69 Reasons To Miss Pasha Kovalev


1. If you want the perfect encapsulation of both why Pasha will always be one of my Strictly 10s, and also why this entry is a little shorter than others in the genre, then take the announcement of his departure. Not the BBC one, but the one Pasha himself punted out on twitter with five seconds thought several hours later, before tossing a match onto it and not returning to his account ever again except to publicise an appearance on The Greatest Dancer. Do some stats, thank the show staff, thank the fans, press send. Pasha’s always been the consummate professional in terms of making the show the show and the rest of his life the rest of his life. Seven interviews with Lorraine weeping about how his life will never be the same again? Not Pasha!

2. Look it’s also this short because I wanted to make one last Pasha sex joke, you know that, you’ve read this blog before, probably, hurr hurr 69. If the truncated nature of this tribute offends you, just imagine I wrote [PUNCHLINE REDACTED] another 32 times.

3. That having been said


4. Pasha’s sex appeal gave us possibly the closest we’ve ever come to the true core ideal Strictly romance with Rachel Riley. Partnered with a beautiful bookish young woman with no dance experience, wasting away in an unsatisfying relationship, Pasha brought her out of herself via his tuition, romanced her chastely via dahnce, then settled down with her as her adoring support system for life as she fights for causes she believes in, at the same time teaching her how to dance like an ange…ok, look 9/10 of the way there, I said he was the closest we’ve ever got, there’s still room to improve BUT IT’LL DO, OK!

5. Lest we forget Pasha’s sex appeal was also a perfect platform for Caroline Flack to

get her Caroline Flack most thoroughly on.

6. Pasha’s sex appeal was so great that after the first series the show staff tried to protect the audience by giving him a series of the worst haircuts known to man, making him look like a member of the Hitler Youth, like his hair was wet pasta, like he was Terry Wogan, like his head was an onion that had just started sprouting

7. Pasha’s sex appeal also gave us one glorious series and multiple tours of his ex-girlfriend and dance partner Anya as a pro, how many of your ex-boyfriends are finding you work ladies, NONE, that’s how many, what a gentleman

8. Speaking of which, apparently Pasha and Anya used to sing “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt to one another as a love song when they were dating in Russia because they didn’t know what any of the words meant, can you imagine anything more Pasha, I cannot.

9. Pasha’s sex appeal as a distraction also occasionally kept Marian Keyes from lobbing deeply personal insults at the other male pros for all of about 5 minutes of a time, such a calming influence.

10. As well as Pasha’s many other ladies though, let’s take a moment to ponder on his pure initial bond with Chelsee. Him constantly trying to prise her off her phone, him getting confused by her dialect, him constantly trying to prise her off her other phone, her instantly taking the fact that his name was already a nickname (“Pasha”) and shortening it further, to “Pash”, thereby setting the tone forever. him constantly trying to prise her off her other other phone, the fact that most of their VTs were her yawning and sulking in the corner. Such a bond we never saw again.

11. Pasha was more than just a sexpot though, there were many different sides of Pasha, and different Pasha personas, my favourite being “Fat Pasha” ie the Pasha who turned up for pro dance rehearsals at the end of July clearly having enjoyed several buffet tables at all-inclusive holiday reports in the Med over the summer break, some people would say this was more in effect when he knew he wasn’t going to get a contender, I couldn’t possibly comment.

12. In terms of other angles of quirky body positivity I would also like to praise Pasha for bringing the gap-tooth back, it is a STRONG look for him.

13. Other sides of Pasha include Therapist Pasha

14. “Put Her In The Bottom 2 Again And I Will Wreck You” Pasha

15. Goofy Pasha

16. And my own personal favourite “Ill-Advised Attempt To Look Intimidating Pasha”

17. As much as Pasha is a man of many faces, looks, and personas,

he will ALWAYS favour tactical deployment of turtlenecks where possible, that will never change.

18. As usual, let’s review and praise some of Pasha’s best and most memorable Strictly dances starting with this, a ballroom triumph, seeing the training for which inspired Mark Benton to also become a Strictly legend

19. Chelsee’s jive , which burst the dam on Strictly pros getting dressed up like actual 100% dumbasses, not just the odd funny hat.

20. Let’s just revisit Pasha’s make-up job for this dance in the final

21. And then some other iconic Pasha looks

someone in Wardrobe absolutely had it out for him didn’t they, it’s the only explanation.

22. Back with the dances, and Kimberley’s American Smooth gave me all the Double Indemnity murderous 1930s glam housewife realness I needed.

23. Kimberley’s fusion on the other hand was easily the best fusion AND has a strong case for being one of the most gaymazing dances in Strictly history, if not the most gaymazing.

24. Caroline’s Charleston technically wasn’t choreographed by Pasha, so I’m not going to put it on the list but I AM going to include the moment when Pasha’s little fez fell off and he artfully hoofed it into the audience with a back-heel without missing a beat, that was all Pasha.

25. Giant arm hankies, angsty reaching, wafting a-plenty…did Caroline’s showdance *invent* contemporary dance in a Strictly context, it didn’t not.

26. Technically, Pasha didn’t choreograph Caroline’s salsa EITHER, but let’s face it, it livened up that semi final, and it sorely needed it, and they both so clearly WANTED to be in the final, I couldn’t not.

27. Caroline’s salsa when she reprised it as the winners dance the next series, truly an iconic moment showing what happens when you don’t train for 8 months, I’ll remember it forever, what a moment.

28. Shirtless Spaceman Pasha, nuff said

29. Some of the Pasha non-believers will have that he never really produced many (or indeed ANY) memorable routines with contestants who weren’t capable dancers, but to that I say look at this entrance!

30. Some of the more…sniffy “ballroom experts” of the Internet have always been a bit snotty about Pasha’s technical abilities in trad ballroom, but Ashley’s foxtrot is still probably my favourite foxtrot ever on the show so SHOWS WHAT THEY KNOW, EH?

31. Has a ringer ever rung louder than in Ashley’s jive? It sounded like a car alarm was going off.

32. It takes a lot to do something memorable in one of those “the pros dance for 30 seconds as the guest singer performs their new single” bit, so here’s Pasha and Katya and Caro Emerald to show that yes it can be done.

33. Also, of course, ROLLING IN THE DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. This has featured in THREE tribute posts now and it never gets old.

34. Also this thing here was your Pro Dance Of The Series once, so let’s include it, as much as that means anything these days.

35. Pasha being on the show ALSO allowed me to indulge in my favourite hobby, banging on about So You Think You Can Dance even though none of you are interested! So for the last time, here are Pasha’s West Coast Swing, Jazz and hip hop routines from that show, he’s just so versatile!


37. In terms of talent, Pasha has the MOST 10s in Strictly history

38. Also the most perfect scores overall

39. Also the most perfect scores in a row

40. Also the most perfect scores by one celebrity in a series

41. Pasha also holds the record for the lowest ever score for a rumba, but to be fair they did make him do it to “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family, there’s only so much a man can do right? It was still legendary.

42. Actually to be honest, if you want stats, the man himself’s wikipedia page is more than enough

soak in that geekery, take it all in, a nerd’s nerd.

43. Pasha is in fact such a nerd that his primary hobby outside of Strictly is building computers from scratch, maybe he could come up with something a bit more snazzy for Countdown to be honest, that random number generator’s looking well ropey by today’s standards

44. Pasha is from Siberia, meaning he’s not just a Russian pro, but arguably the MOST Russian pro.

45. Whilst growing up in Siberia, Pasha faced down encounters with a grizzly bear and the Russian mafia, and living through the turmoil of the collapse of the Communist system of government, which must have been good practice for trying to get Naga Munchetty to hold that torch the right way round in their tango.

46. Pasha’s remains the only individual pro tour I’ve ever been to, and what it lacked in budget and polish, it made up for in terms of Pasha single-handedly charming every single audience member whilst Katya basically looked and interacted with us all like she needed hand sanitiser.

47. Yes it did still look that good in real life

48. Pasha is mostly a very tasteful and gentlemanly and unstarry sort of chap, but his managing to work the name of one of his upcoming tours into his hype speech for Carol’s dance-off appearance remains one of the most gloriously crass moments in Strictly history.

49. As well as giving his ex-girlfriend work, Pasha’s tours always feature local young dance groups, because Pasha believes the children are our future (and also a convenient excuse to go and have a fag break)

50. Everyone knows that, as much as the dance, we were all here for Pasha’s amazing VT acting. Pasha’s whole era on Strictly coincides exactly with the era in which bad VT acting became mandatory (you might even theorise it was INSPIRED by Pasha, so here, by partner, are Pasha’s greatest VT acting performances. Firstly Chelsee.

51. Then Kimberley (probably the peak of his acting career)

52. Riley

53. Flackers

54. Carol

55. Naga

56. And of course, Ashley

(sorry Chizzy, you just weren’t there long enough, I know, I know)

57. Pasha is such a lovely benign backstage presence, balancing all cliques, calming all waters, papering over all cracks, remember when he stopped Kevin and James Jordan from punching one another in the face because Kevin’s wife called James’ wife a thingummywhatsit who couldn’t dance?

58. In terms of pureness of heart, Pasha hits the full trifecta – beloved of animals


and the elderly

59. Pasha honestly feels gossip-proof, like I think if someone even tried to sell a story on him it would physically just bounce off the press, like there’s a possibility that Rachel’s ex is actually really furious and he’s still yelling away fruitlessly in complete silence into the void, Pasha’s pureness is just too powerful, is it an accident that the second that Pasha leaves the scandal vortex tears open and all of Kevin’s skeletons come tumbling out the closet I doubt it

60. Seriously, not even Gleb could sell a scandalous sex story on Pasha, and Gleb will sell a sex story on anyone if you give him a tenner and Uber fare home and agree to prominently feature his underwear collection in your feature

61. Pasha is so pure that he is apparently the one male pro who refuses to have a spray tan (very much the male Sophie Ellis-Bextor), possibly because he knows that anyone manning the tan booth would be struck blind immediately by the physical beauty of the sight of him in the nudey nud

62. Let’s face it, even this was enough

it alone knocked one of my eyes wonky, I looked like Marty Feldman for a good three days afterwards.

63 This, possibly the greatest intro of any pro dancer in the history of Strictly, and not just for the semi-nudity. Aliona’s palpable horn, James talking about Pasha muscling in on “our glitterball” (lol u wish m8), Brenda and Vincent’s palpable ruffled feathers, Rory Bremner’s barely-concealed jealousy, the fact that it’s all soundtracked by “Beat It”? Reader, I did.

64. This to be honest is less fun and hilarious, unless you mute it and add your own dialogue over the top and…maybe an imaginary 15 minutes of additional action after the end when they go off to that desert island together, if you know what I mean

65. I believe Pasha was the first pro on the record as in favour of same-sex pairings on Strictly, so open-minded, so forward thinking, such an LGBT ally, we have decided to stan forever.

66. When Pasha came in, it was explicitly as a replacement for Jared Murillo, I’m just saying he did us all a favour there.

67. Pasha claims to have successfully identified the Strictly winner at the group dance rehearsal stage every single series he was on, possibly using a computer, possibly via a deep spiritual connection to the Universe itself, maybe that explains why he’s so laid back.

68. In short, Pasha is a gentleman and a scholar and an acrobat and his presence will be missed. A great dancer, a great champion, and most importantly, a great [PUNCHLINE REDACTED]. Maybe he live happily ever after with Numbers Bitch and occasionally come back to It Takes Two to do the odd Choreography Corner, or a segment about Strictly in virtual reality on computers or something, they always need filler, let’s face it.



8 thoughts on “69 Reasons To Miss Pasha Kovalev

  1. Matthew Thomas

    Pasha did too have good memorable routines with non-dancers he had.. um… well, I didn’t mind Carol’s Paso! Seriously, good right-up for a bonafide Strictly Legend.

  2. Huriye

    Pasha, you will be greatly missed, both as a wonderful Dancer/Choreographer and a laid back personality. Hopefully they’ll draft Trent back in, who will maintain the suitably underwhelmed style. I wish Rachel all the best too with her terrible time of it on Twitter – maybe that’s why Pasha has been absent? – with the support of her man. ❤

  3. Horses

    I will forever mourn the loss of this great man and his VT acting. Never again will we see a male pro whose persona is “basic human decency” and “not that bothered about winning but might do anyway”.

    My personal rogue favourite is his and Number Bitch’s Halloween ghost portrait dance (waltz?), and not just for that charming post-dance costume tangle/untangle flourish he does before judging.

    Thanks for doing this, Chris. I was personally expecting 69 [PUNCHLINE REDACTED]s so much credit is due for so vigorously articulating the ambient horn he gives us all.

  4. BeyonceCastle

    #21 Wardrobe also made him into the Mad Hatter for a Xmas special with Lisa Snowdon. He might have been shorter than her but really?
    #28 Was it you or DJ Mikey who referred to his weapons of ass destruction?!
    #42 I’d give him one 😉

    Thank you Chris – a lovely homage to Pashpot there X


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