All hail Sterek! The ship that started an online riot when they got summarily excluded from EW.com’s recent “Couples We’re Shipping Like Crazy” poll was the very reason AfterElton decided to run a slash tournament in the first place. But Teen Wolf’s sexy alpha wolf Derek and adorable wisecracking sidekick Stiles still had to get past 31 other popular m/m slash couples. Classic pairings like Kirk/Spock, Hawaii Five-0’s Steve & Danno, Merlin & Arthur and their biggest competition of all: Supernatural’s Dean & Castiel.
It’s been a long strange journey, but after 4.7 million votes, 4000 plus comments, hundreds of thousands of Tweets and a mountain of Tumblr postings, the boys from Teen Wolf can fairly lay claim to the title of Favorite Slash Couple, taking 57.2% of the 573,288 votes cast in the championship round.
We reached out to Teen Wolf Executive Producer Jeff Davis (@JeffDavis75) and asked if he was surprised by Sterek’s big win. Says Jeff…
Not only am I surprised by the popularity of Sterek, but I have to say I’m overwhelmed by the tenacity and passion that it obviously required to win. I can imagine Sterek fans up all night at their computers voting again and again to see their favorite ship win, even the ones who maybe had to briefly sacrifice their love of Destiel. Teen Wolf fans in general are superfans, but the Stereks are no doubt the Alphas of the fandom. Thank you so much for the support!
We here at AfterElton would like to take a moment to also thank all of the slash fans who made this tourney such a major event. We assumed that as the early voting rounds completed and the field narrowed down to just a few slash pairings that interest would start to wane. Instead, the reverse happened. Shippers who saw their initial favorites defeated transferred allegiances to one or the other of the finalists. And while there was some light-hearted trash talk going on via the comment threads and social media, most people seemed to understand that it really wasn’t about who won; the tournament was a celebration of – and yes, validation of – slash fandom itself, and the overall goodwill was palpable.
We’d also like to thank the various actors and show runners who got involved, rallying the fans not only for the slash couples they were connected to – but for the poll generally.
White Collar’s executive producer Jeff Eastin might have been first out of the gate, encouraging fans to support of Neal & Peter.
Should I encourage? Why not? Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney – Round One Voting! logo.to/OC71kz
— Jeff Eastin (@jeffeastin) August 26, 2012
There was John Barrowman who gave a shout out to AfterElton’s tourney while guest hosting Attack of the Show. And lobbied shamelessly on behalf of Doctor Who/Captain Jack while he was at it! (It almost goes without saying, but we love Barrowman around here. In fact, he was runner-up in our Gay Man of the Decade contest a few years back Memo to NPH: Watch your back. It’s technically a new decade and Barrowman has been seriously wooing our readers!)
We also heard from actor David Hewlett of Stargate Atlantis fame. He took to Twitter to plug McShep, propelling that underdog pairing all the way to the third round where it nearly took out big dog Destiel.
— David Hewlett (@dhewlett) September 9, 2012
The final round match-up between Sterek and Destiel brought out Supernatural’s Misha Collins. One single tweet from Castiel himself triggered an avalanche of votes, putting Destiel in the lead.
This homonormative poll makes me sick! afterelton.com/2012/09/ultima… — No one could seriously think that those Teen Wolf jerks are gayer than us.
— Misha Collins (@mishacollins) September 18, 2012
Next page! The Teen Wolf cast gets in on the action….
The Sterek contingent eventually rallied, with much of the Teen Wolf cast putting in a hearty plug for their homeboy team: Colton Haynes (Jackson), Stephen Lunsford (Matt), Keahu Kahuanui (Danny), Melissa Ponzio (Scott’s Mom) and Linden Ashby (Stiles’ Dad) and more all gave shout outs:.
— Colton Haynes (@ColtonLHaynes) September 18, 2012
— Keahu Kahuanui (@KeahuKahuanui) September 19, 2012
Thank U if you have…but vote Vote VOTE if you haven’t yet:::afterelton.com/2012/09/ultima… Last day to vote is today!!!
— Melissa Ponzio (@MelissaPonzio1) September 23, 2012
— Linden Ashby (@lindenashby) September 18, 2012
In the end, all the love from the Teen Wolf cast helped Sterek develop a lead which lasted until the end of the poll.
Next page… Vhelton lives, and coming soon: The Shipping News and slash & femslash champs compete for bragging rights!
As shockingly popular as the slash tourney was here on AfterElton’s main site, we were more suprised at the explosion of activity over on AfterElton’s Tumblr page. A playful conversation between AfterElton and VH1 about the slash tourney snowballed into a slash pairing all its own. The beast named Vhelton was spawned thanks to some amazing fan art and slash fiction that anthropomorphized both AfterElton and VH1, imagining the two in a torrid romance… while EW looked on. Vhelton now has a life all its own – just check out Tumblr tag #vhelton. It’s insane, and we LOVE it.
All the online activity spawned by The Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney has really opened our eyes to the strength of the slash community. We want AfterElton to continue to be a welcoming place for the fangirls (and boys) who enjoy shipping non-canon characters. To that end we launched a special forum section devoted to all things slash. We also put out a call for slash “experts” who might be interested in writing for us on occasion. Just like the slash tourney, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response! Stay tuned as we’ll soon be launching a weekly column, The Shipping News, that reports on all things slash, with a rotating roster of columnists who really know their way around the subject.
The Tourney might be over now, but there’s still one bit of unfinished business. As you may be aware, our sister site AfterEllen had their own Ultimate Femslash Madness Tourney going. The winner was Glee’s Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray (a.k.a. Faberry). So that got us wondering: if Sterek had to take on Faberry in a popularity poll — who would win? We’ll find out shortly when the Slash and Femslash champs go head to head! This bonus match will take place via AfterEllen and AfterElton’s Facebook pages. More details soon!
And if that’s not enough for you, who knows, just maybe we’ll turn the Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney into an annual event. Look out Sterek, you might have to defend your crown come next September!