Sunday, 28 December 2008

Two tribes going to war

Dancing on Ice at Christmas
Tx: 25th December 2008

It doesn't seem like eight months ago that we all cheered at the smug smile being wiped off Chris Fountain's face as Suzanne Shaw stepped up her game and trounced him in the Dancing on Ice final. The new series starts in a fortnight's time, and as a taster, we've got Team Torvill versus Team Dean in the Christmas special.

Phil does a scary VO - "the season of goodwill is OVAH!" he declares, which is the cue for much trash-talk from our contestants and team captains prior to the titles, which have been mashed up with We Wish You A Merry Christmas. And if that wasn't enough tweeness, the opening number is to Wizzard's I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, complete with saccharine-sweet child skaters. Ugh. It's a very hectic routine, with the pro skaters scooting about all over the place in two mobs, while Jayneandchris skate around the outside. Anyway, it's all very festive, and the audience are clapping along (drink!), and it finishes with pyrotechnics for no real reason that I can see as well as a Christmas-tree formation, so that's good.

Here are Phil and Holly, her bump hidden behind a hell of a lot of tinsel. Holly asks Phil if she can call him "Ivy" for one night only, which is reasonably funny. They explain the concept of Team Torvill versus Team Dean, because this is obviously a very tricky format to get one's head round.

And here are the teams! Team Dean's Duncan James and Maria Filippov; Team Torvill's Clare Buckfield and Pavel Aubrecht (what no Andrei? swizz); Kyran Bracken and Melanie Lambert; Zaraah Abrahams and Fred Palascak; Chris Fountain and Frankie Poultney; and Suzanne Shaw and Matt Evers.

So it's girls versus boys, and I think it is pretty clear whose side I am on, bearing in mind that Team Dean includes a) Chris Fountain and b) Christopher Dean. I seriously cannot think of a worse team captain; I would do a Buckfield and just weep all the bloody time.

Everyone is taking the COMPETITION very seriously. Chris Dean says that he wants to win. Shocker. Jayne says she wants to win; Suzanne is the reigning champion; Zaraah has "a presence"; Clare wants to get things right. Chris is adamant his boys will win, "no doubt about it"; Kyran is a past champion; Chris is a "jump master", except for when he falls over; and Duncan has passion. Losing is NOT AN OPTION. VT of the girls shopping, because that is what girls do. Presumably the boys are in a strip club or drinking beer or playing with gadgets at this point. And Chris finishes the VT by saying that beating Jayne is "a foregone conclusion". Nice talk, Dean. I truly think the police force missed out on a fine officer when you decided to concentrate on skating.

Back by the rink, Chris reviews his comments as perhaps a bit strong, but he is still confident. Jayne says it's the first time they've been against each other, "so to speak". Anyway, before we can see any skating, we must, of course, have an advertising break.

Oh, and meet the Ice Panel - Karen Barber, Nicky Slater, Jason Gardiner (booooooooo!), Ruthie Henshall, and Head Judge Robin Cousins, who is positively resplendent in a checked velvet jacket, bless his heart. Holly wishes them all a happy Christmas, and asks Robin if we can expect "mega-high scores". He says yes, if they are good. What a pointless interlude.

Duncan and Maria are first to skate. We get a quick VT of them in the 2007 series, and then some VT of them training, with Chris's hyperbolic waffle over the top. Duncan whines about Chris making the routine really tough, and then Team Dean go to the funfair. Wow, macho stuff. Duncan enthuses about being part of a team, which makes him feel like being back in Blue again, which is both hysterically funny and oddly touching.

They are skating to Last Christmas, at which point I begin to laugh uncontrollably and do not recover my composure until the end of the song. From what I can see through my tears, it seems like a standard Duncan/Maria routine - quite fun, nothing particularly wrong with it, but nothing particularly amazing either.

Gubba talks about a sash lift and a rotating cradle and an aeroplane spin, and then the marks come in - Karen 5.0, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.0, Ruthie 5.0, and Robin 4.5, a total of 24.5. Duncan says he was really nervous and then says it looks amazing in the studio, "with the ice and everything". Maria thinks he is a better skater than he was last year. Phil mocks the pink streak in his hair. Holly talks to the judges - Jason admires the lovely partnership, points out a few hesitations, and says Duncan has the best arabesque line in the competition. (Spirals, surely?) Robin marked him down on the skating, which is fair enough, but he still gets booed.

Over to Team Torvill, and Clare. VT of her competing (complete with my Andrei); VT of her training for this with Pavel. Clare says she has a really hard routine ON ICE, and tries to narrate it, before getting utterly confused. They're doing a headbanger, and Clare's sister is not impressed. They're skating to Sleigh Ride, and Clare's dress is beautiful, all sparkly and turquoise. The backing track has been slaughtered to shit, by the way. Lots of nice lifts, and Clare does not die nor incur serious injury in the headbanger, so all is well.

Gubba calls her "Miss Congeniality, the girl with an infectious smile, certainly more welcome than flu". This is the quality of his commentary today, kids. Scores - 5.5, 5.5, 4.5, 5.0 and 5.5, for a total of 26.0. Clare pats Pavel affectionately, and Pavel is proud of Clare. Drink! Jayne says Clare won the gold at the Olympics. What? Karen says Clare has come very far in her skating; Jason loves watching Clare but there were moments when her head and neck tightened and her mouth looked like she was sucking an egg. Everyone looks puzzled.

Bizarre insert - a choir sing The Holly and The Ivy, surrounded by candles from the Brian Friedman memorial home for insane cliched staging, and a routine by JayneandChris. Whatever.

Back to the competition. Kyran and Mel, whom I love, are next. VT in which we are reminded of Jason's hairplugs. Kyran exclusively reveals that Chris is "a hard taskmaster". O rly? Mel fears doing an upside-down lift. Kyran is looking good, by the way. They are skating to Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree (the Kim Wilde/Mel Smith version), and Kyran's foray into pro skating is obvious; he's so much quicker across the ice and his transitions are mostly smooth. There's a weird bit where they both stop so Mel does a somersault up him; and another weird bit where they stop along with the song's false ending, mouth the words, and start up again. Scores: 5.5, 5.5, 5.0, 5.5, 5.5 for a total of 27.0.

Kyran witters about being nervous, Mel says she trusts him completely, and Chris says he does too sometimes, the ungracious git. Nicky calls him "superman on skates" and says more fluidity is needed. Ruthie disagrees with Nicky, which is good, admiring Kyran's grace and cuteness. I love that Ruthie has clearly given up rating the dancing and is just on the lookout for a nice arse or a well-defined chest.

Zaraah and Fred wave adorably at the camera. VT - they meet up again and are all excited. Bless. Jayne is pushing her girls - "You have no idea what we're doing, do you?" asks Fred. "Nah," replies Zaraah. Heh. There is much clunking to the ground. They are skating to Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and are dressed in white and sparklees. Bless! I love watching Zaraah and Fred; they seem to have so much fun. Not like when Fred looked suicidal the entire time he was skating with Kay Burley. They do a magnificent lift, where Fred basically hoists her into the air just holding her blade. Scores - 5.0, 4.5, 4.5, 5.0, 5.0 for a total of 24.0.

Zaraah says she loves skating with Fred at Christmas to a routine that Jayne choreographed. Awww. Robin admires Zaraah's loveliness and leg-lines. Nobody else gets to talk.

Team Dean are on 51.5, Team Torvill on 50.0. But! Both teams have one more competitor to go!

But first Jayneandchris skate amidst much dry ice to Merry Xmas (War Is Over). Phil reminds us that Team Dean are ahead in the leaderboard, and introduces the final boy - Chris Fountain. VT of his ludicrous Cry Me A River, and fittingly there's a quote from Karen - "You don't know how good you are", possibly the least accurate thing she has ever said. Chris says not winning was the worst moment of his life. HAHAHAHA. I am quite glad I contributed towards it. He reckons he has a score to settle. Chris says the boys will win "cos I'm a lot more daring than some of the girls". He practises the axle and falls over a lot, and whines that he is not going to let a girl beat him twice.

He has more stupid glitter face make-up, by the way, which is reason enough for him to be punched hard. Frankie is wearing a negligee. They are skating to Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End). When they skate separately, their synchronicity is out, and he TOPPLES OVER, but as we know from last series, that is no reason to lose marks. He does the axle, loses his balance, and they finish on a blur spin. Scores - 6.0, 6.0, 5.0, 5.5, 5.5 for a total of 28.0.

Chris says he wants to be able to do the routine better and would like to match the steps better. Yeah, good plan. Frankie perpetuates the myth that Chris couldn't skate before doing the series. Nicky talks nonsense - "you could say the foot caught at the end of the axle, but it's Christmas, so it's a 6.0!" Jason smacks him down - "You've spoken rubbish, it's MY turn." He tells him the timing was off and it is a COMPETITION.

Finally, Suzanne and Matt, she in a Santa costume. VT of her wiping the floor with Chris in the final; VT of her singing Girls in rehearsal. It is not good. "No doubt Chris will do well, but he is not going to do as well as us," she says. And then crashes to the ground. Ha! Dean is spying on rehearsals and will not tell Jayne how he lifts her into the cartwheel. Jayne looks bewildered that he is taking it all so seriously. They are skating to Santa Baby, and Suzanne is doing some brilliant Acting. There is some lovely intricate footwork, and they end with many kisses, which is adorable. And even better than that, Suzanne has managed not to break any bones. Scores - straight 6.0s. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Team Torvill take the judges' vote! There is much squealing and a standing ovation from the other skaters. Chris sits down very promptly and has a right sulky face on. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ruthie says Suzanne is sexy, cute, and fearless, but was not as good at playing Roxie as she was. (She may not have said that last bit.) Robin likes their partnership, and calls it the perfect way to finish.

Looking at the leaderboard, Team Torvill are on 80.0; Team Dean on 79.5. Now the studio audience must vote for the celebrity dance they liked the most, and while they press their keypads, we get a recap. Duncan and Maria loved being reunited. Clare and Pavel had a very busy routine and she was "weeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeee!" going into the headbanger. Kyran and Mel look really pissed off. Zaraah and Fred enjoyed it, and that is the most important thing. Chris wasn't happy with the axle but thinks he has done well for the team. Suzanne was pleased to beat Chris again. Heh.

Chris Dean says his boys would love to win but it has been a tough competition. Phil notes the increased humility in his words and laughs at him. Jayne is not counting her chickens. Phil touches his ear, and we all know what that means - the results! The votes have been counted, and the winners of the Christmas Special are TEAM TORVILL!

Marvellous. Well done, ladies (and Fred, Matt and Pavel)! There is much screeching and applause, and Jayne collects the trophy. I have literally never seen Jayne Torvill look so excited. The Chrises are on the sidelines looking thoroughly gutted. Holly and Phil thank everybody and bid us farewell, reminding us that the new series begins on Sunday 11th January.

Except that's NOT ALL. Because SHAKIN' STEVENS IS IN THE STUDIO, singing Merry Christmas Everyone! This is my favourite Christmas song EVER, mostly because it has a bloody amazing key change. The whole squads come back onto the ice - celebs first (Chris and Suzanne are skating together. He doesn't deliberately drop her, you'll be pleased to note), then the pros, and then everyone collects their rightful partner. The girls do a sort of conga round the rink while the boys look lost; and then the boys do the same, and then there is THE KEY CHANGE, and then the pros skate together while the celebs clap along and the judges do some rather dismal clap-step-arm swing dancing, and Shaky wishes us a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and that was AWESOME.

Holly and Phil bellow, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" and we're reminded once again that the new series starts soon. And we'll be back to bitch about this year's line-up, the costumes, the judges and any poetry that crops up randomly - so join us then!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The final: LIVE!

Evening all. Well, it's come round very quickly indeed, but tonight Chris and Frankie, Zaraah and Fred, and Suzanne and Matt will be skating ON ICE FOR OUR VOTES, and of course for the chance to perform the Bolero.

Plinky piano music, with a montage of our finalists. Dramatic swoopy noises. Phil VOs about their Journeys and so on. Clip of Aggie wailing; clip of Michael sobbing. Montage of our finalists BLOODY FLYING. That is NOT SKATING. STILL. Everyone wants to win. What Will Happen?

Titles!

Here are Phil (in a tux) and Holly (in a weird black sparkly dress, but her necklace is nice and her bosom is tremendous). Remember tonight our finalists are skating for our votes, and our votes alone. They will do their routine on strings, then their favourite routine from the series, then one couple will be knocked out, and the other two will do the Bolero.

To show them how it's done, here are Jayne and Chris, in their purple chiffony costumes, and here's Julian Lloyd Webber, of all people, to play the Bolero for them. There is lots of dry ice and some strange Christmas tree lights, so we can't really see the footwork, but you know what the routine looks like, even this watered-down version for the middle-aged. Chris looks like he's struggling to lift Jayne, though. Poor old git. Applause!

Jayne and Chris go over to join Phil and Holly, and they are reminded that it is nearly 25 years since they first danced ON ICE to the Bolero. Jayne and Chris pant a bit, so Holly throws to Gubba to tell us about this week's required element - bastard bloody flying. Phil says it is much harder than it looks; Chris agrees. Jayne has a big chunk taken out of her arm where the wire caught her in rehearsal. Holly is excited because Jayne and Chris will be skating for us again later.

Our skating stars are welcomed to the ice - Zaraah and Fred; Chris and Frankie; Suzanne (who pulls a face and waves frantically, presumably to her son?) and Matt. They wave. Holly clasps her hands together in glee.

Fuck all has happened so far, so that means it's time for a break.

We're back with Phil and the trophy (not La Willoughby, she's obviously been seconded over to look after the Ice Panel). Phil reminds us that it's our votes alone that count tonight, but the judges will be here to help us decide. HAHAHA yeah right. Anyway, here they are - Karen, Nicky, Jason, HRH Ruthie and Head Judge Robin Cousins. [I thought it was very odd that Nicky's intro was basically a run-down of all the reasons why he loves Chris Fountain. I was all set to get all "ZOMG TEH CHOSEN WUN!" about it. - Steve] I really, really want Ruthie and Robin to sing a duet tonight. Holly witters a bit. Robin says it is an exciting night and everyone must leave their nerves behind.

Phil tells us AGAIN that it's all down to our votes. He introduces "this year's queen of the skate-off", Zaraah. Rehearsal footage of her whooping as she flies, then groaning when the harness exacerbates that old rib injury from a few weeks back. Jayne says that she always gets lots of bruises when she wears the harness, but she straps herself in anyway because she is delighted to get the chance to rehearse with lovely Fred while Zaraah is out of action. Heh.

Zaraah and Fred are performing to One Day I'll Fly Away. AHAHAHA, do you see what they did there? Fuck, they have a bubble machine and everything! Srsly, kids, I don't see the point of this - the celebrities don't do any skating at all, and we already know the pro skaters can skate. I mean, in series 1 I assumed they'd brought it in so that Langford had chance to look good for a bit, but it's two years on and they've still not seen sense. [I wondered if they were thinking of renaming the final episode 'Dancing Above Ice'. - Steve] Gubba admires the routine, anyway. He says that she has been so close to extinction so many times that David Attenborough is filming her performance. Scores: Karen 5.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.0, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 5.5, for a total of 26. They are pleased. Zaraah says it was painful, but great because there were fireworks and bubbles, which is fair enough. We see the huge amount of strapping on Zaraah's back. Robin says that he loved the eye connection between the pair and the "exquisite" arms. Jason congratulates Zaraah for making it to the final, and is applauded by the audience, possibly for the first time ever.

Next up is Chris, who will doubtless tell us how difficult it is being as great as him. He is very excited about flying. He is not very graceful. Karen and Chris D laugh at him. Also, he is at a disadvantage because Frankie's six-stone weight cannot haul his 14-stone bulk around the rink. Get her to eat some pies, then. [If they took some of Chris's pies, specifically, and gave them to Frankie, that would solve everyone's problem. - Steve] They're performing to Fly Me To The Moon. OH TEH PUNZ! I CANNOT COPE! Blah blah, flying, slow-motion running. [He's surprisingly graceless in the air, though. It was really noticeable coming after Zaraah, who was very deft. - Steve] To be fair, Chris is also doing some skating. Gubba admires him. Scores: Karen 5.5, Nicky 5.5, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 4.5 and Robin 5.5 for a total of 25.5. Chris laughs a lot about nearly getting stuck upside down. Frankie giggles too. Nicky says that he looks at the performance AND the skating, and is impressed by Chris leading the routine because Frankie is too little to take control. Ruthie says the transitions were clumsy. She has really nice eye make-up - gold sparkly eyeshadow and her trademark black liner and mascara.

Finally, our skating Barbie and Ken. They are happy to be in the final. Suzanne skates into the rink to see Jayne in her harness and shrieks, "YOU'RE LEVITATING!" Hee. [I wonder if she said the same thing to Linda? - Steve] Once she gives it a go herself, she realises she gets motion sickness, so she's not going to eat before the performance for fear of projectile vomiting. Suzanne and Matt are performing to Time To Say Goodbye, which does not have the word "fly" in the title, but "goodbye" does rhyme with it, so perhaps that's where they were going. [I, in my rabid conspiracy theorising, assumed this was the show's subtle way of convincing us to vote Suzanne out to leave the road clear for TEH CHOSEN WUN Chris Fountain. I don't like it when I get all grassy knoll-ish about Dancing on Ice, of all programmes. It's undignified. - Steve] Suzanne looks a bit ill at the end, but there is no sign of vomit. Scores - Karen 6.0, Nicky 6.0, Jason 6.0, Ruthie 6.0 and Robin 6.0 for a straight 30.0 FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. Matt looks a bit shellshocked, and Suzanne looks a bit less green now. Corey goes mad in the audience. Jayne does sobbing, as does Holly, who decides to ask Karen for her opinion. Yeah, that's a good idea. Obviously she's in floods. Jason says it was spectacular.

But anyway it doesn't matter what the judges think, because it is UP TO US. If you want to vote for Zaraah and Fred, the number is 09016 161001; Team Fountain is 09016 161002; and Barbie and Ken are on 09016 161003.

Break!

We're back, and Phil welcomes us. The excitement is apparently unbelievable. What actually IS unbelievable is the AMOUNT OF TIMES HE KEEPS TELLING US THAT IT'S ONLY OUR VOTES THAT COUNT.

Time for our finalists to skate their favourite routines. Zaraah is first again. She says her relationship with Fred is fantastic, because he makes her work hard but they also have "super-fun". Her favourite routine of the series was Diamonds and Pearls, though I suspect it was just her favourite costume. She says that DoI has been the most challenging experience of her entire life, and she is proud to have got through four skate-offs. She wants to succeed for everyone who has been supporting her. Aw. Anyway, here they come, covered in their crystals, and Fred's nipples are proudly on display. Halfway through the routine, Gubba's commentary cuts in, which is a little confusing. Scores - Karen 5.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.5, Ruthie 5.0 and Robin 5.5 for a total of 26.5. Zaraah is caught between laughter and tears. Jason is in a good mood tonight. He admires the partnership again. Robin agrees with him, and also admires the quality of the skating.

Incidentally, you have no idea how much I want a Zaraah/Suzanne Bolero skate-off. I would laugh and laugh.

When Chris signed up for Dancing on Ice, he didn't realise how difficult it was going to be because SKATING IS SO HARD and he is SO BUSY. He loves Frankie. They have a connection. His favourite routine was Cry Me A River, particularly the wanky spin he did. He reminds us that he landed an axle, and they got 6.0s last week, and he is proud to call himself an ice dancer (because now he can DANCE ON ICE). ZOMG, I forgot how fucking funny this routine is, with Chris's Urban Acting at the start. I tell you something, though, it's not as good as the first time they did it, particularly Chris's blur spin - and as I type that, Chris proves my point by toppling over at the end. Scores: Karen 6.0, Nicky 5.5, Jason 5.5, Ruthie 6.0 and Robin 6.0, for a total of 29.0, which is absolute bollocks. Karen enjoyed the routine and says that Chris is one of the best things that has ever happened to Dancing on Ice, because he can't put a foot wrong. Except for when he fell over at the end. Nicky gibbers about DANCING ON ICE and that Chris fell over, so it wasn't a 6.0. Ruthie says it was an End Position, so the fall didn't matter. Srsly, what? [He is TEH CHOSEN WUN. Even when he falls, it's art! - Steve]

Suzanne has had an eventful series. She says it has been one of the best experiences of her life, and she now has a special friend. Aw. She claims to have enjoyed every second on the ice with him. I suspect she doesn't mean the second when he split her head open with his blade, but maybe she doesn't remember that. [But she almost gouged his eye out the other week, so they're probably quits now. - Steve] She likes wearing the costumes because it makes her feel like a doll. She wants to win FOR HER SON. Aw again. Suzanne and Matt are dancing to Music, which is an ace routine. And they've changed the end headbanger so she does a little twist while she's being rotated! Fuck. That was incredible. Scores: STRAIGHT 6.0s AGAIN! COME ON, TEAM SUZANNE! [Seriously. She picked a fine time to totally up her game, didn't she? - Steve] Corey is crying in the audience! Suzanne is crying too. Phil attempts to interview her, then gives up and talks to Jayne and Chris instead. Jayne says she has never seen anyone do that twist in the headbanger before, and suggests that she should enter the Olympics. All the Ice Panel are crying. Robin talks about Suzanne's Journey. He mentions that tricks aren't allowed in the Olympics, but he has only ever seen one other pair team do that twisting headbanger before. Jason says more nice things. Suzanne is all big-eyed at Matt, who seems a bit subdued tonight. What's THAT ABOUT?

Break!

Welcome back. The phone lines are about to close, kids, and one couple will be OUT and hanging up their skates FOR GOOD. Whoooooooooo! Phil will have the results in his earpiece shortly, but first of all we get Torvill and Dean skating again, this time minus dry ice, so we can actually see their feet, which is nice. Then we get a montage of Jayne and Chris's best moments of the series. For goodness sake, they're TORVILL and freakin' DEAN - they've had HOURS of best moments of the series - it's their job. Although I'd probably argue that their boybandy routine with Westlife wasn't one of them.

Phil is about to announce the two finalists who will be skating off for the trophy. All three couples are dressed and ready for the Bolero. [I can just picture Zaraah getting changed for that, going "but what's the fucking point?" - Steve] The first couple to skate will be - Suzanne and Matt! YAY! Fuck, her Bolero dress is horrid. The second couple - Chris and Frankie. Shocker. No bugger has voted for Zaraah all series (except Steve tonight, obviously) [I'm going to make a "I voted for Zaraah" t-shirt. - Steve]. Zaraah puts a brave face on it, but cries anyway. Montage of Zaraah and Fred's highlights. Holly wanders on to look like she is important, and yet AGAIN her dress is too long for her. Zaraah does her thank-yous.

Here we go, then - the phone lines are open again. Now, all previous votes are removed, and we're starting again from scratch. 09016 161002 for Team Fountain; 09016 161003 for Suzanne.

Break!

Phil welcomes us back again, standing in front of Suzanne's brother who is waving a big banner that says 'GO 4 IT SIS!' Phil then plugs the DoI tour. I quite want to see some of the pro skaters again (*cough* my Andrei *cough*), but am not really bothered about the celebs, to be honest. Also, as Nicky revealed in his ridiculous blog, the judging is a total farce.

Chris and Frankie are first to do their Bolero. He says they will never be as good as Jayne and Chris. Really? Are you sure you are not THAT BRILLIANT that you can manage it anyway? Choreography is not his strong point. Frankie just skates round him and shouts instructions as he looks bewildered. Phil VOs that Chris is finding it difficult. Chris VTs that the original routine is technically very challenging. No shit, Sherlock - a gold-medal, straight-6.0-winning performance is technically difficult?

They begin. Goodness, that tight satin shirt isn't doing him any favours, is it? Once they're skating, all is well, but the first section, on the knees, is very lumpy. Also, I am entertained by Chris sticking his tongue out with concentration just as they go into the drape lift. Gubba says it was "brilliant" and "a haunting interpretation". Chris says that he connected with Frankie in that routine, and he doesn't care what anyone else says. Chris D says that is true and he has finally given 100% because he is worn out. Robin says it was almost too intense. Ooh, ouch. Jason disagrees with Robin and says that the routine should have that passion, and agrees that they finally connected. Chris says he was trying to impersonate Chris D. AHAHAHA.

We see Suzanne in rehearsals being excited about doing the Bolero. She says it is intimidating having to perform it in front of Torvill and Dean. I am amused by them wearing purple chiffon wristbands. They want to do a move called the Snakecharmer in their routine. It is difficult. Oh, OK then. Anyway, Suzanne's dress has an odd puffball netting effect, but I very much covet her sequinned fishnet tights. The Snakecharmer is there, present and correct; the camerawork in this routine sucks. The dance is a bit tricksy, as you'd expect. Suzanne starts to cry and says nice things to Matt, who has his chest out - had not noticed that before. Nicky does his bit where he asks rhetorical questions and then answers them himself in words of one syllable. He tells her she is his champion. Suzanne and Matt cuddle; he cradles her head. Aw.

While the finalists get their breath back, we get the rest of this series' celebs back on ice - Greeno and Fred skating to Downtown, with a really, really good lift. Greeno was robbed; Natalie and my Andrei, skating to About You Now; Michael with his leg in plaster being pushed around on a chair by poor Mel to Walking on Sunshine; Aggie, dressed as a flamingo, molesting poor Sergey to I'm A Woman; Tim and Victoria doing their Grease thang; Steve and Susie skating to Mony Mony; Linda and Dan being cheerleaders; Greg leaping around the ice and throwing Kristina around to the strains of She's So Lovely; and Gareth and Maria, who looks too thin. Where the fuck is that lunatic Mumba and lovely Pavel? Perhaps she is too busy being a Film Star. [Whatever the reason, I'm sure Pavel's scrotum breathed a huge sign of relief. - Steve] Holly grabs Phil's hand and exclaims, "Greg Rusedski TERRIFIES ME!"

The phone lines are about to close, and apparently we are going to gloss over the fact that Mumba and Pavel aren't there - in fact, we're not even going to mention it.

THE LINES ARE NOW CLOSED. DO NOT VOTE. They're going to count the votes - and in the meantime, go to a break.

Here we go, bitches, it's crunch time. Phil welcomes us back for the final time. Chris feels sick, as do I watching him stroke Frankie's arm. We get a montage of his highlights, including the axel, and Frankie does her fist-pump in real time. Heh. Suzanne and Matt have a glow about them, and they look a bit like a superannuated Prom King and Queen. AHAHAHA Matt says that Suzanne is his best partner from all three series, "not wanting to discredit Bonnie or Lisa, but our partnership is a friendship." We see their introduction, as Jayne asks Suzanne, "Do you want to meet a nice handsome young man?" Hee.

Phil marches purposefully down the red carpet, all the better to get the results through his earpiece.

Our 2008 Dancing on Ice champions - Suzanne and Matt!

HOORAY! [YAY! - Steve]

She doesn't seem to have realised that she's won the entire competition - it takes a couple of seconds for it to sink in and then she starts to shriek. Chris and Frankie pretend they don't mind. Matt bows to Suzanne. And then that's it.

Srsly? That's it?

Yes, indeed, that's it. The credits roll, and they plug the new Dancing on Ice DVD through a credit-squeeze. We see Suzanne skating over to the audience to hug her son, and we're into the ads.

Well, it was a somewhat anti-climactic end, but I think that's a fair result, both on balance over the series and, particularly, on this evening's performances. Congratulations to Suzanne and to Matt, commiserations to Zaraah and Fred, and Chris and Frankie. That's your lot for this series - but if you need more Bitching, don't forget we rip Torchwood and I'd Do Anything to shreds on a weekly basis, and The Apprentice is next in line for our very special homage later this month. Bye!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Gareth Skates (off)

Last week on Dancing on Ice! Our skating celebrities battled with props, and Greg Rusedski finally got voted out. This week! It's the semi-final! Who wants it the most? Who will risk everything? There can be only three...let's go! Titles!

Here are Phil and Holly, and my goodness, the Willoughby looks gorgeous tonight. She's wearing a strapless corseted scarlet dress, with crystals over the bodice. Phil reminds us of our semi-finalists - Gareth, Suzanne, Zaraah and Chris - but before we can see them skate, we have to sit through Leona Lewis performing a tedious song in over-sung fashion. [Please, someone make it stop! - Georgi] On the plus side, Jayne and Chris are skating round them, but not even they can save this.

Tonight's required element is a solo spot. But! They must skate out from the tunnel by themselves, then perform the first 20 seconds of the routine without their partner. Goodness. Can you imagine if Linda had got this far? [Hee. That was exactly my reaction, too. - Steve] Or if they'd had this required element in the first series, Langford? Jayne and Chris reiterate how tricky it is to work without your partner, and that the four semi-finalists would all be worthy finalists. Blah blah blah. So much filler.

We finally get to see our skating stars - Gareth (what IS he wearing?) and Maria; Suzanne and lovely Matt; Zaraah and lovely Fred; and Chris and Frankie. They wave. Phil explains the voting system. We meet the Ice Panel - Karen "the weeper" Barber, Nicky ON ICE Slater (incidentally, kids, you have to read his blog. It's a work of true eccentric genius), Jason booooo Gardiner, her royal highness Ruthie Henshall, and Head Judge [King - Georgi] Robin Cousins. We then cut to a VT where the judges talk about what is needed to reach the final, cut with archive footage from the series, and talking heads from the contestants about how much they want to win. Do we really need to know this? Or indeed care?

You know what's going to happen now, don't you?

Break!

First on to the ice, Gareth and Maria. Last week, they danced [ON ICE - Georgi] with a hat and cane, which as we know is VERY DIFFICULT. This week, they are dancing to Livin' On A Prayer, which is Gareth's favouritest song in the whole world ever. In rehearsal, he keeps growling at Maria. He complains about having to skate by himself, because he will be nervous, and he needs Maria to calm him down and "give [him] the right mindset". He claims that this week will be "do or die". [If only... - Georgi]

Anyway, he skates out of the tunnel by himself - but srsly, what the fuck is he wearing? It's a flesh-coloured vest, with silver-sequinned stripes, which do at least cover his nipples this week. [I was watching the show with four other people, and it took all of us a very long time indeed to figure out that he wasn't actually wearing a boob tube. - Steve] The routine is OK but they are really awkward in their lifts, none of which are even particularly spectacular. Also, once again the track they are skating to is butchered to bits. Gubba tantalises us by telling us that Gareth likes to sing Bon Jovi in the shower - "just imagine that, ladies!" I'd rather not, thanks. Scores - Karen 5.0, Nicky 5.5, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 4.5, for a total of 24.5. FUCK'S SAKE, Slater. Anyone else think Nicky is starting off with 5.5s so that he can mark relatively through the rest of the evening and give a 6.0 and look all generous should anyone be better? Gareth claims to have rocked out during the routine. [When? - Georgi] Nicky praises the amount of content. Jason is booed, but carries on regardless, informing Gareth that the routine seemed to get away from him and his arms were not good. He keeps talking about a "sem-eye final".

We are invited to enter a competition to be in the audience next weekend. The answer is Greg, but I'm buggered if I'm going to pay £1.20 to text that in. [You could've done it for free on the website, though. - Frugal Steve]

Break!

Phil welcomes us back to the drama and excitement of Dancing on Ice. Suzanne has the highest score of the series so far, but due to a bloody broken ankle she didn't do so well last week. Cut to our skating Barbie and Ken backstage - Matt kisses Suzanne's hands, and she kisses his forehead. Aw, they are so cute. Rehearsal footage - Suzanne screaming in agony because HER ANKLE IS BROKEN. She is frightened of taking a bow by herself. Really, she should be more frightened of the float spin, which is a bit like the headbanger, and she has to take off on her bad ankle. [Probably better than taking off on her good ankle but being held by her bad ankle though, eh? - Georgi]

Suzanne skates on with no mishaps. She is dressed as a flame, because they are skating to Eternal Flame. Do you see? Do you? DO YOU? Clearly Brian Friedman has taken over the costume department also. This is a lovely routine - all lyrical and romantic and beautiful, and technically very good, with the float spin looking excellent. I love watching them, they make a lovely couple, and I want them to get married and have lots of little babies and take them skating on ponds, possibly in New York. Gubba says that Suzanne's initials "almost spell SAS. Who dares wins!" The scores are straight 5.5s across the board, for a total of 27.5. Suzanne is squealing and incoherent. She does say, "This has been the best job ever!" Glad to see she's thinking of the cash - good girl. Matt is proud of her. Drink! Chris reveals that Suzanne forgot the routine at the start and completely improvised it. Haha. Robin praises Suzanne's talent for skating ON ICE and her technique. Ruthie praises Suzanne's performance, and Suzanne looks happy, because she is, as we know, a Ruthie Henshall fan girl. Suzanne and Matt smooch a bit. Team Shaw!

Last week, Zaraah was in the skate-off again, because nobody votes for her. Rehearsal - Chris: "Do you know what this week's required element is?" Zaraah: "Awww, I thought it was just fun, semi-final FUN." She falls over a lot. They have a difficult routine, and Zaraah nearly castrated Fred this week. She does, however, look really embarrassed and sorry about it, which is more than Mumba did when she almost put paid to Pavel's chances of becoming a father.

Aw, Zaraah looks lovely in her pink dress with silver sparkles and trim. They are skating to One, and she does her solo spot in fine style. Fred sneaks up on her and lifts her as they go into the pairs routine, with some really impressive lifting, and she's even getting quite speedy across the rink. They end with an inverted swan spin, apparently, but regardless of Gubba's neologisms, it was spectacular. [Not to be spoilerific about this, but I think that ending's what got her through this week - it really was breathtaking to watch, and the way she kind of hopped out of it and landed back on her feet really showed just how far she's come since she started in the competition. - Steve] Scores - 5.5 from everyone, except a 5.0 from Karen, of all people, for a total of 27.0. Zaraah squawks. Jayne and Chris do praising. Jason declares that "a sem-eye final peformance" and raves about her arm lines.

Finally, Chris and Frankie. He talks about how lovely it is getting 5.5s and HOW DIFFICULT IT IS BEING AS GREAT AS HIM. He would like to get a 6.0, please. Thus, they are chucking in a couple of huge lifts (with Frankie shouting, "That's IT, Fountain!" when he finally manages it in rehearsal). They are skating to Livin' La Vida Loca, so obviously Frankie takes him to a salsa club. Sigh.

Chris is all in black, with a shirt open to the bellybutton, displaying his hairy chest, which I suppose would be nice for a certain demographic. [It certainly beats Gareth's nipples. Ew, ew, ew. - Georgi] Anyway, he showboats it all round the ice, and it all goes properly salsa when Frankie joins in. If there was any consistency in this show, Chris would get told off for letting his head drop in the dance steps, because he's concentrating on his feet, but this is going to get a 6.0 anyway, isn't it, Nicky, so it doesn't matter what I say. Scores: Karen 5.5, Nicky 6.0, Jason 5.5, Ruthie 6.0 and Robin 6.0, for a total of 29.0. Chris and Frankie hug, and he almost knocks her off her feet. Chris is pleased with those scores; Frankie tells him that "you were salsa out there tonight". Chris D does one of those stupid 'we're not worthy' waves. Holly is excited because there are three 6.0s on the scoreboard. Robin says it was a "great job" and he loved it. Jason says it wasn't flawless, and so the audience boo. Imbeciles. He says there is no question about his talent but there were a few glitches with the dancing. Chris and Frankie seem to think it's a fair criticism. Nicky witters on about them only having seven days to prepare their routines. [Jason: "Like everyone else." Ha ha, you tell him. - Georgi] Shut UP.

So there we go, our four couples fighting for three places in the final. Chris and Frankie are top of the pile, Gareth and Maria are at the bottom. Now it's time for us to have our say. Or in fact for us to sit on the sofa and not vote and then moan about it afterwards if people we like get voted off. A quick recap, and it's over and out for now.

The skate-off

Earlier tonight, blah blah blah THE SKATE-OFF! Whoop!

Phil welcomes us back; Holly beams at us benignly. The lines close, but of course we can't go directly to finding out the results. First we must listen to Leona Lewis sing again, and it's not even like there are skaters accompanying her this time round. [At least she had a band this time. I wonder if a grand piano would count as a prop? - Georgi] [I'm sure it wouldn't be as difficult as A HAT AND A CANE, though. - Steve]

Another recap, with the backstage comments - Gareth was wearing a boob tube, had fun on the ice, and wants to be in the final; Suzanne and Matt were adorable and technically gifted; Matt gazes affectionately at Suzanne while she speaks; Jason said Zaraah deserves to be in the final; Zaraah says Fred is the best partner EVAH; Chris was a showboating fiend and accepts that he wasn't perfect, but HE WILL BE NEXT WEEK COS HE IS JUST THAT AWESOME.

Robin says this is the strongest semi-final we've had so far; Jason says that the difference between a semi-finalist and a finalist is "a week". LULZ. Phil has the results...

...

...but we can't have them till after the break.

Break!

Back, and Phil has decided to stop tantalising us. The first couple through to the final...Chris and Frankie! Shocker. The second couple...Suzanne and Matt! Hooray! They kiss and look generally ecstatic. So it's a Zaraah/Gareth skate-off, which is probably fair, but Zaraah must be dead pissed off that she's skated so well and it's still not good enough. [I was secretly relieved hat it was a Zaraah/Gareth skate-off, because I knew she didn't really have a chance of getting through on the public vote, but at least she stood a fighting chance against Gareth with the judges. I was worried that it was going to be a Zaraah/Suzanne skate-off, in which case she would've been doomed. - Steve]

Anyway, we get the two routines again, and srsly, Gareth has to go - Zaraah is a much better skater and performer. We go to the Ice Panel for their verdict. Karen isn't quite sobbing yet, and she opts to save Zaraah. Nicky wibbles on about fighting, ice-dance, entertaining, and eventually saves Zaraah. Jason says that he wants a finalist, thus he saves Zaraah. Ruthie seems to be quite tearful, and saves Zaraah. Head Judge Robin Cousins makes it a clean sweep.

Hooray! Gareth does the usual thank-yous, claiming to love Maria "to bits". We see a compilation of his series highlights, mostly crashing to the ice in rehearsals. A lap of honour, and Gareth is out of the show.

Well, that was the right result, kids - we have a proper final next week. [When you say "proper final", I think you're ignoring the fact that they're going to be flying again, and therefore not really skating at all, thus making the whole final a farce. - Georgi] Will anyone ring in to vote for Zaraah? Can Suzanne go a week without breaking a bone? Will Chris attempt to dance Torvill and Dean's entire Bolero without amendments BECAUSE HE IS JUST THAT GREAT? Tune in next week to find out!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Mad props

Week 8: 2nd March 2008 (aka PROPS WEEK!!!!111!!!)

Oh yes, bitches: it's prop week! You know what that means - tumbles aplenty and injury porn like we've never witnessed this series. I'm almost excited!

Phil and Holly enter the studio, and Holly's ta-tas appear to be well-covered, although her cleavage is formidable and her dress appears to have been refashioned from a cream-coloured carrier bag. Holly breaks the news that props week has been supersized this year, with each couple having to perform with two - count 'em, TWO - props [although nobody explains why - Georgi], and we also learn that both Suzanne and Gareth both almost had to leave the competition due to injury this week. Seriously, how do they even get insurance for this show?

Time for Jayne and Chris to show us how it should be done, of course, and they perform a routine to 'Sway', though I note a distinct lack of props thus far. It is a kickass routine, though, and it would've been spoilt a little by the inclusion of a chair or a little red suitcase, so I shall let them off. This time.

Jayne and Chris skate over to join Phil and Holly, and we get a VT explaining how the props will work. This year's props include a hula hoop, a broom, a chair, a hat, a cane, a table [Worst! Prop! Ever! - Georgi], a suitcase and an umbrella (ella ella eh eh eh). The props must be effortlessly weaved into the performance. This is illustrated by some water falling on Chris, for some reason. I don't know why, but it was kind of funny. [I suspect that bit was choreographed by Ms Torvill. - Carrie] Back in the studio, Chris says the props have taken on a life of their own (and in Gareth's case, probably have more personality than the contestants) and that some of the contestants have named their props. Phil points out that the names are not repeatable before the watershed on ITV1. Then there's a brief list of this week's injury porn, including the thoroughly underwhelming news that Gareth had a migraine this morning. Pussy.

The couples take to the ice: Suzanne and Matt, Zaraah and Fred (in leopardprint costumes!), Gareth and Maria, Chris and Frankie, and the apparently indestructible Greg and Kristina. Everybody waves, somewhat glibly. The judges all get introduced, and pretend to have props (Holly says that Jason's props are "thick skin and a taxi with the engine running", for example). Holly draws an amusing parallel between Robin the chair and the literal chair that serves as a prop. [I think that was the intention, but she fucked up the punctuation and ended up simply calling him a 'chair', much to everyone's bewilderment. - Carrie] [But at least she apologised to him afterwards. - Georgi] Robin says that the two props is an interesting twist, but the contestants must not forget about their most useful prop - their partner. The celebrity skaters no doubt bristle backstage at being referred to as props. Phil promises some XXX injury porn centring around Suzanne after the break.

Back from the ads, and we're kicking off with Suzanne. Suzanne's props are an umbrella and a chair. Suzanne tells us the chair is called Woody, and the umbrella is called Bella. Not Rihanna? [I did like Matt muttering, "Ella, ella, ella", though. It's a joke that never gets old! - Carrie] That's what I would've called it. In rehearsals, despite Matt's warning precisely against doing this, Suzanne flips her leg back during her lift and her blade hits him in the eye. Thankfully, Matt is not blind and can carry on. But that's not enough injury porn for one week - she has a nasty fall in rehearsals and chips some bone in her ankle, and her appearance on the show appears to be in jeopardy, except we know it isn't because we saw her skating earlier. Suzanne decides to carry on - hooray!

Suzanne is skating to 'Don't Rain On My Parade', and their incorporation of the props is decidedly skilful - it's all very smooth. There's a great lift where Suzanne sort of jumps onto Matt's back and immediately rolls over his head, which is awesome [although not the kind of move I would want to be doing with a bad ankle! - Georgi]. The super-dangerous lift that almost gouged Matt's eye out in rehearsals goes without a hitch this time, thankfully. Another great performance, but I'm kind of Team Suzanne at this stage, so I would say that. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 5.5, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 4.5, Robin 4.5, for a total of 24.0. Matt tells Phil his eye is fine and tells us all that the real bravery here was Suzanne's. Suzanne explains that her injury means that you can still walk on the ankle, but if you move it a certain way it'll take you right out. Nicky tells Suzanne that she has the grace and poise of a film star [and a theatre star. Anyone would have thought she was a theatre star or something - Georgi] and is also ON ICE. Jason says that the use of the props was seamless, and he knows that she's nursing an injury, but it was more reserved than he would've liked. Phil points out the CHIPPED BONE IN HER ANKLE and the audience whoops.

Next up is Zaraah, skate-off survivor, who's hoping not to have a third trip to the bottom two. Zaraah says that they've practised really hard this week and she feels like they deserve to be here. Meanwhile, Fred is pretty. [Fred is all like, "Come on! Props! It is fun!" Hee! - Georgi] Zaraah's props are the cane and the hula hoop. Chris says that Zaraah has come back with a vengeance, and that Zaraah and Fred's relationship has been growing stronger; that he's never seen Fred so happy in a long time. I decline to comment on this. [I'll comment on it. It is doubtless because THAT BITCH KAY BURLEY made him miserable last series. - Carrie] [You mean THAT BITCH KAY BURLEY WHO SHOULD BE SACKED? - Georgi] Zaraah says that at the beginning a mystery hand throws the hula hoop out for her to catch on her wrist, and Fred jokes that if it goes wrong they can blame the mystery hand. I love Fred.

Zaraah and Fred are skating to 'That Don't Impress Me Much' which explains the leopardprint, I suppose. Zaraah catches the hoop with no problem, and there's an awesome lift where Zaraah sits inside it while hanging from Fred's neck. Again very skilled prop work going on here and Zaraah looks far, far happier than she did last week. At the end of the routine, Mystery Hand rolls the hoop back on and Zaraah manages to grab it, which I'm fairly certain I couldn't do even if I wasn't on ice. But then I'm spectacularly cack-handed. Scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.0, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 5.0, for a total of 24.5, their highest score so far and a (probably temporary) spot at the top of the leaderboard. Zaraah recounts a few minor injuries and tells us that the hoop is Hilary and the cane is Candy. Phil reveals that Mystery Hand's name is Dan, which is presumably safe to reveal since it all went without a hitch. Robin says that Zaraah's performance was far better than last week, and that the focus on the props meant she wasn't thinking about her feet, and hence she skated more naturally. Holly points out that Karen gave the lowest score, which is completely unheard of, and Karen explains that it was because Zaraah was a little bit too much on her toes for Karen's liking [and also that she was MARKING RELATIVELY compared to Suzanne - Georgi].

On third are Gareth and Maria, who are still here despite most of us forgetting they exist. Gareth thinks he's got one of the hardest props - of course he does - because it's fiddly and hard to drop. Unlike Maria, I suppose. Gareth has the prop and the cane. Maria says it'll be challenging for her to deal with three props - the hat, the cane and Gareth. Gareth is comically outraged. Attempted injury porn as Sharon Morrison, the DoI physio, explains about Gareth's migraine, which meant he could not take part in rehearsals A very dishevelled-looking Gareth says he was worried he was out of the competition because of his migraine, and he doesn't have his usual strength because of it. [Interestingly, I do have some sympathy for him here. Did you notice the way his stutter started to re-emerge when he wasn't feeling well and couldn't concentrate? - Carrie]

Gareth and Maria are skating to 'Try A Little Tenderness'. There's some cute prop work going on where they chuck the cane to each other, and Gareth takes his hat off and flips it up, at which point he looks exactly like Ash Ketchum from Pokémon, with the spiky hair and the bright red cheeks. And then the routine is over, without a hitch, but again a little unexciting. Also, Gareth's cane is called Michael, har har. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.0, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 5.5, for a total of 25.5, his highest score yet. And overmarked, as usual, but hey ho. Gareth talks a bit more about his migraine, and then says how much it means to him that his mum is there, and everyone claps for Gareth's mum, for some reason. Robin says he loved the routine, and it was a great combination of partner work, prop work and foot work. Ruthie says it was a wonderful performance, and says it is VERY HARD to work with a hat and a cane (NO SRSLY) [ON ICE - Carrie] and that Gareth's performance has come from here to here. I wasn't looking at where she gestured, but I assume she indicated a considerable distance of some kind.

Leaderboard: Gareth and Maria at the top, Zaraah and Fred in the middle, and Suzanne and Matt at the bottom.

Next are Chris and Frankie, and Chris is looking dapper in a silver tinfoil shirt and black waistcoat. Chris goes on a bit more about landing his axel from last week. In rehearsals, Chris comes out with the suitcase and Jayne laughs that he thought he just had the suitcase, while Chris (Dean) tells him to bring the table out too. Chris is all "WTF?", as though he thinks they leave red sparkly tables backstage for no apparent reason. Chris is planning a move where he slides under the table on the suitcase, which is a very similar move to one that lost Chris Dean his teeth a few years back, apparently. Chris goes back to his mum and nan in Bradford, and his mum washes his clothes. That's about it, really.

Chris and Frankie are skating to 'Stuck in the Middle with You', and I've got admit, he really does have a rum lot with the table, because "unwieldy" doesn't even begin to describe it. Their props work isn't perhaps as smooth as some of the other couples, but they've got larger, heavier, more cumbersome props, Gareth, which makes things quite taxing. [Hats and canes are so much easier to work seamlessly into a dance routine. - Georgi] Chris slides under the table with his teeth intact, and they finish atop the table, where they began. Scores Karen 5.5, Nicky 5.5, Jason 5.5, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 5.5 for a total of 27.0. Chris is glad to still have his teeth, and says he was overwhelmed by the props, but they bonded with "Terry and Stuart", and are really happy with how it turned out. Chris (Dean) says that Chris (Fountain) had his grumpy pants on on Monday, but learned to love it. Nicky says there's a lot of power in Chris's skating, but his use of the props was seamless. He says he'd like to see Chris and Frankie skating more closely together if they want a six. Ruthie says that she thinks they did fabulously with what they were given, and that they aeroplaned on a table beautifully. Phil makes an ouch-inducing joke about Chris's appearance in the final being "an open and shut case".

Back from the ads, and Phil says that Greg "could be top of the table tonight - but only because he's dancing with one." I'd argue that that's a little mean, but let's be realistic here - he's not wrong. Greg's props are the table and the broom. Jayne says that Greg's obsessed with jumping and wants to jump off the table. Jayne is not keen, to say the least. Kristina and Greg have a little fallout as Kristina tells Greg they're out of time with the music, and Greg isn't really listening, however much Kristina pleads in her little Kristen Chenoweth voice. Then Greg throws the broom into the air and it whacks him on the head coming down, but he takes it all in good spirit. [Ha, serves him right for daring to argue with Kristina! - Georgi]

Greg and Kristina are dancing to 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', and the first part of the routine involves Greg sweeping around the table while Kristina sits on it. His leg lines are good, but the actual sweeping movement (of his leg, not the broom) is a little stilted. Greg manages not to concuss himself with the broom this time around, and then chucks it off to someone who may be Mystery Hand Dan. [He throws it to lovely Matt, I believe. - Carrie] Not a bad routine, all things considered. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 4.0, Ruthie 4.0, Robin 4.0 for a total of 20.5, Greg's highest score. Greg is still upset that he couldn't jump off the table. Jayne says that the props had to put up with Greg rather than the other way around. Kristina says she's very proud of Greg. Over with the judges, Karen says Greg is never dull, and what he lacks in rhythm he makes up for with enthusiasm. The ever-charming Jason tells him for once he wasn't the most wooden one out there because he had a table and a broom, but adds that it was good fun and that Greg injected personality tonight. He doesn't think Greg's particularly skilled with the props, but it was Greg's best so far.

Leaderboard - Chris and Frankie atop, Gareth and Maria second, Zaraah and Fred third, Suzanne and Matt fourth, and Greg and Kristina fifth. Performance recap. Just re-read if you need a reminder, I'm not writing anything else. Join me later for the skate-off to see who'll make it through to the semi-final!

The Skate-Off

By the end of tonight's show, Zaraah one of the contestants will hang up their skates for good! Just in case we weren't sure how it worked by this fairly late stage in the competition, of course.

Phil exhorts us to keep voting, despite the fact that the lines close in 18 seconds. As usual, I cannot be bothered, but I still reserve the right to complain when Zaraah's inevitably in the skate-off. Time to look back at tonight's performances: Nicky loved Suzanne's presentation, but Jason thought she wasn't as dynamic as usual. Backstage, Suzanne is pleased and says she had a great time on the ice tonight. Zaraah and Fred had very odd costumes, but a great performance that impressed Robin much. Backstage, Zaraah feels fantastic and is very pleased with the judges' comments, though is still feeling cautious as to the eventual outcome. Ruthie enabled Gareth by telling him it's SO HARD to work with a hat and cane, and Gareth agreed instantly because he never misses a chance to fucking whine about something, even though it's not like he had to HAUL A TABLE or CATCH A HULA HOOP THROWN BY A RANDOM. Shut up, Gareth. Backstage he is very excited about his undeserved high score. The fun and energy of Chris's performance impressed Nicky, but he wants to see Chris and Frankie dance together more [but next week, because, as he was forced to admit, he can't really complain about it this week, since they were trying to dance with a suitcase and a table, and therefore Nicky is really quite irrelevant - Georgi]. Chris is pleased that this routine got as high as his 'Cry Me a River' routine, but wants to get 27.5 so he can equal Suzanne's top score. Greg finally broke the 20 point barrier, and Karen thought he was very entertaining, and even Jason found nice things to say. Backstage, Greg says that being just a few points behind a fantastic skater like Suzanne is really great [/befuddling? - Georgi], and he's got his fingers crossed to make the semis.

Holly's with the judges, and Robin thinks that no one slipped this week - everyone was great with their props and their skating improved as a result. Holly asks Jason who did the best work with their props, and Jason singles out Zaraah for praise because she cleverly incorporated it into her routine. [Or! Chris and Jayne incorporated it into her routine. - Georgi]

Over to Phil and the results *touches ear*. In no particular order, the couples who are safe and skating in the semi-final are: Gareth and Maria and Chris and Frankie. We'll find out the third after the break, of course.

Welcome back! Only one more couple is definitely safe and through to the semi-final, the other two will have to go again in the skate-off. The other couple that's safe is...Suzanne and Matt. So poor Zaraah's in the skate-off again, but against Greg and Kristina, so she might yet survive to fight another week. Poor Zaraah, though. The audience were all yelling for her during the announcement of the results, but they obviously weren't voting.

Holly incorrectly says that this is Zaraah's second consecutive skate-off, and Jayne and Chris mention that Greg said he'd jump off the table if he was in the skate-off, but Chris advises him not to.

Zaraah and Fred take to the ice again, and oh noes! Dan the Mystery Hand fails to throw the hula hoop where Zaraah can catch it, but luckily Fred grabs it and hands it to her before anything else can go wrong. Is there nothing that man can't do? They get through the rest of the routine without incident, and it's another solid performance for the unfortunate twosome. Off the ice with Phil, Zaraah says that she did miss the hula this time, and is kind enough not to blame Dan, but just says that this time she grabbed it and wasn't letting it get away. Heh. Jayne and Chris congratulate Fred on a good save, and Fred gives props (no pun intended) to Zaraah for working so hard.

Greg and Kristina return, and it's like watching a game of curling without the ball, or whatever that thing's called. Greg does not jump off the table, and the Health and Safety people breathe a huge sigh of relief. It's as good as it was the first time, and the judges' vote could easily go either way at this point, I think. Phil thanks Greg for not "improvising", and Greg says he listened to Chris. Greg says that he got his best score tonight, but Zaraah was too good this week, and basically acts like he's going home, which is really sweet.

Time for the judges' votes: Karen says they both did their best, but for one it isn't enough: she saves Zaraah. Nicky is amazed by what he's about to say - he saw one routine which had mistakes, and saw another one which was relaxed and touched his soul, so he saves Greg. I think that routine touched him in the bad place. Jason says there was more content and more use of the prop in Zaraah's routine, and saves her. Ruthie says Greg is a gentleman and has made the competition a triumph of entertainment, but saves Zaraah. Robin's opinion is unnecessary, but says that even without the hoop, Zaraah's performance was still superior.

Time for Greg's best bits, appropriately enough set to 'Jump' by Van Halen. Jason calls him Herman Munster (and Greg says that Herman Munster is "well-loved", heh). Greg being James Bond. Greg and his amazing technicolour long-sleeved t-shirt. Greg falling on the one jump he was being judged on last week. Greg throwing a broom. Greg and Kristina laughing a lot. Awww. Y'know, I'm actually going to miss him.

Greg says that for his victory lap he's going to jump over Kristina. Phil is terrified, but not as much as Kristina should be [who crosses herself - Georgi]. But he pulls it off - hooray! Next week's the semi-final, with two performances from Leona Lewis. Given how everyone on this show keeps bleeding, keeps, keeps bleeding, she should have plenty to sing about. See you next week!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Jayne and Chris'll make you jump

Week 7 - 24th February 2008

Last week! Greg and Jason had a lovers' tiff! The judges all fought amongst themselves! (We drank!) Steve Backley got voted out - Carrie was sad, but nobody else was that bothered. [I bet Ruthie was. - Carrie] This week! The celebrities have to do a solo jump - high injury porn potential, so don't go away!

Here are Jayne and Chris! In an attempt to be topical, they're doing their routine this week to 'Valerie' by Amy Winehouse, although she didn't actually win a Brit award. [Although it's Mark Ronson whose name is credited first, and he did get one, so it sort of works. - Steve] Phil points out in his introduction that Jayne and Chris may have gold medals but they don't have a Brit award - for goodness' sake, Phil, don't give Chris ideas. He's so insanely competitive he'll be in the studio before you know it. I don't know about anyone else, but the popularity of this song pisses me off because the Zutons' original version was much better and Mark Ronson is a waste of fucking space. [That much hotness could never be a waste of space, trust me. - Steve] Anyway. Jayne and Chris are doing their usual trick of making all the contestants look bad when they haven't even skated yet.

Phil has his usual quick chat to Jayne and Chris - this week, Jayne's blade cut Chris's arm and he punched her in the nose in retaliation. It's a shame we don't get to see their rehearsals, isn't it?

There are six couples left in the competition, and they are: Zaraah and Fred; Greg and Kristina; Gareth and Maria; Linda and Daniel (in a disturbing skate-country ensemble); Chris and Frankie; Suzanne and Matt. It's only three weeks until the final, so what is the atmosphere like backstage? Jayne confirms predictably that it's "getting more tense and everyone wants to do the best they can." This week's required element is "the toughest one yet": the unassisted jump. There follows a short VT explanation, although it's completely self-explanatory. Phil observes that people you'd think would do well are struggling and vice-versa, but actually I'm not that surprised, because the people who get the high scores aren't necessarily that good at skating - Greg, for instance, is probably not having too much trouble, I imagine.

Holly introduces the judges, slightly unfairly describing Karen as "the most scary Barber since Sweeney Todd". There is nothing scary about Karen Barber. [Except when her mascara runs. - Carrie] Krez - now she was scary. Note - la Willoughby has put her tits away tonight for a change, all the better not to scandalise Daily Mail readers, but possibly alienating her target audience. Awww, Nicky has just had a baby today! Well, his wife has. Begging the question: would he have still turned up for the show if she was still in labour? [No, apparently. He was not expecting to make it to Elstree in time. - Carrie] He wants to call it Tiger Slater, but it sounds as though his wife is not a complete idiot. [Now, I THINK Nicky was joking. But his delivery of the gag is not what it should be, so nobody laughed. - Carrie] Robin says that the contestants are "on the home stretch", so they need to perform as a team (I'm kind of struggling to see how they could not), show us their skating, do some great moves, etc, etc. It also sounds like he wants the audience not to play silly buggers with the final line-up - subtext: don't vote for Greg!

Zaraah and Fred are first up. She was in the skate-off last week, but clearly better than Steve. However, this week they're having problems because, according to Jayne, "Zaraah doesn't like the idea of jumping". That is a bit of a setback. In rehearsals, she's barely leaving the ice. Does that even count? "I can't do it," she whinges. Fred is being quite reasonable, probably because he remembers what it was like skating with Kay Burley last year. Zaraah's mum has turned up to cheer her on [along with what I assume are Zaraah's younger brothers, one of whom is interested solely in texting rather than cheering his sister on - Carrie], but no nans in sight as yet. Presumably they're being kept under wraps for a later stage in the competition.

They're going to be skating to... wait for it... 'Jump', probably in the style of Girls Aloud. I think they've taken it all a bit literally. [Has Brian 'NotLouis' Friedman taken over creative direction and brought his literal choreography skills to bear on the evening? - Carrie] Dear me. Hopefully later in the show we can look forward to Greg and Kristina skating to Kris Kross's 'Jump' and Linda and Daniel skating to House of Pain's hip-hop anthem 'Jump Around'. Back to this routine though, and it's not great - Zaraah's stumbling a bit on the steps and is a bit out of time. [I'm not entirely sure that's her fault - no one else had their backing track butchered in the editing room tonight like Zaraah did. Seriously - what the fuck was that? - Steve] Her jump is a single toeloop, but blink and you'll miss it - she barely left the ice. The judges scores are: Karen - 4.0, Nicky - 4.5, Jason - 3.0, Ruthie - 3.5, Robin - 3.5, for a pretty poor total of 18.5.

Zaraah says that it was one of her favourite routines and she doesn't know what happened. Fred admits that it was "not our best performance", while Chris laments the fact that they had "done it in practice so well" and Jayne optimistically points out that at least Zaraah landed the jump. Holly goes straight to Jason for his comments, and Jason is all like, "What jump?" I have to agree. "I thought you were being rather ironic." LULZ. He thought the routine this week was "very disappointing" and Zaraah has lost a lot of confidence with it, and her "facial expression was painted on". Nicky says that he "liked the energy and content, but it was stuttery in places and you missed an element coming out of the lift... but the fact that you can do so much in a week is always amazing to me." Whatever.

Still to come - Greg and Gareth (not together, this isn't Blades of Glory), and Chris attempts a jump never seen before on Dancing on Ice. Cue falling-over porn!

Break!

Greg and Kristina are next to skate. Last week Jason called Greg dull and uncharismatic, then - lest we forget - threatened not to turn up for the final if Greg got through. It's not like the judges do anything in the final anyway, is it? Chris: "Greg's on fire this week". Phil voiceovers that the jump plays to his strengths - because he's actually good at skating. (I added that last bit, by the way.) Chris: "He likes to jump, be it a little out of control, and it's not a skating jump, it's a made-up Greg jump." Kristina says that they're going for quantity rather than quality, which I'm not sure is a valid tactic in ice dance, but we'll see.

They're skating to Supergrass's 'Alright' and, showing off, they do a whole series of jumps. [I'm surprised Jason didn't point out what a ridiculously inaccurate song choice this was for Greg, since he is not YOUNG, like he did with Aggie. Although admittedly whether Greg runs green or not is probably not public knowledge. - Steve] I think I counted about seven or so. Unfortunately Greg loses his balance on the last one, which according to Gubba was the one he wanted the judges to score. Whoops. Gubba describes Greg as "like a frog on happy pills". The scores are expectedly poor: Karen - 4.0, Nicky - 4.0, Jason - 3.0, Ruthie - 3.0, Robin - 3.0, for a total 17, their highest score so far, but presumably one that will leave them languishing at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard again.

Greg say that he's "disappointed I didn't make the last jump, but it was fun." Chris rather unhelpfully says, "No guts, no glory!" and says that Greg reminds him of "a little boy at a wedding" when they're choreographing. Here's an idea: why didn't you choreograph it with one jump and actually make sure he could do it without falling over? Holly tries to start a fight again by talking to Jason, but Ruthie interrupts, "Don't talk to Jason about Greg! He loves you, he thinks you're going to go all the way." Jason, once he manages to get a word in, says he "can't argue with the fact that it was entertaining... but for all the wrong reasons. Your jumps looked like you were dodging bullets... Do you deserve to be in the competition?" The audience cheers, "Yes!" Ha ha. Serves you right for asking stupid rhetorical questions.

Gareth and Maria are the next couple to take to the ice. Chris thought Gareth's performance last week was "fantastic", stripey trousers notwithstanding. Gareth is also struggling with the jumps though. "Greg's a sportsman so he can jump, Chris is an ice hockey player so he can jump, I'm just a musician." Oh, fuck off. Yes, just because Greg's a sportsman, that means he can do anything? Last time I checked, there wasn't that much jumping in ice hockey either, so stop making bloody excuses. In training, Gareth asks Karen how everybody else's jump is going, and she rightfully tells him to concentrate on his own jump. Fuck's sake. Gareth: "We still have that fighting spirit and we will fight to the end." I think Maria's getting sick of him. I am too. [And me. - Carrie] [And me. And I hate the way he always says "we" when talking about his difficulties, because I'm fairly certain Maria isn't having the same problems. - Steve]

They're skating to 'Sweet Talkin' Woman' by ELO, and the jumps are fine, so put that down as another VT edited for melodramatic effect. Gubba says the routine was "quietly consistent". They were out of time on the spin though. The scores are: Karen - 4.5, Nicky - 5.0 (marking relatively again), Jason - 4.5, Ruthie - 4.5, Robin - 4.5, for a not-too-shabby total of 23. [They are overmarking him so much. He's competent, yes, but he's also boring as hell. - Steve]

Gareth loved the jumps, apparently, and Chris observes that "Everyone's a bit nervous tonight." Not surprising really, is it, since, as they keep pointing out, people have usually been skating for at least a year before trying to learn jumps. Robin says that his mark would have been a 5.0 if the lift had gone better, but Gareth's "control and confidence are brilliant to see" and with the overall performance he's really put himself in the running.

Time for a quick look at the leaderboard - Gareth and Maria are at the top, Greg and Kristina are at the bottom, with Zaraah and Fred in between.

Still to come - Linda and Chris, and "Will Suzanne cause a stir with the judges again this week?" There's nothing like a good argument between the judges.

Break!

Linda and Daniel are up next. Jayne tells us that "Linda has found new confidence" and is doing the jump quite well. But - UH-OH - she falls on her arse during a step sequence and nearly rips Daniel's hand off, making rehearsals difficult. As if Daniel hasn't taken enough punishment, he then get a skate in the ear practising a lift. Poor Daniel.

They're skating to KT Tunstall's 'Suddenly I See', which isn't even fucking country, so somebody sack the costume department. Linda seems to be doing the chicken dance. Women of a certain age shouldn't wear their hair in bunches, don't you think? They have trouble with the bit where, erm, Linda rolls down through Daniel's legs and is supposed to land on the ice but doesn't seem to be able to let go, whilst he's desperately trying to put her down without dropping her. Gubba observes that "At times, the programme was right on the edge", and he's right. Oh, apparently that bit they fucked up was the move they "invented" last week, the Lusardi Levitation. [I'm fairly certain it was nothing of the sort. - Steve] The judges' scores are: Karen - 3.5, Nicky - 4.0, Jason - 3.5, Ruthie - 4.0, Robin - 4.0, for a total of 19.

Linda tells Daniel that the problem was that, "I just couldn't get hold of your trousers!" Hee. Daniel seems pleased that his wrist is still attached. Jayne says the week has been quite good for Linda because she has had to do more skating on her own. I don't think that's a recommendation for injuring your partner, though. Karen says her marks were a bit low because the lift went wrong, but it makes a change for her to be exercising her critical faculties. Linda did her required jump very well, though. This week Ruthie is a "big fan of Linda" because she's "a pleasure to watch and your personality shines through".

The fifth couple to skate is Chris and Frankie. Chris felt that "Last week didn't go well", despite the fact that they came top with the judges, because he didn't think they deserved to be there. [I'm getting so bored of Chris and his "it really is tiresome being as awesome as I am" schtick. - Steve] Chris is going to be doing two jumps - one in a step sequence, and an axel, which is a 1.5 rotation. [Poncey wanker. - Carrie] Chris says it will be "the hardest move any celebrity has done in any of the series". Indeed, it's so difficult that Chris has to practise with a harness and only realises once the harness is gone that it's really fucking difficult, and he couldn't even land it in the rehearsal this morning. Frankie, showing great faith in her partner, says they've put it at the end of the routine so that it doesn't matter when it goes wrong. At least he's more likely to break himself than to break Frankie this week. [Perhaps that's what Frankie meant by it not mattering. - Carrie]

They're skating to 'Ain't No Sunshine' by Bill Withers, and it's the most assured and elegant performance so far this week. [Although I nearly hyperventilated with laughter at Chris's Acting Face at the start. Also, GET UP OFF THE FUCKING ICE, Fountain. Breakdancing - DO NOT WANT - Carrie] The flip jump in the middle of the step sequence is great and miraculously Chris manages to land the axel. It's obvious that Frankie is chuffed, albeit his landing was two-footed. [I loved that Frankie did a fist jump of joy when he pulled it off, despite still being in the routine. Hee - Steve] The judges' scores are suitably high: 5.5 from everyone except Head Judge Robin, who gives them 5.0, for a total of 27.

Chris (Fountain) explains that, "That jump has been so inconsistent" - he practised it on his own on Friday and did it on Saturday, "but not landed it today except then". Chris (Dean) says he told him not to bottle out and he went for it. Holly tells the judges that she loves them all, "Except Robin, I love you a bit less." That's Head Judge Robin to you, Willoughby. [I still love Head Judge Robin MOST. - Carrie] Robin says he only gave them 5.0 because they could have done it a bit better, but he is impressed with Chris's ability to "deliver a different performance every week", and although they struggled a bit at the beginning of the series, now his relationship with Frankie is "natural and comfortable".

On the way to the break, a pointless competition to win a trip to see Dancing on Ice next week. The question is: how many skate-offs did Steve Backley perform in? There isn't even a multiple choice, so if they're not making it as easy as possible, I don't think I'll be bothering to ring in.

Still to come - Suzanne and Matt! And possible controversy!

Break!

So, the final couple to skate this evening are Suzanne and Matt. Jason backstage last week points out that it's not easy to be lifted, and he knows because he has choreographed girls being lifted. Nicky is very clear that he wants to see more DANCING on the ICE! [I shouted, "Drink!" at this point. I was in my house, by myself, at the time. It was a reflex reaction. - Carrie] So, to please Nicky, they are putting in "loads of skating" this week. Suzanne says the routine is "the hardest one yet", which presumably is a comment that ought to be true every week, as their skating gets better and the competition gets tougher. She says she's "worried at this point", although that probably was Monday. Matt says they're "both freaked out about how many steps there are and how synchronised they have to be". Get a grip, man. Suzanne is concerned because she hasn't picked up the choreography as quickly as usual and "The pressure's on". Yeah yeah.

They're skating to 'Music' by Madonna, and while I might have mocked Matt a little, they do have to be very synchronised with all their dance moves. This is certainly going to give Chris and Frankie a run for their money. Going off on one for a moment, I'm always a bit sceptical about the use of the word "bourgeoisie" in this song because I have a suspicion that Madonna only learned it during the filming of 'Evita' and doesn't really know what it means. Anyway, it's a good routine, but doubtless the judges will have something bad to say about Suzanne, because they usually do. Gubba says that Suzanne "deserves Dancing on Ice's bravery medal this series". They're giving out medals now? I think Maria should get it for letting Gareth lift her. Is there actually a move called "the human necklace"? Who can really say? The scores match Chris and Frankie's exactly, with 5.5 from everyone except Ruthie this time, who gives them 5.0, for another 27.0.

Suzanne looks pleased that they are actually being fair to her this week. But what's this? Phil: "I think Ruthie has a problem with her score." Ruthie confirms that she actually pressed the 5.5 button, which means they've actually got 27.5! What is going on with the scoreboards this series? [I'm not entirely sure I believe Ruthie. I think she originally meant to score them exactly as she did, but she saw the opportunity to wipe the smug grin off Chris Fountain's face and took it. Lord knows I would've. Team Suzanne! - Steve] Holly asks Nicky pointedly if the routine contained enough skating for him, and he replies, "What a day I've had - I've become a father and seen you skate." Yes, because seeing Suzanne Shaw skate must be on a par with becoming a father for the first time. He says it's getting "very near a 6.0".

So that's yer lot. Suzanne and Matt are at the top of the board, with Chris and Frankie just half a point behind. Greg and Kristina are at the bottom with 17.5, though Zaraah and Fred aren't too far above them. Recap! I think Greg might actually end up in the skate-off this week, although Linda has to be in the danger zone and nobody ever seems to vote for Zaraah. Join us for the skate-off in an hour's time.

Results show

Welcome back. Phil is still excited about that axel jump, as I suppose he is entitled to be. Before the results, a chance to catch up with what's happened backstage. Zaraah is disappointed with herself, but at least will be able to prove she can do it better if she's in the skate-off. Fred doesn't want to be in the skate-off. Greg had a lot of fun, even though it didn't work. Gareth says that Robin's positive comments "meant the world to me". Linda really enjoyed it, even though it went wrong, and Daniel reassured her about how brilliant she is. Chris was thrilled that he landed the axel, and Frankie rather euphemistically cries, "Pulled it out on the night!" Oo-er. Suzanne is "so excited" about being at the top of the leaderboard, and amazed that she managed to beat Chris.

Holly is with the judges for a final word. Has the required element split those that can and those that can't? Head Judge Robin thinks that some of their performances let them down. Jason says what stood out is that, "There was a difference between those that still possess the championship spirit and those who have lost it - Zaraah wasn't on her game particularly - and mistakes are going to cost them."

The results are IN! Phil is about to be given THE RESULTS via his trusty earpiece. So the couples who are through, in no particular order, are: Chris and Frankie; Suzanne and Matt; Greg and Kristina, oh dear me [for FUCK'S SAKE - Carrie] - and the final safe couple will be revealed after the break!

Erm, break!

The tension is unbearable. The final couple saved by your votes is Gareth and Maria, leaving Zaraah and Fred and Linda and Daniel in the skate-off. If Linda manages to grab Daniel's trousers this time round, she might just get through. On the other hand, Zaraah reckons she has done the routine much better in rehearsals, so if she can get rid of the mistakes, she's also in with a chance. In other words, it's really all riding on their skate-off performance this week.

Zaraah and Fred are first, and she still doesn't look like she's really doing much of a jump, but I think they'll be more pleased with that performance - which Zaraah confirms to Phil. Awww, she wants to make Fred proud of her. [If he is, that warrants a DRINK!, surely? - Carrie] It's Linda's first skate-off and she looks nervous. Her jump is a bit more wobbly than it was earlier, but they don't have the same trouble with the Lusardi Levitation, although it still looks clumsy. Jayne says it will be tough because both couples have skated better and didn't make the mistakes. Linda shrieks that it was the worst moment of her life because it was so nervewracking.

So, over to the judges. Karen picks Zaraah [and is CRYING LIKE A FOOTBALLER - Carrie]. Nicky says it's the closest skate-off EVER, but he saves Zaraah, and so does Jason. [At which point I did a Frankie-style fist pump and yelled "YES!", and surprised myself with just how emotionally involved I am with Zaraah's continuing survival. - Steve] Ruthie says Linda is "such a loss", but she's saving Zaraah. Robin is sad they ended up here, because he's dying to vote out Greg and Kristina [he didn't actually say that, to clarify - Carrie], but he's saving Zaraah, so it's a clean sweep and Linda and Daniel are out. Linda is a dignified loser, talking about what good fun it has been. She and Daniel were good value, but they didn't perform tonight. After their VT, Karen, shockingly, is in [floods of - Carrie] tears.

Hooray, next Sunday is Props Night! As you'll be aware, it's very difficult to work with props ON ICE [particularly CHAIRS - Carrie]. Wave goodbye to Jayne and Chris, and we'll be back with more Bitching next week.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Thrown out

Week 6 - 17th February 2008

Tonight! Dancing on Ice is swingin' (ew, not like that) to the sound of the Sixties! There'll be Jayne'n'Chris, there'll be more big lifts, big spins and big scores, there'll be psychedelia (and songs from Hairspray, apparently), there'll be black and white footage, there'll be Sixties puns ("Who will twist and shout? Who will get the hippy-hippy-shakes?" VOs Phil), and, though they don't preview this, there'll be injury porn! Titles!

Ooh. Phil and Holly do not appear and introduce Jayne and Chris - instead, our erstwhile gold medallists burst onto the ice and begin a routine to Twist and Shout, and are joined by Matt and Suzanne; the music changes to Dancing in the Street, when Linda and Dan take to the ice as well. Kristina and Greg and Steve and Susie are being kept out of the way and tapping their feet on the edge of the rink, and are then permitted to skate across. The music changes to Hippy Hippy Shake, when Zaraah and Fred and Gareth and Maria join in, then Chris (with more bizarre eye make-up) and Frankie, and then Jayne and Chris finish off with Shout, and all the contestants form a big long skating conga, with Steve, Greg and Linda left in the middle doing a rather lame-looking lift sequence. Well done all. [I tuned in halfway through this routine and didn't realise for a second that the celebrities were all taking part. But then I spotted Greg... I am liking all the pretend knee-high boots. - Georgi]

Aha, here are Phil and Holly. Holly is allowed to say the first lines! She says them at a very high pitch, though, for some reason. Dress watch - strapless, black, with a silvery thing around the bosom. Her hair looks lovely. Jayne and Chris enthuse about their skating charges.

This week's required element is a move designed and named by the contestants. For fuck's sake. They are not Head Judge Robin Cousins, who invented his own type of spiral. [Or Gubba, who makes up names of moves every week. - Georgi] Chris says that it is the contestants' moment to shine, and they have had to censor some of the names. Jayne says everything is all very interesting and different. I remain unconvinced.

Phil introduces the Ice Panel, who are wearing "hot pants and mini-skirts behind the desk, and that's just the men." LULZ. [Now that's an image I neither needed nor wanted in my head while I was trying to eat my dinner. - Georgi] Karen, Nicky, Jason (booooooo!), Ruthie and Head Judge Robin Cousins are all present and correct. Holly is having fun with Sixties-themed puns. Robin wants the contestants to be comfortable and also Sixties. That's cleared that up, then. [And Nicky, no doubt, wants them to be dancing. On ice, no less. - Steve]

Phil reminds us that we have to vote too. Whatever. Gareth and Maria are the first to skate tonight. We see last week's Blame it on the Boogie routine, and Ruthie telling him to keep taking risks. Chris says that Gareth had a lack of confidence last week and was coping with a lot of emotional issues. Chris and Gareth are sitting by the side of the rink, having a Manly Chat. The ladies - Jayne, Maria and Karen - are watching them and looking vaguely pissed off. Gareth's unique move is called the Surfing Spreadeagle. He is looking forward to seeing everyone else's routine to see if their moves are as good as his, but he doesn't think they will be.

ZOMG THEIR COSTUMES. Gareth's shirt is yellow, his trousers are multicoloured stripes, and Maria's dress is black and white checks with yellow blobs. She does however have pink boots, which are odd, but quite nice. [What did Gareth do to earn the ire of the costume designers? No one should ever be forced to wear those trousers, EVER. - Steve][They are more circus-themed than Sixties-themed - Georgi] They're skating to I Get Around. The Surfing Spreadeagle is present and correct. The audience are clapping along. It's a reasonably fun routine. Gubba seems to think it was Austin Powers-themed. Scores - Karen 4.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 4.5, Robin 4.5, for a total of 23.0 - their HIGHEST-EVER SCORE. Gareth jabbers some more about inventing his own move. Maria smiles through gritted teeth, but you can almost see the thought-bubble above her head - "I MISS DUNCAN FROM BLUE." Nicky wants to encourage Gareth, and says that he was "dancing on ice" and also "lifting on ice". FOR FUCK'S SAKE, SLATER, we KNOW what the name of the show is by now. Jason reiterates that Gareth was dancing on ice. They're taking the piss, aren't they? [I LOLed. - Steve]

After the break! Zaraah and Fred! Chris and Frankie injury porn!

Phil welcomes us back, and reminds us that it is Sixties night, making a rather strange Paul McCartney gag in the process. Lovely Zaraah and lovely Fred are next. Jayne says it is a big thrill to see her progress so far in such a short time. Zaraah and Fred beam at each other while VTing about their rehearsal. Their unique move is the Seesaw Lift [which looks good, but doesn't have any seesawing kind of motion to it, so I judge the name a bit - Georgi]. Jayne and Chris have choreographed some steps for them that they've used themselves, so Zaraah is keen not to let them down. Bless.

They're skating to The Locomotion. They're both in silver - Zaraah in a little flippy dress and some truly hideous spandex trousers, and Fred in a shiny shirt, sensibly unzipped to mid-chest, and black trousers. I like this routine, and I like Zaraah, but while I'm watching it I can't help but hear Arlene shouting about arms - they're not very synchronised and the movements aren't quite sharp enough. [And in my one alloted technical observation of the week, I note that Zaraah's spiral leg needs serious work. - Steve] However, the footwork is good, and the Seesaw is there too. Scores - Karen 4.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 4.5, Robin 4.5, making a total of 22.0. Anyone think Nicky might have been marking relatively? Zaraah says she is not scared when they are doing lifts because she's with Fred, only scared when she's by herself. Jayne says she is becoming more and more fearless. Can you get more and more fearless? Either you have fears or not, surely? Ruthie says that Zaraah is a natural actress and a beautiful performer. That's handy, seeing as she's a bloody actress. [Hands up if you'd like Ruthie Henshall to tell you she's a "big fan"? - Georgi] [God, me. I'd give most things in exchange for Ruthie Henshall's admiration. - Carrie] Zaraah and Fred hug.

Chris and Frankie were all kinds of awesome, as well as a bit funny, last week. We see Chris crashing around a lot in rehearsal. Chris Dean says that the problem is that Chris F has to think a lot quicker than normal. His unique move is called The Worm, leading to much lolarity when Chris Dean shouts, "Chris, show me your worm!" [I really don't think The Worm counts as a unique move, and Chris certainly didn't invent it, which I thought was the point of this exercise. All he did was put some ice under it. - Steve][He did rename it though, which surely counts for something. - Georgi] With only two days to go, they are still struggling with the routine, and then Chris drops Frankie on her poor little head. [Contrary to popular perception, she doesn't shatter into a million pieces like a little china doll. Let's see a replay in slow-motion just to make sure though! - Georgi] She cries. Chris cuddles her and apologies. She says, "It's not your fault!" Kind of is, Frankie, and to be fair to Chris, he does admit that.

Anyway, they're all Union Flagged up [Frankie's Union Jack eye make-up is a bit much - Georgi], and skating to My Generation. There's lots of complicated step sequences at the start. Am I being harsh, or not getting the point of the routine, or does Frankie look a bit shaky? Anyway, he doesn't drop her on her head, which is a good thing. These two look good even when it's fumbly, because they're that much quicker across the ice. Well, I didn't think that routine was their best, but at least there was no serious injury. Scores - Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 5.0, Ruthie 5.0 and Robin 5.0, for a total of 24.5. Chris witters on about it being scary when you drop your partner. I'd argue that it's scarier for YOUR PARTNER, you daft boy. Interestingly, Frankie seems quite subdued, saying that she's "OK" rather than brushing off enquiries about her health. Robin tells Chris that the hockey player was allowed to reemerge tonight. Jason says he did not see any fear in Chris's face going into the lift, and Chris shouts, "I'm an actor!" I'll leave the jokes to Steve, I think. [I plead the fifth. - Steve] Jason criticises the worm, saying that his godchildren can do that move in the front room, and he wanted to see something more spectacular on skates ON ICE. Phil laughs about Jason not liking Chris's little worm. Are we 12 years old all of a sudden?

After the break! Steve Backley comes back fighting! Suzanne Shaw does a handstand! Srsly!

During the break! What on earth is Rock Rivals? It looks AMAZING. [It's from the makers of Bad Girls and Footballers' Wives, and it's set behind a fictitious version of The X Factor. I concur, it looks AWESOME. Let's recap it! - Steve]

Phil welcomes us back again, and is talking to fucking Bonnie fucking Langford [FUCK THE FUCK OFF! - Georgi], who chats on about [/plugs TO DEATH - Georgi] the Dancing on Ice live tour, and Andi Peters. FUCK OFF.

Oooooooooh, look at Steve Backley's ARMS. C'mon, Bitches, I know sport isn't your thing, but LOOK. We see footage of ungainliness in rehearsals. Steve and Susie's unique move is called The Boomerang [because they want to Come Back! - Georgi]. Steve enthuses about how much he is enjoying competing. I think he's well aware of his limitations, but it's a challenge to him.

Before the routine starts, Steve kisses Susie's hands. Aw. Steve is in black, with sparkles over his top, and a gold belt [ARE YOU WATCHING ME? - Steve], and Susie has a golden dress with golden boots. Steve is singing along. Cute! They are slow across the ice, but there's something about them that reminds me of David Seaman and Pam - possibly just that he's very chivalrous towards her when they're skating, looking very concerned to get her back on the ice safely. The routine ends with Steve demonstrating his spiral leg, as admired by Jason last week. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.0, Jason 3.5, Ruthie 4.0 and Robin 4.0 for a total of 18.0 - their best score. Jayne says that Steve has been more determined than ever. Steve and Susie nod in agreement. Nicky has to explain his 3.0, and is booed. [Hee. I liked the way Willoughby demanded he explain himself, like a strict schoolteacher, and he looked suitably sheepish. - Georgi] C'mon, Nicky, say you're judging relatively! I miss that! [I will never get drunk at this rate. - Georgi] He says that Steve is hamstrung by his artificial hip. So, what, you're marking him down for having an artificial hip? I thought marking him up for doing relatively better would be more up your street? He encourages Steve to get faster, which is fair enough. Ruthie says it looked like they enjoyed it, and he had a new sense of confidence. Steve and Susie nod in agreement again. Ruthie says, "You have such an ease on that ice that is so attractive to look at - and so are you!" Hehe. Good girl, Henshall! [Tee hee. Ruthie hearts Steve. - Georgi] She notes that he slows to a stop when he's putting Susie back on the ice, and tells him not to. No, Steve, chuck her back on the ice! Let her sort herself out!

Suzanne's face looks weird still. Has she had Work done, or is it just make-up? Last week, she and Matt did the Headbanger, but this week is Even More Challenging and Complex. Their unique element is a Walkover, which Jayne has never seen done on the ice, and which Suzanne can do perfectly well on dry land but not on ice. [Again, it's not exactly a unique move that she invented, is it - she's just doing it On Ice. - Georgi]

They're skating to Walk On By, and their outfits are teh dinky. Suzanne's dress is red and white quarters, as is Matt's top. [Yes, finally someone with matching outfits. Yayz! - Georgi] They do some lovely acting and some impressive acrobatics, although she does catch him in the jaw with her calf at one point. The Walkover goes fine, leading into some spins at the end, with a bit more acting, and an abrupt end to the music. Aw, I like this routine. Gubba tells us that Suzanne has had a tummy bug over the past 24 hours, caught off her Darren Day-fathered son [/Plague-ridden Spawn of the Devil - Georgi]. Scores - Karen 5.5 (overmarked, perhaps for courage?), Nicky 4.0 (undermarked, perhaps relatively?), Jason 5.0, Ruthie 4.5 and Robin 4.5, for a total of 23.5. Karen is shocked that people haven't agreed with her marking, and shouts at her colleagues. Is she drunk? [She's not Arlene. - Georgi] Nicky says he gave a 4.0 because there wasn't very much skating. [Never bothered him when he was marking Bonnie Fucking Langford. - Georgi] He is booed. [Seriously, did Nicky accidentally eat Jason's bowl of Bitch Flakes this morning? Bollocks was that a four, and I don't even really like Suzanne. Mind you, 5.5 was absurd too. Sit the hell down, Karen. - Steve] Jason shouts something about dancing on ice, then repeats himself, clutching his head in the hands. Karen and Nicky proceed to bicker. [Hooray! Drink! - Georgi] Holly tries to control them, unsuccessfully. Phil shouts, "Shut up, for goodness sake!"

Still to come - Greg and Linda. Whoop-de-doo. [I don't know how they decide the order of skating, but I can't help but feel they should have interposed the people who were obviously going to be better with the shit ones, instead of starting off well and going downhill. - Georgi]

Phil welcomes us back again and informs us that the judges have been arguing throughout the break. [Good - I have been drink!ing throughout the break - Georgi] The judges pretend that they like each other really. Greg and Kristina are skating next. They are rehearsing a move where Kristina lies on the ice and Greg jumps over her. She squeals every time he does it. It's taken out of the routine, though, because the music is slow and the Leap of Death doesn't work. "I really liked it!" "It didn't suit the music!" "But I really liked it!" "It didn't suit the music! Too bad!" Greg complains about transitions being too slow, and the routine not playing to his strengths. The unique move is a Lenko Lift, ie named after Kristina, and it's not really very enthralling. [I thought Greg was supposed to invent it. Doesn't Kristina get to do choreography all the time? - Georgi]

They are skating to Hey Jude, with Greg in militaryesque Beatles-style jacket [which: couldn't they at least have skated to something from Sgt Pepper? - Georgi], and Kristina in a bizarrely big and feathery mini-dress, and amazing false eyelashes. They beam at each other the whole way through, which is nice. The big lift doesn't really come off because Greg is so slow across the ice, but there's no peril, at least. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.0, Jason 2.5, Ruthie 3.5 and Robin 3.5 for a total of 16.0. Greg says that Jason has it in for him. Jason explains his score - "You have the charisma of cardboard. There is absolutely no oomph in your performance whatsoever." Greg tries to shout back, "Takes one to know one!", but it's really not working. He also says, "Jason, I might make it to the finals, and then we'll see." Jason responds, "If you're in the finals, I won't be." Ooh. This is getting a bit ugly. Phil reassures us that Jason won't quit, because he's under contract. Heh. [Jason might have just convinced quite a lot of people to vote for Greg on the off-chance though. - Georgi]

Linda and Dan are the last couple to skate tonight. She's sulking about Ruthie's criticism that she doesn't skate by herself enough. Dan takes the piss out of her. Jayne says the comments from the judges were fair, and Linda is taking that on board now. [Drink! - Georgi] Their unique move is called the Lusardi Levitation, because her legs are hooked round Dan's waist, but her arms are up and Dan's arms are out. [Which...really not at all levitation, just very strong thigh muscles, but I can see how that's less appealing, alliteratively speaking. - Steve] The excitement!

They're skating to Son of a Preacher Man. Dan is in black trousers and a black and white striped jacket, and Linda is in a black and white spotty and sparkly dress. Linda tries to look sultry and seductive at the judges' table; Dan strips off his jacket. Wooooooo! Linda is definitely skating by herself a lot this week. She looks awkward when she has to turn, but at least she's not gripping on to Dan's hand the entire time. There's a minor slip, but again no peril. It is a cute routine. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 4.0, Ruthie 4.0 and Robin 4.0, for a total of 19.0. Phil is happy that Linda danced ON ICE by herself. Robin repeats that Linda danced ON ICE by herself. D'you think they're playing their own drinking game? Ruthie says she loved it and she loves Linda for taking criticism on the chin and coming back fighting.

That's it - Chris and Frankie are top, and Greg and Kristina are bottom. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? Who can say? The results will be available to Phil via his earpiece in one hour's time!

Results show

Earlier tonight! These seven couples danced ON ICE for our votes! Now we have to get rid of one of them forEVAHZOMGZ. Time for the skate-off and 20 minutes' worth of filler.

Phil reckons the competition couldn't have been more tense on Sixties' Night. Holly explains the concept of the skate-off. The lines close. Goodness, the atmosphere is electric.

A recap of what happened earlier, what was said backstage, and the judges' blazing row. "Blazing row". Whatevs. Gareth DANCED ON ICE and was happy, and Maria makes a biting comment to remind him that he doesn't skate by himself; Fred and Zaraah feel like they have been there the whole time; Chris was upset that Jason didn't like his move, and points out that someone did it last year. IT'S NOT FUCKING UNIQUE THEN, IS IT, YOU CRETINOUS FOOL? Steve really doesn't want to be in the skate-off, but will be ready if necessary; the judges' argument is shown again; Suzanne doesn't understand why Nicky scored her so low, because her routine was about DANCING ON ICE; the Ice Panel continue to fight during the break, and Karen pulls a total bitchface while Jason, of all people, plays conciliator; Greg doesn't think Jason was fair to him; Robin thought Linda DANCED ON ICE and she was happy with the routine and the scores. Dullness.

Holly claims it has been a night of high drama, and asks Head Judge Robin Cousins what he thought of the routines overall. He liked them all because everyone upped their game, and confirms that it is OK to disagree. I love Head Judge Robin Cousins. [I loved that his example was that some people might like Chris, while others might like Frankie. THEY'RE ON THE SAME FUCKING TEAM! - Steve]

Phil is ready with the *touches ear* results, in no particular order. The first couple skating next week is - Suzanne and Matt! Also safe are - Greg and Kristina, for fuck's sake. Clearly Georgi was right in that the viewing public are hoping to oust Jason. Chris and Frankie! Gareth and Maria! And the final couple who are safe, will, obviously, be revealed after the break.

Right, so the commercials are over, and we're down to the final three. Zaraah and Fred, Steve and Susie, and Linda and Dan are standing in the middle of the rink. Zaraah and Susie are holding hands. The fifth couple who will skate next week - Linda and Dan!

Bollocks. That means cheerio, Steve, then, doesn't it? Fuck it. Poxy bloody phone votes. [I'm sorry, what? Are we not focusing on the fact that the RACIST BRITISH PUBLIC have left lovely Zaraah needlessly in the bottom two? Fuck Steve fucking Backley, his number was up weeks ago. - Steve] [You can focus on that, if you like. I am more upset at losing Steve. - Carrie] Jayne is surprised that Zaraah is in the bottom two. Chris says that Steve knows what to do as this is his fourth skate-off in a row. Sigh. Zaraah and Fred go first; Steve and Susie second, and this is a foregone conclusion. I am angry. Even if only for superficial reasons. I am robbed of my Andrei, Pavel and now Steve? While bloody whiny Gareth Gates and clumpy old Greg Rusedski are still there? Steve says he tried his hardest to bend his knees more, but he knows it's a tough ask against Zaraah. [Who should not be there. WHY ARE YOU NOT MORE ANGRY ABOUT THIS? I am furious, pink. - Steve] [But what is point? Steve is going. Zaraah is safe. C'est un foregone conclusion, as I said. Steve hasn't been the worst skater in any week. I am still Team Backley. - Carrie] Aw.

The Ice Panel's verdict - Karen saves Zaraah, and weeps; Nicky thanks Steve and Susie for their contribution, and saves Zaraah; Jason saves Zaraah, with a nasty little barb; Ruthie says that Steve is wonderful, but she must save Zaraah; and Robin saves Zaraah too. Zaraah cries. Steve and Susie skate off to collect their bouquets. Steve is disappointed, but feels that he "got away with it. Having a prosthetic hip is a big deal...I had to get over that inhibition." He is pleased to have met so many wonderful people. Susie cries. We see a Montage of Steve's best bits. Steve's little girl is crying and crying in the audience. Oh noooo. Steve and Susie do a lap of honour. Next week - an unassisted jump! I literally cannot wait. CANNOT WAIT. Join us then!