Sunday, 6 January 2013

An announcement

Hello everyone,

We've decided that we won't be recapping ON ICE this year. It's not a decision we've taken lightly, but to be perfectly honest, neither of us has much enthusiasm for the show at the moment. The recaps take a fair amount of time out of our weeks and we're both quite busy at the moment, so we can't really bring ourselves to dedicate the amount of time to this blog that we'd need to. If we still enjoyed watching, then we'd find time, but right now we're not enjoying the show, so we're won't. We're not saying this is the absolute end ON ICE, but we're definitely taking this year off and we'll reconsider things in 2014, assuming the show's still on.

Thanks to all of you who've stayed with us and read our recaps over the previous five series, and rest assured that all of the other Bitch blogs will continue running as usual.

Love from Steve and Carrie xx

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Hungry like the Wolfenden

The Final: 25th March 2012

Well, folks, here we are - the final competitive show of 2012, in which him off Emmerdale, her off Hollyoaks and him out of The X Factor compete for the glory of...something or other. I'd like to say that it's been a series of highs and lows, but to be honest it's mainly been a series of tedious and broadly forgettable middles (aside from when Jenny Elly performed brain surgery on herself with her own skate, which will live on forever in infamy) and I don't really plan on thinking about any of it as soon as this recap is finished. So, without further ado, let's get on, shall we?

The show begins (a few minutes early, by my watch) with the finalists looking back over their journeys. Jorgie says that whatever happens tonight (i.e. Matthew's inevitable win), she made the final. Matthew pretends there was a time that he wasn't a ring-a-ding ringer and is impressed with how far he's come. Chico thinks he's never given as much to anyone as he has during this competition, thereby prompting an investigation from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. After that, the judges weigh in, with Robin saying how much he's loved watching Jorgie and that she believes every performance she makes. Dance lies that it took Matthew some time to find his spark, but after that he never lost it. Katarina marvels that Chico wasn't even supposed to be here, and yet here he is in the final. The finalists thus fully accounted for, we proceed to "highlights" from the series in general, as everyone waxes lyrical in voiceover about what an amazing series it's supposed to have been. Robin claims it's one of the most exciting final line-ups we've had. I disagree. He adds that anyone could win. Again, I disagree. Dance says it's a close call. Again, I d--well, you get the general idea. Who will we crown our champion of Dancing On Ice 2012? Let's find out. Cue boring titles!

We open with two singers I don't recognise singing Bolero. Well, this is novel. I have no idea who they are, but I daresay we'll be told shortly and then I'll feel suitably uncultured. Enough of that, though - here are Jayne and Chris! To be honest, getting to see them do Bolero once a year is one of the few reasons I stick with this show. It's all very epic and dramatic with flames accompanying it, and lots of Jayne leaping into Chris's arms, with the traditional slide to end. Well, at least that was an encouraging start to the show. Maybe the next two hours and ten minutes won't be so bad after all. [I only watched the last hour of this show and genuinely don't think I really missed anything what with the GAZILLION FUCKING RECAPS. - Carrie]

Phil and Christine arrive (hmm, maybe I spoke too soon) and welcome us to the final. Phil tells us that the singers were Noah Stewart and Laura Wright and tells us we can download that very special vocal version of Bolero for free at itv.com. Nah, you're all right, thanks. Christine makes an eleventh-hour attempt to prove she actually has an important role to play on this show by telling us what's coming up: the contestants will be performing a showcase routine that they personally helped to create, as well as reprising their favourite routine from the series. Phil adds that the judges will be scoring, but for guidance only. Normally I'd make a joke here about how the judges' scores are always irrelevant, but you know what? Credit where it's due, this year's panel has been great, and I've rarely disagreed with their assessment of things, so I'm going to let that joke slide this time. Christine says that she genuinely thinks the standard of skating this year is the highest it's ever been, as if anyone cares.

The skating stars arrive: Matthew and Nina, Jorgie and Matt, and Chico and Jodeyne. Matthew's in some sort of Edwardian picnic outfit, Jorgie's in an 80s fitness video, and Chico's in a low-budget production of Grease. Phil says that only two of them will get to skate Bolero, and declares the lines officially open, before we've even seen anyone's routine. Not that I imagine it matters at this point in the proceedings, but still. I like it better when we at least pretend performance matters. In fact, performance is so unimportant this year we're going straight to an ad break. Sigh.

When we return, Phil reminds us that Jennifer cut her head open and Sébastien lost his memory this year, and that's about it. Chris continues the charade that this is the best series in the history of forever because everyone's JUST THAT GOOD, as does Jayne, who says it's going to be a fierce competition tonight.

So, now that we're 12 minutes in, how about some skating? Sure, let's go nuts. We're starting with Matthew and Nina, and we're reminded that he almost broke Nina during the headbanger last week, before acing the Definitely Ultimate Skills Test and getting an automatic slot in the final. Matthew says he's very pleased with himself to have got this far. His showcase is to 'Singing In The Rain', and he's got three extra professional skaters to play with. As it were. Chris explains that they've got extra costumes and props and whatever they want to come up with for the performance, and we see Matthew going to the design team with his mood board. There's some tap-dancing in the routine, as well as some rain, and therefore he's worried about being all slippery and end up dropping Nina. You know, again. He worries about it needing to be perfect because he wants to do Bolero, as if there's any chance whatsoever of that not happening. Pull the other one, Wolfenden.

Matthew opens his umbrella indoors (ooh, bad luck) and stands under the rain machine), which pours a bit feebly, to be honest. His first few steps are rather skittish - whether it's the rain or not, I have no idea - but he does all the hallmarks associated with this song, including prancing around a lamppost and, er, doing an aeroplane lift on ice. There's more prancing in the rain, then a big soft-shoe number with the umbrellas, and finally a retreat to the kiss and cry. Hmm. Not that it matters, but I thought that was a bit too busy, to be honest. It looked a bit frantic and messy around the edges. Still, Gubba loves it, so what do I know? Irrelevant Judges' Scores: Dance 10.0, Robin 10.0, Katarina 10.0 for a total of 30.0. Hooray? Everyone in the studio seems very pleased, apart from Laila Morse who makes the mistake of looking right into the camera while looking completely unimpressed, which amuses me. Matthew thinks this is the best he's ever done that routine. Chris says that he had goosebumps watching that, and it's been such a pleasure to work with Matthew.

Christine thinks this was a fantastic start. Robin says that Gene Kelly is his idol because he was so generous to those he worked with and he was so spontaneous while also being well-crafted. Robin says that Matthew just led a fully professional ensemble ON ICE and played the part of leading man perfectly. He thinks it cannot get better than that. Katarina agrees that it was totally perfect, the way he captured the feel of the music and the character was very playful, and it was an ensemble piece, but he still outshone everyone else. She thinks the quality of his skating was just outstanding. Dance thinks it was superb, and says that Matthew's performance ON ICE was better than Singing In The Rain in the West End right now NOT ON ICE. Well, obviously, because everything's better ON ICE, right? Otherwise I don't even know what we're doing here. ON ICE. [Bet the Olivier-nominated Singin' In The Rain show team are losing sleep about what Dance thinks. - Carrie]

Phil shills the pointless app, and then it's time for our second showcase of the evening: Jorgie and Matt. Chris thinks Jorgie gave a great performance last week, and Jorgie's thrilled to be the first female celeb to ever land the headbanger. Assuming we count the bit where Lovely Matt had to grab onto her arse to hold her up. Of course, she ended up in the skate-off, but only against Jennifer, so she survived. Her final showcase is to 'Fame', and the stunningly original concept for this is a dance class that moves onto the street. ON ICE, obviously. They've got Brianne, Sylvain (yay!), Maria and Mark helping them out. Lovely Matt is rocking a very flattering light purple hoodie, by the way. The final part of the routine involves Mark, Lovely Matt and Sylvain chucking Jorgie in the air and catching her. The initial practise of this, in which Jorgie is played by a carpet (you don't actually see anyone saying "hmm, Jorgie seems unusually lucid today", but I'm sure it happened) does not go well, as the carpet plummets to the floor. Jorgie vows that she'll do anything to get to Bolero, even being flung into the air. I'm sure the prospect of being caught by Lovely Matt and Sylvain's Arms isn't exactly hurting matters either.

They begin with a terrible, terrible skit that would seriously make you doubt that acting was Jorgie's day job if she weren't, y'know, in Hollyoaks, where Jorgie's level of ability makes her look like Dame Judi herself. It's not as showy or elaborate as Matt's routine was earlier, and it's all a bit...naff, but it adds a welcome air of gaiety (in every possible sense) to the evening, and of course it's lovely to see Sylvain back after all this time, after bloody Heidi bloody Sugababes broke him. The lob into the air goes according to plan and Jorgie survives, and there we finish. Colour me fairly unimpressed with both showcase performances so far, to be honest. Irrelevant Judges' Scores: Dance 10.0, Robin 9.5, Katarina 9.5 for a total of 29.0. Jorgie has thrilled to have got a 10.0, even if it was only from Dance. She says that she can't believe she's even here - even when she watches it back, she won't believe it's here. Jayne says that there were very tricky lifts in the routine and she's impressed that Jorgie pulled them off.

Dance says that this is his era (really?) and he thought it was absolutely fabulous. He thought the lifts were incredibly difficult and she was just throwing them out. He thought it had personality, performance and speed, and everything she needed for her final performance. Robin says it was just the skating steps in the solo skating that let her down, but the lifts were amazing and it was probably her best skate of the series. Katarina says the programme really highlighted her best assets - her performance skills, her energy, her dancing and her acting (LOLZ), but she didn't give it a 10.0 because the skating wasn't quite up to it. "BUT I LOVED IT!" screams Dance. I think we need to put a muzzle on him.

More adverts, then we're back for Chico's showcase, which Christine tells us has a Happy Days theme. Well, this isn't going to be cheesy at all, is it? Last week, Chico went super-beige and got his best scores yet. Chico says that he expected to be in the skate-off last week, and when his name was read out, he couldn't believe it, especially since HE IS 40. I don't know if you've noticed that, but he is indeed 40. He's been rather subtle about it so far. He's dancing to the Happy Days theme, as expected, and he's playing The Fonz. He's very excited to have all this input into the showcase. In rehearsals, Jodeyne has to keep reminding him not to focus on the other skaters on the ice, but Chico is worried about performing alongside the other pros, because they're...well, professionals. However, he vows to do his very best on the night.

As far as the performance goes, it's super-cheesy, and Chico's worries about the lifts prove well-founded when he overbalances a lift, then Jodeyne slips off his shoulders and plummets onto the ice. OUCH. She's okay, as far as I can tell, and gets right back up again. That's the most interesting thing that happens, really - the rest is just a load more circuits and aerial cartwheel flips and aeroplane lifts and whatnot, which are all fine, but not hugely exciting. I'm afraid it's a bit WAH-WAH from me for all three showcases this evening. Judges' Irrelevant Scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 8.5, Katarina 9.0 for a total of 26.0. Chico blathers on about how the heart of a champion is someone who gets down, then gets up and carries on, and tells all the kids never to give up on their dreams. I dunno, I think we should teach kids that sometimes it's okay to give up on your dreams, especially if they involve Dancing On Ice. Or, Lord preserve us, resuming your pop career. Chris applauds Chico for carrying on, despite the fall. Dude, he's not the one who fell. Chico says he's glad Jodeyne's safe, and she confirms that she is.

Robin says that Chico really did get right back into it, but it got a lot more cautious after that point. He thought Chico did great partnering and some great tricks. Katarina says she knows how good he is and how far he has come, and he's really lived up to her expectations - even with the mistake, he performed very well. Dance says that Chico has always been the ultimate performer, and that he can do these lifts in his sleep, so he just hopes he's going to go out there and give the next performance 150%. I love how everyone's all "well done for carrying on with the routine!" to Chico like he's the one who fell. Phil demands a round of applause for the people who struck the set for that routine so quickly that it's all gone already. Fair enough, I think they've earned that. Then? More adverts.

When we return, it's time for the skaters to reprise their favourite routines of the series. Matthew and Nina are up first, repeating 'Don't Stop Me Now' from week eight. He's got those leather trousers on once again, and they're still not as flattering as you'd think they would be. The routine, however, remains incredibly polished, and I can't really offer much criticism. Irrelevant Judges' Scores: Dance 9.5, Robin 9.5, Katarina 9.5 for 28.5 - an improvement of 2.5 on last time. Matthew says, once again, it's the best he's ever done it. He says he was far more nervous tonight than the first time he did it, because it's just such a massive occasion. Jayne says that it was much more of a controlled and mature performance than the first time, and quotes the lyrics of the song to inform Matthew that there's "no stopping him now". So it would seem.

Up next are Jorgie and Matt, reprising their Valentine's Day routine to 'Fallin'' from week six. Oh, darn, I was hoping for the zombie/vampire/Evanescence one. Still, this one plays to all of Jorgie's strengths in that it's lyrical and delicate and allows her to make all sorts of lovely shapes. Lovely Matt lifts her one-handed at the end - I can't remember if that happened first time around or not, and to be completely honest I can't be bothered to go back and check, but either way, it's pretty impressive. Gubba says that Jorgie's thigh is the latest addition to the list of injuries for this year, and makes a slightly creepy joke about it getting more strapping than a 1950's schoolboy. Irrelevant judges' scores: 10.0s all round for a total of 30.0, a whopping 4 points up on last time. Jorgie says that she thought this might be the last dance she'd ever do with Matt, so she gave it her all. Lovely Matt says that he really felt like he was skating with a professional. Chris admits to having a lump in his throat, and Jayne says that she's got goosebumps. Phil ushers us once more into the sweet ad break, plugging the competition by saying that it's a chance for us to make "a visit of [our] own". Amen, says a nation getting up to go for a slash.

When we return, Phil reminds us what's happened so far, and then it's time for Chico to reprise his routine to 'Sexy And I Know It' from week nine. Any excuse to get his tits out, clearly. It's another solid return of an old routine, though there are moments where he and Jodeyne are noticeably out of sync with each other. Gubba reminds us that Chico's torso is even more overexposed than Jessie J, but not quite as obnoxious. Judges' Irrelevant Scores: Dance 10.0, Robin 10.0, Katarina 10.0 for a total of 30.0. Sure, why not? Phil cracks an "it's Chico's time" joke and Chico exclaims - shushing the audience - that he believed in a positive mental attitude, and while he might be the underdog, tonight he feels like he's under God. There's a bit more chat about how "he was first reserve zomg!" and Jayne says that he deserves both his place in the final and those 10.0s.

Leaderboard: Jorgie and Matt are in the lead with 59.0, Matthew and Nina close behind on 58.5, and Chico and Jodeyne in third with 56.0. Not that any of it matters, of course, because the judges' scores count for nothing tonight, lest we forget. We're given a reminder of all the performances to help us decide who we want to vote for, but at this point I have gone for the far more important business of rescuing all my laundry from a broken washing machine. It's all glamour in Tellybitching Towers, folks. Back in the studio, Phil says that when we have eliminated one contestant, the show will wipe the slate clean and start from scratch to get more money from the phone lines give us another chance to vote for our champ. Then Christine's with the judges, and Dance says that these finalists have shown true dedication and skill to get here, and each one of them has scored at least one 10.0 for one of their performances. He thinks they're all "deservant" winners, and suffers the indignity of being corrected by Christine Bleakley. Ha! Katarina says the standard tonight is very high, and that anyone coming in tonight who hadn't seen any of the series prior to this (and there are a lot of those people, let's not forget) would think they were all professionals. Robin says that he's spent the last weeks asking people to learn the craft of skating and putting them through all sorts of hoops, and one performance tonight had all of those boxes ticked - Matt's showcase. Karen chips in, saying that they're all worthy winners. Thanks Karen! Phil tells us we have just minutes to vote, because the lines will close after the next ad break. Oh, the tension.

Upon our return, we're told that the lines are indeed now closed, and that we must not vote, because our thoughts will not be considered. While the votes are being counted, here are the also-rans! Andy A and Laila joke about how they were barely on the show, laughing heartily to show that they're TOTALLY OKAY with being spurned by the public, though if I were Andy I'd probably want words with the judges for prioritising bloody Heidi Range over me. Mark says that it was the hardest thing in the world. Charlene is very proud of her 'Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend' number, while Rosemary fondly recalls doing her duet routine with Andy W, and how fortunate she was to be paired with him and thereby look a lot better in comparison. Chemmy's favourite moment was getting into that plateau lift and DEFINITELY NOT BEING TOO FAT FOR IT WHATEVER KATARINA SAYS, while Andy W was happy about breaking the 20.0 mark. Sébastien's worst moment was forgetting the routine in the Sort Of Demanding Skills Test, because there was so much that he wanted to do, and Sam says that he wanted Chico to fall over in their skate-off, because it would've improved his chances. Jennifer says that being on the show improved her confidence, Heidi says that she misses being on the show (perhaps you should've made more of an effort when you were on it, then) and Corey also misses being in front of a live crowd and getting that reaction. Charlene, of course, is EPIC here and says that the week after she was eliminated, she was watching the show in her hotel room, enjoying room service and watching Jennifer kick herself in the head. HA! Charlene is so awesome.

And here they are - the class of 2012! They're not really doing very much other than skating out much like they did at the start of the show, except in elimination order, so: Andy A and Maria, Laila and Lukasz, Mark and FRANKIE!, Corey and Brooke (Brooke! I miss her), Charlene and Matthew, Rosemary and Mark, Sébastien and Brianne, Heidi and Andrei (who is apparently her official partner this year since Sylvain is now well enough to skate with her again, though you can understand why he wouldn't want to), Sam and Alexandra, Andy W and Vicky, Chemmy and Sean, and Jenny Elly and Dan. It's nice to see them all again and everything, but this procession feels entirely fillerific and pointless. Could we not have had some sort of group routine instead, or at least some brief snippets of a noted routine from each contestant? No, apparently not.

Everyone disperses quickly, so that our three finalists can assemble themselves on the ice. All three have rehearsed a Bolero routine and want to perform it tonight, but one couple will have to settle for just doing it on the tour. The first couple through to Bolero stage is...Matthew and Nina. He screams with excitement, apparently not seeing the inevitability of this like the rest of us. Who gets the final spot? After an unnecessarily protracted pause, it's Jorgie and Lovely Matt. The right decision, I feel. So Chico and Jodeyne are finishing in third place. Hey, that's one place better than last year, Jodeyne. In 2014, you'll be winning this thing. Phil tells them both how well they've done to make it this far, and we see Chico's best bits. The clips, I mean, he doesn't get his tits out again. The clips show him as someone well-meaning if rather overexuberant, and a pretty charismatic skater. Jayne says that it's always been fun to work with Chico, because he's always in a good mood. Chico thanks everyone (including, I think, his "spiritual master", but I might have misheard that). Phil: "Sadly, we didn't get to see his Bolero. We've seen everything else, but not his Bolero." Chico breaks in one last time to thank Jodeyne, saying that while his wife is over there bearing his child (ew), Jodeyne is...also valid, or something. So now all of the previous votes have been wiped off the record, and those who care must start voting for Matthew or Jorgie all over again. Particularly during this convenient ad break.

Then we're back, and it's Bolero time! Up first are Matthew and Nina. We see their VT, in which they want Chris and Jayne's routine reverently, as one must. As ever, they have to start on their knees and end lying down, but the rest is up to them. Matthew's all "well, we have to match that, erp" about it and he and Nina work out their choreography, working pretty well together, it seems. He says that he wants to do the piece of music justice as well as making Chris and Jayne proud. Karen opines that Matthew has really taken charge, and it's unusual to see the celebrity bringing so much to the table in terms of choreography. Matthew says he's very proud of the routine because he feels like he's had a lot of input, and that this is the time to give the performance of the series, because he wants to win.

Their Bolero is, to be honest, rather good. It's soft and lyrical, but with Matthew clearly playing a very strong leading man in the proceedings. They put in some elaborate tricks without detracting from the relationship with the music, they make a great partnership, and he's completely in control at all times. I've never really been a fan of his because I find him super-bland, but after seeing this, I figure that whatever Jorgie does, Matthew's inevitable victory is both confirmed and justified. Gubba comments that "it's still magical after all those years", and I can only assume he means the music, because the entire routine is different to the one that got Jayne and Chris the Olympic gold. Phil asks them how it feels, and Matthew says that you get tingles when the music starts, especially with Jayne and Chris watching. Jayne says it's very hard to choreograph, because it can't be more perfect than the original. Kiss-ass. Chris calls it "sublime" and says that Matthew puts his heart into everything.

Robin says that Matthew laid everything out in front of us tonight, and while he had to fight to get the star-lift up, he did manage it, and it was the most difficult Bolero they've ever had on the show. Katarina says that there wasn't a single crossover that was boring because he kept going from one trick to another, there was always something going on, and from the beginning it was mesmerising. She can't imagine what kind of world-class skater Matthew would've been if he'd started as a little boy. Wow. Dance says it was superb, and that it became an extension of Matthew, into which he invited us. That sounds dirty.

In the unenviable position of having to top that: Jorgie and Lovely Matt. Jorgie doesn't exactly endear herself to viewers by saying that this was the first time she'd ever seen Jayne and Chris's original Bolero (like, you've never seen a final of this show before? When you signed up, you didn't think it might be a good idea to look up their most famous routine on YouTube? Good God, woman), while Lovely Matt continues to look super-fine in his purple hoodie. Jorgie audibly gasps at the end. They work on their routine together, though it seems this is very much a case of Lovely Matt doing most of the choreography. Jorgie says that she wants to make a routine to say "look what you've taught me, and thanks very much", which is sweet. [Look at what you've taught me! I didn't have a clue about who you were before! Because I'm too fucking stupid to be able to do a Google search and find out! GOODNESS SAKE, JORGIE PORTER. - Carrie] Lovely Matt tells her that there was a "ball of fire" between Jayne and Chris when they perform, which he wants them to emulate, and adds "we don't smile so much in Bolero." Hee. Jorgie thinks that a good Bolero could make the difference between winning and being the runner-up. I doubt it, love, but keep on dreaming.

Their opening choreography is more in line with the original than Matthew and Nina's was, but lacks the sense of originality as a result. That's not to say this routine isn't entirely lovely on its own merits - they work so well together, Jorgie is deft and assured and they've really come up with a great performance, as well as some dazzling intricate and daring lifts, but it just doesn't quite have the impact that Matthew and Nina's did. Gubba reminds us that Jorgie wasn't even born until five years after Jayne and Chris won at the Olympics, making us all feel very old. There's a great bit at the end of the recap where Gubba's clearly expecting something else to come up, or possibly the scores, only for it to cut back to the studio, so he's left floundering: "There's the.....here's Phillip." Hee. Jorgie starts to well up, and Lovely Matt says that she's put so much into it, and the tears are coming now (Jorgie, being all cute: "Pack it in!") because it's the culmination of all her hard work. Jayne says that Jorgie did them proud, and wells up a bit too as she says that Jorgie looked like a ballerina out there.

Katarina says they've been through a tough 12 weeks, and today with the rehearsal, the show and all the emotions, they must be tired, but they mustn't be disappointed with themselves, because Jorgie should be very proud of what she's learned, as Katarina is proud of her as a skater. She's pleased with her elegance and her passion, and she just gave a great performance. Dance says that Jorgie does slow, lyrical, dramatic routines so well, and she's just outdone herself. Robin says that what was special about it, was that by being slightly tired and having to create it herself, we got to see Jorgie being herself, and she did it beautifully.

That's it, performance-wise. Another recap, this time just focusing exclusively on the Bolero performances, presumably so as not to ruin the rather awestruck mood in the studio. Phil urges us all to vote quickly, as the lines will close after the final break.

Upon our return, Phil tells us that the lines are now closed for good, and Christine promises that we'll find out the victor soon, honest. Very soon. There's just time for Phil to make a cheap joke in which Christine "comically" "misunderstands" him to think that he's been having sex with Rosemary Conley, and then we're into a recap of the series at breakneck speed. If only we could've watched the whole thing like this. I won't go into all the details, because we were all there for them first time round, and even if you weren't: that's what the recaps are for. There's some new commentary in there, but it's all just the usual vague pleasantries about how this is the bestest series ever and how everyone is so talented, which I think we've all heard ad infinitum by now. There's an injury porn montage, with Jenny Elly cracking up about how she was the first girl ever on the show "to do the headbanger on her own", and Jorgie mutilating Lovely Matt's lovely face. Anyway, the message is "talented cast, memorable moments, great series, and whatever you do, don't mention the ratings."

Here we go, then: Phil is centre stage on a podium, with the trophy and the two finalists. Matthew tells him that it's been one of the best experiences of his life, and he doesn't know if he'd do it again because it's so difficult - harder than marathons and triathlons, both of which he's already attempted. Nina says that it's a real piece of your life. We see his best bits. They are bland, highly competent and ringery. Phil wishes him luck, and turns to Jorgie and Matt. Jorgie thought it would all be about wearing crystals every weekend (bless), but it's been so emotional and so extreme, and she splutters about Lovely Matt having "produced me". Now there's a mental image. Lovely Matt says there's nothing she wasn't able to do, and Phil gets Jorgie to say one more time that she never dreamed she'd be in the final. Then we have Jorgie's best bits: squeaky, breathy, childlike, soft, lyrical, etc. Phil wishes them luck too, and then it's time, finally, to reveal who has won this year's competition.

The Dancing On Ice champions for 2012 are...Matthew and Nina, single-handedly ruining the girl-boy-girl-boy-girl-boy system that's been in place for six years. There's just no room for tradition in modern Britain, is there? "NO! NOOO!" screams Matthew, having apparently mistaken this for a scene from Emmerdale in which someone is running off with his child, or running out in front of a truck, or choking on a stick of celery or something. Seriously, if he's surprised that he won, he must be very much in the minority here. Meanwhile, Jorgie and Lovely Matt applaud and do gracious loser faces, and fireworks go herp derp blerp as they shoot across the perp slurp werp. Christine asks Jorgie how she feels, and she says she can't think of anyone better to be up against, and gets all teary again. Lovely Matt agrees, and says that they're all friends and whatnot. Christine makes Jorgie promise to keep skating, and then we're over to Phil with Matthew, who says it's going to take a few days for it all to sink in. He thought he'd made the biggest mistake of his life and career signing up for this show when he first started, but...well, obviously not. Jayne and Chris come over to present the trophy, and Matthew bears it aloft, and that's it. There's just time to thank everyone involved, and Phil promises that they'll see us all back next year. Although that might be wishful thinking, if there's another ratings tail-off.

And that's it from us too. Thank you to all those of you who stuck with us through this series. We haven't decided whether we'll be back next year yet [ugggggggggggggggggggggggh - Carrie], but we'll let you know in due course. Whatever happens, thank you once again, and remember: ON ICE.

Monday, 19 March 2012

A far from Jen-uninely sad loss

Semi-final: The Ultimate Ultimate Skills Test
Tx: 18th March 2012 IT'S MOTHER'S DAY DON'T YOU KNOW?

Last week! There were props! There was Dance bitchfacing about Jorgie's emotionless, boring routine of ribbon-twirling! There was Angry!Lovely Matt! There was Princess Christopher Dean pulling a face at the outrage of having his omniscience questioned! There were clowns which terrified at least fifty per cent of the viewing public!

And sadly there is no longer either Chemmy nor Sean, for they have disappeared into the ether of eliminated contestants. Oh, I'd forgotten that Blue Peter man was even on this show! And Laila Morse of Gary Oldman fame! Truly this has been a memorable series.

This week is the semi-final and everyone is doing headbangers and all sorts of dangerous tricks because what's safety compared with the thrill of live television danger? Note to producers (and Chris): if you persist with this show next year, can we just have a series where people don't get sliced open by blades, or break bones, or incur concussion? Thanks.

I can't even be bothered to parse the tautological nonsense that is "the return of the Ultimate Skills Test", so let's just get on with it, shall we?

Titles!

We open with Jayne and Chris lying flat on their backs on the ice, as images are projected on to the rink. Apparently this is some kind of impressive optical illusion, but frankly it reminds me far too much of the choreography and production values for Fire and Ice for reasons I can't even begin to consider, because I try not to think about that if I can possibly avoid it.

Here are Phil and Christine. He wishes all the mums a Happy Mother's Day. If Jen invokes the I'M A MOTHER! card I am switching off, I swear to God. Anyway, we only have an hour and a half tonight, so what better start to the show than a VT about how far the contestants have progressed? Jorgie witters on in her inimitable style, while Robin points out that she's not really got any better at skating. Chico took his shirt off, and Katarina seems to think this is a good thing. Robin wanted to cut Matt's legs off at the knees, or something, and Dance thinks he is on fire. Jen didn't ever imagine she'd be in the semi-final, and although she has improved, Robin fears it may be too little, too late.

So here they all are - Jennifer (and ringlets) and Dan (and his nipples); Chico (and his nipples) and Jodeyne; Jorgie and Lovely Matt (and his nipples); Matthew and Nina (and her black lips OF DOOM). Jayne has changed in what appears to be a wedding dress.

First tonight, Chico and Jodeyne. Last week he got his highest ever score while lifting pretend dumbbells, but still had to skate off. He doesn't understand how he could be in the bottom two. Because people hate you? Just a thought. In rehearsal, he is wearing a bandana. And he is skating to The Fucking Bastard Cocknobbing Flood by Take That. (Steve, seriously, they're taking the piss with the reality show cliches these days, aren't they?) There are some impressive lifts, and Jodeyne is gorgeous, so they look lovely. He slips over while taking his bow as Gubba talks some bollocks about how very old Chico is. Straight 9.5s for a total of 28.5. Jodeyne says she is proud of Chico, who has brought it all together and touched her heart. Chris says it was a powerful skate, and then Chico interrupts him. (GOODBYE, CHICO, FOREVER.) He talks more bollocks about there being nothing tougher than being a mother (incidentally, this blog entry makes me seethe). Robin says Chico was very protective of Jodeyne and he thought the routine was brilliant. Katarina completely loses the thread of what she was saying. Dance invites Christine to shut him up when she needs to. If Christine had any gumption about her, she'd stop him as soon as he drew breath for his spiel. FOR SHAME, BLEAKLEY.

Jennifer and Dan next. Last week we learned that Jen's son likes Toy Story. This week, she is fretting about a reverse neck spin, which she fears might damage Dan's beautiful winking face. Bloody hell, they're skating to I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which is reality TV kryptonite, and also invokes Whitney Houston (who is DEAD). Too many cliches, show, TOO MANY OF THEM. You are just toying with us now. Jen is basically thrown around the ice as Dan manoeuvres her into position and beams in a really unconvincing way. 8.0s across the board for a total of 24.0. Jen cries. Katarina says Jen is getting better but not enough, really. Dance invokes the narrative about Jennifer not having the self-confidence she needs. Robin says Jen is beautiful but makes mistakes when she isn't clutching on to Dan. Pointless app users have rated Jen's routine as 9.0 or above. This is because they know nothing and that is why they are not judges.

Over in Christine's creche, Jen acknowledges there is no point in crying. Stop it, then. Karen has also been crying. There's a shock. Seriously, this is just reality TV by numbers tonight.

We're reminded of Jorgie's TRAUMA WITH RIBBONS last week; this week they're putting in a proper headbanger, where she doesn't lie on the ice and get picked up and put down again - yep, she's taking off and landing on one foot. She fucks it up all week and in the dress rehearsal. Well, what will happen tonight, then? Well, it's a routine with some actual content, a very weak headbanger which nearly ends in collapse, but it does not end in bloodshed or death, so I think we can deem it a success. Scores - Dance 9.5 and 9.0 from the other two - a total of 27.5. Chris says it would have been easy to take the headbanger out and replace it with something easier, so well done for that. Dance jabbers on about last week once more and then goes so high-pitched that only dogs can hear him now. Katarina says it was good to land on one foot, and Robin was concerned after seeing the afternoon rehearsal, but this evening she has kept up with Matt. Faint praise, there.

Out in the audience, Heidi and my Andrei are in pink t-shirts wishing a happy mother's day...to whom? Can anyone tell me? Sigh. Time for our final couple, Matt and Nina. Last week he brandished a whip and made Katarina very happy. This week he is imitating Michael Jackson, and Chris is in his element during rehearsal. Matt continues with the historical revisionism that says that Sam bloody Attwater was the first-ever male celebrity to attempt a headbanger.

LEST WE FORGET.



Anyway, Matt somehow throws Nina across the rink and she smacks her hip. Karen does a sombre piece-to-camera about how the headbanger is not to be taken lightly. Probably Nicky dropped her at some point when they tried out some non-competition tricks.

Tonight, Matt and Nina are skating to The Way You Make Me Feel, and he is scrunching up his face in a way I presume is meant to be sexually attractive. We get to the headbanger, and Nina whacks on to the ice again, but fortunately it's near to the end of the routine. We then learn that Matt has been engaged to his fiancee for two years. Commitophobe. Scores - Dance 9.0, Robin 9.0, Katarina 9.5 for a total of 27.5. Nina confirms that she is OK and that she is proud of Matt. Jayne says they are both very brave. Katarina says she would have given a 10.0 if the headbanger had been right. Robin loved the feeling of the routine, and then criticises Matt's lack of detail in his footwork. Dance comments on the "little mistake" at which Nina visibly thinks, "Little mistake? LITTLE MISTAKE? Have you seen the size of the bruise on my hip?" or the Russian equivalent.

Right, so the leaderboard has Chico and Jodeyne at the top, Jorgie and Matt and Matthew and Nina joint second, and Jennifer and Dan at the bottom. But wait! We still have the Ultimate Skills Challenge to come! Robin reminds them to stay focused, but says they should all love the fact they have all the ice to themselves. Katarina says they will of course be nervous, but they should be better than they were on the last Ultimate Skills Challenge. You'd hope.

Chico's first. And...it does seem to be the exact same Ultimate Skills Challenge routine (to the weird version of the show's theme music) that they did a few weeks ago. It is no more interesting to watch - it is, fundamentally, a string of elements with no real choreographic thread. Jodeyne waves thumbs-up signs at her partner from Christine's creche. Straight 9.0s from the judges. Remind me why Dance gets to judge the Ultimate Skills Challenge, when he knows nothing about skating skills? This.damn.show.

Jennifer is next, with her odd Whitney/flamenco dress. She doesn't do too badly at all - it's all rather slow and deliberate, she wobbles out of the spin, and obviously she cries at the end, but she does at least remember the damn routine. Scores - Dance 7.5 and 8.0 from the people who know about skating, for a total of 23.5. Jen tells us all about how the show has made her believe in herself. Jen, tell us it's Mother's Day and that you have a son! It's the FINAL ROLL OF THE DICE!

Jorgie is third out, and she can actually skate beautifully. Excellent job from her, with a gorgeous spin, and straight 9.0s from the judges. And finally Matt, who has a Serious Face on. He looks a tad awkward in places, not as fluid and aesthetically attractive as Jorgie's lines (and I hate his spiral), I'd say, but then I don't award points for MANLINESS like some judges. He gets straight 9.5s for a total of 28.5, meaning he is now top of the leaderboard and is Immune From Elimination - ie he has gone straight through to the final. He says he tried to forget about his mistake from earlier and concentrate on his skillzorz.

So the lines are now open. Who will join Matthew in the final? Well, YOU get to decide. Or not.

The skate-off

So blah blah blah GRAND FINAL blah DANCING ON ICE THE SKATE-OFF!

Earlier, Matthew got the highest combined score from his routine and his Ultimate Ultimate Skills Challenge, and thus he is in the final. Now you must vote vote vote and keep these celebrities in Swarovski crystals on their outfits. I sort of get the feeling that neither Phil nor Christine cares that much about this any more.

A recap, then - Chico thinks he couldn't have got a better score at a better time, although obviously he could have got a score that was good enough to beat Matt. Jennifer cried due to her guttedness, but insists there is yet "fight in the old dog". I'll leave Steve to insert the joke here. I'd suggest that Jorgie is dizzy from the headbanger, but frankly she isn't really any more coherent the rest of the time. Matt thinks the headbanger could have come out better. Yes. Yes, it could. Then there was the Ultimate Skills Challenge, and Robin pointed out that a solo is all about being on your own. Yes. Yes, it is. Chico was lost for words (hooray!); Jen promised that she would come back fighting; Jorgie was feeling the pressure; and Matthew won immunity and went through to the final. He says that it wasn't easy, and he is used to having his partner by him. Jorgie says it is important for people to support her now, while Chico uses the cliche of "just going out there and enjoying it".

Well, the lines have closed. The drama is almost too much to bear. Christine asks Robin about the Ultimate Skills Challenge, which he says was very close this evening. Katarina says there were a few performances that were edging towards a "flawless, breathtaking" 10.0. Dance tells the contestants not to mess up. Well, that's helpful and constructive advice.

Phil touches his ear. Who is through to next week's final? Why, it's Chico and Jodeyne, because the viewing public hates women and apparently likes people who talk bollocks about Mother's Day! That means it's Jorgie v Jennifer in the skate-off. Why are we even bothering with this, please? Jorgie says it's the first time she's done the skate-off, and Matt says they will go out there and do their best. Jen informs us she will go out there and do herself proud, as it's all entirely out of her hands.

Jen and Dan go first. Dan's ears remain intact again, which can be counted as a triumph. He claims it is the best that Jen has ever skated. Then Jorgie and Matt, who are obviously better, although the headbanger is still very sloppy. So it's over to the judges. Dance says they both pulled out all the stops, but he's saving Jorgie. Robin says that Jennifer can go away with her head held high, but he is saving Jorgie on her best performance of the series. And Katarina says the extra pressure brought the extra out in both of them, and she's saving Jorgie too.

Farewell, then, Jennifer Ellison. You stayed longer than you probably should, and you've got the scars to show for it. Next week's final will be contested between Matthew, Chico and Jorgie, then, and Steve will take you through it. I wash my hands of the whole sorry affair. See you next time!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Three ringer circus

Props week: 11th March 2012

Welcome to another week ON ICE. Forgive me if I'm a little more unforgiving with the show than normal this week, but I'm currently at the mercy of both a nasty cold that just won't go away, and also an irritating bout of conjunctivitis, so I'd rather be resting my eyes than forcing them to endure a couple of hours of pro-am skating - but hey, I'm here and I'm committed (or at least I should be, ho ho ho) so let's just all do our best to get through this, yes?

So, previously ON ICE: Matthew got 28.5 and broke the series record, while Chico achieved similarly excellent results by taking his top off, or something. However, 'twas all for naught, as Team Jorgie beat Team Matthew in the group challenge, so all the women got their points doubled. Sadly, an artificial boost up to second place on the leaderboard wasn't enough to keep Chemmy out of the skate-off for a third time, but at least this time she was up against Andy, who was never going to be saved over her in a million years. This week: it's props week! Not just any props week, mind, but CIRCUS props week. That's right, Dancing On Ice is doing comedy. It's going to be a long night, isn't it?

Titles! ON ICE!

Gubba welcomes us to Dancing On Ice: At The Circus, while Phil and Christine enter to a musical cue that suggests they're the clowns of the outfit. I'd take offence, if I were them. They remind us that it's props night with a circus theme (I feel this could actually have been two separate theme weeks without too much trouble, and given the lack of imagination that's gone into next week's theme, I'm struggling to see why it wasn't), and we're shown a VT which reminds us that the props must be seamlessly incorporated into the routine, and also be full of lulz for this is indeed the Dancing On Ice circus. Poor Andy - eliminated right before a week where the theme might just have played to his strengths. Anyway, let's meet our skating stars: Jenny Elly and Dan, Matthew and Nina, Chemmy and Sean, Jorgie and Lovely Matt, and Chico and Jodeyne. Chico has apparently come as the final boss from Rolo To The Rescue, if anyone remembers that. Oh, and we also have Jayne and Chris, who have sensibly opted not to don circus-related costumes because, despite everything that's happened so far, they're still clinging to a thin veneer of dignity.

Phil tells us that props night is his favourite because his whip gets an outing, which causes Christine to dissolve into incontrollable and vaguely unprofessional mirth. Up first are Chemmy and Sean, because no one's voting for her anyway so it's not like she's got anything to lose by going first. She says that despite being second on the leaderboard, she thought people at home might think she was safe (yeah, that was definitely the reason she keeps ending up skating for survival), so she prepared for the skate-off anyway. Having been in the skate-off three times, she decides this is three times too many. Chemmy has six props in her routine (the cane, the flowers, the rope, the magic hanky, the secret hanky and finally Bunton - sorry, "bunting") because it's magic-themed, and she's worried that all the tricks are taking away from her skating time. Karen throws a snit fit about being kept waiting in training while Chemmy and Sean prepare their props. Oh, cram it, Karen. Your opinion was barely relevant even when you were still on the panel.

They're skating to 'Magic', inventively enough [this was at least a song I knew. I'm so middle-aged. - Carrie], and Chemmy plays the role of the magician's assistant rather well, all stage winks and smiles, and doing a good job of pulling out the various props as if from nowhere. She even manages to include some skating - in fact, I'd say her footwork in all of this is pretty good, especially considering everything else she's got to worry about. Gubba suggests we don't think too deeply about where all those props were concealed, and for once he might actually be making a good point. [He also made a rather poor taste Paul Daniels/amputated finger joke. Oh Gubba. We can hear you, you know. - Carrie] The recap rather decently focuses on the skating parts of the routine rather than the shenanigans, and here are the scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 9.0, Katarina 8.5 for a total of 26.0 - her personal best. Chemmy's thrilled, and says that there were so many chances for it to go wrong that each thing going right was like "one down, four to go..." She tells Phil that she loves skating, while performance is less her thing, but she does have a soft spot for magic. Sean appears to have struggled with the magic in general this week, but very gentlemanly compliments Chemmy on her performance. Chris commends Chemmy on having started rather scrappily but getting it all under control on the night.

Robin loved the integration of the tricks and the solo skating, like the barrel rolls on her own. He thinks the skating was powerful and fluid, and that she ticks all of the boxes. Katarina loved the performance, and says that it easily could have been a "yard sale ON ICE" (I'd watch that, as long as Katarina was still involved somehow) if she'd lost all the props, but she coped well, and all the skating skills were there. Dance thinks her performance skills have really improved, and that comedy and props really suit Chemmy because she's naturally funny. Hooray! She's still pretty much guaranteed to be going home, mind.

Adverts. I've never had a box made out of tickytacky, but it sounds like it would be rather messy.

When we return, the judges have been positioned behind one of those hilarious pictures with the faces cut out, which strikes me as more of a fairground thing than a circus thing, but who am I to criticise the sort of things this show comes up with to pointlessly fill time? Up next are Chico and Jodeyne, and he admits he was really worried last week after losing the team challenge and being fifth on the leaderboard - so being saved by the public in spite of all that was his best moment of the series so far. Chico has some comedy strongman props, like a "test your strength" machine and two giant dumbbells, thereby bringing the total number of giant dumbbells in his routine to three. There are some big lifts in the routine this week, including some in which Jodeyne will be having to let go of him entirely, and she admits that she's "trusting him with [her] life up there." Chico says that he has to pull out all the stops because everyone else is doing so well at this point.

They're dating to 'Stronger' by Kanye West, and his routine involves a lot of "tiny Jodeyne can lift these weights while giant Chico cannot" comedy, until he conveniently develops enough strength to be able to lift Jodeyne AND the weights and therefore complete the routine. The giant death-defying lift goes without a hitch as you'd expect, and the routine ends with him successfully ringing the bell on the Test Your Strength machine. Gubba tells us that Chico has been offered the role of Prince Charming in panto in Swansea (not Woking, like the Fonz). Scores: Dance 9.0, Robin 9.0, Katarina 9.0 for a total of 27.0. Chris says that Chico was indeed the strongman tonight. Chico says that he loved the routine and worked really hard, and he wants to thank everyone at home for keeping him in this far, and he'd like to keep on in the competition please. Jayne explains the story for us, apparently feeling that the audience might not have grasped the narrative complexity.

Dance tells Chico that the props didn't encroach on his performance, which is very difficult to do. He thinks Chico is fantastic, and deserves to be here next week. Katarina thinks he shines in a different way every week, and he had some very difficult props. She thought the lift was just brilliant in terms of the safety and effortlessness of its execution. Robin thinks that Chico did a good job of balancing the comedy with the props and the partner work.

Adverts. I think it's very sensible of Virgin to leave Virgin Media out of that advert listing all the great things they've accomplished.

Upon our return, it's time for Jorgie and Lovely Matt. Jorgie has fond memories of last week, because she did well individually and her team won the challenge. This week, she's got a ribbon to twirl, and appears to be getting tied up in it a lot in rehearsals. There is some brilliant rehearsal footage of Lovely Matt flinching as Chris repeatedly flicks the ribbon at him. I want that in a gif. There's a bit where Jorgie has to chuck the routine over her head for Lovely Matt to catch, but because she can't see him, she's having trouble aiming it, and she's worried that if she doesn't get it right, it'll ruin the story. Karen points out that failing to lob the ribbon properly is a mistake that even Bunton would spot. Guess what? The lob doesn't even go right in the dress rehearsal. Will it be all right on the night? Let's find out.

They're skating to 'Video Games', and between the white and candy-floss pink costumes, and the pink ribbon, this might just be the gayest thing the show has ever done. The ribbon twirling seems pretty precise, as far as I can tell. In a move that will surprise precisely no one, Lovely Matt manages to catch the ribbon with his Lovely Arms. The whole thing is ridiculous and nonsensical and utterly gaymazing and I think I loved it but I don't even know any more. Gubba, thrilled: "Oh Jorgie, that really worked!" Hahahaha. Bless. It's nice that he cares - he's about the only person who does, I think. Scores: Dance 6.5, Robin 5.5, Katarina 8.0 for a total of 20.0. The audience boos (someone actually does a hugely theatrical gasp, which cracks me up), Jorgie purses her lips, Lovely Matt makes an "erp" face, and Phil wants to go straight to the judges for feedback, which seems like a good idea - Robin says his should've been 8.5 (bringing the total score up to 23.0), but Dance is all "MINE'S RIGHT!" and the audience boo.

Dance says he found it quite boring, and that 6.5 isn't a bad score, but this wasn't a performance that was of Jorgie's usual standard, because it was emotionless for him, so he just gave her points for being clean and tidy. Katarina disagrees, and says the performance was all there, and Jorgie is always pretty and beautiful, but the problem is that she was so good in the first show, that they expect so much of her, and Chemmy and Chico did a better job with more difficult props. Robin says it's tough to make a comparison, because Chico and Chemmy had a lot more technical stuff in their routine, while Chris and Jayne didn't give Jorgie as much to do. Dance chips in again that he found it bland. [This annoyed me. Shut up, Dance. - Carrie]

As is always the way when there's pointless drama on this show that needs milking for a bit longer, Christine asks Karen for her opinion. Karen says that the contestants don't choose the props or the choreography, and she thought it was beautiful, so "I must be missing something." Don't encourage us, Karen, that little guessing game could take a while. Phil tells Jorgie that a quarter of people playing along on the pointless app gave her 10. Lovely Matt is basically FURIOUS and adorably passive-aggressive about it, saying that he doesn't understand if the judges are judging on "progression or perfection". Tee hee. Phil suggests that we should perhaps allow Jorgie to speak now, but Jorgie's opinion is, as always, negligible. Chris is also struggling to conceal the fury over the QUESTIONING OF HIS GENIUS, and now I'm quite excited. I mean, we've seen what happens to contestants who dare to criticise the choreography, but what happens when it's one of the judges? I'm hoping for a serious mother of a smackdown next week.

Adverts.

When we return, Christine reminds us that Dance is being a bit of a cunt tonight and Dance does his "am I bovvered?" bitchface. Let's not dwell on that, and go instead to Matthew and Nina, who got the highest score of the series last week, and are now angling for a 10, because Matthew's kind of dull and that's really the only place that his storyline has left to go. He's got three props, which he gripes about despite it being about eleventy less than Chemmy had. His routine is lion-taming themed, and he's got a whip that he keeps whacking himself with, so they bring in a "circus arts trainer" to help him learn how to do it properly. He's also got a hula hoop, which he can't quite master either, but vows that he won't let his skating suffer because of the props. His VT ends with Nina on the podium (prop number three) as Matt accidentally whips his own testicles. Ah, family entertainment.

They're skating to 'Real Wild Child' and it's your standard Matthew routine of bland competency. I'm not spectacularly sold on this one, because the prop work - specifically the hoop - slows him down significantly, and some of the moves with the hoops are just ungainly looking. It's a bit dull to be honest, and doesn't involve nearly as much prop-wrangling as some of the others - half the time he's just holding the whip without actually having to do much with it, aside from one admittedly impressive moment when he uses it to burst a balloon from some distance away. The lion make-up on Nina looks good, though. Scores: Dance 9.5, Robin 9.5, Katarina 9.0 for a total of 28.0. Matthew says it was always going to be difficult to get a 10.0 on props week. Phil tells him he looked very relieved when he popped the balloon. Jayne says this is the first time they've used the whip, aside from that time they chased Rosemary Conley with it for shits and giggles.

Katarina says that it was obvious the whip was Matt's favourite prop and that he looked a real natural with it - and then dissolves into giggles. Katarina Witt - single-handedly making this show watchable since...well, since January, but that's not the issue. [Seriously. - Carrie] Robin says that it's all about the complete package, and the skating skills were all there as well as the circus performance. Dance tells Matthew that he owned the performance and all of the props, and there was light and shade in it and Matthew told a story. I think he's reading rather a lot into "man chases lion around some ice for a bit while holding a whip", but each to their own.

Adverts. I feel people whose hair has been "bleached, burned and singed" don't deserve healthy-looking hair, no matter which expensive products they buy.

Closing the show, it's Jennifer and Daniel. Last week they skated to Leona Lewis and got 24.5, at which point she burst into tears. Chris thinks Jennifer's coming into her own at the right time in the competition, i.e. at the point where all the useless people are all going home, and it's this or be the next one eliminated. She's skating to 'You've Got A Friend In Me' from Toy Story, which is apparently her little boy's favourite film. She says that the song "means something special". Yes, Jennifer, I'm sure you are truly unique in having a child who quite likes Toy Story. They've got two suitcases, a balloon, two hats, a bucket, and a flower for their clown-based routine. At the end of the routine, Dan's lying on the ice and Jennifer has to step over him - something she's terrified of doing, because the blades are dead sharp and she doesn't want to emasculate him. She's worried about losing her nerve, so her son comes along to rehearsals to cheer her up, because he's the reason she's doing all of this. And here I was thinking the reason she was doing this was "cash and exposure".

They come onto the ice doing some clowny schtick (full disclosure: I HATE CLOWNS) and begin the routine which involves sliding around on a suitcase and a fair pit of pretending to poke each other the ice. I'm sure this is all highly entertaining if you actually like clowns, but I do not, so I find the whole thing sinister and upsetting, so let's just say that she does the step-over without slicing his groin apart and move on. Score: Dance 8.0, Robin 8.0, Katarina 8.5 for a total of 24.5 - the same as last week. Dan confirms that his privates are still in one piece despite the walkover. Jayne chuckles that the routine made everyone in the room laugh. Really? No one in the room found it creepy because of CLOWNS? I doubt this.

Katarina says she was smiling the whole time because they're adorable and charming together, and she gives props (heh) to the costume department for their sterling work tonight. She thinks it's hard out here for a clown, but all the tricks and props worked. Dance thought it was simple, without huge amounts of choreography, but the people with more props have been more inventive and their performances have been fuller, and the people with single props (i.e. Jorgie) haven't delivered tonight. Robin thinks this drew on Jennifer's acting skills, and she's grown as a performer on the ice. He thinks the two of them gave a very honest performance, whatever that means.

So here's the leaderboard: Matthew and Nina at the top, Chico and Jodeyne second, Chemmy and Sean in third, Jennifer and Dan fourth, and Jorgie and Matt in a shocking fifth place. The lines are now open! We see a quick recap of all the performances, and Phil expresses his shock that Jorgie is at the bottom of the leaderboard, reminding us that ANYONE could be in the skate-off. But probably Chemmy, let's be honest.

The Skate-Off

Earlier tonight: five couples attempted to handle props while wearing ridiculous costumes. One of them's going home, and Phil's been entrusted with the whip, though Katarina has made him promise he'll return it to her when he's finished with it. It's Dancing ON ICE: The Skate-Off.

Post-titles, we're greeted by X Factor runner-up Marcus COLLINS lip-synching his cover of 'Seven Nation Army'. On the one hand, I'm glad it's not BixMix REPRESENTING WIMMINZ EVERYWHERE ON ICE, but on the other, this reminds me what an utter waste of everyone's time that series was. I actually quite liked Marcus, at least until they started making him sing Jackie Wilson every week until he became bafflingly irrelevant to modern society, but this is just not very good at all, no matter how much of a performance number they throw on around him.

Phil and Christine return and thank Marcus for his performance, as well as the professional skaters who accompanied him. The lines are still open, so they run through the lines again while warning us that we've not got long to get our votes in.

Recap time! Chemmy and Sean had a fun magic-themed routine that tapped into her natural sense of comedy, and backstage Chemmy is very pleased that Robin thinks she's special, and says that it shows how much Sean has taught her. Katarina was impressed with how well Chico lifted Jodeyne, and Chico was pleased that the lift was spot-on. He wants to be here next week, because he's worked so hard. Jorgie got a 6.5 from Dance for her ribbon routine, because he thought it was emotionless, and Robin called it out on a lack of technical content, as if that's Jorgie's fault. Jorgie says that she got a bit upset upon hearing that, and wonders if she's lost a place in the semi-final, while Lovely Matt looks THUNDEROUS and Karen thinks Dance has lost his mind. Dance reiterates that he thought the prop completely overshadowed everything. On the other hand, Matthew's lion-taming routine went down well, and he grins backstage that he loved it, saying that he'd been wanting to make it to props week all along. It's very sensible of him to only admit this after the fact, otherwise the laws of reality TV would ensure he was sent home tonight. Jennifer closed the show with her clowning around, which Katarina was impressed with and Robin thought showed off her acting skills. Jennifer would love to be in the semi-final, and hopes she's done enough. Chris thinks it was a controversial night, largely because Jorgie's at the bottom of the leaderboard, and that whoever goes tonight will be a good skater.

Back in the studio, Phil declares the lines officially closed, while Christine goes to the judges for some last-minute opinions. She goes to Dance first, saying that props week has really mixed things up. Dance says it's shown how far everyone has come, not just in terms of choreography but also in props, and some shone more than others tonight. Christine asks Katarina how hard this makes it from a skating point of view, and Katarina says that the more props the couples got, the better the skating was, so higher hurdles seem to yield better results. Christina asks Robin if it's still anyone's game, and he says yes indeed, they judge on performance and not reputation, and that the rest is in the public's hands.

Two couples are about to be in the skate-off...after the break.

Adverts. Those L'Oréal adverts are less impressive in HD - Cheryl Cole looks like she's got a wig made from Barbie's hair.

Finally, we're back and the couples are all lined-up behind Phil, waiting to learn of their fate. The first couple safe and through to the semi-final is Jennifer and Dan. The second couple is Matthew and Nina. The third and final couple is...Jorgie and Matt! Both of whom look incredibly relieved. So it's Chemmy vs Chico in the skate-off.

Backstage, Christine opines that this part of the show gets more and more difficult about it. Chemmy's clearly thinking "yeah, TELL ME ABOUT IT". Chico's feeling pretty positive, and Chemmy jokes about being queen of the skate-off, and says that she enjoyed her routine the first time out, so she'll enjoy doing it again. She hopes she can pull another performance out of the bag, because she's not a performer.

Chemmy goes first in the skate-off, and is every bit as energised and OTT as she was first-time around. If this ends up being her final performance, which it probably will be, it's an excellent note to go out on. They head over to join Phil, who is positioned over in Karen's Korner for some unexplained reason (the need to reset the props for Chico's routine, perhaps?) and Chemmy declares this performance was "magic". She calls herself "queen of the skate-off" again and says that she didn't even get nervous. Chris says that having to do a skate-off with props is tough, but he thinks Chemmy's got the routine nailed now. Chemmy chortles that she thought it was flukey that she got it right the first time, but it's not flukey if you do it twice. Indeed.

Chico and Jodeyne return, and the "weakling becomes strongman" theme of the performance is ruined slightly by the fact that Chico blatantly hits the target of the machine hard enough to ring the bell first time around. Like Chemmy, he's doing a fine job, hitting all the notes that he did before. He wobbles very slightly on the second jump over the dumbbells on the floor, but I don't think that's enough to jeopardise his chances. They head over to Phil, at the proper kiss-and-cry this time and the crowd chant his name. Chico says it's always more fun the second time around, and this way it was more entertainment for the public. Jayne compliments him on getting nothing wrong, saying that it's proof he can use the props correctly.

Time for the judges to weigh in. Katarina thinks it was very close tonight, but one performance really gave her magic, so she votes to save Chemmy. Dance thinks it was a very difficult decision and they both did well, but he votes to save Chico. Robin thinks it was two terrific skate-offs - and the person he's saving is Chico. So Chico survives, and it's fourth time unlucky for Chemmy. Chico sinks to his knees on the ice.

Chemmy tells Phil that she's gutted to be going, but she's had so much fun. We see her best bits, where Jayne applauds her bravery and determination, and Karen complains that Chemmy talks too much. We see her gradually getting better and more elegant during the competition, and that's it. Back in the studio, Chemmy reminds us that this time last year she was on crutches and couldn't walk, and now she's achieved all this. Yeah, fifth place! I kid, I kid - she did very well.

We have our four semi-finalists, and Phil warns us that next week there's yet another twist: the Ultimate Skills Test is back: 23 separate skills, solo-skating for one minute on the ice. Last time only three people had to face it, and it completely scuppered Sébastien, but this time everyone must do it. Another twist: the skater at the top of the leaderboard will win an automatic slot in the final while the other three slog it out for the public vote. Sounds interesting, assuming that "interesting" is a relative value where this show's concerned. Carrie, God bless her, will be here for her final recap of the series to guide you through it, and I'll see you in two weeks for the final. Cheerio!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Elimination Street

Team Challenge
Tx: 4th March 2012

So! I'm back to recap. Steve promises me there are only a few weeks left of this absolutely dire series, so because I love him and because I love you bitches too, I will see this through to the bitter end. [You've only got one more left after this. You can do it. I believe in you! - Steve] Beginning with tonight. I did suggest that I could just write an entirely fictitious recap in the style of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but then realised that wouldn't actually fit the brief of a "recap", so actually watching the bloody show it is.

Last week we lost the remaining SamandMark, it was Rock Week, the cast of Rock of Ages brilliantly performed an excerpt from their horrible show, Jorgie nearly killed Lovely Matt, I likened Dancing on Ice to professional wrestling, Andy was a miserable little bitch, and now we have six contenders left. Six? *brightens up considerably* That's not many! This week they have the Team Challenge, and the winning team will have their scores doubled. Can anyone say "gimmick"?

Titles! And Phil and the scarily thin Christine join us. Actually her silhouette looks really odd. Perhaps it's because her mic pack is distorting it. Anyway, they explain the extremely tricky concept of a Team Challenge, and then throw to a VT which explains it even further. Jorgie and Matthew are the team captains, and make their picks - Jorgie takes Jen and Chemmy ("a real girlie team!"); Matthew takes Chico and Andy. Jayne is excited to have boys v girls, probably thinking of her triumph in the Christmas special. Ah, good times.

Right, here are the skating stars: "Team Jorgie captain" Jorgie and Matt; Andy and Vicky; Chemmy and Sean; Chico (WITH NO SHIRT ON WHY GOD WHY?) and Jodeyne; Matthew and Nina; and Jen and Dan.

And we begin with Jorgie and Matt. She kicked him in the head during rehearsal last week, which she says was "the worst thing in the world ever". Chris says they were both very brave to skate. I think Matt was the bravest one, to be honest. This week they are skating to Crazy in Love by Beyonce, which makes Jorgie very happy indeed. The routine is more intricate with fewer spectacular lifts, and poor Matt still has a huge plaster over his sliced-up face as he talks to Jorgie like she's a ridiculous toddler.

They skate. Jorgie's hair is obscenely big. She does lots of stupidly urban moves which remind me of the choreography to Positive in Legally Blonde: The Musical. But actually, she's a pretty good skater, so it's a bit annoying that they usually just pack her routines full of eye-catching lifts. Gubba tells us that Jorgie is a size six and buys clothes intended for 12-year-olds. And reads books intended for six-year-olds. Scores - Dance 9.0, Robin and Katarina 8.5 for a total of 26.0. Jorgie squeaks about really enjoying the performance. Chris reveals that next week is Prop Week. Good luck with that, Steve. [*wail* - Steve] Robin says it is good to be cautious and not slice your partner's face off. Katarina says they are the perfect package (fnar). Dance enthuses about Jorgie's hair.

Christine asks Chris about the Team Challenge, and just as you'd expect in the stupid gender normative show that is Dancing on Ice, he reveals that the girls are being "sexy" and the boys are "flexing their muscles". Yawn. Jayne gets bored of them wittering on and interrupts to say that being on the ice with two other couples is tricky and can be chaotic. Jen says she has had a fantastic week spending time with the girls. Um, why do we care?

Right, Andy and Vicky. He moans some more about last week's scores because he thinks he deserved more, and he says he argued back with the judges because he cares about the show. Well, be better then, that would get you better scores. This week they are skating to Suspicious Minds, and Chris wants Andy to overact with a passion. Hence he gets sent to a "physical performance expert", which is so uncomfortable to watch. You would really think an actor would be better at acting. [I've learned never to overestimate people, thanks to reality TV. - Steve]

Andy's mouth hangs open unattractively throughout this routine. Is he trying to sneer, or does he simply have a cold? This is really dull and low-key. Also, I don't like Andy so have no interest in him. Scores - Dance: 6.5, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 20.5. There is a huge amount of celebration because he has broken the 20 barrier, like anyone really cares apart from Andy. Katarina thought the skating was better, but missed the hip movement. Robin says it was loads better than last week, even though he isn't supposed to compare and contrast previous performances. Andy says he knows he's not as good as everyone else, but people don't see all the work he put in.

Chico still has no shirt on. Last week he was poorly sick and was shaking, but he still got through it. Good for him, I guess. He was pleased that the judges saved him from the skate-off. This week they are skating to I'm Sexy And I Know It, and Jodeyne looks like she's about to vomit. Jayne and Karen are a little more interested. Then Chico nearly breaks Jodeyne's head. She's a tough bird, though, which is just as well, because he then throws her over his shoulder during a lift when he slips. He muses that he should make sure that she's safe on the ice. Yeah, good idea, dumbass.

Chico STILL HAS NO SHIRT ON. And zebra-print trousers with the word "sexy" picked out in pink sequins. And there is thrusting.

Seriously, I can't watch this. I'm fast-forwarding.

Gubba makes racial stereotypes about being Moroccan, and then cackles. Just as well he finds himself amusing, because I'm fairly sure nobody else does. Scores - Dance 8.5, Robin 8.0, Katarina 8.5 for a total of 25.0. Chico reminds us that he is FORTY, dear, I said I'm 40 YOU KNOW. Jodeyne says she takes risks doing this sport and skating with an utter idiot. Jayne says that she wasn't watching his skating. Dance witters on about fancying Schofe. Fuck off, Dance, you tedious tosspot. Robin says it was performed with abandon and control. Katarina says that less is more, but with Chico more is even better and is quite flustered, and then giggles.

Chemmy and Sean next. She was last but one on the leaderboard last week, and the public vote kept her in, so she will continue to work hard. This week she has some fast choreography, which is challenging her, and some tricky lifts which Jayne can do and Chemmy can not, so much. Earlier in the series, she tried that platter lift which Katarina did not like, and now she is going to try it again. As such, Chemmy and Sean bicker their way through the week and bitch at each other. It is not nice to watch. Chemmy wonders if Katarina will like it; Katarina is basically, "I don't give a toss - if you do it badly, I'll tell you, if you do it well, I'll be happy."

They're skating to Next to Me. I feel a bit sorry for Chemmy, she's fast on the ice and clearly a powerful, competent skater, but she's about three times the size of any of the other midget girls in this competition and it's obviously had a huge impact on her throughout the series because they're never going to manage a flashy headbanger or anything like that, which I think has hampered her a little. They pull off the lift, anyway, with Sean's arms fully extended, and Chemmy beams adorably. Scores - straight 8.5s for a total of 25.5 - her best by a country mile. She declares herself happy, and apologises to Sean for being crosspatch with him this week. Robin says that this afternoon the transitions were awful, but tonight they have been excellent. Katarina says that she is glad Chemmy played it a little bit safe by moving into the lift from a standing start, but it looked beautiful; however, she gives more emphasis to the rest of the skating skills than that anyway. Dance says it was graceful and stunning. Aw.

Over in Karen's creche, Jorgie says that the girls never have any chance to talk to each other, and Matthew has his fingers crossed that the boys will pull it out of the bag. Karen says that this week Jen has worked on her speed and power, improving her confidence no end. Let's see, shall we? Last week she had her best performance to date, and she says she has a little bit of self-belief now. For the first ten seconds of the routine, she's skating by herself, and has managed to fall over multiple times in rehearsal and given herself bruises on both knees. "At least they match!" replies an unsympathetic Dan.

They are skating to Leona Lewis's Happy, and Jennifer's skating is so much better. Really. She's always been a good dancer with great lines, but she actually looks solid on the ice now. It's lyrical, elegant, with a great partnership. Gubba likens her to a spring daffodil. What? He then suggests a range of Dancing on Ice cocktail dresses. What?? Scores: Dance 9.0, Robin 7.5, Katarina 8.0 for a total of 24.5. Jen bursts into tears. Dan kisses her head. She then descends into ridiculous "a hard journey" territory, and I mentally tune out until she gathers her composure. Dance says that Jen captures people with emotion - cue a camera switch to Karen, who is weeping mascara all over her face. Robin says that the skating is still not as good as the performance, but it's exquisite to watch nonetheless. Katarina says that Jennifer's body language was poetry. I love when Katarina says things that cause a nonplussed silence in the audience.

Matthew and Nina now. They are skating to Olly Murs...ugh. I'm not sure whether this is more offensive than Chico's shirtlessness. It's a tough call. They are choreographing a roll-up lift in which Matthew repeatedly throws Nina on the floor. Thus Karen comes in to get Matthew to skate with a bench instead, which is of course the obvious teaching technique. It seems to work though, so good for everyone, I guess.

Ugh, I really hate this song. I also hate Matthew's grinning and gurning. Still, it could be worse. He could actually be Olly Murs. That would be dreadful. Anyway, no falls, no dropping, lots of Acting Faces. Scores - straight 9.5s for a 28.5. Pfft. Karen didn't cry, so it couldn't have been that good. Matthew says he didn't expect that after a really tough week of learning two routines and everyone stepping their game up. Schofe asks Nina a question in Russian. She replies in Cockney. Oh, the hilarity! Robin says that they are brilliant, and Katarina says he is taking the words out of her mouth. Hang on, what the FUCK is Dance wearing? It looks like a Margaret Thatcher cast-off, complete with a pussy-bow neck. Jayne says Matthew makes everything look so easy.

Right, time for the Team Challenge then. Robin warns the skaters not to be selfish; Katarina wants energy and speed (fnar); Dance says there is always quality in a sextet, and then spits at Christine. He's really boring me now.

Team Jorgie first, in a whirlwind of blonde ringlets. Jorgie wanted the girls because she wanted "girl power"; Chemmy makes "pow pow pow" noises because it is a Battle of the Sexes. Thus, the ladyfolk are COINCIDENTALLY skating to Spice Up Your Life. Clearly Jorgie would have got that track for her team to skate to even if she'd picked men. Honestly. Jen gives Chemmy some dancing coaching...and I've just realised that the way Jorgie stares into the camera really reminds me of Karen in Mean Girls. I wonder if Jorgie has a fifth sense? I love that Jen and Jorgie beam while they're dancing, and Chemmy is trying to put on a sultry face. After the routine, Schofe chooses to talk to Jen and Dan rather than bothering with Jorgie and her nonsense, which I enjoy. Chemmy says that Jorgie made all the decisions and was a great team captain. Whatever, Chemmy! Jayne was impressed with how the girls gelled as a team, and Chris reveals they had to be whipped into shape yesterday, but he thinks they pulled it out of the bag in the end.

And then Team Matthew. He lies that Andy has skills on the ice, and that the judges don't give him enough credit. They're skating to YMCA, which is clearly awesome. Matthew says the boys v girls thing will be in good spirit, but there is still a lot at stake. They all insist how much fun they're having, and Andy tries to do self-deprecation about being the weakest skater of the three, but just comes across as the bitterest man in the living room. He looks oddly at his hands when they are moving, like he needs to watch them in order for them to operate. Most of this routine hinges on the whole Y-M-C-A bit, which is not really that interesting to watch, nor all that innovative. Captain Matthew says his team were amazing and they have had a great week. On ice. Andy says it's been great to skate with the other lads, and Chico says he has enjoyed every second of it.

So which team will emerge victorious and get their votes doubled? Katarina says it was testosterone (or something resembling that word) v sex appeal, and votes for Team Jorgie. Dance says both teams worked as teams, and then witters on about how he likes both songs, and votes for Team Matthew. Robin has the casting vote and says that one team was more cohesive - Team Jorgie.

Thus the ladies get their votes doubled, leaving Andy and Vicky at the bottom of the leaderboard, and Chico and Jodeyne last but one. So who will be saved on the public vote, and who will be left languishing in the bottom two? We will find out after Wild At Heart!

The skate-off

Earlier tonight, there was skating. Now one couple must go. Please let it be Andy and Vicky.

Titles!

And a recap. Jorgie had fun; Andy was over the moon; Chico incisively points out that it depends on the voting public; Chemmy was overwhelmed; Jennifer is excited about girl power in the Team Challenge; Matthew was gobsmacked. Post-Team Challenge, Jorgie is proud of the girls and thought the boys would win. Excellent captaincy there. [I despair, I really do. - Steve] Chico beams some more about it being down to the public. Jayne says she wouldn't have liked to judge the Team Challenge. Coward.

So the lines are now closed. What is going to happen? Why, we'll talk to the judges for a bit. Dance promises we're not far away from the perfect 10; Katarina says Jen has made the most improvement; Robin says that The People will make their decision.

But what will that decision be?

Let's find out. The safe couples: Matthew and Nina; Jorgie and Matt; Jennifer and Dan; and Chico and Jodeyne. Poor Chemmy. She must have thought she was safe there. Still, it means that Andy is pretty likely to go now. Surely. They skate off, Chemmy is better despite a slip from Sean, and Andy is going. Please.

Katarina says Andy should be proud of his performances, but she is going to save Chemmy so she can see That lift again; Robin says Andy has been great to watch, but he is saving Chemmy; and so is Dance.

GOODBYE, ANDY, FOREVER.

He says he's had an amazing time and everyone is amazing and he gets all choked up. Sigh. Then there's a best bits montage and frankly I can't be bothered to watch.

Still! Next week is Props Week, and Steve will be back to provide a much more thorough recap than I've managed! I'm sorry! See you soon!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Defrosted/Nixon

Rock week: 26th February 2012

Last week! We had a shock! boot! in the skate-off as three celebrities were forced to perform solo for the right to stay, with only one of them set to survive. First Chemmy had a wobble and therefore thought she was doomed, but then Sébastien came out and forgot the last half of his routine, and Heidi...was Heidi, so Chemmy stayed. This week, it's rock week! This noteworthy occasion is marked with a VT in which everyone indulges in "rock" behaviour like wearing make-up, smashing televisions, and blow-drying their hair. I don't know about you, but that's pretty much what goes on in my house every week while this show is on. Especially the middle one.

After the credits, we're treated to a performance of 'Don't Stop Believing' from the cast of West End show Rock Of Ages. Anybody who has ever watched an episode of Glee never ever needs or wants to hear this song ever again, and this performance really isn't going to change anyone's mind. Also, Shayne Ward continues to resemble Shangela, and Justin Lee Collins appears to not be much of a singer. Frankly, I'm a little bit embarrassed for everyone involved in this whole thing. Especially the pro-skaters doing a "rock" routine to accompany all of this, because they deserve so much better. [I reviewed this production when it opened. I was not impressed. - Carrie]

Phil and Christine enter to 'Welcome To The Jungle', making devil horns with their hands, and promising that we're going to rock tonight. Again, I find this show has me rocking most weeks - usually backwards and forwards, in despair. It's time to welcome our remaining skating (rock)stars: Andy and Vicky, Jenny Elly and Dan, Matthew and Nina, Jorgie and Lovely Matt (as Gubba says "you can't have rock night without a Queen." I'M SAYING NOTHING), Sam and Alexandra, Chemmy and Sean, a terrifyingly-coiffed Chico and Jodeyne, and finally Jayne and Chris. Jayne has apparently come as the title character from Kiss Of The Spider Woman tonight. Sooner or later, you're certain to meet, in the bedroom, the parlour, or even the street. There's no place on earth, you're likely to miss...Jayne and Chris.

Phil reminds us how the scoring works, while Christine shills the pointless app once again. Matthew and Nina are up first tonight, and Chris reminds us how excellently Matthew did last week. Matthew admits that he raised the bar higher last week than he ever thought he would, but that he's just got to keep going. In rehearsals, Chris and Jayne are all "yes, you were top of the heap last week...and now you're starting again. Sucks, doesn't it?" There are some complicated moves this week, and Matthew says that trying to make things look effortless isn't as easy as you might hope it would be. In particular, one small lift is giving him serious trouble, and Nina scolds him for repeatedly saying he can't do it. Matthew worries about having enough time to get it all together before the live show.

They make an elaborate entrance in which they both slide onto the floor and roll over before getting back up again. Showoffs. They're dancing to 'Don't Stop Me Now', and Matthew is covered in ugly fake tattoos, as well as wearing those hideous pleather trousers again. Why do they keep putting him in those? The routine's pretty decent, and the lift goes without incident after all that VT-related hullaballoo. It ends with a plateau lift and another slide onto the ice. Scores: Dance 9.0, Robin 8.5, Katarina 8.5 for a total of 26.0. Matthew says that it wasn't as clean a performance as he gave last week, so he agrees with the scores. Chris says that they did push him this week, but clearly not too hard as he's done very well.

Christine asks Dance about the 9.0, and Dance says that this routine showed his versatility, going from the lyrical into the rock movements, and declares Matthew one of his favourites. Katarina tells him that he rocked the ice and the audience, and she's glad that Chris and Jayne keep pushing him. Robin admires his control, and says he's doing extremely well. Phil asks how long it takes him to get from "I can't do that" to "I can do that", and Matthew's predictable response is that it doesn't happen until he gets on the ice for the live show. I could've told you that. Nina makes a statement of intense pride (I assume) in Russian, as a dig at Phil for not understanding her last week. Heh.

After the ads, we're back with Phil, and Dance makes a bit of a tit of himself in the name of Rawk. Chemmy and Sean are up next. Bloody hell, she's been in two consecutive skate-offs - what does Chemmy have to do to get a slot near the end of the show? She recalls last week's tension and having to do the skate-off all by herself, but she was elated to survive and says it was one of the mentally toughest things she's ever done. Chemmy says that she loves rock music, although her track is 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)' by Kelly Clarkson, which is more pop-rock. Still a choon, though, so the point stands. To get ready for the routine, they go to the 2012 Rock Ball. It's a nice idea, but I think practising the skating would probably be more useful in the long term. "Comedy" Dave is also at the event - is Chemmy really in so much trouble that she needs advice from him? Chemmy says that she feels very rock now, and if this doesn't help her, nothing will.

They're wearing lovely purple outfits, but are ill-served by the choreography which includes some very ungainly-looking jump kicks and a lot of skating along in a step sequence while pumping one's arms in the air to indicate strength. There's a very nice spin at the end, though. Scores: Dance 7.5, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 21.5. That's 0.5 lower than last week, but Chemmy's happy with it as a score. Spider-Jayne says that she loved Chemmy's funky moves at the rock ball, and that this was a very solid performance. Chemmy tells us how she overidentifies with the lyrics, having almost killed herself in various winter sport-related accidents over the years, and having been made stronger by it. Robin tells Chemmy she's getting stronger week by week, and he thinks she shouldn't have been in the skate-off last week. He likes that she's learning restraint, even in rock week, though there are a few problems with the exits from manoeuvres. Katarina thinks Chemmy's more of a rock star than a pretty snow queen (ouch), and everything was on the rhythm, so she thinks Chemmy should carry on like this. Dance thought this was her strongest dance performance, and her leg lines were improved, but he feels like she lost a bit of her personality. Chemmy says that she's just glad she wasn't doing the blowfish face.

More adverts. I'm intrigued that the dog in the Vax advert is called Gatsby.

When we return, Phil is playing air guitar, but needs some assistance from the tech crew to get sound out of it. This is the level of humour on display tonight. Jennifer and Daniel are up next, and she thinks that Ultimate Skills Week worked in her favour, because she's ultimately skilled, or something like that. Shut up, Jennifer. She thinks it was a massive achievement to get through it, and that's built up her confidence. For now, anyway. She's skating to 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart', which is one of her favourite songs. This is because it is ONE OF THE GREATEST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Jayne says that she wants to see lots of energy in the routine, and Jennifer admits that she lacks conviction and power in her skating. Karen gives her some protective gear to try and help Jennifer get her speed up. Jennifer screams a lot, but does commit to it all, to her credit. Karen tells Jennifer she now has the power, she's just got to use it.

It begins with some fairly ugly pirouettes and lifts, before launching into an emotionally overwrough skating session, which isn't actually all that much faster than usual. This performance feels like a complete waste of an amazing song, and I'm very disappointed. They do a lift where Jennifer wraps her knee around Dan's neck, and it's quite impressive but her dismount is rather floppy. Scores: Dance 8.0, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 22.0. Jennifer is absolutely flabbergasted, and very excited.

Christine asks Robin to open for the judges, but it's Katarina's turn. Oops. This show really is getting quite sloppy nowadays. Katarina says she sees a different Jennifer this week - she always loves their chemistry and choreography, but this week she had speed and power, and it really worked in her favour. Robin was pleased to see her using her blades because she wanted to use them, not because Dan was pushing her to do so, which is a big difference. Dance thinks she has wonderful extension and the ability to emote (this will be important later), and this suited the song. He thinks it wasn't as good as "decapitation week" (going into the top of the skull seems like a remarkably inefficient way to decapitate someone, but I'm no expert) but her fluidity was lovely. Dance particularly liked the way she caressed Dan's face, and demonstrates on Robin. Christine consults Karen's opinion, but no one cares what Karen thinks, so let's just ignore her. Everyone agree? Excellent. Chris says that when you have a good performance on the Sunday, it carries through to the following week, and Jennifer really built on that with her session with Karen this week. Jennifer continues to look excessively pleased with herself.

Andy and Vicky are our next couple. He was pleased to survive last week, despite a stumble with the step sequence. He's very keen to break the 20.0 score mark this week. His song to dance to is 'Don't Look Back In Anger', and Chris explains that it's a thoughtful and reflective routine. Oh dear. Still, Andy is looking forward to show us he can be a Serious Skater. Andy tells us that he used to be in a band that played this song (like, who didn't?) and it takes him back to those days. For some reason, he and Vicky go to a bar in Camden to do a brief performance of this song, as people look on, utterly baffled. He hopes that this could be his strongest week yet.

He begins by strumming an actual guitar OH DEAR GOD (quite poorly, as well), and when the song itself kicks in, there is literal choreography aplenty. It's actually not that bad a performance - there's confidence and conviction in there, but he's concentrating so hard that it all feels a bit internalised for such a play-to-the-back-row show as this. At the end he picks up the guitar again, but doesn't play it - mercifully. Gubba tells us that Andy used to be a busker in Manchester, earning up to £100 a day. Again: who wasn't? Scores: Dance 6.0, Robin 6.5, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 19.0. Andy says he's disappointed with the scores because he thought he did a good job - he wasn't hiding behind a character and the skating was good.

Katarina says she wanted to give him all the points, but it was a difficult song for him to do, and she missed the character element, and that showed up that his skills aren't quite as good as some of the others. Andy starts back-chatting to her, rather ungraciously. Robin says that the skating is very nice and clean, but flat and emotionless. The audience boos. Dance says it wasn't emotionless, and that Andy can relate to this song because he is FROM MANCHESTER, but he would've liked to see him emote a bit more. He wanted more lyricism in the movement, but felt like he understood the emotion. Spider-Jayne says she wanted to bring out a different side of him, and she thought the song was perfect for him because it's one of his favourites. Chris thinks Andy's living it all in his head, and just needs to bring it out into his body. Phil asks Andy if the scores make more sense, having heard from the judges, and Andy snits that he doesn't think it was emotionless and that he doesn't know what they want. Ugh, I wish he would just go.

We have a quick peek at the midway leaderboard: Matthew at the top, Jennifer second, Chemmy in third, and Andy at the bottom.

Coming up: Jorgie attacks Lovely Matt's beautiful face. Does she even understand why people watch this show?

After the ads, Christine is positioned with Karen (ugh) and the contestants. Christine reminds us of the imminent danger to Lovely Matt's Lovely Face, and asks Karen to tell us what happened in rehearsals. Karen explains that there's a very dangerous move in the routine, and it did go wrong yesterday, but they're back and recovered and braving the move again. Christine opines that you "can't keep Matt down". That sounds promising. Christine turns to Jennifer: "you're looking very happy with yourself." Seriously, no kidding. Apparently Rosemary Conley and Laura Hamilton have tweeted in their support for her. Christine points out to Jennifer that she's second on the leaderboard, though Jennifer points out that this is probably not likely to be the case for very long. Christine finishes by saying that she must come back to Andy (really? Must we?) and how he was tasked with a different sort of routine, which the judges didn't warm to. Karen babbles on about how it's a reflective emotion and he was trying to be SUBTLE, damn it, but if the judges didn't agree, that's their opinion. Andy makes a slightly better fist of not sounding like a petulant child while maintaining that he disagrees with the judges and that he was very happy with the final result.

Up next are Sam and Alexandra. Sam says that getting injured just before the live show was very difficult, mentally, and he thinks it was the right move to remove the frog lift, and while things didn't go perfectly on the night, he was very happy with it. He was expecting to be in the skate-off, and was very surprised to be saved by the public. His leg's still strapped up, but he's feeling better and hoping to deliver a really good performance this week. They're going to try the frog lift again - but not before Sam pulls his trousers down to show us his bruises. Ew. He gets very frustrated because he wants to get it right. He's worried that everyone else is so good, and he needs to up his game.

They're skating to 'Human' by the Killers, and clearly they've been told to be very stoical during the performance, but Sam cracks up very quickly. They perform the frog lift, and although Sam is very wobbly on the bottom of it, it passes without incident and they continue the rest of the routine, with some decent solo work and lifts. He's developed some nice arm extensions in this routine, I have to say. Alexandra gives a little fist-pump of joy at the end. Scores: Dance 8.0, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 22.0. Sam's thrilled. Phil asks him about the frog lift. Sam: "That frog lift can go and kiss my backside." Hee! He says they've only got it right three times this week without any assistance, with tonight being the third. Spider-Jayne threatens to put it in next week as well. Chris is pleased to watch The Evolution Of Sam, and feels that his problems are frequently mental rather than physical. He thinks they've got to lock his brain away to stop Sam from over-analysing and creating problems for himself.

Dance says that he's looking for precision, and Sam has really grasped that. He thinks Sam's got the best arms in the competition, and he has a lovely way about him when he dances. He says that Sam mastered finding emotions amid the emotionless parts of a performance, which I suspect is directed at Andy. Katarina congratulates him on the frog lift, even though "it had a little thing going on". Or nearly coming off, as the case may be. She liked the step sequence, and how Sam was smiling and performing, which made him enjoyable to watch. Robin says Sam commanded their attention and really gave conviction to the moves. He thought the skating was very smooth as well, and it was lovely to see it all come together.

Competition: win a chance to go skiing in Dubai. Yeah, no thanks. I hear they're not so fond of the gays.

Post-adverts, we return to more sub-par comedy delivered rather hesitantly by Phil and Christine. You can almost sense the gun being pointed at their heads just off-camera. It's time for Jorgie and Lovely Matt. Chris thinks that Jorgie rushed herself last week, and that led to problems. He says that it was the first time that she wasn't at the top of the leaderboard, which as a statement is rather open to debate. She did lose her duel to Matthew in week four, suggesting that she wasn't top that week, but you could also make the case that there was no leaderboard that week anyway, so every week there's actually been a leaderboard, she's been on top of it. Until last week. I think I'm probably thinking about this far too much, aren't I? One of her moves for this week is the neck spin, which is very difficult to get into, and Lovely Matt's all "yeah, be careful with those big sharp blades heading right for my face please". He's right to be concerned, because, in the dress rehearsal on Saturday, Jorgie delivers him a blade straight to the nose. Under the circumstances, he handles the situation remarkably calmly: I'm sure it's an occupation hazard that wouldn't be entirely alien to him as a professional ice dancer, but when all's said and done, it's still A BLADE IN YOUR FACE. Didn't Suzanne nearly take his eye out in series three at one point as well? People really are not nearly respectful enough of Lovely Matt's face, if you ask me. Backstage, Jorgie panicks that she doesn't quite know what's happened, and sobs that she's terrified about what she might have done. We see her sobbing to Karen "what if I do it again?" as Lovely Matt goes off to get some stitches in his lovely face. Which is FILMED, because Dancing On Ice is classy like that. I do feel quite bad for her, because she must be feeling insanely guilty right now. Nonetheless, they return to rehearsals (with Matt sporting some very necessary but also very unbecoming headgear) and vow to soldier on. [I said to Steve on Sunday that I feel that Dancing on Ice is rapidly becoming like pro wrestling at the moment - they keep putting in more and more spectacular moves, even though the performer might not be ready for them, because that's what they think the audience want to see, and somebody ends up getting hurt. You never saw Gaynor Faye slice off anybody's face. - Carrie]

They're skating to 'Bring Me To Life', with a shitload of dry ice as Lovely Matt (complete with fetching bandage over the bridge of his nose) plays some sort of creature of the undead who brings Zombie Jorgie to life. I bet the producers of Hollyoaks wish they knew how to do that. It's another excellent routine from the pair of them, but there's definitely a hesitancy in Jorgie this week, presumably because she's terrified about the upcoming neck spin and the possibilty of doing further damage to Lovely Matt. Fortunately, they make it through the neck spin without any noticeable injury to anyone. Gubba opines that perhaps we should call her "Jorgie Voldemort", because she might have just given Matt a permanent scar to the face. Somehow I doubt either Jorgie or Matt will be particularly pleased by that bit of commentary. Scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 9.0, Katarina 9.0 for a total of 26.5, her highest. Jorgie tells Phil she was dreading that lift coming up, and would rather have done the headbanger 14 times in a row. Lovely Matt admits that he was dreading it a bit too, but he trusts Jorgie, and credits Jayne, Chris, the physio and the brilliant doctor who stitched up the lovely face in a manner that will hopefully not leave a scar. I think I need to buy that doctor some flowers. Chris says you can just see how much they trust each other. Spider-Jayne says that it was an amazing routine. Er, didn't you choreograph it? Humblebrag o'clock.

Robin says that because Jorgie was aware of what was coming up, everything before it was done with more caution and precision. He thinks her performances are emotive and theatrical for the right reasons, and the skating is great as well. Katarina says she's very emotional - especially to speak after Robin because he's always so polished. Heh. She liked the strength of the routine and the incredible lifts and tricks, and tells Matt that even with scars across his face, he's still beautiful. Dance points out that she only got 0.5 more than Sam from him, because sometimes simplicity can lead to perfection, and he thought it was overly hesitant rather than precise in the way that Robin saw it.

After the final ad break of the night (at least, I hope so - I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to shoehorn a few more in), it's time for our final couple of the evening - Chico and Jodeyne. Jayne thinks that Chico gave one of his best performances so far last week, and Chico says that he was very happy with his score. He was particularly pleased that Dance thought he might be able to win the competition. His song for the week is 'Mony Mony', and he's struggling a bit with the knee slide in his routine - and since it's the very end of the routine, he's hoping he won't end up messing it up. Let's find out, shall we?

He starts out by drumming (about as well as Andy played guitar), and Jodeyne does some fairly indifferent headbanging. It's another very showy routine with a lot of dynamic lifts, though the bits in between those lifts get a bit dull after a while. The knee slide isn't quite fully under control, but pretty darned close, to the point where I'd be inclined to give him a pass on it. Scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 8.0, Katarina 8.0 for a total of 24.5. Chico is very pleased with that, even though he looks like the Cowardly Lion right now. Apparently he did this routine for a little boy who's got muscular dystrophy and is being operated on tomorrow. That's...nice, I guess? Chris says that Chico is a strong and powerful skater, who does not need to smo--oh, wrong show. He's a strong and powerful skater, who needs to be reined in occasionally.

Katarina saw everything she wanted to see - energy, power and wildness. He was a little more in control last week, but rock and roll doesn't always have to be like that. Dance says that Chico is a born performer who commands everyone's attention, and he thinks people aren't even appreciating the technical ability needed for the lifts that Chico is doing. Robin concludes by saying that the lifts aren't being broadcast, we don't get lots of warning, but he would like to see Chico paying attention to the finite detail in the transitions if he wants to push his score even further up. Chico vows to deliver on that if he's back next week. It's coming to something when Chico is one of your humbler contestants, isn't it?

Leaderboard: Jorgie at the top, then Matthew, then Chico, then Sam and Jennifer tied, then Chemmy, then Andy at the bottom. The lines are open, and we get given a swift recap of the night's performances. That's it until the skate-off - who'll be joining Chemmy in the skate for survival tonight? Because let's face it, with the best will in the world, she would appear to be a dead cert for it at this point.

The Skate-Off

Phil and Christine return and run through the voting numbers for us one last time, because those lines are currently still open. From there, we go to a recap of earlier, as Matthew got great feedback from Dance on his strength and his lifts. Backstage, Matthew says that he's really happy to be getting such great feedback as it means he's obviously moving forwards. Robin told Chemmy she was getting stronger week by week, despite a few stumbles. Chemmy hopes never to be in the skate-off again, which basically means she wants to make the final without ever being there at any point in between. This seems unlikely. Dance put the moves on Robin while complimenting Jennifer's sensuality, and Jennifer was thrilled to have great comments from everyone. Andy got criticised on a flat performance by Robin and Katarina, and continues to whinge about it backstage while pulling a giant stinkface. Classy. Robin clarifies that thinking you're emoting doesn't mean you are emoting. Thanks, Robin. Sam pulled off his frog lift and got complimented by Katarina, as well as his best score so far, which came as a compliment. He gets a hug off Mark for his trouble. Jorgie managed not to mutilate Lovely Matt this time, and Robin admired her all-encompassing theatricality. Jorgie is pleased that she didn't hit Lovely Matt in the head this time. Dance liked Chico's lift-ability and Chico hopes that he's done enough to get the people at home to vote him through into next week. Chris thinks it's the most mistake-free show they've had so far. Hooray, I guess?

Phil declares the lines officially closed. Dun dun dun! Christine's with the judges, and asking if there's any chance of a Chico win. Dance thinks so, because his marks are improving, so he just needs to work on the finesse over the next few weeks. Katarina thinks that Andy still has a lot of work to do - she thinks it's about skating, and the whole package, and body language. That's a tad confusing, but she gets a bit clearer when she talks about needing to show everyone what you're feeling. Christine mumbles something about Andy having come very far, and Robin says that Jennifer and Sam both impressed with their development tonight.

Everyone's lined up behind Phil and awaiting the results, but first we must go to the ads, in which we discover that there's nothing like Australia. Although I'd wager that New Zealand is probably a little bit similar, at least in terms of the vegetation and the general ecosystem.

When we return, Phil's got the results *touches ear*. The first couple safe is Matthew and Nina. The second couple safe is Jorgie and Matt. I bet Matt's very glad they don't have to do that neck spin again in the skate-off. The third couple safe is Jennifer and Daniel, and the fourth is Andy and Vicky. UGH. So it's between Chemmy and Sean, Sam and Alexandra and Chico and Jodeyne. The couple with the last guaranteed spot is...Chemmy and Sean! Bloody hell, I really did not see that coming.

So it's Sam and Alexandra versus Chico and Jodeyne in the skate-off. I'm surprised, but at least now I know why we got that very pointed comment from Chico in the VT earlier about how they'll just have to work really hard if they're in the skate-off, as well as Christine asking Dance if there was a chance Chico could win. This show does enjoy its foreshadowing, after all. Christine asks Chico if he's upset, and he says no, because he loves the routine and this means he gets to do it again. Sam vows to go out again and try to be a bit more relaxed this time. Oh, I've just realised this means he's got to do the frog lift again. His poor, poor thighs.

Sam and Alexandra are the first to return to the ice, and the frog lift is better second time around - Sam's a lot more stable. It's a very confident performance, but he does seem to mess up the step sequence in the middle. Alexandra gives him a big, reassuring hug at the end and they make their way over to the kiss-and-cry. Phil says it looks like he really enjoyed it, and Sam says he did. Sam says that you always feel more relaxed in the skate-off, and if that's his last performance, then he's chuffed. Alexandra says that Sam's a fighter, and he can definitely deliver under pressure. Spider-Jayne says it was great to see the frog-lift again, bigger and better.

Chico and Jodeyne skate out next and reprise their number from earlier, complete with drumming, which somehow seems even more inept than it was before. It's a difficult one to call, because Chico's performance is a lot more rough around the edges than Sam was, but he's the more accomplished skater, so it's going to depend on whether the judges are basing their decisions on the overall picture or not, and that's something I'm never entirely sure of from week to week. Chico has the louder fans in the audience, if that means anything. Chico tells Phil he preferred that performance to the earlier one, and that people pay lots of money to be on TV (they do?) but he got to do that for free. Or, y'know, he got paid to do it, but apparently we don't talk about that.

Both couples head out onto the ice to get the verdict from the judges. Dance goes first, and says that it's a difficult decision with two great performances, but since Chico took their feedback from earlier on board and delivered the finesse, he's saving him. Robin says that they both stepped up from earlier, but one did just that little bit more, so he's saving Chico. And Katarina makes it a clean sweep.

Sam tells Phil that it's been a great experience, and a real privilege to be taught to skate by Torvill and Dean, adding this thanks to all the coaches and of course Alexandra. We see his best bits, including those bruised thighs again. He's lost a fair bit of weight since the series started, looking back at his earlier performances. Spider-Jayne says that he's been a joy to work with, and she's going to miss him because he used to bring her cake. Flowers are handed out, and Sam and Alexandra head back onto the ice. Phil and Christine announce that next week will be the team challenge, where everyone will be competing to have their points doubled - and we'll find out what the teams are on This Morning tomorrow, if anyone's interested. Carrie will be bringing you the full recap next week, assuming she hasn't hacked off her own arms to get out of it or anything. From the way this series is going, I wouldn't put it past her. [I can't bear it. I quit. - Carrie]