Sunday, 24 January 2010

Holby pity

Top 12: 24th January 2010

Last week! The male contestants took to the ice for the very first time. Bunto told Mikey that it was his time to shine, while Nicky's Evil Twin told Bobby Davro that he'd made him smile from ear to ear. Jason was harder to impress, naturally, calling Gary HAHAHAHA Lucy "borderline dull" and Danny Young "like Frodo on steroids", and Bunto was even more of an embarrassment to womankind than Arlene Phillips by drooling so much at the buff young men that she actually managed to thaw some of the ice near the judges table. It's a wonder no one was killed, quite frankly. Ultimately, Gary Lucy (HAHAHAHA) and Bobby Davro ended up in the bottom two, and Bobby Davro was sent packing, much to the sadness of Nicky's Evil Twin. This week the sexes are mixed for the first time, something that Hayley is very excited about because she thinks the girls are going to kick ass, while Mikey thinks the lads have are up for the challenge. This is all followed by a series of everyone having meltdowns during practice, some more comical than others, so we should be in for a tense evening of skating and sequins. Oh, and everyone fell over a lot in rehearsals. Yep, I'm looking forward to this. Titles!

Phil and Holly step out into the arena. Holly is looking dazzling in a blue dress, and Phil is wearing what I think must surely be a velvet jacket? Snazzy! Phil tells us that this will be a "feature-length" edition of Dancing On Ice (oh dear), and Holly reveals that they're all waiting to get going, so without further ado, here they are: Hayley and Daniel are on first, followed by Dr Hilary and Alexandra, Emily and Fred, Kieron and Brianne, Tana and Stuart, Danny and Frankie, Heather and Lovely Matt, Gary (HAHAHAHA) and Maria, Sharron and Pavel, Jeremy (still looking wobbly, by the way) and Susie, Mikey and Melanie (and he misses her hand on the final turn as they skate in), and finally Danniella and Matthew. Wow, Phil wasn't kidding. There really are a lot of these people to get through this evening. No wonder we didn't have a big opening number.

Jayne and Chris are here! Holly explains that they haven't had time to do their own routine this week because they've been busy choreographing routines for the 12 contestants, but they will be back next week. [BOOO. MOAR JAYNE AND CHRIS PLZ. - Carrie] Jayne says that everyone's had less time to get to grips with the new choreography (er, apart from the girls, who've had two weeks, surely?), so the pressure's really on. Chris says that they've all bonded together as a family, and yet "having said that, not one of them wants to go home tonight." Eh? So, under normal circumstances, should bonding as a family make them want to go home? I don't get it. [They would FORSAKE THEIR OWN AMBITION for their family member, maybe? - Carrie]

There's a required element tonight: the pairs spiral. That's the one where each member of the partnership must skate on one leg with the other leg higher than their hip, just in case you'd forgotten. I know I had. Holly then introduces the ice panel: Karen (looking lovely), Nicky (has shaved off that terrifying stubble, thank God), Jason (not nearly so overdressed this week), Bunto (spotting an odd but not unappealing hairdo) and "our favourite cousins", Robin. Robin tells Holly that it's crucial to get the line right in the pairs spiral, which is something that Jason specifically will be looking for. "And to stay up," adds Holly. Well, indeed. She's earning her keep this year, isn't she?

Phil vaguely explains the voting system once more, and reminds us that Gary Lucy was in the skate-off last week despite being second on the leaderboard. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, that's the absolute last time I do that, I promise.

On first tonight is Hayley, who lest we forget, topped the scoreboard in the first week. We see a recap of that admittedly impressive performance and the plaudits from Bunto, along with the warning not to become complacent. Hayley tells us that her new routine is difficult - it's not cheesy at all and packed with difficult steps. Chris says that Hayley is one of their strongest skaters, so they are pushing her very hard at this point. Also, throughout this segment, both Hayley and Jayne are the most peculiar shade of orange, like they both slept in a pot of turmeric the night before. Daniel says that every segment of the routine has something different to worry about, and Hayley is getting stressed because she's not sure she can do it. She's also worried about going up against the boys, who she thinks are a very strong bunch. Chris says it's anyone's game at this point, and she will have to give it her all.

Hayley and Daniel are skating to 'You're No Good', and begin with a fake-out kiss before the music's started, while the audience are still being rowdy. The routine is really good - Hayley wasn't kidding about the difficulty level, but she's executing it all incredibly well. They skate their pair spiral facing each other, with Hayley going backwards, which is also quite impressive, though to be honest that looks like one of the easier parts of the routine. It ends with Daniel lying on the ice while Hayley skates across him before stopping and bending backwards onto his upstretched arms. That was pretty damn awesome, I don't mind telling you. It's so nice to have a good skater you can actually root for on the show this year! Gubba reminds us that Hayley has the highest score so far at 19.5, and also that she's 33 today. I thought she was younger, for some reason. Scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 3.0, Jason 4.0, Emma 4.0, Robin 4.0 for a total of 19.5 again. Phil wishes her a happy birthday. Hayley admits that she has no spit when she leaves the ice. Hee. She says she felt the pressure after last week, and especially with the boys being there this year. Daniel jokes that, it being her birthday, she wore her birthday suit. Wah wah wahhhh. Phil points out that Hayley and Daniel have known each other for years (interesting that they're not keeping that secret) and Chris says that that helps with the chemistry, and that they're both fun to work with.

Holly asks Karen for feedback - Karen says that Hayley made it look effortless and covered up how difficult it was, while Nicky is asked why he scored it so low. His reply is kind of incomprehensible - about needing to give a wider range of scores because there are more competitors on the show tonight (so, is a good performance not a good performance when there are more skaters, then?), but her spiral was "super" and her presentation is "great", though he's not convinced about her skating skills on her own. [Ladies and gentlemen, I give you NICKY SLATER MARKING RELATIVELY. - Carrie] Jason says that he asked for a more sincere performance in week one, and she absolutely gave him one (ooer, etc etc). He calls bullshit on Nicky's score, and Nicky just repeats "slow OVER THE ICE" again and again and again. Weird. Eventually someone turns down his microphone. On behalf of everyone watching, I would like to thank the sound operator for doing that.

Coming up! Dr Hilary has a nasty tumble. Well, that's sure to stop people turning over for Antiques Roadshow.

On our return, a frankly lame "Doctor Doctor" joke from Phil leads into Dr Hilary's VT. He got a low score and poor feedback last week, but was saved by the public. He admits that he would've been disappointed not to have "another crack" - and if that preview is anything to go by, he's about to get his wish. He struggles in rehearsals, having gone from a four-week practice period to a four-day one - he admits to being a slow learner. Alexandra reveals that there's a lot in here for them to be getting on with - and in particular they have a move called "drop and roll", where Alex drops down to her knees while Dr Hilary skates past her, and it's not looking good. Even in rehearsals, they're struggling - and then Dr Hilary topples over backwards while carrying Alexandra, which knocks his confidence. And also, possibly, his pelvis.

Their routine this week is to 'Close To You'. His skating is still tentative, and the drop-and-roll doesn't go terribly smoothly, and then he loses his balance in one move but manages to remain upright. The pairs spiral goes without incident, though his leg is crooked in a rather ugly fashion, which I'm sure Jason will not approve of. They end with a hoover, and both seem relieved to be finished. Scores: Karen 2.0, Nicky 1.0, Jason 1.5, Emma 1.5, Robin 1.5 for a total of 7.5. Ouch. Phil congratulates him for staying upright, which I guess is all you can do. Dr Hilary says he was better than last week and is making progress. Except in score terms. Jayne consoles him that the move he tripped on was a very difficult one, and says well done for carrying on. Robin says that he was more comfortable watching him last week: he's written down "scary, laboured and uncomfortable" and says that's how he felt watching it, because he kept expecting things to go wrong. Emma "literally couldn't breathe" (FAIL) through the whole dance and felt physically sick when Dr Hilary lifted Alexandra because she was so nervous for both of them, so she couldn't enjoy it. Karen says that it's not easy for him to be flexible, and his elements from this week were harder, but she was quite glad when it was all over. Hee. Dr Hilary says he has a lot of work to do, and if he stays in, he's looking forward to the next routine, but of course that'll be up to the public.

More adverts? Bloody hell, no wonder it's so long. Anyway: Emily and Kieron are coming up, and Kieron appears to be having a woobie meltdown.

On our return, Phil reminds us that Emily is YOUNG and also got the lowest score in the first week. Her VT reminds us that her first performance was uninspiring, and Emily was gutted to be at the bottom of the scoreboard, but managed to survive the public vote despite not being famous. She vows to work as hard as she can now, and Chris notes that she's definitely more focused on the ice now. She says she wants to show Jayne and Chris she's serious about it now. Apparently she wasn't before. That's good to know. Fred turns harsh taskmaster, and she says that it's good that he's working her hard, "even if I do want to kick him up the bum sometimes." Heh. Things seem to be going well in training, and Fred is actually quite impressed with her progress. Emily hopes people will see that she is working hard and taking it seriously. Perhaps she should've thought about this in week one.

Their routine is to 'Beautiful' and they're both outfitted in slightly unflattering orange. Her skating is still a little awkward and there's not masses of content in this routine, but she definitely looks more confident and executes everything with more precision than she did in her first appearance, so that's a step in the right direction. Gubba reveals that Emily's costume is almost the same colour as tonight's Loser Bouquet. Heh. Scores: Karen 2.5, Nicky 2.0, Jason 2.5, Emma 3.5, Robin 3.0 for a total of 13.5. "It's going up!" says Phil. Emily is clearly underwhelmed, but covers by saying that it's better than the first one and says she's happy with that. She wasn't surprised by the reaction she got last time because she let her nerves get to her. Chris says that her concentration has helped, "and she's realised that practice makes it better". Snerk. Holly asks Jason what gives, and he says that her leg lines are "like that of a 90-year-old", especially in the required element. She has a stiff neck and there is no release in her upper body, so she has to start generating movement there. Emma disagrees - she thinks Emily is definitely better, but she wants to see her take more risks, and she thinks Emily's upper body got much better this week. Robin agrees a bit with both of them - he can still see the effort in what she's doing, but it's good that she's making an effort in the first place, having apparently not bothered in week one, and wants a bit more pliability in her body.

Kieron and Brianne are next. The VT focuses on Jason's negative feedback, even though I seem to remember the rest of the ice panel being fairly encouraging last week. Nonetheless. Kieron is sad not to have impressed Jason. There's "a big lift" in the routine this week, and he's worried about doing it because he's so scrawny. Chris points out that Kieron actually lifts well, and the problems are mainly in his head. Kieron has a meltdown in the training session, and feels that he shouldn't have got through the first week because he can't do what's required of him this week. Brianne says that the pressure's getting to him, and he has a heavy workload on Hollyoaks to boot. He's knackered, but determined to do his absolute best on Sunday.

He's wearing a fancy waistcoat this week (apparently to hide his own sense of his scrawniness), and they're dancing to 'Evergreen' [Will Young, not Streisand - Carrie]. The big lift goes well, as does the required element, though he looks a little wobbly once or twice - which, given his VT, could just be tiredness as much as anything. He does seem to have done well under the circumstances, anyway. Gubba remarks that the costumes would be ideal for a Vegas wedding. Scores: Karen 3.5 Nicky 2.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.5 and Robin 3.5 for a total of 16.0. Kieron is pleased with his score - he says that Brianne had to coax him out because he was so nervous, and that he feels he didn't "bond" with the routine because he had so little time. Bless. Chris thinks he did well, and urges him to focus on the positives rather than the negative. Robin tells him that if doing his day job takes his mind off the skating, that might actually help him - there's still work to do on his stiffness, but he's doing in the right direction. Holly asks "Nicky Low-Score" what's up with that, and Nicky says that Kieron's technical ability is impressive, but his presentation is lacking, because his free arm "looks like a wet fish".

Time for another break, as Tana gets sexy, and Danny frets about "the curse of the frog lift". At home somewhere, Sinitta's all, "yeah, tell me about it." [As are Andrei's testicles. - Carrie]

When we return, Phil tells us that Emma's score for Emily was 3.0 and not 3.5, giving her a total of 13.0 instead of 13.5. Righto. Tana's on next, and her rubbish first routine is recounted in agonising detail, with Tana admitting that all the commentary was fair. This week's routine is to Beverley Knight's version of 'Piece Of My Heart', and it's a bit raunchy. Stuart is determined to show Jason that they have a connection. They giggle a lot in rehearsals, which I would say is a good start, but they think this is bad, because they should be being sultry. Stuart thinks Tana is afraid of what she will look like. Jayne says that Tana needs to put herself into a character. Chris doesn't help things by telling Tana that the move she did where she "curved her boobs" was "lovely". Tana hopes she can deliver on the night. And indeed, on the Knight. (Geddit?)

Unfortunately, Tana's sexy face seems to involve her alternating between a pout and a lemon-sucking face. Her skating is still slow and tentative, and she still looks nervous, but she is doing more complicated manoeuvres including being thrown about by Stuart with aeroplane spins and whatnot. She even manages to sass the camera at one point, which is a step forward, I suppose. Gordon's in the audience again. Gubba wonders if it was "hot and steamy, or a pan of boiling potatoes". Scores: Karen 3.0, Nicky 2.0, Jason 2.0, Emma 3.0, Robin 2.5 for a total of 12.5 again. Tana says she enjoyed this one more and they had a lot of fun working on it, and she hopes she did better this week. Jayne says that they gave her more difficult steps and wanted to challenge her with the performance, and they think she did well. Stuart says he loves his job (hee!) and that there was "such a transformation" this time. Jason tells Tana that she has "the sensuality of a frigid schoolmistress", saying that her face looked like she was sucking lemons (hey, that's what I said!) and she needs to work on expressing the entire movement with her entire body. Emma could see her shaking, and didn't believe the story between them at all, but she did think it was an improvement on last time. Karen thought it was a massive challenge, especially since Tana has no performing background, so she thinks Tana did well under the circumstances. Tana thanks the judges for their feedback and promises to work on what they've mentioned. I love the idea of her hopping backstage and writing "do not look like a frigid schoolmistress" in a notepad.

Danny's next, and he got the highest score last week, and says that being top of the leaderboard is a huge thrill, but obviously now there is a lot of pressure on him. Chris describes this week's routine as "character-driven" and "Elvis-esque". Danny says that there's lots involved and if he pulls it off, he'll look amazing, but if he gets it wrong, he won't. There's a frog lift involved, and he's concerned by what happened with Sinitta. Frankie has ripped his trousers a few times in rehearsals and Danny admits that "I like my bits and pieces where they are." He says that the pressure's on, but they'll give it a go. Frankie crosses her fingers. Heh.

They're skating to 'Devil In Disguise'. I don't want to be the first one to bust out "wobbly core", but I do find myself wondering if that's why his legs keep shaking. Other than that, however, it's all pretty good, particularly the backward roll, and the frog lift leaves his manhood intact. Chris Fountain is in the audience, still looking bitter. Gubba tells us that one of Danny's pals texted him to say he skated like a mermaid. Harsh. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.0, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.5, Robin 3.5 for a total of 17.0. Danny says that his bits are intact, and he hasn't got to back out and pick anything up, so it's all good. A member of the audience cheers for him, and he replies "thanks, Mum." Phil asks about the frog lift, and Chris says that it's all a case of "no guts, no glory" - and in this case, it was glory. Karen says that the frog lift is really hard, and it worked, but the tricks are taking over from his basics and they will need to work on those. Jason says that there were two distinct gear changes in the music, and he doesn't think Danny's dancing matched them. He also thinks that Danny doesn't finish off his movements, and also sometimes he looks like he's going to attack Frankie. Danny wonders why Jason is always so angry, and offers him a hug. Jason is unimpressed (but will probably take him up on that offer during Wild At Heart).

Coming up: more dancing ON ICE!

Heather and Lovely Matt are the next couple when we return. Nicky was wowed by her apparent lack of disability out on the ice. Heather says that all she wanted was to not go out first, so anything else is a bonus. Jason advised her to work on getting into lifts more attractively. Heather has thrown herself into her next routine, and Jayne says that there is a higher difficulty level in this routine, but she hopes that Heather can improve her transition. Heather says that it's so very complicated, but if you fall over you just have to laugh and get up. Her spin on the required element is difficult, because she has to pass from one side of Matt to the other in the middle of it. She's also worried that her prosthetic leg is heavier than an actual leg. I don't know if that's true, but she's probably more likely to know than I am, so I'll accept her version of events. Lovely Matt is very impressed with Heather's core strength and the strength of her supporting leg. Heather says she's tried really hard to work on her feedback, and she hopes to please all the judges. Who'd have thought Heather Mills would be the one with the most sensible outlook on the show? It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world.

They begin with Heather lying on the floor, and they're skating to 'Frozen'. [ON ICE. - Carrie] Some of her transitions are still a bit lumpy, and her arms still need work, but there is some improvement here, I think. Her required element goes well, and she ends back in the same position she began in. Hey, never underestimate the power of symmetry. Gubba says that the "levitation lift" was a real test of her stomach muscles, and that her programme was a real abdominal workout. Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 2.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.5, Robin 3.5 for a total of 16.0. Heather's amazed with that skill, and is happy with her transitions. She's having a lot of fun, and thinks it's a privilege to work with Matt, Jayne and Chris. Lovely Matt is "speechless" that Heather skates like this every day. Chris takes his hat off to her. Bunto is impressed with Heather's confidence and trust in her partner, so she just wants her to relax her shoulders and face a bit more so we can see how she's enjoying it. Jason says it was a very confident performance and he liked the nuances with her hands. He asks if she can turn out with from the hip with her artificial leg to make a better leg line. Heather says that if they can make her leg lighter, they can, but because it's heavy, it won't turn out, and demonstrates a few times. Robin loves that she was so keen to demonstrate, and that she just has no hesitation or boundaries. Paul McCartney, however, is probably less happy about those particular attributes of hers.

After the ads, we're back with Gary Lucy. Gary says that last week "went quite well - but obviously, not well enough". LOLERAMA. Chris was surprised to see him in the skate-off, but thought his second performance was better than his first one. Gary says that the hardest thing for him was when his little girl got up the next day and asked him why he had to skate again, and he had to explain to her that it was because he wasn't good enough. Aww. Jayne says that he has a much harder routine this week, but she's confident that he can handle it. Gary thinks he has an impressive routine lined up. His little girl, India, likes him to re-enact with her what he's been doing with Maria each day. I think it is a good thing for all of us that he and Maria are strictly professional partners. His daughter is all kinds of adorable, but frankly, it will take more than an exceptionally cute child to win me over. [But fair play to Gary for stooping to whoring out his offspring in his second week of competition. Where will he go next? - Carrie] His VT ends with India saying "Jason, don't be mean to my daddy!" Heh. Although presumably this means that Karen, Nicky, Bunto and Robin have carte blanche. [As do we. - Carrie]

His routine this week is to 'I'm Yours'. His dancing seems a little bit smoother, and interestingly, there's a moment where Maria seems to stumble coming out of a lift. The required element is present and correct and showy, and there are a few more lifts, and then it all ends. India is in the audience jumping up and down. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.5, Emma 3.5, Robin 4.0 for a total of 18.5. Gary says that he has a shoulder injury, and he doesn't know if it's from lifting Maria or India. He says that he would've been devastated if he'd been eliminated because India is enjoying it so much. God, can it with the emotional blackmail, Lucy. Maria enjoyed the routine. Jayne says that they wanted to bring out his playful side, and they think that happened tonight. Robin hopes that will keep him out of the skate-off, but that he runs the risk of being "nice" every week, and needs to learn to stand out. He compliments Gary on keeping Maria standing when she stumbled. Robin and Jason argue about whether he cheated in the required element (Jason thinks yes, Robin thinks no, and clearly I'm going with Robin on this one because Robin is the king).

Sharron and Pavel are next. We're reminded that she was possessed by a tree during her first performance, and she says it's hard not to get hurt by Jason's comments when they get personal. She was saved over Sinitta in the skate-off, and feels she has a lot to prove. Chris wants to work on softening Sharron down and keeping her arms low. Sharron is conscious of her "tree-like" arms, which she thinks is a shame, because they worked well in the water. Sharron and Pavel go to meet a synchronised swimming coach to help her with her arms, and I'm sure Carrie will appreciate Pavel being shirtless for this entire segment. [Wet Pavel. In trunks. *faints* - Carrie] Sharron is pleased to be back in the water. Surely Dancing In Water cannot be far off?

Their routine for this week is to 'These Words'. Sharron's skating has improved, though there's the odd wobble, and I don't think her arms are that tree-like, though she does still have a gangliness that's probably going to take a while to overcome. I would definitely call that an improvement on her first week, though. Gubba compliments her form in her costume, which is swimsuit-like (and she does look in excellent shape, I must say). Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 2.5, Jason 2.5, Emma 2.5, Robin 3.0 for a total of 14.0. Sharron is sort-of happy with that, saying that she's "getting there". She says that her nerves get the better of her. Chris says they've been working on her arms and how she presents, and she looked like she was enjoying herself out there. Nicky thought the synchronised swimming practice was inspired, and if she can pick up those arm movements and put them on the ice, she'll do very well. He thinks there's potential for real improvement with her, and suggests that she does some basic ballet classes. Sharron promises to do that. Jason thinks there was improvement in the arms, that they had more breadth, though she's hit and miss with them, and he'd like her to sustain the consistency and lock in her core. "You look like you've got a solid body, that's impressive." Sharron thanks him. He says that she's improving, and the marks reflect that.

Leaderboard: Hayley in first, Gary second, Danny third, Kieron and Heather tied for fourth, Sharron fifth, Emily sixth, Tana seventh and Dr Hilary at the very bottom. Phil implores us to vote - once the lines have opened, of course.

Coming up: Jeremy in tight pink lycra, which I'm sure will appeal to a certain subsection of the audience.

After the ads, Phil says that there are still three more performances to go, and Jeremy is the first amongst them. Jeremy says that Sunday was terrifying, and he's concerned that the judges thought he was a great big slow-pants. Chris says that this week's routine is more uptempo, and Jeremy will need to be faster over the ice. Jeremy says it's a rocky routine, and he's not a rocker. The challenge is for him to fight his fear and get on with it. He's sent off to Mandy Worth, former Olympic speedskater, to pick up some speedy tips. Dressed in bright pink lycra, he tumbles a lot, but says that the experience has been very helpful in teaching him to get more attack out there on the ice on Sunday. He does seem to be improving towards the end.

He's skating to 'Stay With Me', and his speed has definitely improved, but it seems to have been at the expense of technique, as he's rather ungainly and shaky, and one lift looks as though it has to be cut short prematurely just so Susie can steer him away from the edge. Still, he gets through the required element, so that's one thing. Gubba thinks it was a bit "formal". Scores: Karen 3.0, Nicky 2.0, Jason 2.0, Emma 2.5, Robin 2.5 for a total of 12.0. Jeremy says it felt a little bit faster, but it was still scary - just trying to co-ordinate his feet at that speed is difficult. Asked if she feels safe, Susie answers in the affirmative, but I am not wholly convinced. Jayne says that the last lift wasn't easy, but he gave it his all and credit to him. Karen says that the speed is creeping in, but the routine is getting harder - but his spiral was good. Nicky says, angrily, that he is so frustrated when he sees Jeremy skate. He tells him to get his "marriage gear" forwards - I wonder if he knows that Jeremy is not the marrying kind? Nicky tells him that he should imagine he's holding a grenade between his buttocks. Jason is openly laughing at such supreme idiocy: "A grenade? Up your bum?" Jeremy is also laughing: "I'm not going to forget that one." Phil says that he'd like to see the grenade. Ooh Phil, you saucepot.

Next up? Mikey. He had a few trips last week, and thus his confidence has been shaken. The moves are technically difficult in this new routine, but he's focusing on getting everything together. He says that he's in his own "little terrified bubble". Heh. The complexity of the routine starts to get to him, however, and he's starting to worry, despite Melanie's efforts to talk him down out of his tree. To cheer him up, there is a video message from the rest of Boyzone, telling him that they're supporting him. Keith Duffy openly mocks him in his part of the message, which is quite funny. It seems to have done Mikey some good, anyway.

They are dancing to 'Just Say Yes', and Mikey is green, because he is IRISH. He's more stable on his feet this week, and does some lovely partnering with Melanie. They're a good couple, these two, I think. He grins throughout his required element, and even touches his raised blade with his free hand. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.0, Jason 4.0, Emma 4.0, Robin 3.5 for a total of 18.5. Mikey says that the dancing is tough, but the mental side of things is even harder, because trying to keep his nerves under control is a real struggle. Chris says that Mikey had a rough week this week, but he really turned it around tonight. Karen says that they lost Mikey around Wednesday and they weren't sure if he was going to come back, but he has lots of potential. Nicky thinks he's almost as good as Gary, but for a few stutters, and praises him for dancing "with your lady". Emma says he gave her goosebumps, and she hopes that the luck of the Irish is with him tonight.

Phew, nearly there. One more set of ads to go!

Daniella's the last celeb up, and is pleased with her performance from the first week, saying that she was bursting with pride afterwards. The judges agreed, which was nice. Jayne says that Danniella's an inspiration because she always wants to try new things, and never says no. Insert your own joke here. A few days into training, Danniella has a nasty fall mid-routine - she went to physio, and has bruised underneath her ribcage and tightened all the muscles in her back. This makes all the lifts difficult, and even in the rehearsals on Saturday, she's feeling the pain, but she vows to skate through the pain and smile for all she's worth.

She and Matthew are skating to 'Because Of You', and I really am impressed by her arms, which look really good. She does not look in pain during her transitions out of the lifts, and executes her required element very well. Gubba comments on her "lovely lines", and is that really the best thing to say about the contestant who used to have a massive coke habit? Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 4.0, Robin 3.5 for a total of 18.0. Danniella thinks it could've gone better, but she's over the moon with how it went. She says that the professional skaters skate with injuries like hers every week, and that it's just part of the job. Matthew says they've had a tough week, but she did her best and it went well. Jayne thinks Danniella has a lot more to give, and this performance was a step up from her last one. Emma thinks that Danniella's movements are so very fluid and she's so watchable. Robin says that he started out at a 4.0 and she just slipped on a few moments, but that everyone with a slow number has to work that much harder because it requires more precision.

And that's it! Final leaderboard: Hayley at the top, Gary and Mikey joint second, Danniella in third (shouldn't it be fourth? Or are they just adopting the Strictly Come Dancing scoreboard process wholesale?), Danny fourth, Kieron and Heather joint fifth, Sharron sixth, Emily seventh, Tana eighth, Jeremy ninth and Dr Hilary at the bottom. Phil declares the lines officially open, and we get a video recap to remind us of people we might like to vote for: Hayley and Daniel defying their song by actually being Good, Dr Hilary and Alexandra muddling through, Emily and Fred actually trying this week, Kieron managing to lift Brianne despite being a big skinny girl, Tana and Stuart not quite smouldering just yet, Danny and Frankie being a bit mental, Heather and Matt working on those transitions, Gary chucking Maria around by the wrist, Sharron being less tree-like with Pavel, Jeremy and Susie being faster, Mikey and Melanie partnering nicely, and Danniella skating through the pain with Matthew.

Phil and Holly run through the numbers again for all of us. The skate-off looms later this evening, where two couples will battle it out to stay in the competition - but who will they be?

The Skate-Off

So, earlier tonight, 12 couples danced ON ICE for our votes, over the course of 140 extra-long minutes. Now two of them must face THE SKATE-OFF. ON ICE. (ON ICE!)

Phil and Holly welcome us back, and for the benefit of the viewers who are capable of superhuman speed, here is what happens next:

PHIL: ...if you haven't voted yet, then you'd better get a move on because the lines will close in a matter of seconds.
HOLLY: At the end of tonight's show, two of our stars will have to skate again, and one of them will be leaving the competition for good.
PHIL: And there's nothing more you can do about it, because the lines are now closed.

Seriously? Did anybody actually have time to vote in that nanosecond? What was even the point? Oh, never mind. Time for a catch-up with what happened earlier: Hayley and Dan were Good, but Nicky thought she was slow OVER THE ICE, and Jason disagreed. Hayley thought it was brilliant to have Jason, of all people, defending her. Dr Hilary and Alexandra were scary and laboured, and temporarily caused Emma Bunton TO DIE. Or something. Dr Hilary, despite his medical training, does not call her on her obvious falsehood, instead saying he can understand how she feels. Fool! Emily was chewed out for her bad leg lines, and backstage she admits to not being very athletic, and vows to work on it with Lovely Fred [who is noticeably leaning away from her as she attempts to pretend they are Best Mates - Carrie]. Kieron and Brianne did well, though his back arm looked like a "wet fish". Kieron is proud of Brianne for keeping him going. Tana was not sensual, but she has chosen not to be insulted by him. Gordon would like to grill Jason in the kitchen. Danny was warned for looking like he wanted to attack Frankie, and Frankie thinks that Jason is asking for too much at this stage. Heather and Lovely Matt also did well, and Lovely Matt thinks Heather absolutely nailed it, and he can't believe what they're achieving. Gary really delivers, says Robin, but needs to get beyond "nice". Gary hopes not to get lost in the crowd, while Maria looks elsewhere. Sharron's arms improved, but she was still hit-and-miss, according to Jason. Sharron feels there is more work to come, but is pleased to be moving in the right direction. Jeremy can now skate at speed, but has a long way to go. He is worried it's too little, too late, but vows to keep pushing. Mikey and Melanie gave Bunto goosebumps, and Melanie claims to have had them too. Can you give yourself goosebumps? [Maybe she was just cold. Cos of THE ICE. - Carrie] Finally, Danniella and Matthew delivered a strong routine, and she's trying her hardest and just happy that the judges like it.

Holly's with the ice panel, and asks Robin what the leg lines were like. Robin says that there were some real standouts - for good and bad reasons. Emma thinks Mikey and Hayley were the standouts, and she thinks Kieron can be brilliant, but he needs to get more confidence. Jason is asked who needs to up their game, and he cites Dr Hilary and Tana, who needs to look less self-conscious, and Jeremy, who is not performing like an ex-dancer.

There's a trail for the tedious Dancing On Ice Friday, where Ben and Coleen will be discussing the upcoming elimination. Oooh, exciting.

Time for the results. Touch your ear, Phil. Touch it! Woo! That's the stuff. The following couples are safe and returning next week: Gary and Maria, Tana and Stuart, Danny and Frankie, Emily and Fred, Danniella and Matthew, Hayley and Daniel, Mikey and Melanie (who seem to have the most fans in the studio), Kieron and Brianne, Dr Hilary and Alexandra, and...one more couple to be announced after the break, of course.

After the break, there are three contestants awaiting their fate: Heather and Lovely Matt, Sharron and Pavel, and Jeremy and Susie. The tenth couple safe and returning next week is...Heather and Lovely Matt! Hooray! That means that Sharron and Pavel are up against Jeremy and Susie in the skate-off this week.

Holly's with Jayne and Chris: Jayne's surprised by the outcome all the time, and thinks there could be further surprises to come. Chris thinks Sharron had a great first performance and just needs to come out and do that again, while Jeremy needs to keep his speed up.

Sharron and Pavel are the first couple to return to the ice, and she's looking a little defeated in the face, as well she might be. There's no noticeable dip in performance quality though, and if this turns out to be their final performance on the show, then they're going out on a high note. Jayne thinks she skated it just as well as the first time, and Chris says her previous experience of the skate-off meant she knew what to do. Because "repeat your performance and hope not to be eliminated" is otherwise such a tricky thing to grasp? Phil asks Sharron if she's surprised to be in the skate-off again, and she replies that she doesn't know what she's doing wrong, but all she can do is keep trying. Awww. She says it's easier once you've already done it once because you can relax, and that's her tip to Jeremy.

Jeremy and Susie return to the ice, and he's a little bit more in control this time, though he still looks quite awkward doing some of the choreography, particularly when he's skating unaided. He and Susie swoosh over to Jayne, Chris and Phil, and Jayne thinks it was better than the first time. Jeremy says that his heart was certainly beating faster, and that being in the skate-off is scary. Susie thinks he did a great job, whatever happens next. The two couples have the usual consolatory hug and then head back out onto the ice to await the panel's verdict. Karen votes to save Sharron. Nicky thinks both routines were better, but one was stronger, and though he would like to mark on potential, he cannot (GET ON WITH IT, SLATER), so he's saving Sharron. Jason thinks one was marginally improved, the other is getting worse, so he saves Sharron. Emma saves Sharron, for improvement, and Robin saves "the Olympian" for rising to the occasion. So it's a clean sweep, and Jeremy's out. Well, he was already out, but now he's been eliminated from Dancing On Ice, too. [And the Lipanov household's involvement in this series is officially over in week three. - Carrie]

Jeremy skates over to Phil and Holly, and admits to being disappointed, and will miss skating with Susie, but he's slightly relieved to not have to be in so much pain any more. Susie thinks Jeremy has worked very hard, and missed a lot of training because of his injury, but she really thought his extra training helped. Jeremy thinks it may have been too little, too late. Jayne says it's sad because he has been improving, and Chris thinks there was more to come from Jeremy, "as long as we don't have any more hand grenades". Phil asks if we want to see Jeremy's best bits. Didn't we see those already during last week's physio visit? His VT shows some excellent dance training not wholly translating onto the ice, and while he impressed Bunto last week, it wasn't enough to keep him around this week.

Back in the studio, Jeremy and Susie head out on their lap of honour, while Phil informs us that next week is '70s night, which it shall be Carrie's unfortunate duty to recap. See you next week!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

An entertaining idea

The boys
Tx: Sunday 17th January 2010

Hello, everybody! I'm still smarting from the loss of my Andrei last week, but Phil attempts to cheer me out of it by showing how happy Hayley and Dan were, and some of Jason's nasty comments, and how rubbish not-famous Emily was. Tonight the boys are going to "kick some ice". Meanwhile, Amanda Coutts, understudy Meat and Scaramouche in the West End's We Will Rock You, has warned us on Twitter not to vote for Gary Lucy, because he told her to fuck off outside Balan's last week. Good enough for me. [Me too. - Steve]

Anyway. Titles!

Holly's dress this week is a weird shape, and she and Phil introduce the boy pros, who begin an aces routine with Chris at the head of their pack. I love when the boys all dance together. Ooh, and then Jayne joins them, clearly thinking, "It was better the week Dean was off and I got to skate with ALL THE BOYS BY MYSELF."

Chris reckons they want to raise the bar this year, and mentions someone called Ray, who apparently competed last series, but I have no recollection of this. Jayne says these are the toughest first routines ever because the boys have had an extra week to practise. Fair enough. Here are our couples - Gary and Maria; Tana and Stuart; Dr Hilary and Alexandra; Danniella and Matthew; Danny and Frankie, whose hair is all over her face; Sharron and Pavel; Bobby and Molly, who I think is amazing already; not-famous Emily and Fred; Kieron and Brianne; Heather and Matt; Jeremy and Susie; Hayley and Dan; and Mikey and Mel, whose scarlet hair matches her dress.

After the break, Dr Hilary is "prescribed a large dose of ice", and Gary Lucy falls over a lot!

Back, and let's meet the judges - Nicky is growing a beard [unless it's his evil twin. Hang on, does that make our Nicky the good twin? Dear Lord. - Steve], Jason seems to be using ribbon instead of a tie, and Emma is wearing furniture upholstery fabric. Head Judge Robin, thankfully, looks respectable. He suggests that the boys should perform with conviction. Jason says he calls it as he sees it, and wants the boys to commit to a solid performance and remember that they are DANCING ON ICE. Thanks for that, Gardiner. Phil mocks Jason's tie, justifiably, and reminds us that if we don't vote, we cannot complain.

Gary Lucy claims to be an actor, and says he used to roller-skate a lot as a kid, because he, like your Bitching team, was a child of the Eighties when roller-skating was de rigeur. [Although I could never do it, but then I can barely stand up without falling over most of the time, so perhaps that's why. - Steve] So rehearsals go well because he's good at skating, but then go badly because his dancing skills extend as far as waving his hands in the air like he just don't care. He marks his way through the routine looking very embarrassed.

They're dancing to All Right Now, and indeed his skating skills look fine, beginning the routine separately, though the slowness across the ice when a lift is approaching should be looked at, presumably because he doesn't want to break Maria. Aesthetically and left to their own devices, he has nice arms; in the routine they look a bit limp. But otherwise this is a good start. But we are not supporting him - Couttsy said so. Scores - Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.5 and Robin 3.5 for a total of 17.5. Gary is relieved to not have dropped Maria (told you); Chris liked the pointing hand at the end of the routine. Jason tells him to watch his arms when they are free (told you) and concludes that it was lacklustre; Karen disagrees, of course, because she loves everybody. Gary will try to be more showbiz in the future.

Dr Hilary Jones is next. He says "vigilant" in his introductory VT, which I enjoy. Chris reveals that Dr Hilary is our oldest contestant to date; Jayne says that being a doctor, Hilary is very aware of all the damage he can do, and indeed he then reels off a list of potential injuries. He admires Alexandra's ability, and is very dedicated to improving, but it seems to be happening very slowly. Seeing the girls skate in week 1 has given him an added impetus; Jayne notes that his skating has become much more aggressive this past week, and he vows to make people think, "The doctor can skate." He's a doctor, by the way. [Shit, I'd better write that down. - Steve]

They're skating to Everlasting Love. The footwork at the start is a little tentative, with some rather weird armography, but probably Chris choreographed that, it looks like the kind of stuff he'd do. The actual skating isn't too bad - it's slow, and there's a significant stumble, but he is smiling his way through it and performing. Scores - 2.5s from Karen, Emma and Robin, 2.0s from Nicky and Jason, for a total of 11.5. Phil says that Dr Hilary, who is a doctor, has too much medical knowledge; well, maybe for a skater, but probably not for a doctor, which he is. Chris says that age is always a concern for all of us. Bless. Then he makes some medical puns. Oh, Christopher Dean. Nicky and his beard comment on the slowness of the speed round the ice, but he liked Dr Hilary's presentation and suggests he builds on his confidence. Whoa, I've just noticed how far undone Dr Hilary's shirt is. Emma starts talking about what happens when you get old, and then patronises him, the daft bint.

After the break, not-famous Emily is moaning about lovely Fred!

Now, time to be reminded about the girls. Danniella says she couldn't have skated any better than she did; Tana, who I keep forgetting about, largely because she too is not famous, thinks she got away lightly from Jason; Hayley reckons it was the biggest buzz ever and is slightly concerned about the difficulty of this week's routine; hilariously, Chris is trying to hold Sharron up in rehearsal despite the fact that she looks about six inches taller than him, while Pavel tells her that challenging is good; Emily moans about Fred being mean to her and I wonder whether Fred's famous patience is finally running out (I'd have snapped after Burley); and Heather was expecting to be in the bottom two. Rinkside, Danniella tells Phil that the boys have been working their fingers to the bone, and Hayley says the girls are all very nervous, while Sharron complains about having to stand next to the tiny Tamaddon. Heather makes a joke about giving the boys deep tissue massage, which nobody laughs at. Emily says she wants to channel her nerves into something positive; Tana thinks the boys are fantastic and deal with their nerves through calmness rather than chatting. Insightful stuff, ladies, thanks!

Danny Young's skating experience is non-existent, and as he scratches his way on to the ice, Jayne's attempt at pretending she isn't horrified is worth re-watching. However, his hard work indicates that he will make some good progress, so Jayne and Chris choreograph the toughest first routine ever for him, which nearly involves Frankie going a bit Reservoir Dogs on him.

Danny has some pace across the rink, but he doesn't seem confident in the lifts yet. No major errors, though he keeps looking at Frankie for reassurance, and at the end they laugh with relief. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 3.0, Emma 4.0 and Robin 3.5 for a total of 18.0. Frankie highfives her boy. Danny enthuses about it being the best thing EVAH and thanks Frankie for all her work and patience. She says you're always nervous on the first night, but Danny did them both proud. Jayne comments on the amount of content in the programme. Emma thinks it was feisty and flirty, but mentions the loss of timing and generally lechs over him. Jason says there were moments of great energy, and moments that were like Frodo on steroids, but he liked the "partnering, with your partner". Right. Robin observes that if Jayne and Chris see such potential in him now, he can progress far as long as he works on the basics. Frankie tells Bunton to piss off with her attempted partner-stealing.

Next, Bobby and Molly. He says he is a comedian, and as an afterthought mentions that he is also an actor. In training he is working with a chair, which as we all know is difficult, and Jayne and Chris have their work cut out. Bobby's jaw drops open when he sees Molly, and teases her, "You could have got me a pretty one!" Bobby is also IN PANTO IN MILTON KEYNES which means he has little time to practise, but he does seem to be working hard when he's actually on the rink. Ominously, he promises that he will entertain...

They're skating to Got My Mind Set On You. There's a lot of limited footwork at the start before they actually get moving, but Molly is incredibly engaging and watchable; Bobby might as well not be there. Gubba claims to be able to hear Bobby's joints creaking as he crosses the ice. Scores - Karen 2.0, Nicky 2.5, Jason 2.0, Emma 2.0, Robin 2.0 for a total of 10.5, the lowest score of the series so far. Bobby cackles and says he is just glad to have made it through, and now he is finished with panto he will rehearse ALL THE TIME, and boasts about his fake tan and his costumes, and beams at Molly. Chris and Jayne pretend they're not laughing, saying that it was very entertaining. Holly puts on her sympathetic face. Nicky suggests that Bobby should work on his skating skills, but the entertainment is already there. Jason says he thought Bobby would be dreadful and he was, technically, but he is a great showman and he hopes that he'll put in the work now. Karen says it was like "watching Todd. In time."

Kieron claims "no fear", and promptly bellyflops on to the ice. Adorably, he looks embarrassed not for looking silly on television, but for looking silly in front of Torvill and Dean. He is worried about lifting Brianne, who weighs six and a half stone, and says that he is doing weights at home while watching Hollyoaks. Oh, Kieron, really? Anyway, obviously the best thing to do when you're having problems like this is a) choreograph in a hideously dangerous lift and b) ask Chris THE PIE-MAN Fountain (who, lest we forget, did not win) [and is still noticeably bitter about it, hee hee hee - Steve] for advice.

They are skating to JLS's Beat Again, which is an ace song, and also features a video with the Yellow one wearing a bow tie. The dancing in this routine is a bit raunchy, isn't it? The camera work is shite, though. Ooh, I like this. Kieron is really giving it some. [Kieron is my favourite of this year's boys, I think. He seemed to be having the time of his life, bless him. - Steve] Gubba mocks his lack of muscles. Scores - Karen 4.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 2.5, Emma 3.5, Robin 3.0 for a total of 17.5. Kieron claims that he is a really shy person and did not go to the loo before taking to the rink because he feared losing more weight. Brianne is proud of him, anyway, and Chris earmarks him as the competition's dark horse. Jason thought the hip-grinding was insipid; Nicky says the routine fitted together and worked as a couple.

After the break, DISASTER STRIKES for Jeremy. Who is a Hollywood actor. In his pants. Way to keep our attention!

We're back and Chris Fountain burbles away in the audience to Phil. Now Jeremy and Susie; he admits he is best known in the UK for being in Holby City, and then to his credit reveals his ballet training. Jayne and Chris are excited about his dance ability, but rather underwhelmed by his skating, and with his efforts to get his skating respectable, he pulls a hamstring. He promptly takes his clothes off [too many tattoos. You've lost my vote, Jeremy. - Steve] and goes to the physio, who tells him not to skate for three weeks. There is a great deal of plinky sad music accompanying the narrative about losing so much rehearsal time.

Ooh, Jeremy has BEAUTIFUL arms. Seriously. His hand-shaping is gorgeous. His skating is slow and mediocre, as you'd expect, but the performance is good, and the bits where they're on the spot and putting in dance steps are magnificent. Gubba says it was hesitant and lacked dash. I wonder if Nicky will mark relatively according to the other contestants, or according to how much rehearsal time they've had? Scores - Karen 2.5, Nicky 2.5, Jason 2.0, Emma 3.0, Robin 2.5 for a total of 12.5. Phil thought it would be higher than that; Jeremy still seems quite shaky but says he enjoyed it. Susie thinks he's done well, considering, as does Chris, who enthuses about his lines, and Jayne says that dance training has given him great "body awareness". Fnar. Robin urges passion, drama and speed. Emma lechs over him as well, and says that the routine conveyed emotion. Karen says this has been his best week. Isn't this his first week?

Time for Mikey Graham and some nice Boyzone montage. He says that he has become accustomed over the years to hiding behind the other boys. Aw. He predicts that he has potential if he works hard. And then there is an awkward insert which nearly makes me cry where he talks about the loss of Stephen, and having never told him that he was doing the show. Still, Dancing on Ice isn't a show to dwell on the bad things in life, and we're soon back into the hilarious comedy footage of Mikey crashing to the ground; in fact, he noticeably looks more svelte as they get further and further into training.

They're skating to Let's Dance. Ironically, Mikey doesn't actually seem to be that good at dancing. The skating is decent, though. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 2.5, Emma 3.5 and Robin 3.0 for a total of 16.0. Mikey fesses up to a couple of stumbles, and reveals that he predicted last year that he'd do this series. Mel admires Mikey's enthusiasm, and Chris is pleased that Mikey enjoys skating so much. Jason says that the slips were a shame, but he liked the interpretation, and suggests that he keeps his head up. Emma empathises with coming from "a band" (sic) and doing something by oneself. Robin deems his technique "strong" and looks forward to his progress.

So Danny and Frankie top the board, Bobby and Molly are at the bottom. Now it's time for the viewing public to have their say, because the lines are now open! What will happen? We'll find out in just over an hour...

Results show

Earlier, the seven boys and their partners DANCED ON ICE for our votes. Now one must go away. Oh, yes, it's the skate-off!

Phil and Holly are back. He tells us we saw a breathtaking show earlier, and if we want to vote we must do so quickly before the lines close. Time for a recap, though. Jason thought Gary was "borderline dull" with "moments of grace", but Maria thought he did a good air guitar. Emma wanted Dr Hilary to support Alexandra more, but the routine as a whole was endearing. Dr Hilary thought the score was lenient and hopes he will go through to next week. Danny was the subject of a jealous cat-fight between Emma and Frankie. Nicky liked Bobby's entertainment value, which is basically all he is bringing to THE ICE at the moment. Kieron was bumping and grinding and vows to impress Jason if he gets chance. Jeremy is proud to have got his routine over with and claims to have enjoyed it as Susie heckles him. Mikey was disappointed with his stumbles, and Mel thinks he did a great job for the first time out. And now - the lines are CLOSED.

While the votes are being counted, the Saturdays perform their new single, lounging on a disc in the middle of the rink and giving their miming some welly. Fred and Mel do some of their acrobatics around them, and Alexandra and Lucas (whom we don't know, do we?) join in.

Holly turns to the panel and Robin says Danny impressed him most, while Jason expected more from Jeremy. And that's that. Phil touches his ear, and the results are in. In no particular order, the couples skating next week are -Dr Hilary and Alexandra; Kieron and Brianne; Danny and Frankie; Jeremy and Susie (who look very serious); and then we have to go to the break. Obviously.

So who will be the fifth couple definitely safe and skating next week? Why, it's Mikey and Mel, which means Gary and Maria are skating off against Bobby and Molly. HAHAHAHA GARY LUCY. [He'll think twice before telling anyone to fuck off outside Balan's again, that's for damn sure. - Steve] Gary and Maria go first, and Phil tries to reassure him that Stefan Booth had to skate off in his first week too. Gary gets all defensive and moans about his mates not voting for him because they are down the pub on a Saturday night, at which point Phil says that it is Sunday, and introduces Bobby and Molly. They are cute, but really in terms of ability there's no real competition. He drops a "j" bomb and wishes he hadn't eaten sausage rolls between the shows.

Time for the judges' verdict. Karen says the effort was there, the skill wasn't, so she saves Gary. Nicky will miss the "great entertainer", and saves Gary, as does Jason. Emma says Bobby made her laugh but it is not Comedy ON ICE. Robin doesn't think either should have been in the skate-off, and saves Gary for a clean sweep.

Bobby is disappointed but he knows he isn't the best skater and wouldn't have been able to win it. Phil thanks Molly, who says it's been an honour, and then they go on their lap of honour.

Next week! Boys and girls are skating toe-pick to toe-pick! Join us next weekend!

That Friday freezing

Dancing on Ice Friday: 15th January 2010

I begin this recap with some trepidation, as I don't really know what to expect from these Friday shows, and I can't shake this feeling that ultimately I am wasting my time as well as yours even considering it. However, when we signed up to recap this show, we promised to do so in full, and thus we are at the whim of ITV's scheduling team, so without further ado: onward!

On Sunday, the series began on a high, and to illustrate this performance we have Danniella (I shall refrain from making jokes about her being "on a high" because it's just too easy) and Hayley, though not for everyone, because Emily made a right balls-up of her routine, as did Sharron. EXCLUSIVE BACKSTAGE FOOTAGE shows Jayne saying that some of Jason's comments were a bit harsh, but then that's Jason for you. We don't exactly see her shrugging, but I'm sure it's only the fact that her shoulders are permanently tensed in an athletic state of readiness that prevents her from doing so. And then there was Sinitta, for whom the series got off to arguably the worst possible start, in that she was sent packing by all the judges except Bunto, and no one pays attention to the new girl anyway. Backstage, Phil and Holly sympathise that to go first is horrid, because it's whipped out from underneath you just as you're beginning to like it. Then, hilariously, Sinitta is literally swallowed by a blackout. That's it, folks. She's GONE.

Now! In tonight's show, we'll meet the boys (again), the judges will get a grilling, and we'll be getting up close and personal with Torvill and Dean. Not too close, I hope. I've just got comfortable on my sofa. Titles!

We're in a studio that looks uncannily like the one they use for It Takes Two, even down to the backdrop. Not that I'm suggesting for a second this is any kind of cheap ripoff, you understand. There is muted applause as Ben Shephard and Coleen Nolan enter down an icy-looking walkway. They talk about what's coming up, which is essentially everything we heard about two minutes ago before the opening titles, so I don't think we really need to go through that again. First up, in the studio are two of this year's couples: Mikey and Melanie, and Gary and Maria. Applause! Coleen jokes that at this stage last year she was trying to make a break out of the country to avoid having to go out and skate. Well, I say "jokes", I think we all know she's entirely serious. Gary admits to being "terrified" about Sunday, despite being an obvious ringer and joint-favourite to win last time I checked, and Mikey is similarly nervous. Melanie and Maria, on the other hand, are more "fuck this, BRING IT ON." Ben asks Mikey what he thought of the ladies' performances last week, and after a bit of hem-hemming, Mikey admits that he thought Hayley was good, and also Danniella. We see a clip of Danniella's performance, and there is some talk about it being hard to go on first, until Melanie interrupts that she thinks that's actually the best slot to get, because it means you're not stood around backstage watching everyone else and getting nervous. She's got a point. Gary, whose hair is looking like an offcut of shagpile for reasons best known to himself, says that he thought they all did well, and adds Heather's name into the list of people who mustn't be underestimated, blah blah courage and determination. Ben spills that Heather revealed afterwards that her leg actually popped out during the routine, and that it was really only her tights keeping it attached. Lawks. There is more talk about how it is HARD to skate with a prosthetic leg and Coleen marvels that she couldn't even tell. Perhaps she didn't watch the pre-performance VTs where they spoke about nothing else. [I really hope they give up mentioning the amputeeness every three seconds. It's embarrassing and patronising. - Carrie]

From here, we lead into a VT of the boys all rehearsing together, sold under the pretense of them all sizing each other up and doing competitive MAN THINGS like that, although the women are all there watching too, with their professional partners. Daniel in particular is noteworthy for looking distinctly unimpressed at most things. Danny says that they're all working very hard and someone must go on Sunday - he just doesn't want it to be him. Gary uses the phrase "smash it" for the second time so far this episode and I hope to God that's the last time I have to hear it today. Kieron says that he feels the need to up his game after seeing everyone else. Bobby anticipates being "one of the worst" skaters, but thinks he's the most enthusiastic. Recently returned from injury Jeremy curses the young'uns for their youth and agility. Hilary [I think you'll find you mean DR Hilary - Carrie] is "behind the pack" and rates his confidence at "about zero". Aww. Then there's some boring rivalry between Mikey and Danny, who see each other as their main competition, and are probably going to drag this out for as long as humanly possible. Snore. Although it is at least vaguely amusing for the subtext that Mikey really doesn't like Danny, however much he tries to play it off as a joke. I shall be watching their interactions on this week's show with interest.

Back in the studio, Mikey laughs off the rivalry, and Ben pretends that we know Gary best as a policeman rather than as Luke Morgan on Hollyoaks, being raped over a car bonnet on a late-night special (admittedly there may be a reason why this particular career highlight was not mentioned on TV at 8:06pm), and wants to know how he's finding the sequins. Gary replies that he wore lots of ridiculous outfits on Footballers' Wives and thus this does not trouble him, it's actually the "dance belt", which is like a thong, that he's struggling with. Coleen suggests that he looks comfortable on the ice itself, but less so with the dancing, and Gary says that he's not a trained dancer (which is presumably supposed to score him audience points ahead of people like Hayley and Jeremy who have actual dance training) and is basically uncomfortable dancing in front of people. I wonder if he was unaware of this show's title when he signed up. I'm sure Nicky would be only too willing to explain it to him. In what I'm sure is an entirely spontaneous moment, Coleen suggests that Gary needs something to get him in the mood for dancing, and thus the Nolan Sisters song is cued up and earns her sisters a few pennies in royalties.

There follows a montage of Mikey falling over a lot in training, though to be fair, it does look like he's attempting some fairly tricky manoeuvres at this comparitively early stage. He says that as the youngest of seven kids, he's been pushed around a lot and is used to falling. Apparently his Boyzone experience is no comfort, he's just trying to maintain a positive mental attitude. With Boyzone invoked, it's only a matter of seconds until Ben brings up the fact that Stephen Gately was a contestant in series two, and Mikey laments that he never got to tell Stephen he was taking part. Oh, brother. There is some talk of Stephen looking on proudly from his own personal heaven, while he possesses his lesbian best friend and uses her body to lose his virginity. Oh, wait, that's The Lovely Bones. Sorry. A propos of nothing, we then see some rehearsal footage of Bobby and Molly [incidentally, this may be my favourite website ever of any pro skater, save Nicky's mad blog - Carrie], and Coleen thinks he's looking "tentative". She would know.

After that, there's another VT, this time of tips from the ladies on how to succeed. Danniella suggests smiling lots and giving Bunto a big wink. Tana advises them to remember to breathe, because she didn't, while Hayley says that they should all imitate her giant cheeseface. Since she was told not to do that by the judges, I can only assume this is outright sabotage on her part. I approve. Ben then announces that 61% of the participants in an online poll think the men's performances will be better than the women's. Coleen thinks the men have been phoning in to influence the vote, apparently having missed the part where it was an online poll. Pay attention, Coleen.

Next VT: Chris and Jayne rehearsing a number with the pro skaters. Except Jayne's not there, having been marooned by the bad weather. Chris is tense, but rehearsals begin anyway. Some time later, Jayne arrives in a cab looking a bit guilty, and says that Chris is a great timekeeper and does not care for lateness. On the ice, she notes that Chris is skating and dancing while holding a cup of coffee: "for once, a man is multitasking." Snerk. Then there is some choreography work with the celebrities, and some talk about how Jeremy is playing catch-up because of his injury. Jayne refers to Chris as a worrier, and cites the lines in his brow as evidence, with her own smooth forehead as evidence that she in turn is not a worrier. I am very sure that "lack of worrying" is the reason she looks like that. Jayne suggests some amendments to the routine, and Chris frets some more about being ready on time. [I freakin' love La Torvill. She is aces when Chris isn't there hogging screen time. - Carrie]

Now Coleen is standing by the rehearsal ice while Jayne and Chris are giving Jeremy and Susie (I think) some advice. Coleen hollers at them from the side, and thanks to the magic of live TV, they don't respond initially, leaving Coleen to wave and holler a bit more. Hee. When they eventually arrive, Coleen asks if the boys are shaping up better than the girls, but Chris refuses to be drawn. He thinks the ladies out there will enjoy the show as the men will be strutting their stuff. Dancing on Ice: not currently courting the lesbian audience. Chris asks Coleen when she's getting back onto the ice, while she attempts to throw back to Ben in the studio, who teases the appearance of the judges in the second half before we disappearance into the ad break.

On our return, Coleen's back and Hilary [Dr Hilary - Carrie] and Alexandra are on the training rink. Ben reveals that Hilary [Dr Hilary - Carrie] has a huge bruise from his hip to his thigh, but thankfully we aren't shown it. After this, the ice panel (minus Robin, again) [who presumably has better things to do than this shit - Carrie] are welcomed into the studio, with a special welcome being extended to Bunto, who loved her first show last week and having the dancers right there in front of her. She says that she's loved the show for so long, she feels like she's been part of it for ages anyway. The judges are then shown some rehearsal footage for the first time (except Karen, as assistant coach, has seen this all before): Bobby is first up, and Jason is annoyed that he doesn't seem to be doing anything. Karen says that they're playing on his strengths: "his presentation skills and his musicality, not his skating". Heh. Nicky thinks Bobby has a wobbly core, possibly "a wobbly everything". Kieron is next, and is worried about doing his lift. Bunto thinks he should get down the gym, though Jason thinks his lift looks competent enough in rehearsals - and then tells Karen to make sure he knows he has to lift his chin up. Hee, again. Karen says that Kieron fell earlier in the week and it's knocked his confidence, and Nicky says that he shouldn't worry about doing the lifts - that when he skated with Karen, they did traditional ice skating without the lifts (Karen starts to roll her eyes magnificently here) and that if you can skate well...and then he reads the room and trails off. "Let it go," Karen tells him. Ha!
[Poor Nicky. I feel a bit sad for him. He has been disappointed in life. - Carrie]

From here, we go to what I assume will be a regular slot, where one of the contestants gets to "judge the judges" - this week it's Sharron and Pavel. Sharron says that she tries to take it all as good criticism, and go away and work on it, but her little girl was very upset. I hope that isn't a euphemism. Sharron adds that her little girl had to go to school on Monday and deal with the aftermath and everyone's all "Jason! How could you!" and...isn't this something Sharron should've thought of when she signed up? I don't really see how any of that is Jason's fault. Jason says that hopefully his comments gave her a clear indicator of what she looked like, and hopefully she will go away and work on her performance, and when she comes back, she will "not look like a tree." Coleen advises Sharron to use her branch-like arms to smack Jason. Bunto is asked what she thinks of Jason's comments. Does it matter? She says that he pushes it a bit sometimes. Nicky says that from a still image point of view, it was funny, but Jason pushed it a bit too far when he said she didn't look human. He advises Sharron to find the time to get to ballet class. Jason says it will make a "tree-mendous" difference. I'm a sucker for a bad pun, I really am. Summing-up time: Emma can't wait to see the boys in lycra on Sunday, Jason agrees, but also wants to find a standout guy who will thrill them with something spectacular. Nicky is looking forward to Gary and Danny, and Karen throws Mikey into the mix, thinking that there are several good men this year but no one standout.

And that's it! It was not the most exciting show in the world, admittedly, but I think we all learned something. Check back here later for Carrie's recap of Sunday's live show!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

You've gotta be right, right? RIGHT!

The girls
Tx: 10th January 2010

Hello, everybody! Welcome to the first live show of the series, complete with nasty kissing bumpers. (That sounds ruder than intended.) Chime-bars and twinkling snow-covered promo lead into the drama-infused pre-show montage (Mikey saying, "THE ICE MAN COMETH!", lots of people falling over, Heather Mills taking her leg off, Emily looking a peculiar colour, lots of people fallling over again), because this, of course, is Dancing On Ice 2010!

Titles!

Red heart lighting and dry ice fly over the rink, and the professional skaters ARISE FROM THE FLOOR AS IF BY MAGIC. They are dressed as...clowns and jesters, maybe? Blimey O'Reilly, there are a lot of pros this year. Anyway, Jayne and Chris appear from nowhere, and the routine proper to Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This, not My LA Ex). It's a bit Thriller-inspired, and then there are jugglers and hula-hoopers and fake violinists and this rink is FAR too small for this madness. Good, though. Jayne looks fabulous. Chris looks pained.

Ah, here are Phil and Holly, who greet each other as if they've not seen each other for months. Phil says they are back bigger and better than ever. Well, Holly is significantly smaller than she was before, is she not? [Her boobs are still magnificent, though. - Steve] Time for us all to hail Jayne and Chris, who tell us that this year's celebs are enthusiastic, a joy to teach, excited and nervous. Phil amps up the fear by telling us that the contestants are terrified but they must begin to skate for OUR VIEWING PLEASURE RIGHT NOW, BITCHES!

Welcome our skaters, then - Danniella and Matthew; Gary and Maria, whose hair looks lovely; Tana and Stuart; Bobby and Molly, who sound like a kids' TV show; Hayley and Daniel; Danny and Frankie; Sharron, who can barely stand up and looks incredibly ungainly, and lovely Pavel; Dr Hilary and Alexandra; Emily, who is not famous, and lovely Fred; Kieron and Brianne; Sinitta and my Andrei, yay!; Jeremy, who used to be a professional dancer, lest we forget, and Susie; Heather and lovely Matt; and finally Mikey and Mel. Seriously, show, have you learnt nothing from the mistakes of Strictly? Too many contestants spoil the series. Anyway, let's crack on.

Phil is excited that none of this rabble have fallen over tonight, and tells us that only the ladies are skating tonight. But of course, that will be after the break.

Break!

Ooh, let us meet the Ice Panel - Karen, who's looking positively radiant (no runny mascara yet); Nicky ON ICE Slater; Jason, who is wearing a neckerchief; Emma, who is having too much fun; and Head Judge Robin. Holly welcomes the new girl, and Emma begins by playing up the "Jason is evil" card. Robin says that skaters must show us Who They Are and why we should keep them in. Then Phil jokes that when he heard there was going to be a new face on the panel, he thought Jason was having some work done, to which Jason giggles like a schoolgirl and replies, "Not this year!" Ha!

First up, Danniella and Matthew. We see her in EastEnders at the age of 15, with a beautiful nose. She says that her motivation is making her kids proud of her. Grrr. She sees Matthew skate and comments, "He's really good, innee?" Big exaggeration of her fears as Matthew skates around in a vest. She bursts into tears, and Karen is unsurprisingly sympathetic. Matthew tells her it is her mind making her feel nervous. Ah right. Thanks for that.

They are skating to Evacuate The Dancefloor. She looks lovely in white and silver, and they've recycled Suzanne and Matt's lighting for Music. Danniella can certainly dance and has a certain musicality about her movement. There are a lot of lifts and tricks in this routine and she acquits herself well. Oh, I'd forgotten about Gubba and his inane analysis! He says Matthew looks like Donny Osmond, presumably because he has nice white teeth. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.5 and Robin 3.5 for a total of 17. Danniella is ecstatic and says it's the best thing she has ever done in her life. Insert drugs joke here. Phil welcomes Matthew, who says that he is proud of Danniella. Drink! Chris says it was the best performance Danniella has ever done, and Jayne says they couldn't have asked any more of her. Aw, yay! Head Judge Robin says it was terrific, and she didn't show any of her nerves. He too comments on her musicality. I heart Head Judge Robin. Emma says her transitions out of her lifts were good, and the more relaxed she gets, the better she will be. Karen congratulates her and possibly calls her Danielle. Jason likes her lines. HAHAHAHAHAHA insert another drugs joke here.

Next, cookery author and celebrity cuckolded wife Tana Ramsay. [I'm so glad you managed to work out what they were calling her. All I could hear was "Cook Reporter", like Roger Cook, and I was sure that couldn't be right. - Steve] Chris muses about Tana's inner strength, and Jayne is sure that she will work hard. Stuart thinks she'll have problems with the dancing, and Tana reveals she was thrown out of ballet when she was younger because she was so clumsy. Here, your Bitching team feel a certain sense of sympathy, both of us being immensely clumsy ourselves. They've given her a lyrical routine so she has more time to think about what she's doing. Tana says, "It's ON ICE. It's DANCING." In the studio, Nicky Slater surely nods approvingly.

They're skating to Take My Breath Away (not the Bunton song, the Berlin one). Tana's movement is stilted but when she's in the lifts and holds she looks happier, as you would, I suppose. It's a nice routine but she's struggling and nervous. Gubba reveals that this morning Tana forgot her skates. Oh dear. Scores - Karen 3.0, Nicky 2.0, Jason 2.0, Emma 3.0 and Robin 2.5 for a total of 12.5. Phil reassures her that it's a very good score for a first routine, and she claims she enjoyed it despite being terrified. Chris mangles adverbs but says we will see much more of Tana as the weeks progress. Jason says she's not been working hard enough on her lines, and in the audience Gordon is holding his head in his hands and laughing. Jason asks her to emote more and suggests that she should get more of her husband's fire. Nicky says her family and friends will tell her "well done" and she should be proud of herself, but there is a mountain to climb still - she can do movements but the routine doesn't flow ON ICE.

Another quick break, and now we get a sneak preview of the boys. Jayne tells us they are a determined bunch who will give the girls a run for their money. Gary Lucy does not like losing, but he cannot dance and fears looking like a wally. Too late for that, mate, you did FOOTBALLERS' WIVES. Bobby is busy in panto but must focus. Danny has no skating experience and has a challenging routine which involves being sliced in the face by Frankie, apparently. Dr Hilary is the oldest contestant so far. Kieron says he struggles picking up the phone, let alone a "full human being", heh. Jeremy reckons he's pulled his hamstring but is clutching his groin. Mikey did not come to lose. In the studio, Bobby says this is terrifying but he has had good practice in the snowy weather this week HA HA. Mikey is glad he has an extra week to train. Danny says the girls are capable and lovely. Gary thinks the girls have done very well so far tonight. All two of them.

Time for Hayley and Daniel. She has watched the show every year but confesses to being a bit rubbish at skating, though she has done it before. Hayley and Dan are old mates. They met at an ice rink. Hmm. She had a crush on him at the age of 12. Poor 12-year-old Hayley's thwarted love. And then she smashes a rib. It is clearly the Curse Of The Janets striking her. You wait, she'll have a hole in her head and a broken ankle soon.

They are skating to Shake Your Tailfeather, which you could probably guess from Hayley's elaborately feathered costume. Alesha danced to this on Strictly so that is a good omen. Obviously as a musical theatre actress Hayley can dance well, and she and Daniel have an existing affectionate relationship and that chemistry is evident, so these two have a major advantage already. And I suspect Hayley was talking down her skating capacity previously as well...this is joyful. Love them. Gubba suggests that they should have become an ice-skating pair 20 years ago. I'm sure both Dan and Hayley will thank him for that little reminder of their ages. Scores - 4.0 from everyone but Jason, who awards a 3.5, for a total of 19.5. Hayley bubbles all over the place and says she can't even feel her ribs any more. Dan says it is a dream come true to skate with Hayley. Aww. Chris says it was a great performance which sucked him in. Fnar. Jayne thought it was polished. Jason is smiling, and then likens Hayley to a Shetland pony in a metaphor that does not really go anywhere. He warns Hayley to pull back the contrived over-performance, and Emma agrees on the "stage-school smile". Well, she'd know.

Break!

Phil welcomes Ben Shepherd and Coleen Nolan, who plug their inevitably fuckawful Friday night show. Coleen has clearly not been keeping up the skating and is looking rather sizeable. They says lots of things of little interest.

Sharron and lovely Pavel now. She is very tall indeed, and I suspect it will be very hard for tall people to skate. Pavel is clearly a hard taskmaster and unused to his pupils talking back in the way that she does. Sharron is getting frustrated at being unable to excel. Chris whispers that Sharron is used to being the best and it's tough not to be. She admits that she is tough on herself but she'll do her best and that's all she can do.

They're skating to Search For the Hero, and Sharron's a bit Bambi-like, but she deserves kudos for starting the routine standing by herself. One of the problems here is that Pavel is visibly slowing down to stay with his partner and makes it look even more awkward and less fluid that it would be anyway. Nice use of literal choreography on the word "hide", though. Scores - Karen 3.0, Nicky 3.0, Jason 1.5, Emma 2.5, Robin 2.5 for a total of 12.5. Phil pretends that is very good, and Sharron threatens Jason in a "comedy" way and he is unimpressed. Sharron moans about being tall, then invokes her little girl, and being a sportsperson, and other reality TV show cliches. Chris says that Sharron is used to power and aggression and now she has to do something different. Sharron suggests Celebrity Ice Hockey. Holly hopes Jason has a lock on his door, and he fears she will come through the wall. Nevertheless, he says she looked like she was "possessed by a tree". Nicky is laughing but pretends he is not. Jason wants her to soften and look more feminine, or at least human. This is not the place to get into gender politics but I have so many issues with his definition of feminine, and I'd forgotten that because he hasn't got into the whole "muscles are not FEMININE" thing since Kelly Holmes. Holly glares at him, and moves to Karen, who will say nice things. She admires Sharron's athleticism and hard work, and says, "We'll work on your arms. Don't worry."

Emily who is not famous and lovely Fred next. Her face is very round. She thinks she can win because she is the youngest. And also she is partnered with Fred, at which she blushes profusely. HAHAHA. Then she giggles her way through rehearsals. Jayne and Chris suggest that she stops doing that. Fred asks her to "minimise the sound effects". Chris wants her to be more mature. Yeah, whatever. 19-year-olds aren't mature. I have to teach them and can assure you of this.

They're skating to Love Story, and Fred is in pink again. Love him. Emily doesn't move for the first 20 seconds of the routine, and then looks like she's going to cry through most of it. Gubba thinks that turning 20 makes you an adult, for some reason. Scores - Karen 2.5, Nicky 2.0, Jason 2.0, Emma 2.0 and Robin 2.0 for a total of 11.0. Emily wants to do it again, but NOT IN THE SKATE-OFF. She is quite inarticulate and tearful. [The look on her face when the scores came in was a picture - it seemed to say "shit, I am not famous enough to overcome this." - Steve] Fred thinks it is impossible for her not to squeal. She is clutching his arm and you suddenly realise how very young she is. Nicky thinks she needs to ATTACK ON ICE and though she looks lovely, that isn't enough. Emma has her really annoying DJ intonation on and likens her to an angel.

Ooh, Sinitta and my Andrei! She claims to be a singer, despite now being best known for wearing palm leaves at Simon Cowell's house. She tiptoes her way round the rink, but hopes her dance experience will prove an advantage. Chris promises her a big, strong man, and that is of course lovely lovely Andrei. In a few weeks, she enjoys being lifted, but they're struggling with the frog lift, which is the trick that ended in near-castration for Pavel when Mumba tried it, I believe. Sure enough, within a few seconds, we see footage of Andrei telling Sinitta, "You just kicked me IN THE GOOLIES!" Admirable use of British idiom, Andrei. Gratuitous shot of Andrei's bruised groin and thigh. In the dress rehearsal they STILL can't do the lift and one would have expected them to have a Plan B, but apparently not. This is going to end in tears. Probably Andrei's.

They're skating to Halo, and Sinitta is breathing deeply prior to commencing another spot of fabulously literal choreography. There's a peculiar bit where she ruffles his hair, and the frog lift doesn't go brilliantly but Andrei's manhood is intact. I am sure Susie is relieved. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.0, Jason 2.5, Emma 3.0 and Robin 3.0 for a total of 15.0, which is respectable. Sinitta's kids are waving flags. Cute. Andrei assures us that all his "private bits" are OK. Sinitta takes a moment to thank her kids for the flags. Jayne and Chris are pleased that the lift went well, and admire her lines. Head Judge Robin says that Sinitta has great natural spatial awareness, though her skating is mediocre. Karen agrees that she has a lot of potential. Emma thought the dancing was timid and found herself watching gorgeous Andrei. Fair enough.

Break!

Next, charity campaigner Heather Mills and lovely Matt. Recently, she has jumped out of a plane, and tries on various prosthetic legs to suit skating. [I feel we were robbed of a shopping montage here. - Steve] Jayne and Chris have never seen an amputee skate before. With Heather in the middle, the trio move around the rink, and Jayne and Chris are very impressed with her. Matt talks about the challenge of finding ways to choreograph round the limitations with the prosthesis, and Chris concludes by extolling his admiration of Heather.

They are skating to Conga, but not the one that goes do-do-doooo, come on and do the conga, which is a great disappointment to me and distracts me the entire way through the routine. Heather's arms are fairly awful, but her skating seems to be fairly decent, and the lifts are a bit lumpy but safe. Gubba reminds us that Heather only has one leg. Scores - Karen 3.0, Nicky 4.0 (presumably for her bravery in getting ON ICE), Kason 2.5, Emma 3.0, Robin 3.0 for a total of 15.5. Heather says she can't complain about being lifted by Matt, and she claims she is skating for her charities and to inspire other amputees. Matt says Heather has turned her disability into an ability and is an inspiration, which is a cue for patronising applause. Chris says that Heather never says no. Fnar. Nicky says that at times he doesn't see any disability at all, which is a tremendously backhanded compliment. Jason says it is remarkable what she can do with the leg, but she needs to sort out her arms and transitions.

And that's it! Hayley and Dan are top, Emily and Fred are bottom. Time for the viewing public to have their say...after a quick recap - Danniella and her nice dancing; juddery Tana; showbiz Hayley; Sharron, who IS TALL; Emily being very young; Sinitta permitting Andrei to potentially father more children in the future; and Heather, who has one leg. What will happen? We'll find out later tonight!

The skate-off

Welcome back! Phil and Holly are still present and correct, fortunately. The lines are now closed, but while the votes are being counted, there's surely time for a quick recap? Why, yes, there is!

Danniella says going out first was good in a way because she didn't have anyone to follow; Tana assures us that she has fire; Hayley liked all the comments and says that she has always had a cheesy face "since I was, like, born", and Dan concurs, saying they used to call her cheesy Hayley; Pavel is riled up about Jason's mean comments, and Sharron says something about being a weeping willow; Emily has obviously been a bit weepy backstage and wants to do beetter in future (you'd hope, really); Sinitta and Andrei are thinking about how to bring the foxy Sinitta ON ICE; Matt says he, Jayne and Chris are trying to get Heather to skate, which is a weird comment. Hey ho.

Right, time for some xy contestants. Dr Hilary says he is going to write himself a sicknote to avoid skating. Oh, fuck, this series is going to be packed with medical puns, isn't it? Kieron wants to get it over with. Jeremy feels like a frightened horse on a frozen lake, and Phil looks forward to seeing that. Heh.

Holly asks Jason who surprised him tonight, and he says Danniella with her physicality and lines (fnar). Emma says that Hayley's technique and ability are exciting, and Danniella has a lot to give. Head Judge Robin says the first week is always tough, but collectively the girls have given the boys something to think about. Emma squeals about the boys, which obviously takes Holly and Robin by surprise.

Time for the results. Phil touches his ear, and in no particular order, the couples safe are - Tana and Stuart; Hayley and Daniel; Heather and Matt; Danniella and Matthew; and the other one definitely safe will, of course, be revealed after the break.

Right, enough prevaricating. The fifth couple safe - Emily and Fred. She screams and looks like she is going to faint. So Sharron and Pavel and Sinitta and Andrei are going to skate again, and I am pissed off already. Not because of the midtable celebs ending up in the skate-off, but because I am going to lose one of my favourite boys in the first week AGAIN.

Sharron and Pavel go first and though her arms are still quite branchlike and her dance moves are excruciating, her skating actually looks a bit more secure. Sinitta and Andrei utterly fuck up the frog lift, and they look absolutely gutted. Sinitta blubs, Andrei kisses her hair, and reveals that his trousers are sliced across the thigh. Sinitta's kids look sad. Little children shouldn't be put through this emotional wringer. Phil says at least Andrei won't be going home "Andrea", and Jayne expresses her deep sorrow. Everyone has basically accepted that these two will be out tonight, haven't they?

Time to get that confirmed, then. Karen says the tables have turned from her expectations, and saves Sharron. Nicky agrees. Jason says it is difficult but he has to judge on what he sees, so he saves Sharron too. Emma says Sinitta's performance was 100 per cent better and saves her. Head Judge Robin would have saved Sharron too, and she is the one to skate next week.

So Sinitta is out but more importantly ANDREI IS OUT IN THE FIRST WEEK AGAIN, THIS IS A FUCKING SWIZZ OF A SHOW AND I AM CROSS. Sinitta is tearful and heading towards incoherence as Phil and Holly send the pair out on their lap of honour.

Next week! Boys skate! And on Friday, Ben and Coleen being Ben and Coleen! Join us for that!

A frosty reception

Dancing on Ice Friday: 8th January 2010

Hello, and welcome back to Bitching On Ice! It's entirely possible that you're all sick of ice and frost and associated things considering the weather we've been having this week, but I'm afraid you'll have to suffer through it for the next hour, because Dancing On Ice is back for a brand new run. Carrie will be here later tonight to bring you the full lowdown on the first competitive show of the new series, but because ITV is determined to stretch the brand as far as it can, there's a new show on Fridays this year as well, and the very first hour is a special hour-long curtain opener, which I shall now be recapping for you. Onward!

Incidentally, Dancing on Ice is sponsored by Macleans toothpaste this year. You'll probably be very familiar with that fact before too long.

We open with a lightning-fast series of shots of some of this year's contestants: Sinitta! Mikey Graham! Hayley Tamaddon! Heather Mills! Bobby Davro! Danniella Westbrook! That girl off The Inbetweeners! Ste from Hollyoaks! Mrs Gordon Ramsey! Gary Lucy! Jeremy Sheffield! That Baldwin kid off Coronation Street! Okay, you really don't want to know how many times I had to rewind and rewatch that segment to get all of those in the right order. And I assume Dr Hilary Jones was in there somewhere, but try as I might, I couldn't find him, and I was a bit scared that if I freeze-framed it one more time, my PVR might explode. So if you're reading this, Dr Hilary, I apologise, but be assured that your exclusion is not intended as any kind of slur. OR IS IT?

Anyway, Phil tells us that Dancing On Ice is back (like, duh) and tonight the class of 2010 will take to the ice! Yeah, for about 30 seconds. Way to get our hopes up, Phil. Over shots of them all frolicking in a winter wonderland (and to think of the money they could've saved on that studio set if they'd known about the weather in advance. They could've filmed it in Putney for a fraction of the price), Phil says that they're all hoping to win. Bobby Davro pretends that he is taking it seriously. I am as yet unconvinced. Mikey says that nobody comes into something like this intending to not win, and he's no different. This statement is belied somewhat by Kieron Richardson saying immediately afterwards that at present he doesn't actually think he can do it. In your face, Mikey Graham and your ill-founded clichés! Heather is just going to do her best, Danniella is looking forward to the challenge. Hillary is terrified. Sinitta has confidence in absolutely everything apart from her ability to skate. Oh, just come out in a dress made of palm leaves. Sure, your nipples will be sharp enough to use as tattoo needles, but hey, someone'll vote for ya, I'm sure. Phil informs us that there will also be a Very Special Performance from Ray Quim, and if you think I'm sitting through THAT a second time, then hello, I don't believe we've met before. There'll also be a trip down memory lane, and lots of Torvill and Dean, which is basically the only thing I'm here for. There will be highs (Suzanne and Lovely Matt scoring the first perfect 30 in the history of the show) and the lows (the alarming body count of people maiming themselves over the past four years), the amazing lifts and the dramatic falls. Get ready to be amazed, folks, it's Dancing On Ice 2010!

Titles! Is it just me, or has the theme tune been funkified-up a little bit?

Phil and Holly arrive, both looking positively lovely. Phil jokes that at minus ten degrees, the studio is currently the warmest place in Britain. At least, I think he's joking. Holly teases the arrival of this year's celebrities for the very first time, but before all that, it's time for a little bit of Jayne and Chris. They're performing a cheese-alicious routine to The Jacksons' 'Can You Feel It', and fortunately no-one claims that this is a heartfelt tribute to Michael, WHO IS DEAD, or anything. It's a great routine, but by far my favourite bit is about two thirds of the way through where Chris loses his balance during a knee-spin and has to spend the rest of the routine skating about with a dirty great white mark on his knee. HA! Well, might as well start as I mean to go on, right? It finishes, and there is much cheering and applause. Because it was good, I mean, not because it's over. [Poor Chris. Thought he looked very wobbly yet fierce during this. Welcome back, Princess! - Carrie]

Phil beckons them over to the Safe Spot to join him and Holly, and asks how they think the celebs might be coping backstage right now. Chris trots out the usual "excited but nervous" truism and talks about being out of one's comfort zone, but he thinks they've all got the right attitude. Holly asks Jayne what the last four years have been like, and she replies "exhausting!" in that way that is only half-kidding. She does say that it's been a great experience for both of them to meet so many people who've never skated before (oh, come on, Torvill. Most of them had skated before, just not in these sorts of circumstances) and join them on their JOURNEYS. Right, six minutes into the new series, chalk up one mark on the Journeyometer.

Holly says that we've seen over 270 routines over the past four series, as well as 46 celebrities and thankfully only nine broken bones. This is, of course, the cue for a history VT. VT Chris says that he and Jayne quietly agreed to stop skating in 1998, and when the call came through about the show, they were somewhat concerned about the concept, but when they SAW THE POSSIBILITIES, they got excited. Chris says that the highlight was coming back to skate with "whatshername here", and Jayne grins that she was going to say that too. Aww, they're quite cute sometimes. Holly (in an interview clearly conducted on the set of This Morning, just as Phil's will be in a minute) says that no one imagined they'd get back together, and we see their very first appearance on the show. VO Phil says that once they were back, they faced a more difficult challenge - teaching celebrities to skate. And this show can bollock right off if it expects me to believe for one second that teaching celebrities to skate is harder than winning Olympic gold. Now, had he said that the more difficult challenge was resisting the urge not to swipe Ray Quinn across the face with the business end of an ice skate, I may have been slightly more in agreement. Andi Fucking Peters talks about the honour of having legends like Torvill and Dean teaching you how to skate. Jayne says tactfully that they were used to choreographing people "at a certain level", and so it was "interesting" to be in this new situation. David Seaman talks about that feeling of getting onto the ice for the first time. Which, incidentally, he did on BBC One's Strictly Ice Dancing before he was on this show. Just sayin'. Gaynor Faye recalls having bruises everywhere. Andi Fucking Peters talks about waiting for the first show to start, when it was new to everyone and no one knew if it was going to work.

Grainy footage of the first show, fished out of the ITV archives. Phil recalls being very nervous, and that it became apparent very quickly that this was going to be HUGE. We see snippets of all the contestants from series one doing their thing, and then Phil mentions the 36 other celebs who took part in subsequent series. Not by name, obviously. But there are shots of Suzanne and Lovely Matt, and Zaraah and Lovely Fred, which is all that matters. Chris says that the reality sets in as the first show approaches. Melinda Messenger recalls wanting to scratch her way out of her contract for Live From Studio Five the tunnel before the first show. Tastefully, Donal MacIntyre says that given the choice in that moment between doing the show and being in a war zone, he would've chosen the war zone. Stay classy, Donal! (Although if I'd had the choice between Ray Quinn being on the show and being in a war zone, etc etc etc.) Coleen remembers the feeling of relief as the song ended. Chris Fountain says that when he got back into his dressing room afterwards, he realised how much fun he'd had. [Nice to know he enjoyed himself, because his end-of-series bitchface indicated that he didn't so much. - Carrie]

Then it's time for a montage of the less talented contestants: Andi Fucking Peters falling on his arse as he skated out and taking poor Tamara Sharp over with him. Then there's the not remotely scripted moment where Todd Carty went shooting off into the tunnel and yet mysteriously managed to come back out onto the ice and finish in exact time with the music. How convenient! "I caught my toe pick," says Todd. Yeah, yeah, and the rest. Over more shots of other contestants (including Lisa Scott-Lee, bless her), Phil says that the experience of the show is something that none of them will ever forget. And then we see Noted Bisexual Duncan James kissing Nicky Slater on the forehead. Karen Barber says that she hopes the show goes on for a long time because it's the best job in the world. Elsewhere, the CEO of Kleenex also hopes that Karen continues to do this job for a long time. Coleen claims it was the best thing she's ever done. A very old-looking Gareth Gates says that it's great learning a new skill and showcasing it in front of people. THE BARROWMAN lies through his teeth that it's the best thing that ever happened to him (either that, or they spliced in footage from an entirely different piece of his interview - come on, no one's falling for that, are they?). Noted Bisexual Duncan James fondly recalls the sparkly outfits and big hair, bless him. Suzanne says that it taught her anything was possible. I can't remember if she said anything else, my attention was slightly stolen by archive footage of Lovely Matt's Lovely Arms. Sorry. Chris and Jayne are just so happy to have this opportunity. So happy!

With that, we're back in the studio, and it's time for an ad break. Don't go anywhere!

If anyone out there can make sense of the existence of Popstar to Operastar - please, enlighten me. [Particularly as Darius Danesh's Campbell's biog has always carried the information that he started his singing career as part of the Scottish Opera. Mysteriously, his official site with said career info is now no longer in operation. - Carrie]

We're back, and Phil and Holly are ON ICE! How exciting. They're not skating, though. Boo. They're just introducing another VT package of some of the series' best partnerships, starting with Gaynor and Daniel, champions from 2006. Gaynor says that there's no way she could've won the show with any other partner, except maybe Christopher Dean. Snerk. Suzanne and Lovely Matt are next, with Suzanne saying how hard it is to find a partnership that works so well, and Lovely Matt says that they were emotionally on the same page. Kyran talks about how Melanie constantly pushed his boundaries, while Ray says that not every day was a charm (it certainly wasn't, you weasel-faced irritant). Kyran says that the most exciting thing about being in the final is having the opportunity to do the Bolero. Unless you're Jessica. Or Zaraah. Or Duncan. Or Bonnie. Lovely Matt says that being able to choreograph your own Bolero makes it that much more special, while Suzanne talks about how the music takes over your body. Ray says that it meant a lot to him and it was their chance to shine. Daniel remembers the absolute silence from his Bolero with Gaynor, and Gaynor says that it's a very surreal moment. Then we see each winner in turn being informed of their victory, including a brilliant shot of Chris Fountain's epic bitchface when Suzanne won. Man, I wish I didn't have to delete that bit from my PVR. (As we were watching, my boyfriend remarked how awesome it would've been how, as Ray was waiting to hear if he'd won, they'd declared Leona Lewis the winner. I'd have paid good money to see his face then.) Then there's about sixteen different ways of saying "WINNING FEELS NICE", which I do not wish to recap in any more detail than this.

After that, we're back in the studio for Ray and Maria's special new performance to 'I Gotta Feeling' by the Black Eyed Peas. I didn't recap his performances when they counted for anything, and I don't intend to start now. From there, it's time for another VT, this time all about the Ever-Changing Ice Panel. Apparently there are some judges on this show that aren't Robin Cousins. Who knew? Now that very-talented-at-musicals-but-neither-use-nor-ornament-on-this-show Ruthie Henshall has departed, we've got a new judge: Countess Emma Von Bunton. Emma says that she's sure people expect her to be nice, but she tells it like it is - though she's no Jason, thank God. She says that she knows what it takes to entertain an audience (sales of your last album would beg to differ, Ms Bunton), so she wants to see a great performance.

And now they're all in the studio! Well, except for Robin, who of course realised that this was a colossal waste of everyone's time and made other plans instead. Good for him. Jason is wearing some ridiculous jacket with leather straps and buckles and looks like a damn fool. Plus ça change. Emma is very excited about Sunday and having the best seat in the house. Jason says that he does actually want the celebrities to do well because it's painful to sit through bad performances. Man's got a point. Nicky is asked which bits of which celebrities he'd use to build his perfect skater, and he replies thusly: "I'd use Ray Quinn as the base, and then I'd add to that the edginess of Chris Fountain, Coleen's kiss-and-cry skills, and the entertainment magic of the one and only Todd Carty." What, no Suzanne? FAIL. Also, "Coleen's kiss-and-cry skills"? What does that even mean? God, the judging hasn't even started yet and already I'm cross with him. [Hey, me too! ON ICE! - Carrie] Karen is very excited because she thinks it's the toughest competition so far.

After some more ads and more gross close-ups of people kissing (what? I'm British), Phil is in the audience with Gordon Ramsay, who says that Tana has been training very hard. Phil asks him if he'll be trying it himself, and Gordon cites his size 15 feet as the main reason he won't be doing so. Size 15! As Phil puts it, "those are skis!" Hee. Time for another VT, with Chris, Jayne and Karen talking in revered tones about the amazing moves the celebs pull off, the likes of which most professionals train for years to do. Seriously, Roxanne's pitiful attempt at a headbanger had better not be in here. Chris Fountain remembers being the first person to do an axel, and says smugly that no one's done it since. THE BARROWMAN calls Ray Quinn "phenomenal" (doo doo, do do doo!) for doing Robin's famous split-jump. Chris (Dean) says that when they think about giving out the really complicated moves, they make sure the people they give them to are comfortable with them - but, he says, ice-skating can be quite dangerous. INJURY PORN MONTAGE! Lisa Scott-Lee calls it "the most dangerous programme on TV" over footage of her own attempt at the headbanger. Chris says that they teach people how to fall at the beginning, but at some point they have to go away and conquer their fears. There's a special sequence devoted to Michael Underwood crying over his game-ending injury ["It's so TYPICAL! I've NEVER BROKEN A BONE BEFORE!" Sob! HAHAHAHAH! - Carrie] , and Coleen wonders how the professionals are not terrified of dancing with these lethal amateurs. She should know. Lovely Matt says that people sometimes forget how sharp the blades are, over footage of that time Suzanne nearly took his eye out. Then we have a headbanger segment, complete with footage of Roxanne screaming like a girl. Pah. Suzanne remembers that it feels like your ankle is going to come out of its socket and there's so much pressure in your head that it feels like it's to fall off. Sounds fun! [To be fair she may have been talking about the time she had a broken bone in her ankle, so she may well have a point. - Carrie] VO Phil says that the only non-professional man to ever attempt the headbanger was David Seaman. Quite possibly the reason that he was the last one to attempt it is the hideous injury that befell Pam in rehearsals as she lost her footing and then whacked her chin on the ice. Owee. Phil recalls his heart being in his mouth as they attempted it on the live show, while Holly remembers that she "couldn't watch". Thankfully, it came together on the night, and David and Pam were both very happy, possibly for different reasons. Frankie, rocking some seriously big hair, says that "the sky's the limit" in terms of where the show can go. [Also, for her hair. - Carrie]

Back in the studio, Chris says that they're blown away by what the celebs manage to achieve. Jayne says that they get better results with slow progress, so they start with baby steps. Then we get some proper action - a group performance from the professionals, to Pixie Lott's 'Girls And Boys'. Once again I find my words not really adequate enough to sum it all up, but trust me when I say it is pretty fucking awesome. Examples: Lovely Matt and Daniel picking up one of the female pros (unfortunately I can't see her face, so I don't know who it is, but I think it might be Frankie) and basically swinging her between them and up over their heads, while Alexandra does a backflip over Stuart's head. Yipes. There's a special introduction at the end for new pro skaters Alexandra, Molly, Brianne, and Matthew (who looks uncannily like Jason Durr from Above Suspicion).

After a competition question offering tickets to next week's show, followed by an ad break, it's time to meet the new celebrities. Finally! We start with the ladies: first up is Hayley Tamaddon, who's very excited to be on the show. She's clumsy and fears falling over, which makes me think that she signed up for the wrong show. Heather is excited and nervous, and says that there are certain things she won't be able to do because she's an amputee [my God, is she? This is BRAND-NEW INFORMATION - Carrie], no matter how much she wants to, but she's very competitive and will try her best. Tana says that dancing ON ICE will not come naturally to her, and learning the routines will be a mission in itself. Danniella thinks it will be hard work and is thinking about the bruises and the hot baths and the trips to the physio more than how far she is likely to progress. Probably just as well. She says "if you mess up, you really mess up, and you're ON ICE." Capitalisation mine, via Nicky Slater. Sharron Davies worried that they'd give her a short pro and make her lift him, but thankfully she's got Pavel, so she'll be fine. Emily's number one worry is embarrassing herself. I would've though it would be the fact that literally no one knows who she is. I mean, I watch The Inbetweeners and I wouldn't have recognised her name out of context. She'd rather break her legs in private rather than bruise her knee in front of an audience, which seems an odd way to look at things. [I am really worried for her. a) She's not famous and b) she looks like she's having a nervous breakdown already. - Carrie] Sinitta is very excited, but cannot skate. Hmm.

And in they come! Danniella seems a little unbalanced, but not disastrously so. Emily is described as a "comedy actress", which is a description that I always think implies someone is not very good. Isn't "comic actress" a better term? Or what's wrong with just "actress"? Anyway, she's in pink and looks like Barbie, but seems fairly competent on the skating front. Sharron Davies can barely stand, let alone skate, so I'm not very confident for her. Impressive arm muscles, though. Hayley Tamaddon is introduced as a "star of stage and screen", which I'm sure will please Carrie [yep, I heart the Tamaddon, best Janet on the last Rocky Horror tour barring none, including La Shaw - Carrie], but she's basically carried in by Daniel, so it's hard to tell how good she is. Tana seems fine, but is supported by Stuart for her entire entrance. Likewise Sinitta with Andrei. And Heather and Lovely Matt. Man, the female line-up this year is kind of uninspiring. I hope the men are better.

They skate over to join Holly and Phil in the Safe Spot, where Phil asks Tana if it's true that Gordon has been making her high protein meals. It isn't, she says. Asked how she feels, she replies "terrified, excited, nervous, but I'm loving it." That bit of patter sounded INCREDIBLY rehearsed. Be more spontaneous, Tana! Sharron finds the whole experience more terrifying than swimming in the Olympics, because at least she knew what she was doing then. Danniella looks terrified, and basically says as much. Heather was glad to get that first skate-on out of the way: "I can stop biting Matt's arm now." Lucky bitch. Also, I thought she was vegan? [Phil thought Heather was being entirely serious about biting Matt, and she had to point out that no, he'd just cut himself in some other way, not at all related to her teeth. - Carrie] Emily says she's living every girl's dream, but she can't stop shaking. Hayley thinks there's no one better to learn from than Torvill and Dean. Sinitta says it's all happened very quickly, and now she's in her costume, she can't get out of it. Skating, I mean, not her costume. I need to work on my syntax.

Now, here come the boys! (bo-oys! bo-oys! bo-oys!) Bobby Davro is first, saying that he signed up because it looked like fun and he wanted to learn a skill. He thinks he'll struggle more than the youngsters, but has his experience as "an entertainer" (sigh) to fall back on. Mikey is a bit apprehensive about his public perception, and hopes people like him. He has no fear, apart from fear itself. And the inability to speak without clichés. The well-preserved Jeremy Sheffield is excited to be learning a new skill at the age of 43, and has huge expectations of his own brilliance, but knows he won't live up to them. Heh. Danny is competitive and likes to do well, and will give it 100%. Only 100%? Amateur. Dr Hilary does not dance or skate, so is probably boned. Gary Lucy has only skated a few times, but did a lot of rollerskating as a kid, and judging by his rehearsal footage, is a total fucking ringer. Kieron is feeling pure panic, and does not want to fall over. He hopes to be feeling more confident in a few weeks, but also thinks he might be in a plaster cast by then. Snerk.

Gary skates on first. Hang on, how come Maria gets the total ringer two years running? Same reason Daniel always get the ITV soap star, I suppose. Bobby's a little unsteady on his feet, so Molly just kind of jumps around him. Danny and Frankie's initial display looks promising, but when you see him in a vest, his head doesn't look like it fits his body. Dr Hilary neither stands out nor embarrasses himself. Kieron is a little wobbly, but not terribly so. Jeremy is introduced as a "Hollywood actor", which seems a bit of an overexaggeration, but I suppose he did that film with Debra Messing, and he was in Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, so I'll allow it. For now. He needs a little assistance from Susie, it seems. Mikey seems...fine. Non-descript.

"Nobody fell over!" Phil cheers. They all skate over to join him in the Safe Spot. Kieron is amazed that he's been taught by Jayne and Chris, and says that they are amazing, and he's very excited to be in the same room as Emma Bunton. Danny thinks the girls all have their strengths - apparently Sinitta's got a difficult lift, and Danniella's getting better all the time. Gary says the nerves are the hardest bit right now. Mikey (big cheer) says that the training has been hard, but he's ready for an adventure. Bobby thinks the costumes are unforgiving. Dr Hilary is only going to treat injuries worse than his own. Jeremy (big cheer) has already torn a hamstring and it was touch and go that he'd be here, but he made it, "thanks to our amazing physio Sharon, ahhh." Unless the physio is Korean and her name is Sharon Ah. It's possible.

And that's it! The ladies are taking to the ice first this year, and Carrie will be here to recap the terrifying highs and the awesome lows. Join her then!