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Strictly Come Dancing: most divisive moments in show’s history

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Strictly Come Dancing: most divisive moments in show’s history

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Strictly Come Dancing is the show we loved to settle down with on a Saturday night – and while we love the feel-good show for all of the fabulous dances and general joyous energy – there has definitely been a side helping of drama over the years. So what are some of the most divisive moments in the show’s history? Find out here…

Dance off controversy

Hot off the heels of Angela and Kai and Adam and Luba’s dance-off sparking the first real social media reaction that perhaps the wrong couple were sent home by the judges – with Adam saying goodbye to his Strictly journey while Angela was given a reprieve – this isn’t the first time that Strictly fans have felt that the wrong person was sent home too early.

Fans also felt Aston Merrygold was voted out by the judges long before it was his time to leave, as well as Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell after they found themselves in a dance-off with Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec. Are we missing anyone?

Dance experience

This is a seriously divisive one among viewers, as there are always competitors with plenty of dance experience alongside celebs who have never danced before, leading some fans to suggest that the competition is unfair. Stars including Ashley Roberts, Denise Van Outen, Danny Mac and Layton Williams have all received criticism for their dance experience, but others have argued that having more trained celebrities on the show is essential to bring the entertainment element, and is a part of how the show has evolved over the years. What do you think?

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin,BBC,Guy Levy© Guy Levy
Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin on Strictly

Going far in the competition

Sometimes viewers claimed that a certain celebrity went further in the competition than they should have done – with John Sergeant being a prime example. John was hugely popular with viewers, who campaigned to keep him in, leading to criticism from Arlene Phillips who admitted that she would feel “desolate” if he won. He ultimately quit the show, releasing a statement that read: “He said today in a statement: “I am sorry to say I have decided to leave Strictly Come Dancing.

john sergeant
John ultimately quit the show

“It was always my intention to have fun on the show and I was hoping to stay in as long as possible. The trouble is that there is now a real danger that I might win the competition. Even for me that would be a joke too far. I would like to thank Kristina and all those viewers who have been rooting for me through the series.”

Every Strictly Come Dancing winner so far

Rose and Giovanni with the Glitterball in 2021
Rose and Giovanni lifted the Glitterball in 2021
  • 2004: Natisha Kaplinsky (partner Brendan Cole)
  • 2004: Jill Halfpenny (partner Darren Bennett) 
  • 2005: Darren Gough (partner Lilia Kopylova) 
  • 2006: Mark Ramprakash (partner Karen Hardy) 
  • 2007: Alesha Dixon (partner Matthew Cutler) 
  • 2008: Tom Chambers (partner Camilla Dallerup) 
  • 2009: Chris Hollins (partner Ola Jordan) 
  • 2010: Kara Tointon (partner Artem Chigvintsev) 
  • 2011: Harry Judd (partner Aliona Vilani)
  • 2012: Louis Smith (partner Flavia Cacace)
  • 2013: Abbey Clancy (partner Aljaž Škorjanec) 
  • 2014: Caroline Flack (partner Pasha Kovalev) 
  • 2015: Jay McGuiness (partner Aliona Vilani) 
  • 2016: Ore Oduba (partner Joanne Clifton) 
  • 2017: Joe McFadden (partner Katya Jones)
  • 2018: Stacey Dooley (partner Kevin Clifton)
  • 2019: Kelvin Fletcher (partner Oti Mabuse)
  • 2020: Bill Bailey (partner Oti Mabuse) 
  • 2021: Rose Ayling-Ellis (partner Giovanni Pernice) 
  • 2022: Hamza Yassin (partner Jowita Przystał)

Near kisses

We know that the Strictly contestants need to sell their performance, but sometimes those near kisses at the end of the dance routine are so sizzling with chemistry, we can’t help but wonder if they’re real! Adam Peaty made headlines after appearing to almost smooch Katya Jones after his electric Argentine Tango, with his girlfriend reacting to the moment with a TikTok video which she captioned: “Watching your boyfriend almost kiss another woman on live TV.”

adam peaty katya jones
Fans spotted what they thought was a near-kiss

Dianne and Bobby also defended themselves following their intimate moment doing the dance, with Dianne explaining on Good Morning Britain: “I think the thing that I love so much about dancing is being able to tell a story. It’s like acting, isn’t it? We obviously did the dance the correct way if that’s what’s being said because that is the Argentine Tango.”

The influencer contestants

Joe Sugg caused a stir after being the first ever YouTube star to land the Strictly gig, with some viewers being unhappy that the producers had picked influencer celebs. Of course, Joe was a huge success on the show, making it to the final, and we’ve never looked back! Other influencers to take part since including Saffron Barker and Tilly Ramsay – and they both did amazingly on the show!  

dianne buswell gushes over joe sugg© Photo: Getty Images
Joe wowed on Strictly

Pros being benched

There is always some shock when beloved dancing pros don’t get a partner for generally unbeknownst reasons. While the pros are usually always fine with being part of the group dances for that season, and usually get a partner the following year, we’ll always miss them when they are sidelined, and wonder why. Pros including Gorka Marquez, Neil Jones, Graziano Di Prima, Luba Mustuk have all been benched in the past, and this year Nadiya Bychkova also didn’t receive a partner.

At the time, she posted: “”I’m sure you’ll understand that I’m disappointed not to be partnered with a celebrity on @bbcstrictly this series. It is an amazing show to be a part of and I’m still so excited for all the group numbers, performing with some of our music acts and much much more.”

nadiya wearing blue sequin outfit © Instagram
The professional dancer admitted that she was disappointed

Arlene Phillips’ exit

Arlene was a judge on the show alongside Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli before she was let go ahead of the 2009 series, and replaced by Alesha Dixon. There was a huge amount of criticism regarding the decision at the time, with claims that it was age discrimination against Arlene as an older woman. At the time, Arlene told The Mirror: “I reflect and think, ‘Wow, I really didn’t ask the questions I needed to ask. I was very fragile because I had a bereavement the day before… I wanted to know in detail and I wanted to know the real reason at the point when they decided for me to go, yet they kept me hanging on for so long with the possibility that there would be five judges.”

arlene phillips© Photo: Getty Images
Arlene opened up about being fired from the show

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