Sunday, 1 March 2009

You can never have enough hats, gloves and shoes. And canes. And chairs.

Tx: Sunday 1st March 2009 - PROPS WEEK!

Pre-show background research: according to Phillip Schofield on Twitter, 50% of the celebrities came a cropper with their props in final rehearsal. Excited? I know I am.

Last week: Ray (blerg) was top of the class, and Coleen was not, but she escaped the skate-off, leaving Jessica and Melinda there instead. Melinda's luck finally ran out, and she went home, but with her head held high, I feel.

This week: FUCKING PROPS WEEK, HELL YEAH. Judging by the rehearsal footage, the props are causing chaos, which is why this is always the best week on this show. There's an alarming-looking shot of Christopher Dean sticking a cane right into Matt Evers's tender bits. Careful with those, Chris! Someone that pretty should not be stripped of the right to procreate. So, who will get the hat and cane, also known as the Gareth Gates Memorial Most Difficult Props Ever, Way Worse Than Chairs Or Tables Or Hula Hoops Or Anything Cumbersome Like That? Cue titles!

Like this show wasn't gay enough already, the opening number is to 'It's Raining Men', complete with day-glo macs and umbrellas. Matt is having a little too much fun, and Fred is showing off his guns. Dan does an impressive looking squat-spin type thing. Jayne nearly drops her umbrella - clearly, this stuff is every bit as hard as it looks. Seriously, it just gets to the point where it defies description, as all the pros hurl themselves along the ice in various kinds of ecstasy. It's the gayest thing I've ever seen, and I've seen High School Musical 2. If that opening number is any indication of how good the rest of the show is going to be, I can't freaking wait. [OMG. Funniest thing ever. As if this show was not gay enough. I am keeping it on my Sky+ for ever. - Carrie]

Here are Holly and Phil, complete with gold umbrellas. Phil's suit is a little more demure than last week (shame!), but doesn't look at all like the one he previewed on Twitter - trick of the light or last minute change, who knows? Holly is in a lilac dress and looking lovely. Jayne and Chris skate over to join Holly and Phil, and Chris is soaking. Clearly his umbrella was not effective. Chris says that the "rain" feels like pins and needles, and confirms that rain does not actually make the ice any slippier than it already is, on the grounds of it being, well, ICE. And speaking as someone who's been skating on open-air rinks a few times, I can attest that rain is generally the least of one's problems. Holly introduces the subject of props: Jayne says that the celebs were a bit overwhelmed at first, but got better as the week went on. Apparently everyone's had their individual problems, and it's going to be a case of seeing how it goes on the night. Chris adds that oftentimes the addition of a prop improves one's skating, because you're focusing on the prop and not overthinking the skating, and perhaps they should start with props from week one. YES, DO THIS PLEASE.

Required element VT: the celebrities must skate with either a chair, a broom, a hat, a cane, a feather boa or an umbrella. They must make full use of the props and incorporate them seamlessly into the performance. [One prop each? WIMPS. - Carrie] Unlike last year, Chris does not get soaked in the VT, though this time he got soaked in the studio, which is better/worse depending on your viewpoint, I guess.

And here are the skaters: Roxanne and Daniel, Ray and Maria (Ray's chest is entirely covered behind a sequinned shirt, THANK GOD), Jessica and Pavel (Jess is in a bizarre sequinned catsuit), Coleen and Stuart, Donal and Florentine, and finally Zoe and Matt (dressed in gold, which is a colour that does not really suit either of them).

After the break: Roxy has a chair-related meltdown, and Ray kicks a hat. Funtimes!

Phil welcomes us back to props night, and introduces the accessory we can't do without: the ice panel. I could do without all of them apart from Robin, personally. Holly greets them and asks Robin what advice he has for the skaters: Robin says hopefully they've been watching previous years so they have an idea of what to do, and adds that they need to make the prop an extension of the partnership, which ought to make it a help rather than a hindrance. Easy for him to say.

Phil reminds us that tonight's props include a walking cane, a trilby and a yellow feather boa, and thanks Jason for letting them steal from his wardrobe. Groan. He then mentions the utterly impenetrable scoring system (seriously: how are the judges' votes combined with the public votes? Given the amount of scrutiny that Strictly was under last year, it seems odd that this show can be so vague). Sixteen minutes into the show, and it's finally time for the competition to start.

Roxanne's up first: we flash back to last week where Ruthie called her "Zoe" (though this is not shown) and says that she just doesn't do it for her. Roxy asserts, quite correctly, that nobody gives a shit what Ruthie thinks and the public vote has kept her in, so in your face, Henshall. In rehearsals, Chris wheels the prop out in a large red box: at first, Roxy thinks it is a fridge, but once the box is opened, she discovers a chair. It is suggested that they choreograph some sexy moves around it, and Roxy is stumped, so Christopher Dean demonstrates what they mean by sexy choreography. I have three words for you: AAAAUUUUUGHHHH MY EYES. [I very nearly vomited. It was not good. - Carrie] Roxy, however, is more concerned that she will have to replicate those moves with her mum watching. Yes, this is truly the first sexually provocative thing you have ever done in the public eye, Roxy. Needless to say, the chair proves problematic in rehearsals, and Roxy is not convinced that all will be right on the night. Roxy wants "and chairs" to be added to the famous phrase about never working with children or animals, which really would give set designers across the world a bit of a headache.

Roxy, Dan and The Chair are dancing to 'Don't Cha', and Roxy does actually look a little bit like Nicole Scherzinger tonight, so that's good. There is some skating around on the chair, then the chair is abandoned while Dan and Roxy skate around the ice, and then they come back to it again. I wouldn't say it's exactly being integrated seamlessly - it looks a bit like they're just taking it in turns to have a sit down, though there is a good bit at the end where Roxy lies on the chair and Dan spins her by her ankles and then they let the chair slide out from underneath her and keep going into a float spin. [I laughed a lot at the attempt at them acting some kind of sexual relationship. - Carrie] Not bad, not great, let's have a look at the scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 4.0, Ruthie 4.0, Robin 4.5 for a total of 21.0, Roxy's best score by far. (Incidentally, I went onto Wikipedia to see how far apart this was from her other scores, and somebody is updating it in real time. I was about to point out how sad and pathetic that is, but then I realised that I am sitting here writing an exhaustive blog of everything in more-or-less real time, so I am in absolutely no position to be pointing fingers. I am, however, already spoiled for Ray's score.)

Roxy is ecstatic, as you might expect. She loved this routine - she was going to say that she wanted to do it again, but then realises that would mean she'd be in the skate-off, so she decides against it. Phil asks if she felt sexy, and Roxanne spouts something about being an actress and having to get into character because normally she just doesn't feel sexy and all and PULL THE OTHER ONE, LADY. Jayne and Chris thought she was sexy, and Chris is embarrassed that his sexy training footage made it onto the screen. [SUCH a lie. - Carrie] Phil throws to Holly and the judges. Robin says what was nice was that it wasn't contrived - he thought that she delivered herself, and it was a great partnership - a fun, complete package. Ruthie says, very patronising, that it was better and not wooden like the chair. There is a bit of a pause while everyone realises that Ruthie is a total stealth mean girl, and Roxanne breaks it by saying "thanks, Karen. Sorry: Ruthie!" And, HA! Seriously, it takes a second for Ruthie to realise that she has just been royally burned, and man, is it ever awesome to watch the recognition float over her face. And nice timing there from Roxanne, too: I'm not generally a fan of backchat, but that was perfectly pitched. Ruthie is unimpressed and Daniel puts his hand over Roxy's mouth, and Ruthie snappily adds that Roxanne needs to make more of her partnership with Daniel in future, and give "less of the 'me', more of the 'we'." Phil checks, "that was a accident, wasn't it?" Roxy lies through her teeth ("Absolutely.") while the camera cuts to Ruthie rolling her eyes most discontentedly. Fight! Fight! Fight! Oh Roxy, if you are in the skate-off tonight, you will so not be getting saved by Ruthie.

Next up, Ray Quim. Ray thinks last week's score was amazing, but he crabs about how he still has "that 0.5 to go to please Jason". Oh cram it, you plastic douchebag: you can't seriously expect me to feel sorry for you not being able to get 30.0 every week. Ray's prop is a trilby, and while I'm wondering: didn't everyone have two props last year? Ray struggles to incorporate the hat into the routine: "the hat literally (sic) has a brain of its own", he says. Judging by his inability to correctly use the world 'literally', the hat may be the only one. Maria says the hat is very light and thus easy to drop, which makes it tricky. Apparently Ray's big problem is being able to throw the hat to Maria, because he throws like a girl. Or something less sexist. [I laughed at Ian Hyland's TV column in the News of the World this week, thinking up responses for "Is there anything that Ray can't do?" He suggested, "Humility? High shelves?" - Carrie]

They are skating to 'Have You Met Miss Jones?' (great, Ray and swing music, like I haven't had enough of that in my life already). It's well-skated as always, though there's a bit that looks like a slip to me quite early in the routine. He throws the hat to Maria, but it goes wide and slips out of her fingertips and falls onto the ice. Schadenfreude, making the world a better place to be! Most of the hat-related choreography seems to relate to taking it off and putting it back on again. I am unimpressed. But the skating is very good, as you would expect. Chris Fountain is in the audience, sporting a bitchface that wouldn't look out of place on Ruthie Henshall.

Scores: Karen 5.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 5.5, Robin 5.5 for a total of 26.0. Ray throws the hat behind him in mock disgust, claiming that he overanalysed the throw (as opposed to "just couldn't do it", because heaven forfend he might actually not be able to do something on this show). Ray insists the hat has a mind of its own, and that if you flick it the wrong way, or it catches the wind, it'll go off. Phil points out that the studio is, in fact, devoid of wind, though Ray does not seem to acknowledge this. He wants to do it again, and I hope he has to too. Chris says that it went well in rehearsals, but sometimes things go wrong on the night. He also points out that Ray did slip in the back crossover like I thought he did, but applauds him for keeping control. Judges: Jason thinks this should've been a week for Ray to excel, and he adds that Ray cut a lot of the tricks short, so he was disappointed. Boo, hiss, etc. Karen thinks they were watching something entirely different, because she has seen that performance faultless and seamless. Yes, Karen, but not just now, which was the performance you were supposed to be judging. Jason says much the same thing, and Karen insists on being allowed to finish, saying the skating was faultless, which Chris just pointed out is in fact not true. [And Karen even says that there were a couple of trips. Karen Barber = now completely useless. - Carrie] Jason, always keen to add insult to injury, butts in that Ray's hat was on backwards for most of the performance, which is not acceptable either. Robin says that he almost went for a 5.0 because there were some flaws in the skating but went for a 5.5 because of the great presentation. He says that the trip made the skating not faultless (take that, Karen!) and after Maria failed to catch the hat, Ray was wearing it backwards for the second half of the routine. "How many people noticed that?" asks Karen. "We did - that's why we're here!" retorts Robin, thereby demonstrating why he is the best head judge ever. [I love that man more every week. - Carrie]

Coming up: Coleen cries. Oh joy.

Back from the ads, and Phil is standing behind the judges with a prop of his own: a giant inflatable hammer, which he whacks Jason on the head with. "Phillip!" chastises Jason. The hammer also appears to have something stuck to it, which looks like ice. Phil wonders who put that there, perhaps it was Karen? WHACK! Hee. And then he whacks the other three for good measure. Phil has the best job in the world.

Next up: Jess and Pavel. She was second on the leaderboard last week, but in the skateoff after the public vote. Jess says it was awful having to skate against Melinda, because the two of them were so close. She says that you feel "unpopular" being in the skateoff - well, yes. Their prop is an umbrella, and it is a bit of an obstacle in rehearsals. Incidentally, their rehearsal footage is soundtracked by Betty Boo's 'Where Are You Baby?' and I really hope that this is what they're actually skating to. Jess is worried about taking someone's eye out with the brolly. We see them in final rehearsals (where they appear to be dancing to 'Umbrella', sigh) and taking a tumble, though Jess is hoping that it will be "bad rehearsal, good show".

They are indeed skating to 'Umbrella'. Boo, how obvious, etc. They probably have the easiest prop so far to integrate into a moving routine, and they're making a good job of it - there's a lovely bit where Jess sits on the umbrella while Pavel spins her round. There's a series of jumps where she lands awkwardly and it looks ugly for a few seconds, but they recover well. Other than that, it's a good routine, and no trips, and the best incorporation of a prop thus far. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 4.0, Ruthie 5.0, Robin 5.0 for a total of 23.5. Jessica is pleased not to have fallen, after falling twice in rehearsals this afternoon. She says she had fun tonight, and Pavel thinks it was flawless. Phil then narks on Jessica for leaving the umbrella at home one day during rehearsals and leaving Pavel waiting while she went back to get it. Heh. Jayne congratulates Jessica for picking herself back up after last week's skate-off, and Chris says they can use her as a mirrorball later, which would've been funnier had he not clearly been itching to say it for the past three minutes. Holly's with the judges: Nicky thought it was fun and cute, but he didn't think the umbrella brought the magic in the way it did for Duncan James. [Who is A MAN. Thus it is HARDER FOR HIM TO SKATE. ON ICE. - Carrie] Jason says it was ironic that the umbrella didn't stop her from giving a wet performance - her leg lines let her down, and the overall performance was unexciting. Robin says the skating was much cleaner this week, and she shouldn't have been in the skateoff last week. The flyaway waltz lifts are about the landings, he adds, and if she's going to do the fancy tricks, she needs to make sure she's shown how to land properly. He also says that she needs to watch what she's doing with the spare hand.

Midway scoreboard: Ray top, Jessica second, Roxanne third.

Coleen is next. In her VT, she says that her legs turn to jelly when the music starts. Unfortunate, for a former singer. Coleen is amazed that the public is saving her, and wishes she could have the confidence in her that the public seems to have. I'm not sure it's about confidence, but whatev. Coleen is worried that now she only has one nerve left, she has props to add into the equation. You and everyone else, love: it's not like you're being picked on. Her song this week is 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' and the clip we saw earlier that looked like crying now appears to just be extreme cringing. The boa proves problematic in rehearsals (I need a macro for this) - there's a bit where she has to flick the boa in Stuart's face, but she has a tendency to swing it too hard and hurt him. Burlesque artist Annette Betty is called in to help Coleen work that boa. Apparently the secret of the Art of Boa, per Annette, is "sultriness, mystery, showgirl, va-va-voom". Wow, she's almost as helpful as Brian Friedman! In rehearsals, the boa falls around Coleen's ankles and trips her up, prompting the inevitable "boa constrictor" joke, which scuppers my plans for a "good old Coleen! She won't let that boa constrict 'er!" gag should the routine go well tonight. Dammit. Coleen is now "dying" of nerves and wants to go home.

The routine is agonisingly slow, though I suppose some credit to Coleen for at least trying to look like she's enjoying it. Stuart is still doing far too much of the work, though. There are now feathers all over the ice, heh. There's an impressive splits-lift sort of thing where Coleen has one leg over Stuart's shoulder. And then it's over, with no casualties. Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 2.5, Ruthie 3.5, Robin 3.0 for a total of 16.5. Coleen says that if the boa were alive she'd kill it and eat it. Coleen says that her lack of confidence doesn't help her, but she's not sure anything will at this stage. Stuart, bless his gallant little heart, says he couldn't tell she was nervous at all. Chris says he thinks Coleen wanted to strangle the boa with him in it. Kinky! We go to Jason with the low score: he says it was particularly painful for him to watch, with little use of the prop aside from wearing it, which wasn't done well. He doesn't think Coleen is upping her game enough. Nicky disagrees: he saw Coleen "giving it some" out there - he thought she was selling it and was fun and entertaining. He thought she was more relaxed and better this week. Coleen tells Jason that she's not having a go at him because she thinks he's right, but it's not a question of being the best, but trying your best. Jason isn't letting that fly, of course: he can't mark her for effort (though some of the other judges would disagree, I'm sure) and she needs to do something with her prop to incorporate it properly into her routine. Boo, hiss, etc. Phil promises to go over there with the mallet during the break.

Break teaser: Donal does a striptease down to his pants to show us one hell of an angry purple bruise. NSFL!

Oh dear God, Justin Lee Collins is getting a chat show. Oh, it's okay, it'll be on ITV2. That's easily avoidable.

Back from the break: Phil is away from his mallet, but in the audience with Melinda. She says it's much easier to be sat there than out skating, but her heart is racing for everyone who's still there. Chris Fountain thinks the standard is fantastic this year, but slips in a dig about how they've got it easy because they didn't have to contend with two props like he did. Yes, and they also doesn't have to contend with your beer gut, either. Some people are just born lucky, aren't they? And then: Fern! She is supporting Coleen, and also has an eye on Donal. She liked the shot of him in his pants. Steady on, Fern. And then Fern's daughter Winnie twats Phil with the inflatable hammer. Hee!

Next, one of the most improved skaters so far (says Phil): Donal. He thinks last week was his best skate, and it was certainly the one he most enjoyed. Donal's prop is a broom, which he says requires a lot of work to get comfortable with. Donal has ideas for the choreography, and wants to do a pencil lift with it. He's getting very into it, bless him. Then we see the angry bruise on his arse again. Fern is enjoying it, I'm sure - me, not so much.

They're skating to 'I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues'. Donal starts by skating over the broom and then kicking it up to catch it. Fancy! There's some good incorporation of the broom into the routine, and I think it is true that Donal's skating has, by and large, improved a lot since the start of the series. The audience are chanting for him at the end. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 5.0, Jason 4.5, Ruthie 4.5, Robin 5.0 for a total of 23.0 - Donal's highest score yet. Donal tells us that the broom is called Jean-Claude. Phil: "I guess we should talk about your leg - I guess that's why they call it the bruise." Oh, Phil. That one was beneath you. Donal says that everyone is skating with bruises and pains, his is just a little bit bigger. Chris says that it was a great routine. Judges: Robin found it "charming", and "lovely to watch", with a great connection between "the three of you". He loved the simplicity of it, and unlike Ruthie, he doesn't intend that as a backhander. Speaking of which, Ruthie thinks Donal improves every week - he can work on his deportment, but she looks forward to his performances. Karen says that Donal works incredibly hard.

And now to our final skater of the evening: it's Zoe. She got 5.0s last week for her routine, and was very pleased. Her prop is unveiled - sparkly gold canes. Zoe loves them. There are the predictable upsets in training, including the crotch-bruising we saw earlier, and Zoe is struggling to twirl the cane like a baton. So Zoe and Matt visit some adorable wee majorettes for tips. Zoe has learned the pivotal tip of not dropping it.

They are skating to 'The Boy Does Nothing' - AWESOME. Zoe twirls her baton. Matt has an amazing quiff. The skating and the routine are great, the hatchet editing job done on the song is not. There's a bit where Matt is whirling Zoe around by the cane and Zoe appears to be shaking her head at him, but I don't know if that's part of the "acting" or not. I'm fairly certain it's "acting", because she doesn't appear to be in any immediate peril, and she's had a big smile on the rest of the time. That was a lot of fun - Zoe's actually my favourite skater to watch this year. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 5.0, Ruthie 6.0, Robin 5.0 for a total of 25.5. Zoe freaks when the six is unveiled, Matt looks like he literally cannot believe it - it's awesome. Phil says she looked like she was loving it, and Zoe confirms that she did. She was wearing her gold Blue Peter badge on her outfit, which brought her good luck. Matt says she works incredibly hard, day in day out. Jayne says that Zoe put so much effort into it and used the cane beautifully.

To the judges, and Ruthie, who says that a brilliant performance is when somebody makes her feel, and she was excited the whole way through that, and couldn't stop smiling. Ruthie thinks Zoe is a contender. Nicky thinks Zoe's energy is superb, but that there were timing issues and the skating was staccato. He thinks Donal did better with the prop, and Zoe agrees, and says that Donal was great. Matt beams at Zoe.

Leaderboard: Ray and Maria in first, Zoe and Matt second by just half a point, Jessica and Pavel third, Donal and Florentine fourth, Roxanne and Daniel fifth and Coleen and Stuart sixth. Interesting, that on a week where several people really upped their game, although the scores went up, the actual placings on the leaderboard weren't really affected.

And the lines are open! Time for a recap: Roxanne being embarrassed by having to ACT SCHMEXY, Ray and Maria and That Darned Hat (and snerk, the VT includes his trip, so someone on this show obviously likes him about as much as I do), Jessica and Pavel and their umbarella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh, Coleen getting boa-tied, Donal refusing to be given the brush-off, and Zoe and Matt caning it. Oh props week, what ample opportunity for punning you provide.

And that's it! Someone must go home later, but who will it be?

The Skate-Off

You know the drill by now - one of these six couples must leave the ice for good. My dramatic tension, let me show you it.

Phil informs us that the lines will be closing in a manner of seconds, and Holly informs us that soon the props will be going back into the cupboard for good. (Boo!)

Recap of tonight, now with Added Backstage Footage: Roxanne delivered herself, said Robin, though Ruthie thought she should do less of that and engage more with Daniel. Roxanne was over the moon with her score, and hopes the audience will stick with her and keep voting. Ray didn't dazzle Jason this week, though Karen still thought he was wonderful. Robin disagreed. Ray is disappointed with himself because he is a perfectionist. He has lipstick on his cheek. Jessica's skating was cleaner this week according to Robin, but Jason found her performance wet. Jessica is happy because she didn't fall over. Coleen caused Jason pain and didn't use her prop properly (try saying that six times quickly), while Nicky thought she had improved this week. Coleen reminds us that she has no confidence (you don't say!) and that the criticism knocks her down further, but she was bolstered by Nicky's kind words. Robin found Donal charming, and Ruthie thought the whole thing was gorgeous. Donal is very proud of his score, and thanks Florentine for getting him up to that standard. Ruthie gave Zoe a 6.0 and was very excited by her performance and thinks Zoe is a contender. Zoe thinks her badge worked a treat to get her that score from Ruthie.

Holly's with the judges: Nicky thinks Donal made the best use of his prop tonight, and was consistent throughout. Robin thought Coleen struggled, even though she is A LOVELY PERSON. Jason thinks Donal and Zoe deserve to sail through to next week, while the others had lots of "missed propportunities". OH DEAR.

It's time for the results. *touches ear* The following couples are safe: Jessica and Pavel, Ray and Maria, Coleen and Stuart. The audience are chanting for Donal, but to no avail, for the fourth one will be revealed after the break.

Back from the ads, and the last couple through is: Donal and Florentine. Wow, that second place spot in the leaderboard is a real bastard, isn't it?

Backstage: Zoe says there are only six people left and it could've been anyone in this position. If it ends now, it ends, she says. Roxanne says this is her opportunity to engage with Daniel like Ruthie wanted her to.

Phil stumbles over his words introducing the bit no one wants to see: the search for the next ice-dancing star. Last week we saw some of the most exciting ice-dancing acts in the UK, this week we are seeing...more, I guess? We see lots of people who are very excited at the prospect of meeting-slash-emulating Torvill and Dean. There's a percussion band whose act does not involve any actual skating. Chris advises them to use the skates as percussive instruments. They go through. Paul and Andy from Hampshire perform a comedy routine, and go through. A 20-year-old figure skater with a very high voice goes through, as does a small child. A performance troupe do 'Thriller' on ice, and Chris admires their effort, but thinks the routine needs more skating. A young girl who is a very good skater doesn't go through because she is not entertaining enough. A girl with a green face also does not get through. More people do not get through. This is so tedious. And then there's a singing, guitar-plying unicyclist ON ICE. Jayne does not think it's what they're looking for, Chris thinks he should incorporate it with some skaters. He gets through, anyway. Now there is tension when two young pairs skaters go head to head. Brother and sister combo Hannah and Daniel go first with a Grease-themed routine. They go through. Daniella and Ethan are the other pair, and they appear to be dancing to the Chipmunks. Chris tells Ethan to smile more. They go through to the next round too. They are very happy. Next week: the 20 acts on the shortlist return, and are whittled down to four finalists. I cannot contain myself, I tell you.

Back in the studio, Chris says it was very difficult to be making those decisions to turn people away. Jayne says there were a few people they didn't agree on, but she made Chris think he was the decision maker even when he wasn't. Jayne says that all the people she said no to cried. I could make a lot of jokes here, but I like Jayne, so I won't.

Then the show remembers that Zoe and Roxanne are waiting to learn their fate, but not before we go to an ad break. Tsk.

First to skate for survival are Roxanne and Daniel. Their routine is much the same as it was the first time around, since there wasn't really much wrong with it that needed fixing. Roxanne's landing coming out of the final spin is awkward, though - it looks like she hits the ice too soon, and she ends up facing the wrong way, and has to look around a little dizzily to locate the camera. [But it is OK! As we learnt last year with Chris Fountain toppling in the Cry Me A River routine, it is an end position, and it does not matter what you do with them! - Carrie] Roxanne says she took what the judges said on board and tried to develop more chemistry with Dan. Jayne thinks it was a great performance with lots of personality.

Then there are Zoe and Matt. The head-shaking thing is still present at the same place, so it obviously was intentional. Again, it's pretty much the same standard that it was before, because it was already a very good performance, though obviously it's good that nothing got noticeably worse about it. Zoe loved doing the routine, and hopes it enough. She thought Roxy was fab. Matt says it's really hard to go out and do a skate-off, even for the pros. Chris says that both girls did a great performance, and he wouldn't like to have to make the decision. Phil adds that while the cameras were off earlier, Zoe fell over on the ice. D'oh! She's okay, though. And really, while the cameras are off is the best time for something like that to happen.

Time for the judges to decide: Karen thinks they were both great performances, but votes to save Zoe. Nicky thinks Roxanne was better this time, but saves Zoe. Jason says it was one of the closest skate-offs they've had, but votes to save Zoe. Ruthie, of course, votes for Zoe, and Robin makes it a clean sweep, but commends Roxanne for giving her best performance. Zoe returns next week!

Roxanne says that being on the show has been a treat, and she can't believe she made it this far - she thanks the voters for letting her get as far as week eight. Dan says that Roxanne's been lots of fun to work with. Roxanne says she couldn't have done it without Dan, and wouldn't have wanted to share the experience with anyone else. Awwww.

Highlights reel: Roxanne falls over a lot, and is frantically trying to get fit. There was gradual, if slow, improvement, and that abortive headbanger that caused so much trouble. And then the final week, with the chair, and a far better performance that sadly proved to be her swansong.

Roxanne thanks Jayne and Chris for all their help, and she can't wait for the tour. Next Sunday, Carrie will be here as the skaters battle for a place in the semi-final. Which means that Carrie will probably be the one recapping the final, which is likely to be about one-third Ray Quinn, which might make for a very short recap. See you all next week!

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