Why John Sergeant’s swansong was too little too late

John Sergeant and Kristina RihanoffSo John Sergeant performed his last waltz on Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing and bid adieu to the competition.

Ironically, it completely failed to boost ratings and Strictly still lost out to X Factor.

But for me, it smacked of a desperate attempt by the powers-that-be to try and ‘make things alright’. For starters, there was the insincere ‘fulsome praise’ from Len Goodman, on behalf of all the judges. What rot! They were the architects of his downfall and as such had no right to say how wonderful they thought he was.

Then there was the ludicrous spectre of him performing a dance again. The whole appeal of John Sergeant on this year’s show was the opprobrium that the judges heaped upon his attempts each week. Without that, his waltz just felt a bit limp and flat – in spite of the standing ovation he got from the audience.

And then there was the rather bizarre parting, where John eulogised Kristina Rihanoff and she said how much she had enjoyed dancing with him. At no point, did he indicate what had finally forced his hand and made him leave, even though Bruce Forsyth rather cringingly asked him if he was pushed into abdicating his place in the show.

In yesterday’s News Of The World, it was pointed out that John Sergeant was asked three years in a row to take part and he only finally agreed because of his allegiance to the BBC. That he felt kicked in the teeth by the enusing events goes to show why he found such solace in the continuing public support.

To be honest, John and Kristina are possibly the only people who have come out of all this well. John Sergeant played the game brilliantly and will no doubt have already had a chat with his agent about how much more he can command for future after-dinner engagements and TV work.

And Kristina was given the perfect platform for her first foray into Strictly. How many of us can remember the name of the other blonde debutante dancer who partnered Mark Foster? It was Hayley, in case you can’t, but many viewers will have already forgotten her.

In some ways, I feel sorry for the remaining couples still in the show. Whether it’s Tom, Austin or Christine (massive public support) who wins, this year’s series will always be remembered for John Sergeant alone.

And I’ll be interested to see if they can pull it out of the bag for next year. A new rule has already been planned to stop ‘bad’ acts continually knocking other better dancers out, but that seems too little too late. They always say that a show is bigger than the people within, but for once John Sergeant may well prove that wrong.

3 thoughts on “Why John Sergeant’s swansong was too little too late”

  1. Changing the voting system so that ‘bad’ acts can’t knock out better dancers strikes me as rigging by any other name. If you give viewers the right to vote for who’s in and who’s out, you can’t get uppity over who they vote for. So, the choice is a) get rid of the phone voting (poor Pudsey), b) only book celebrities who can dance or c) keep booking the duffers and let the market decide. There should be no option d) book a few comedy no-hopers but make sure they can’t win.

  2. Good point, Louis. I think the BBC producers will look back at this series and realise that it’s when Strictly finally jumped the shark. The lustre is slightly tarnished now

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