Why almost? Series 1 don't seem to be available on YouTube. And I don't count Lisa Snowden as she was allowed to do it, but had already been eliminated from the competition by that point. Also it was wafty leotard stuff so, as you will see, unlikely to do well in this list.
Some general points - a good showdance, according to me, needs great music, outfits, style and wow factor. The character of the dancers should be written all over it. It needs to be memorable (having watched them all in one go, some may have scored more than they might otherwise simply on the grounds they were different). Watching them altogether also makes you appreciate how much the series has changed - props and sets (even basic ones) aren't really used until series 6, and lifts which are same-old, same-old now were revolutionary in series 3. *I've tried to judge them by the standards of the time. The best dancing doesn't always make the best showdance - indeed many have failed due to choreography that is too frantic, complicated or clever-clever. As you'll swiftly gather, I'm not too keen on ballads or histrionic contemporary dance. I accept this is entirely subjective. The very top showdances will be ones that, in my opinion, settled at one stroke the destination of the Glitterball.
She's wearing a mint blindfold, presumably to avoid seeing Giovanni's a) teeth & b) vest. He flings her about for a bit then - hey presto! - it seems he can, indeed, "fix her" as he removes her blindfold just in time for her to enjoy him pirouetting around the place and seeming a bit more interested in doing that than dancing with her. Presumably meant to be tender & moving. Actually a bit creepy and verging on offensive.
I've tried to find a redeeming feature as I like both Julian & Erin, but I can't. Teejus, even by the standards of the time.
Possibly a controversial ranking for a popular couple. Peak histrionic waft, IMHO.
Mark did well to get to the final but looks out of his depth here. He does seem to be enjoying himself though.
Caroline was at her best when being fun, cheeky and entertaining. This appalling mush, accompanied by a particularly tortuous version of Robbie Williams' least bearable number, was none of those things. Yes, she won, but I maintain that a) that was down to her prior performance in the series, and in particular her Charleston and b) had there been a second referendum (or had voting only started after all the dances had finished) Simon Webbe would've beaten her. So there.
An attractive contender who peaked too early. This was lacklustre & didn't play to her elegant strengths. Plus the song's a bit of a cliche.
Lots of running around and flinging Chelsee in the air. One Night Only is a secret dirge of a song dressed up as a party track. Pasha in a dodgy white suit. And she was much better in their Shrek dance.
There's a reason why, why you google Pamela Stephenson Showdance, what you mainly get are links to her splendid Viennese Waltz. This song has been done to a slow and painful death-by-repetition on Strictly (to be fair, many of the iterations post-date this) and this isn't the best of them. It's not the worst, either.
Ricky Whittle is, of course, one of the Great Lost Strictly Winners. The highest average scorer of the series (admittedly not a vintage set of competitors), popular legend has it that he missed out due to Tabloid Controversy and Lack of Journey. But another reason is this showdance. Just too many lifts, not enough character (and two very attractive people dressed like refugees from a thankfully forgotten dodgy sub-Saturday Night Fever 70s disco movie).
So he's being lowered to the stage upside down on a string. So he's wearing a vest. This might be Peak Vest. A classic example of a dancer who won on overall series performance in a year when nobody quite pulled it out of the bag, showdance-wise, and maybe just out of gratitude that neither was claiming to be able to cure disability by the power of contemporary dance (ante, entry 47).
Honestly, I think Stacey nearly lost the final on this. It's just trying too hard, like Kevin was throwing the kitchen sink and most of his white goods at it. The frenzied speed of the whole thing just didn't give her real strength - her personality - enough of chance to shine.
This one scored an own goal from the start, thanks to this a) ropey and b) necessarily peculiarly truncated, version of Bohemian Rhapsody produced by Dave Arch and His Wonderful Orchestra. The dance never does enough to get over that, and the Big Surprise isn't really much of one as it's perfectly obvious she's not going to carry on wearing that sheet the whole way through.
The original "best dancer in series throws it away due to overthought yet underwhelming/deeply peculiar showdance"gate. Is it time for a reappraisal? No.
Yes, she's a professional dancer. Yes, that means she's very good. No, that doesn't mean the Great British Public were going to vote for what was basically her Couple's Choice performed on a Lazy Susan.
First outing for this perennial Strictly standard. Disappointing, partly because neither the dance nor the music lives up to her rather spectacular disco flapper outfit.
Giovanni's amazing magical powers are on display again, this time he is able to bring the ballerina from a music box to life! Stand back in amazement! Ranks higher than many similar numbers due to the undoubtedly exquisite ballet dancing, as you would expect from a former member of the Iranian National Ballet.
I feel bad for putting this so low, I really do, because he was great and I adore Oti but... There's a door. They're sort of running around through it. Why? Who knows.
The song is another Strictly repeat offender, but this dance is one of the better versions of it. Yes, there's too many lifts, but they're fairly spectacular. Also, I'm slightly scared of James Jordan.
I'm now officially onto showdances I really quite liked! This is flawed, but sort-of genius, and an unusual one in terms of style and music, plus it's very much about making Gemma centre-stage and playing to her strengths.
A memorable Strictly classic that doesn't quite stand the test of time. Yes, he looks great in a pair of tights and it's all very impressive but it rather goes to my standard complaint - it's a dancing competition, not a holding-women-in-the-air competition.
Just about the best version of this perennial favourite, also my husband says he likes her (searches for acceptable term) outfit.
Good, but not as good as it should have been.
Scores for an unusual song and a touch of raunch which feels (not surprisingly in the circs, let's face it) more genuine than many.
Series 4 feels like something of a gamechanger. It was the first one I really got in to. The final was fought between two total beginners who we'd watched develop over the weeks - the winner (of whom more later) had the advantage of being a natural dancer, something that could never be said about Matt Dawson, yet Lilia somehow produced this spectacular (By The Standards Of Its Time) and enjoyable number, helped by being danced to a genuinely great and moving song.
Comfortably the best showdance in this final from comfortably the best dancer in the series, danced to an absolute banger of a track. What went wrong? Slightly over-frantic choreography from Pasha (Pasha, Pasha, just because she CAN, it doesn't mean she MUST), Louis Smith's Charleston and the quick dopamine hit of his gymastic showdance.
So, we're halfway there. Tune in soon for 22-1...!