Sunday, 15 March 2009

By my actions you should know I'm going solo

Semi-final
TX: 15th March 2009


Last week: Ray did a splits jump that redefined the very idea of skating as we know it! Coleen improved marginally! Zoe did not, and went home, taking approximately 80% of my interest in this year's competition - not to mention Lovely Matt - with her!

This week: everyone is surprised/amazed/excited to be in the semi-final. Coleen is in agony, Donal is trying something difficult, Ray is smug, and Jessica was probably in attendance somewhere.

The show opens with Girls Aloud SUSPENDED OVER THE RINK ON WIRES OMG. Now that's how you start a show, folks. They're singing their new single 'Untouchable', which is one of the best songs on Out Of Control, and as they descend to the ice, they are accompanied by Jayne and Chris doing a routine which is embarrassingly trendy at first, but then becomes amazing. This is, incidentally, the best Girls Aloud have sounded singing live on telly in ages, possibly because Cheryl doesn't actually get to do very much and most of the heavy lifting is left to Nicola and Sarah (who is on point, for once). Wait, I'm supposed to be talking about dancing ON ICE, aren't I? Sorry, Nicky. Anyway, the skating's finished and now Cheryl's singing again, so my interest is diminishing slightly. OH HELL YES: JAYNE IS SUSPENDED ON WIRES AND CHRIS IS DANGLING FROM HER. Fuck, that was amazing. And it explains why they disappeared mid-song. Seriously, there were all those reports of Girls Aloud planning a spectacular performance for this show, and boy did they ever.

Here are Holly and Phil - Holly is sounding hoarse again this week, and Phil is looking very dapper. Phil congratulates Cheryl and Kimberley for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Jayne and Chris skate over to see Holly and Phil, and Chris wonders how he's going to get his breath back. Phil fills us in on this week's required element in order to make time for that to happen: it's a solo spot, which means that the stars have to skate out of the tunnel by themselves and perform at least the first 20 seconds of the routine all alone. It's a test of nerve, apparently. Whatever, it doesn't really seem as daunting as some of the other required elements, though I suppose if you're Coleen you may feel slightly differently. Holly says that 20 seconds feels like a long time, and Jayne agrees: she says the skaters were nervous at first, then they got used to it, but the nerves hit again when the audience started to arrive. Chris says that there's a training frenzy taking place, and everyone's begging for ice time.

Time to welcome the skating stars: Donal and Florentine, resplendent in blue, then Ray and Maria in bright red and OH MY GOD NIPPLES DO NOT WANT. Then Coleen and Stuart in purple and finally Jessica and Pavel in virginal white. The audience are chanting like mad people for Donal. Quite how he became the folk hero of this series, I have no idea. And here are the ice panel: Karen looking confused, Nicky who is apparently "as quick on the uptake as he was on the ice" (you could've fooled me) [unless he is very very slow as a skater. He only seems to whinge about his blades not being right and all his partners quitting after two shows these days, no mention of speed - Carrie], Jason and his heart of stone, Ruthie who knows all about PERFORMANCE, and Head Judge Robin who's in charge of this bunch of losers. Robin explains the solo spot, saying that the skaters need to be confident and assured and able to deliver the steps without their partner while looking like both a star and a finalist. So, no pressure then.

Time for a filler VT: Ruthie says that anybody who says they don't want to win is lying. Nicky says there's more to lose this close to the final. Karen says it's a battle because everyone feels they deserve to be there. Donal never thought he'd make the semi-final and would love to make the final. Robin thinks Donal is the dark horse. Karen would be thrilled if he makes it through because he's put in so many hours. Coleen says that Donal wants it really bad (ooer) and has improved so much. Donal thinks Coleen has such courage. Coleen says she's going to fight as hard as she can. Jason thinks Coleen is a weak link. Nicky believes that Coleen could win because anything is possible. Coleen predicts the other three for the final. Robin says Jessica has been strong in her skating since week one. Jessica thinks that to get to the final would be - wait for it - amazing. Ray thinks she is technically superb. Ruthie thinks Jess is fearless. Jess thinks Ray's her biggest competition. Ray thinks the competition is getting tighter and there's no room for mistakes now. Karen thinks Ray's biggest competition is himself, and he needs to fight those inner demons (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL) to bring out a perfect performance. Donal thinks Ray is a god (don't give him ideas, Donal). Ray hopes to earn his place in the final. Nicky says that everyone has to skate as though it's their last time and give it everything. ON ICE, naturally.

Back in the studio, Phil describes the scoring process vaguely as is the norm on this show, and then it's time for some ads. Exciting, no?

Back from the ads, 18 minutes into the show, and it is FINALLY TIME FOR SOMEONE TO SKATE, namely Donal. He's shocked and surprised to be in the semi-finals - in fact he was pleased to make it to week two, which was the greatest of his expectations. He's terrified at the idea of having to skate out by himself, and considers it the scariest thing he's had to do all series. Donal says that Florentine has always been there to protect him. Awww. Chris says that it's a routine of two halves - it starts off slow, and then it gets fast. Fair enough. Donal says to be in the final would be a dream come true, as he'd love all his hard work to pay off.

Donal skates out by himself, and will be skating to 'Live And Let Die'. "DO-NAL! DO-NAL! DO-NAL!" chants the audience, as though he has an interesting personality or something. Donal starts off leaning on the judges' table, like we haven't seen enough of that already, and then skates off to the centre of the rink and waves his arms about a bit before getting moving. There are spins and jumps, though the first part of the routine looks rather sluggish until Florentine comes out to join him. The editing job that has been done on the song is particularly poor this week. [Particularly the fact that there's a key change that they omit, so the last chord just sounds bizarre. - Carrie] Hmmm, I would say that was about 30% of an exciting performance, but only the middle bit. I could've taken or left the rest, really. Gubba calls it "like James Bond meets Mills and Boon", oh dear. Scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 4.5, Jason 3.5, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 5.0 fo a total of 22.5.

Phil asks Donal why, as an investigative journalist, he is scared of skating in front of a crier, a loon, a bitch, a diva and an actual person qualified to be here. Donal says that it is terrifying, but Florentine has been a rock for him. He hopes it's good enough to get him through. Florentine says she is very proud of him for skating 45 seconds by himself, and he also choreographed their final lift. Chris says that Donal has an amazing story, and that they would never have thought he would've come this far.

Holly's with the judges: Robin thought the intensity was great - it was rough around the edges on the fast part but the slow part was lovely. Robin thinks Donal has put in the most and truly deserves to be here. Jason says that this is the semi-final, and what their partnership proves is that they mask a multitude of sins that the solo work exposes - Donal's arms were like a flailing gibbon and he lacked finesse. Jason didn't think this was Donal's best work, or indeed a semi-final worthy performance. Ruthie interrupts that Donal is a worthy finalist, as though anybody cares what she thinks. The audience booed Jason throughout his entire critique, by the way. Seriously, they've all lost it completely.

Phil tells us that Ray Quim is in search of passion after the break, and if there's a sudden drop in viewing figures at this point, I think we'll all know why.

Back from the ads, and Phil is in the audience with Zoe and Lovely Matt, who are not getting a chance to speak, sadly. "DONAL!" shouts somebody. Good God. After a promo for tickets to the final, it's time for Ray. We relive his split jump from last week, and Ray says he can smell the final, and he just has to go out and fight for it. Ray has a Latin number for this week, and apparently he has done Latin and ballroom dancing all his life, so he is on familiar territory. Ray says that it's all about passion (barf), so he and Maria go to the Sadler's Wells Flamenco festival to look for it, possibly under a seat or maybe in the lost property. Apparently "passion" requires Ray to look even more smug than usual, and I didn't think that was possible.

Ray skates out by himself, looking oily and smug. His routine is to 'Bailamos', and Maria stands in the tunnel leering at him during his solo spot. It's all very odd. Obviously the routine is technically brilliant and incredibly assured blahblahblah. It is also Ray Quim, and therefore near-impossible to watch without a bottle of Pepto-Bismol at hand. I wouldn't be surprised if that's another 30. Only one way to find out, I guess. Score: Karen 5.5, Nicky 6.0, Jason 5.5, Ruthie 5.5, Robin 5.5 for a total of 28.0. Well, that's a relief. Ray tells Phil he's been trying to get out of the zone. Because he is a COMMITTED PERFORMER. Apparently Maria felt the passion while they were out there. Poor Maria. Jayne says that they never think he can get better, and yet he always does.

Holly asks Nicky if his score is a "six on legs" (groan), and Nicky says that they captured the feeling of the dance, and he looks at Ray as he looks at a top ice-dancer. Karen says that every routine from Ray is potentially a six, and that he feels every movement. And then this bit is SO AMAZING: there is a silence while Karen gives Nicky A Look, and Nicky starts giggling, then Karen ROLLS HER EYES and tries to continue, only for Nicky to add a bit more to his entrance essay for the Ray Quinn fan club and Karen shuts him right down and says "you've said your bit, I'm going to say mine now." OWNAGE. That was so brilliant I had to rewind it and watch it again. She continues that it wasn't perfect, there were a few mistakes, but next time it will be perfect. [I was surprised she didn't give him extra marks for the potential of it being perfect in the future. - Carrie] Phil reminds us to vote for Ray when the lines open later in the show. Yeah, no thanks.

Back from the ads, and it's Coleen's turn. Jason was happy with her last week, and thus Coleen was thrilled with him. We see Coleen preparing for flying because that's what everyone's been doing this week to prepare for the final. It looks fun, but apparently Coleen has hurt her back doing it. She is taken to hospital, again, but luckily she has no broken bones. [All this bloody fuss Coleen's making, and she's not even broken anything yet. Suzanne, I seem to recall, broke ribs and her ankle last year, and didn't whine and demand easier required elements. - Carrie] The DoI physio, who's had more screentime this series than Graeme Le Saux, examines Coleen and tries to remove the muscle spasm from around her rib. We are told it could be 50/50 for Coleen, which would be suspenseful if we didn't already know she was fit to skate this week. Coleen says she wants to go out and skate again. She has a couple more spasms during a practice while Sharon the DoI physio watches intently. Coleen gets the all-clear for the show, and is excited because she desperately wants to skate.

She's skating to 'You're Still The One', and even her skate onto the ice is kind of wobbly. Her solo spot is very basic and incredibly slow, and even when Stuart arrives [after about five seconds - Carrie] she's still making a fair few basic errors. It's a bit of a step back from last week, if I'm honest. Coleen's routines do seem to be the same moves every week, pretty much. A hoover here, a spiral there. Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Ruthie 3.5, Robin 3.0 for a total of 16.5. Coleen says that she wasn't worried about the scores this week, she just wanted to come out and skate. She adds that this was her wedding song, and she wanted to do it for her husband, who is blubbing in the audience. Stuart gets emotional and says that they've had a rough couple of weeks, and he knows how much this meant to her. Jayne says that there was a time when they thought it was all over, and Coleen has such courage to get back on the ice.

Nicky says that Coleen is not doing as much as the other skaters - his heart applauds her, but his head says it's time for her to go, and the only thing keeping her in right now is the John Sergeant factor. Oh good, I'm glad it's now got a name, because it really needed further legitimising. Jason says that Coleen is popular, but this is the semi-final and people need to go through based on what they can do on the ice. He thinks it was her most boring performance because it's the same stuff all over again.

And finally: the consistent Jessica. She says that waiting on her own in the tunnel and skating out for 30 seconds without Pavel will be terrifying. Jayne says that they've invented a move for Jessica where one leg is behind Pavel's shoulder and the other is behind his hips, so she'll need to be very flexible. Jessica says she just has to drop her inhibitions and go for it at this point. She would like to get to the final, as it would be a dream come true.

Her routine is to 'Why' by Annie Lennox, and her solo spot is very plaintive. I think I spotted a very slight wobble near the beginning, but it wasn't anything major. The emotional intensity of this routine is very impressive even if it isn't the most exciting one she's ever done. It actually gets quite moving at the end. Awww, that was lovely. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.5, Ruthie 5.5, Robin 5.5 for a total of 26.5 - her best score yet. Jessica says the solo spot is the most terrifying thing she's ever done. Pavel is very proud of her. Chris says that Jessica has really got things together, and this was her best performance. Ruthie says it was a beautiful performance oozing emotion, and she thinks Jessica has just booked a place in the final. Robin thinks it was very classy, but her appeal isn't in the big tricks - her basics are as strong in places, if not stronger, than Ray's. Wow, they really are going all out to make it look like Jessica has any chance whatsoever of beating him, aren't they? [As you know, I tend to have to leave the room when Ray is on screen, but would have LOVED to have seen his face when Robin says that. And let us desperately remind ourselves that the frontrunner tends not to win Dancing on Ice. - Carrie]

Final leaderboard: Ray at the top, Jessica second, Donal third and Coleen fourth. As with pretty much any week this year, you could've predicted the order without even watching the show. [Which I did when working out the skate-off contenders this afternoon. - Carrie]

The lines open, and the chanting for Donal starts again. Honestly, I kind of want him to go home this week just so I don't have to sit through that next week as well. Video recap: Donal's 30% good routine, Ray's Latino pasiĆ³n, Coleen waving her arms about, and Jessica emoting at Pavel.

Phil reads out the numbers one last time, and that's it now until the skate-off at 9.15pm. Join us back here later for that!

The Skate-Off

Earlier! These four couples danced ON ICE for our votes, but by the end of the show one of them will be gone for good - you know the drill.

Phil welcomes us back as the lines are about to close. And then...the lines close. Whew! Drama! Holly invites us to catch up with tonight's drama both on and off the ice.

Donal's solo skating was criticised by Jason for its lack of finesse. Backstage: Donal says that if he's playing James Bond, he expects there to be a villain in the ranks, and that villain is Jason. He's just happy to be here, etc. Ray skated, and Nicky got a little bit overexcited. Ray really enjoyed the routine, and hopes it's enough to get him through to the final. Coleen skated to her wedding song, and Jason found it boring. Backstage, Coleen says she knew it wasn't going to be the best routine of her life, but she just wanted to get out there and do it for the people who'd voted for her, and her family. Jessica's basics were praised by Robin as being potentially better than Ray's, and Ruthie thought she "oozed emotion" and had booked a place in the final. Jessica really wants to be in the final and Pavel thinks she deserves it.

Holly's with the judges, and she asks Robin whose solo work stood out tonight: Robin singles out Ray's solo work for praise, but says that the pair work let him down (interesting, since we didn't hear that earlier - though I'm sure if he had tried to say it Nicky would've launched himself across the table and tried to wash Robin's mouth out with soap). Holly asks Jason who has worked hardest for a place in the final, and Jason replies "the ice panel". Nice try, Jason. However, he considers it roundly as says that there are two very excellent skaters who should go through, and one skater who shouldn't go through. Someone shouts something from the audience, but I can't make out what it is.

Phil has the results *touches ear* and the audience go nuts again. [Did he actually touch his ear? I didn't see it and was upset. - Carrie] In no particular order, the first couple safe and skating into the final is...to be revealed after the break. Oh, Phil, you tease.

The ads are over, and we're back awaiting the results. Phil reminds us that only two couples are safe, while the others face the skate-off. In no particular order, the first couple through is - and seriously, this is the longest, most milked pause I have ever seen on a reality show - Jessica and Pavel! Good for them, they deserve it. Jessica is thrilled, obviously, and Pavel's rather chuffed too. And the second couple safe is...Ray and Maria, obviously. And wow, did he ever not appreciate being made to wait for that. The look on his face while he was waiting, he was about to cut a bitch.

So Donal and Coleen are set to face each other in the skate-off, and Coleen's clearly going home. Backstage with Holly, Donal is grateful to have got this far, but he wants to make the final and dance the Bolero. Coleen is sick with nerves at facing the skate-off, but she considers the fact that she got this far a victory in itself.

Of course, before we have any of that, there's that bloody Search For An Ice Star thing. The final four, lest anyone has forgotten (and everyone almost certainly has, because seriously, is anyone paying attention to this bit unless they have to recap it?), are Hannah and Daniel, Nick Rigby, the Oxford Freestylers, and the Elody. They have a new routine to perform, and Jayne reminds us that the winners will perform at the final and on the tour. For the final part of the contest, they must perform in the studio in front of an invited audience. Jayne says that they need to be wowed by the performances. Everyone tells the camera that it means an awful lot to them to get through. First out is Nick, who is a strong skater but needs more dancing ON ICE in his routine. His routine to 'SexyBack' is very showy and impressive and involves a lot of spinning. Hannah and Daniel are next, and were coached by Karen in rehearsals. Their routine is to 'Reach' and is impressively assured for a couple of kids. The Elody are on next, and have been working with a voice coach on their stamina so that they can skate and sing at the same time. Their performance is obviously more sing-y than skate-y, and I question the logic of them even being here in the first place. And finally the Oxford Freestylers are on, and work with the DoI assistant coach Mark Naylor to add some structure to their routine. Their performance is still rather scrappy around the edges but looks like it would've been the most fun to watch. Now they sit around and wait to see who gets through. Oh, drag it out a bit longer, why don't you. Anyway, time to reveal the result, and the winning act is: the Oxford Freestylers. Woo. Can we get back to the show now, please? [The only noteworthy thing in this section was that Jayne appeared to be dressed as Holly. - Carrie]

Yes we can! Oh, but the Freestylers are in the studio. Phil asks them if they expected to get this far, and the answer is "no, but we're excited". Chris liked their enthusiasm and effort.

Apparently Donal and Coleen are waiting to see which of them gets through to the final, or something? Yeah, I'd forgotten about it in all the excitement too, but of course there's another ad break to get through first.

Back in the studio, and the audience are chanting "COL-LEEN! COL-LEEN! COL-LEEN!" No, just kidding, they're all chanting for Donal. Seriously, cut it out. Anyway, Donal arrives on the ice and does his dull solo bit again, and then Florentine joins him, and then it is over. I can't really get more enthused about it. The audience can, though. DO-NAL! DO-NAL! DO-NAL! Chris thinks it was better than the first time, and Florentine is impressed by what Donal can do by himself, hurr hurr hurr.

Coleen returns to the ice, and looks rather liberated by the fact that she's almost certainly going home tonight, and as a result she performs the routine much better this time around. I mean, it's still a criminally boring routine, but it's a criminally boring routine performed with gusto, which makes it slightly more bearable. Afterwards Coleen says she's had a really great time. Phil asks her if she thinks she's done enough, because she's not out of the competition yet. "Oh, I'm so out," Coleen replies. "We don't even need to waste time, to be honest. Just bring on the flowers!" Heh.

They return to the ice - except Coleen skates back on with Donal and Stuart skates back on with Florentine. Returning to the ice: UR DOIN IT WRONG. Karen says she'll miss Coleen and votes to save Donal. Nicky saves Donal. Jason saves Donal. Coleen saves Donal. And Robin makes it a clean sweep. They're all very nice about Coleen, save for Jason, who isn't especially nasty. Coleen gets her flowers, and Phil offers to show us her best bits. "Were there any?" Coleen replies.

Well, they do involve a lot of falling, and some fairly samey routines, but hey, she's been here long enough to merit a fairly lengthy tribute, which is an achievement in itself. Back in the studio, Coleen pretends that this is the best thing she has ever done, and thanks the coaches and her new BFF Stuart, as well as Chris and Jayne. Jayne says they'll be sorry to see her go, and Chris says it's been a treat to work with her every week. Coleen goes off for her lap of honour.

Next week is the final, where Carrie will have to recap THREE Ray Quinn routines, most likely. Hahahahahaha. [You are fucking kidding me. It's so not going to happen. - Carrie] See you then!

6 comments:

Fiz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiz said...

It would have been lovely if sour grapes Coleen ("every week you alway win the kiss and cry" Nicky Slater, tonight) had gone two weeks ago so Roxy and Zoe could have stayed in , as they deserved too, but as it is, thank God the miserable, talentless cow has gone!

Twilight said...

Wonderful as ever - saves me watching! (and I wholeheartedly agree on not wanting to see Ray's...anything)

I suggest a strong vodka for next week...maybe the whole bottle. DOI can't get much different while drunk, surely?

Livilla said...

OMG KAREN. My love for her really knows no bounds. Her snapping at Nicky really has been a long time coming. You don't stop talking to someone for 11 years because you lost their phone number.

And Ray? I hate you. A lot. Smug git. I'm just relieved Jess didn't get in the skate off again.

Fiz said...

Livilla, I love Karen too. Try and get hold of an old book about them, called "Spice On Ice" - it's available on ABE. It's mainly told from Karen's POV, and what she doesn't say speaks volumes. I do know that at that time Nicky "had found Jesus" (obviously lost Him somewhere from the way he carries on now!) and he split up the partnership and Karen was gutted. As you say, there must be a whole lot more under the bridge. She still doesn't want to talk to him, does she?!

Livilla said...

Fiz, sorry for taking so long to reply and I don't know if you'll see this but I do actually have Spice on Ice. Thank God for Amazon, but I haven't had the chance to read it thoroughly yet. But yeah, I knew about the Jesus thing and it's pricky behaviour to Karen. I feel so bad for her to go through that because of a high and might git.

However, not too bad because then she met her husband (again) on tour with Torvill and Dean so HAHA NICKY. It worked out, I think. :P And no. She definitely doesn't look like she wants to talk to him!