rails at times…the latter can still happen.
6. Graeme & Oti – American Smooth : What was this? Oti, what was this? Explain yourself.
5. Joe & Dianne – Street : Couples Choice opened up a lot of opportunities for us all to see exciting new styles of dancing that we don’t normally see on Strictly. It also opened up a lot of opportunities for this sort of shite.
4. Seann & Katya – Quickstep : Everything wrong with Seann & Katya’s stint on the show resolved down into one routine – frantic, desperate, over-choreographed, packed full of gimmicky nonsense to disguise a lack of technique, all done at 100mph with flop sweat flying every which way.
3. Susannah & Anton – Foxtrot :
2. Graeme & Oti – Salsa : Literally just running around from station to station, with a new inept move done every time the travelling stopped. A playground game rather than a dance, in the worst possible way.
1. Vick & Graziano – Cha Cha : I honestly spent the whole thing screaming “OH MY GOD NO!” like the entire routine was The Descent. I complain a lot of the time about pros playing it safe by just doing boring cha cha to generic modern club music and I’ll never do that again, clearly it can go horribly horribly horribly wrong.
Monkseal’s 20 Favourite Routines Of The Series
20. Dr Ranj & Janette – Salsa : Dr Ranj’s party latin had to be in here somewhere (his ballroom, not so much), and this was my favourite of an entertaining bunch. The fun, the outfits, the abandon, the sheer wonder of Janette hack’n’slashing her way out of that wardrobe malfunction with her legs? Magnifique. AND it meant Janette got to live out her life-long dream of dancing to Pitbull, she did it guys, she pipped Anton to it.
19. Katie & Gorka – Foxtrot : Katie had one of the sweetest little journeys on Strictly this year, and this was probably the highlight. After two weeks of confidence building and futzing and awkwardness and Pissy Gorka yelling “THANK YOU!” at every low score…she danced!
18. Joe & Dianne – Waltz : Can you go wrong with a sweetly understated waltz to The Rainbow Connection, I don’t think so.
17. Stacey & Kevin – Samba : Stacey Dooley’s party latin ALSO of course has to be highlighted in this list, I was into it, and never more so than in this showgirl routine where she commanded Kevin’s attention, several of his more private parts, and a fistful of the loose change from his pockets.
16. Faye & Giovanni – Waltz : What gets lost in the tale of the Great Lindathon Massacre is that every dance leading up to it was either disappointing, overdone (oh look Kevin’s doing that paso again), or an absolute mess, apart from one. That dance, ladies and gentleman, was Faye’s Waltz. High drama, without the need to constantly signpost it in the week leading up.
15. Graeme & Oti – Tango : Can you go wrong with an over the top angst tango that features a thorny rose swapping mouths, I don’t think so.
14. Kate & Aljaz – Foxtrot : It’s here for the shrugging off, you know that right? The dancing was good, the performance was fierce, but no one moment better represented the Kate Silverton experience than her stacking it down the stairs and then slinkily demanding us all to answer the question “and what about it?”
13. Ashley & Pasha – Jive : Raw, aggressive, ringah near-perfection with a tablecloth trick and vinegar play.
12. Danny & Amy – Jive : One of the few things I predicted incorrectly before the series was that, based on nobody even bothering to try to hide the fact that he was a massive ringah, the show was going to angle Danny as the male Debbie McGee and he was a near dead-cert for at least the semi finals. Instead we really just ended up with this routine and some pleasingly camp Butlins ballroom but still, what a jive.
11. Kate & Aljaz – Tango : SEX
10. Faye & Giovanni – Jazz : The birth of Fayezuula, only enhanced by the fact that it was preceded by that VT, where she asked earnestly who is Faye Tozer? Turns out that the answer is that Faye Tozer a millennia old skeletal demon being with jazz hands and sunglasses.
9. Lauren & AJ – American Smooth : Say what you will about Lauren (if you can find anything much to say that isn’t the word “inspirational”, a lot of people couldn’t), but the girl sure could waltz.
8. Dr Ranj Singh & Janette – Paso Doble : I still think people are sleeping majorly on this. Butchy mariachi perfection all delivered by a bandolero in purple trim. There was so much more to Dr Ranj than just camp fun! There was also…camp drama!
7. Graeme & Oti – Waltz : Probably the purest plea for Nan Votes in Strictly history, once Graeme, Oti and the Storyline Producers had their teeth into that one they absolutely were not letting it go, for the entire week leading up to it and the week after. Thank goodness the actual dance lived up to it.
6. Joe & Dianne – Showdance : The reason his quickstep, whilst accomplished, isn’t on here, is that this was basically a repeat of it, but with far far far more energy because it wasn’t being done to Barry Manilow. Crash through the set, jump around on the speakers, throw Dianne around like a ragdoll for sure, I was into it.
5. Charles & Karen – Street : A genuine fun high-point for Charles in a series that contained a lot of mediocre performance and wonky ballroom, chock-full of sex appeal, energy, and the joy of dancing like a Magic Mike stripper.
4. Stacey & Kevin – American Smooth : I still say this is where she for sure won it. High drama, ultimate theatrics, the only time she ever really looked 100% comfortable in hold, will be on Series 16 highlight reels for the foreseeable future, book it, so powerful she gained an entire knowledge, appreciation and love for the plight of FONTEEN after only 5 seconds of even rehearsing it.
3. Ashley & Pasha – Foxtrot : Who knew that Ashley’s high-point with me would come when she really knuckled down and learnt “ballroom an latin”, and actually nailed it, rather than trying to force all her highpoints via thrashy contemporary after thrashy contemporary? Pure Hollywood glam and a bench on a rope.
2. Charles & Karen – Samba : A genuine fun high-point for Charles in a series that contained a lot of mediocre performance and wonky ballroom, chock-full of sex appeal, energy, and the joy of dancing like a Magic Mike stripper, and Karen got some 10s at the end for the first time ever and had a cry.
1. Faye & Giovanni – Showdance : Hey, when I like a showdance, I have to go all in right? Three-quarters of the way through her paso, Faye let out a little scream because she’d connected with the dance so much. This was that connection, but as an entire dance. She’s ready for her close-up, Mr Whoeever’s Casting Who’s Going To Replace Bloody Lulu in 42nd Street.
That’s it, it’s over, go back to your homes and prepare for Chris Evans.