Sunday, 7 March 2010

Zoned out

Movies Week: 7th March 2010

Let's look on the bright side: movies week on Dancing On Ice can't be nearly as painful as movies week on The X Factor, can it? At least I hope it can't.

Last week! Danny had a massive breakthrough, of the kind that stops you from scoring 17.0 for the eighty-ninth week in a row. Mikey, on the other hand, FELL OVER AND GOT A BOO-BOO and so everyone was informed in no uncertain terms that if we didn't vote for him we might as well shove a puppy into a liquidiser. And poor not-famous Emily was finally put out of her misery, fractionally less not-famous than when she began the competition, and a marginally better skater, so hurrah for that. The show honours her memory, by the way, by doing a freeze-frame on her making some kind of squawking bird face and showing lots of shots of her actually-famous mum waving her fist at Jason. It's as good a capsule of her time on the show as you're likely to get in ten seconds, I suppose.

This week, it's stock-footage week! Oh, sorry, that should be "movies week", illustrated lazily by some curtains opening and some popcorn being shovelled. Neither of these events are ON ICE, so I don't see why I should care. Mikey gets to be the MGM lion, and then we're "treated" to a mock cinematic trailer, complete with mock Don LaFontaine voiceover, reminding us of the gender imbalance that we're left with. It's not the most original parody I've seen, but I'll take anything over the faux-Tom Baker voiceover guy who does this sort of shit on The X Factor.

The elaborate film-style set-up continues after the credits, where we're "backstage" at this week's pro dance of 'Luck Be A Lady'. Given that out of the six remaining celebrities, four are male and only two are female, I think this is a very apt choice of song. They've even got a swanky old-cinema style "Dancing On Ice at the movies" lit-up sign above the ice entrance. Fair play to the production team for really committing to this week's theme, I guess. Lord knows what they've got up their sleeves for props week. The guys are all in suits and bowler hats, and the girls are all in swanky, glittery dresses, and the whole thing is very vintage Hollywood, except for the part where it is ON ICE, of course.

After that, we have Holly and Phil. Phil's in a dinner suit complete with dickie-bow, while Holly's in a gorgeous strapless red dress. They get the audience to applaud the opening number, and summon Jayne and Chris over to join them. Holly asks if we're due for a comedy, thriller, or a tragedy tonight. Do films generally get classed as "tragedies"? I thought that was more a theatre sort of genre. Chris says that he thinks there may be a few Oscars given out tonight and...I just worked out why tonight is movies week. Man, I am slow.

This week's required element is a solo spin which, we are informed, involves the celebrity spinning on one foot with the other raised OFF THE ICE. They may not be assisted from their partner, and the spin must be clean and with a minimum of two revolutions. Jayne says everyone's managed to do it at least once during rehearsals, though with the nerves, tonight may be a different story. Chris adds that while two revolutions has been set as the minimum, some celebs may be trying for three or even four.

Our skating stars make their way onto the ice: Danny and Frankie are first, he in a suit, she straight from the set of the I Dream Of Jeannie movie. They pose for fake paparazzi, and Frankie hams it up as you knew she would. [Frankie is increasingly slappable this series. More so even than when she was skating with Chris THE PIE-MAN Fountain. - Carrie] It's the same routine for everyone, by the way - they all do a bit of paparazzi schtick, and they're all wearing their best red carpet duds rather than their outfits for their routines. Danniella and Matthew are next, followed by Mikey and Melanie, then Gary and Maria, then Kieron and Brianne, and finally Hayley and Daniel. Hayley has to actually hold up the ends of her skirt as she skates on, because it seems just long enough to potentially catch her blades and cause her to eat it, big time, which would not be the best entrance.

Time for our first ad break. I'm watching this on ITV Player, so I can't even skip the buggers. In fact, because it's malfunctioning, I've actually had to watch them twice. Suddenly it's much clearer to me how ITV turned a profit last year.

Back on the ice, Phil and Holly introduce the ice panel, during which Nicky is likened to Forrest Gump, which feels like the most inspired comparison ever made on this show. There's a "nobody puts Baby in a corner" gag for Bunto, and Robin is the "Lord of the Rink". Groan.

Holly asks Robin who needs to stand out, and Robin needlessly replies that they all do. He tells her that where the required element is concerned, it should be quality over quantity, and that he doesn't care how many spins people do if they don't do them correctly. The performances, similarly, must be full of character. Jason, who has come tonight dressed as Miles Edgeworth from the Ace Attorney series and will therefore henceforth be referred to as such, says that because these are inspired by iconic films, he wants to see the performances capture the essence of the characters they're portraying. Holly asks him which character he's playing tonight, trying to smother her laughter. Edgeworth says that he is his own character, "not to be replicated." "OBJECTION!" screams Capcom's legal department.

Phil runs through the first few pages of Reality Show Voting for Dummies and we throw to Danny and Frankie. Last week he scored 22.0, which is definitely not 17.0, which meant that he was very happy and Frankie did not have to make her angry weasel face. In rehearsals, he says that while that was all great, this is a brand new week and they have lots of hard work to do. He recognises his music this week instantly as the theme from Rocky, and Jayne tells us that he's going to have to be all butch and that. However, after weeks of not being balletic enough, Danny is now too balletic, and Frankie keeps having to tell him off for being too elegant, which must be frying his tiny little mind. Frankie tells him that he punches like a girl, and he's sent to see fitness trainer Jack Young - his own dad. Danny does some boxing training in a ridiculous flat cap, and says that he hopes he can deliver a knockout performance. See what he did there?

We return to a terrifying close-up of Danny glaring right into the camera, before he skates out throwing a few punches, and Frankie follows him out to pull his robe off and leave Danny entirely topless for the rest of the routine. I guess someone was really keen to end up on Gay Spy this week. FleshWatch: Danny has a horrible tattoo across his shoulders. Bleurgh. He does manage the potentially tricky side of being convincing as a boxer while also being ON ICE (I'm guessing Rocky On Ice would be up there with Carrie: The Musical in terms of terrible production ideas), and he executes his required element cleanly, though it is a little juddery. He bench presses Frankie a bit at the end, and ends in a traditional boxing victory pose. His dad is in the audience, looking proud. Scores: 4.5 across the board for a total of 22.5. Danny's got his robe back on, thankfully. He tells Phil about being surprised to be asked to perform topless, but he did actor stuff and got into character for the role and enjoyed it. Jayne thought it was a great performance, and Chris is pleased that he managed three spins. Holly warns Emma to be a professional and discuss the footwork: Emma says that he had more confidence this week which made his lifts stronger and his focus better, and she thinks he's now a contender. Edgeworth admits to having been distracted by Danny's "incredible torso", and Bunto laughs at him so much that he ends up giggling himself and not being able to get his words out. Bunto's hair is kind of mad this week, by the way. Frankie suggests that Danny skate topless every week from now on. Phil implores us to vote for Danny if we want to see more of him, "though I'm not sure there's much more that you can see". Heh.

Back from the ads, and there's more "hilarious" business with Phil and Holly posing as a couple arriving late for a screening and sneaking into the seats in the middle of the row, complete with giant box of popcorn. Holly steals some of Phil's popcorn, and he slaps her hand a little too vigorously, if you ask me. Poor Holly. Danniella and Matt are next, and of course her VT reminds us that last week she was second on the leaderboard and was thrust unjustly into the skate-off. Boo! Danniella is very happy to still be here, and even more ecstatic that her routine for this week is to 'Summer Nights' from Grease, because she's always wanted to play Sandy and never got the chance to. However, Danniella struggles in rehearsals because she's focusing too hard on learning the steps, which means her performance is suffering, and so she and Matt go to her alma mater, the Sylvia Young Theatre School, where the kids just happen to be doing a Grease workshop with Sylvia herself. [All of the people in this VT also need to be slapped. I'm grouchy this weekend, aren't I? - Carrie] The girls from the school tell Danniella how to play Sandy, which must be quite galling for a professional actress, but Danniella's game and takes it in the made-for-TV spirit that it needs. Sylvia advises Danniella to just lose herself in the character. Danniella hopes she can do her old school justice.

They skate out, and begin their routine. It's pretty cute, and Danniella's playing it nicely prim, but that means she doesn't really get the chance to sell it like she has done in the past with routines like 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. However, there are some nice moves, like her suspending herself around Matt's waist while they both mime swimming, though her solo spin right at the end doesn't quite come off, and she only manages about 1.5 rotations. Adam Woodyatt is in the audience, clapping wildly for her. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.5, Edgeworth 4.0, Emma 4.0, Robin 4.0 for a total of 19.5. Danniella's a bit breathless, and focused on her mistakes. She couldn't get her leg out of the float spin because she couldn't see, and she admits that it's getting harder every week. Jayne says that some people are more suited to certain elements, but she thought Danniella was a great Sandy. Karen says that Danniella committed to the character and had good footwork, though her marks were brought down by an incomplete element and the aforementioned error in the float spin. Robin thought she would be tentative and not delivering her usual confidence, and says that it's not that her scores are going down, just that the difficulty level is going up. Okay then. He tells her "don't give up on yourself. Yet." Which sounds rather ominous. Bunto tells her that she did something every little girl dreams of - skating, while wearing pink. No, really, that's what she said. Nutter. [I was embarrassed for her. If she'd said "playing Sandy in Grease", that would have at least made more sense, because every girl wants to do that. At least until she turns 16 or so and realises Rizzo is much better. - Carrie] She misses Danniella's spark, and doesn't want her to let last week put her off. Danniella says last week was hard, and she could hear her little girl crying when she was in the skate-off. That sound just then was my heart breaking, by the way.

Coming up: Gary is not a trained dancer. Who knew?

We return, and Phil says that last week was a scary movie for Mikey Graham. Mikey says that all week he'd been psyching himself up that he had to "do good". So presumably after the show he went out to pick up some litter and enrol as a Police Community Support Officer. This week has been busy for Mikey, as he's been doing his day job and promoting Boyzone's new single. He was surprised by Phil and Holly on This Morning playing his music for this week for him, which turns out to be Ronan Keating's 'When You Say Nothing At All', from Notting Hill. I bet you anything the person who picked this originally thought it was actually a Boyzone record because, really, who can tell the difference? Anyway, Ronan thinks it's hilarious, and begs everyone at home to vote for Mikey because "if he goes out to my song, I'll never hear the end of it". Chris says that Mikey's got a lot on this week, as he's feeling a bit tender on top of everything. Mel says that the pressure's on because they've only had two days of training this week.

Their routine is pleasant enough, but a bit uninspiring. I find it rather telling that the biggest cheer of the whole thing comes from an amazing solo spin by Melanie, during which Mikey is just skating around her in a broad circle. Mikey's own solo spin comes in right at the end, and he manages to complete his rotations fairly smoothly. Gubba tells us that Mikey also sang in "the Irish Eurovision Song Contest" this week and came second. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 4.0, Edgeworth 3.5, Emma 4.0, Robin 3.5 for a total of 19.0. Mikey is happy with that score, given his busy week. He says that last week was tough due to the fall and the low score, but he's climbing back up this week. He adds that it was oddly comforting to skate to one of Ronan's songs because he's heard it so often. Jayne thinks he did well, and might as well just turn up next week without any practice. Nicky says that they got an extra 0.5 from him for the spin at the end, and that their partnership is good, but he wants to see better skating, because he's seen Mikey do better than he's doing now. Karen says the spin was very strong, but she still sees nerves in his legs. She thinks next week will be better. Edgeworth thought it was an all right performance, but is not happy that Mikey is still looking down at the ice during week nine, and thought he lacked interaction with Mel during what should have been a romantic piece. Phil advises Mikey to take his shirt off next week.

Next: ugh. Gary Lucy. Last week he was sloppy, and was given bizarre Winter Olympic-themed choreography. This week he's dancing to 'You Never Can Tell' from Pulp Fiction. It turns out that Gary cannot do the twist, presumably because it is entirely beneath him, like everything else he's been asked to do on this show. Gary: "I've never trained as a dancer." Everyone else in the entire universe: "IT'S THE FUCKING TWIST, SHITHEAD, WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON?" Jayne and Chris are amazed that he can't do it. Gary calls on his "friend", choreographer Kevin Adams, for assistance. I use inverted commas there because I think we all know that having a choreographer for a friend is entirely beneath Gary, right? Kevin reiterates that Gary does not dance, ON ICE or otherwise.

Gary's dancing is remarkably dad-like throughout the routine (possibly because he is a father and has a daughter who will be in the audience waving an I HEART MY DADDY card at the camera like the good little plot accessory that she is). I don't get to see his required element properly, because ITV Player is a useless fucking cunt-sniffing piece of shit. And that's on a good day. It's not included in the replay either. What the hell is the replay for, if not that? Eventually I manage to scroll it back to that part of the programme, and he fucks it up, barely even making one rotation. As predicted, there's his daughter in the audience. Scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 5.0, Edgeworth 3.0, Bunto and Robin 4.0 for a total of 20.5. Gary really enjoyed this routine and it brought him out of his shell. He laments that his spin didn't work, and says that he tried it again when the cameras weren't on him and it worked perfectly then, and he wishes he could have another go at it. Me too: preferably in the skate-off. He reiterates once more that he is not a natural dancer. Yawn. Chris says that he thought everyone was born being able to twist, but Gary proved him wrong. Heh. He was amazed that he messed the spin up, because he'd been doing it right all week, and if he'd got it right, it would've been fives across the board. "Not from [Edgeworth], though," Gary says snottily. On cue, Holly's with the judges, and Nicky and Edgeworth are bickering. Edgeworth says it's because of their wildly differing scores, and Holly's all, "yes, nimrod, I get that, but why are your scores so different?" At which point there's silence, because this is pointless drama for the sake of pointless drama. Eventually Nicky explains that he lost 0.5 for the spin, but he loved it because the skating was of such high quality, and he moves out OVER THE ICE. Edgeworth throws his two penn'orth in and says that there were a lot of timing issues - that Gary started off very well, and then he lost it. This mixture of compliments and criticism confuses the audience, who do not know whether to boo or cheer. Robin, as "head chairperson" (thanks, Holly!) is asked who's right, and he says, "Both of them, which is why I came out in the middle with a 4.0." Heh. He agrees with Edgeworth that the characterisation fluctuated, but agrees with Nicky that the skating was generally excellent. Edgeworth screams over and over again that it was dull. Phil scolds him to shut up. [It was dull, though. Another lame-ass routine. - Carrie]

Over-midway leaderboard: Danny and Frankie in the lead, Gary and Maria second, Danniella and Matthew third, Mikey and Melanie fourth.

Back after the ads, and in an entirely different programme on ITV Player (why? Buggered if I know) are Kieron and Brianne, in matching hot pink raincoats. Well, I guess someone had to balance out all that butchness Danny was having to perform this week. We recall Kieron's nasty fall from last week that left him with a fat lip, but he still managed to pull a decent performance out of the bag. This week's routine is to the theme from The Pink Panther, which he thinks will be drawing on his acting skills. Jayne confirms that it's a mix of acting and character work. Kieron says that the thing that's stopping him moving up the leaderboard is "five other contestants, who are amazing". Jayne says this is a critical week for Kieron if he wants to be a contender. Kieron is nervous at not having broken the 20.0 barrier yet, and thinks he won't deserve to stay in if he doesn't do so this week.

Their routine is heavily mime-y, but it's well-executed by both, who've got the tone just right. His solo spin doesn't quite make the full two revolutions by my reckoning, but it's pretty darn close. Gubba commends Kieron's interpretation of the rule of Inspector Clouseau. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 4.5, Edgeworth 4.0, Emma 4.5, Robin 4.0 for a total of 21.0. Kieron's thrilled, naturally. He says that he nearly threw in the towel backstage earlier because everyone was so good tonight. Phil asks him if he struggles with confidence, and Kieron says yes, he does, but now he's got 21.0 and will be confident from now on. Heh. Chris says that when they gave him the character and the pink jackets, he said, "I can do this!" I'll bet he did. Robin says it's not so much the pink panther as it is the tortoise and the hare, and "the tortoise is coming through big time." [Are tortoises not too SLOW OVER THE ICE, though? - Carrie] He loves that Kieron was the first celebrity of the night to come out and deliver with confidence - there were some technical glitches, but he loved the attack and energy. Emma thought it was lots of fun, and she thinks Kieron is growing every week and filling his performance with character.

Audience tickets competition. More adverts.

Back from the ads, and Hayley and Daniel are closing the show, and judging by their outfits, they'll be doing 'Jai Ho' from Slumdog Millionaire. Chris explains that it's a contemporary twist on the usual stylised Bollywood dancing. They call in some help from Bollywood choreographer Manila Shah, who explains that it has to be crisp and graceful but also clean. She thinks it was challenging for them to get the synchronisation perfect. Hayley was asked to do three rotations, but has decided to try for four, which Jayne thinks is typical of her - pushing herself. However, she's struggling to perfect it, and getting annoyed with herself. Dan likens her to a Catherine wheel when this happens, and says that the best thing to do is just to let her get it out of her system.

The routine goes really well: they're very snappy and synchronised, and they're both really intense during the performance. Hayley's four solo spins come together (hilariously, behind her you can see Edgeworth pumping his arms, like, "yessss!!") The rest of the routine comes off pretty much flawlessly, and Gubba is sure it's worth a six. In fact, it's worth five of them - every judge gives her top marks, for a total of 30.0. Hayley goes mad when the scores come in, and Phil points out to her that the judges are giving her a standing ovation. She's pretty much speechless, so Dan speaks on her behalf, saying that she gives all she's got and a little bit more. Hayley recovers enough to say that the four spins have only ever worked once, "and that was by accident!" Chris is impressed with her progression, that she now has the skating and precision to match her performance skills. Robin says it's the first time the panel have spontaneously stood up for a contestant - he thought it was good in rehearsals this afternoon but didn't think Hayley was quite ready to fully deliver on it, and yet she did. Edgeworth says he knew she was in the zone the second she arrived on the ice, and he knew it was going to be electrifying, and it was. He thanks her for one of the best performances they've ever had. Nicky says he can feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end, because it was clipped, and sure, and deft.

That's everyone, so from here, it's just the leaderboard (Hayley top, obviously, Danny second, Kieron third, Gary fourth, Danniella fifth and Mikey sixth), the video recap, and then we're out of there!

The Skate-Off

Six couples danced ON ICE for our votes, but one of them must leave, etc etc. You know how this bit goes by now.

Phil reminds us that we have mere picoseconds left to vote for our favourites if we haven't already done so. The lines then close, and we jump straight into the recap of the performance show, which, as Holly points out, gives us another chance to see Danny with his shirt off. Get that screen capture software ready, folks!

Danny was shirtless and more confident, according to Bunto, and Edgeworth was hypnotised by his torso. Danny feels he made the right decision in going topless. Danniella skated in pink like every young girl wants to, but she cocked up her required element. She thinks her feedback was fair - she's trying her hardest, and she hopes it's good enough. Mikey skated to a Ronan Keating song and got good marks for his spin, but Karen still sees nerves in his legs. He admits that he's still trying to conquer those nerves, even though it's week nine. Nicky and Edgeworth bickered over Gary's routine, and Gary vows to keep trying to improve every week. Robin admired Kieron's confidence during his routine, and Kieron can't believe he scored 21.0, because he expected to get 15.0. Hayley landed a perfect score and received effusive praise from the judges, which she thinks is like winning the biggest Oscar in the world.

Holly's with the judges and asks Robin who gets the best supporting role award, and Robin says that the best leading man tonight was Kieron, which feels like the answer to an entirely different question, but hey, he's praising one of my favourites, so I'll keep quiet. Emma's asked who struggled tonight, and she says that while she loves Mikey's performances because they are captivating and "honest" (y'what, now?), he doesn't have as much content as the others. Edgeworth is asked who surprised him, and he was surprised that they gave straight sixes out at all, he was pleasantly surprised by Kieron, and disappointed in Gary.

Ben and Coleen's show is still going, despite the fact that it is terrible and never seems to actually have any adverts in it, therefore how is ITV making any money on it? Text us your answers, at a cost of 75p plus your usual messaging fee.

Phil's ready with the results *touches ear*, and the following couples are safe in no particular order: Hayley and Daniel, Gary and Maria, Danny and Frankie, and - on the other side of the break - Kieron and Brianne, leaving Danniella and Matthew in the skate-off once more, this time facing Mikey and Melanie. Holly asks Jayne and Chris what they need: Danniella needs to nail that solo spin this time, while Mikey needs to lose his nerves, which Chris admits is easier said than done.

Danniella and Matthew return TO THE ICE. It's a more confident performance the second time around, and she does a better job of the solo spin, though her dismount from the ending float spin is still slightly shaky. Chris congratulates her on managing to complete the solo spin, and Danniella says that she just decided to have "the best time" and if that was her last dance, she's more than happy with that because she's achieved more than she ever thought she would.

Mikey and Melanie come back, and his skating is still a bit nervy, and he seems to lack control a bit this time around - I don't know if I'm remembering it wrong, but it feels like he's not quite following the same route he did first time round. His solo spin is good once more, and he and Mel finish with smiles on their faces. Jayne compliments him on another good spin, and Mikey says he was happy enough with it, and that when you feel you have nothing to lose, you end up having a really good time. Mikey! A place in Dancing On Ice is not nothing!

The two couples skate back onto the ice, and Mikey slips as they arrive on the spot, but manages to recover his balance. Mel giggles. Karen says it's a difficult choice, but votes to save Danniella despite a weak required element. Nicky thought they both relaxed more, but was more moved by Mikey. Edgeworth thinks they had two great skaters in the skate-off, and they both gave great performances, but for him, nailing the required element was key, so he saves Mikey. Bunto thought both were great and found it difficult but votes for Danniella. Is this the first time all series that head judge Robin's vote has actually counted? Blimey. Robin says they both upped their game, "but one spin does not a performance make", and saves Danniella, who is absolutely flabbergasted. You can tell she really thought she was going home after losing Nicky and Edgeworth's votes. [I really love Robin. I particularly love the way he says cutting things so mildly. - Carrie]

Mikey and Mel skate over to Phil and Holly. "This is precisely what Ronan didn't want!" Phil reminds him, to which Mikey responds, "He says it best when he says nothing at all." Hee! We see Mikey's best bits, which involves Mikey falling over a lot. Aw, this reminds me how I genuinely thought he was a contender in the early rounds, until it somehow all went a bit wrong for him. We're reminded of Nicky's bizarre 1920s-style praise in which he complimented Mikey for presenting his lady beautifully, and then Mikey's performances went downhill a bit. Back in the studio, Mikey has had the most amazing journey (drink!), saying it has given him a magnificent feeling, and he wants to thank "Stephen up there" and the rest of Boyzone. Phil assures him that Stephen would have been very proud of him. This is feeling very The X Factor suddenly. Chris says it's been a pleasure having Mikey on the show, and that he's taught them a lot too.

Mikey and Mel head out for their lap of honour. There are no hints given about next week's theme, but surely props week cannot be far away? I hope so. See you then!

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