Sunday, 28 February 2010

Atack over the ice

No theme whatsoever week
Tx: 28th February 2010

Last week, there was ANARCHY on the ice, and Angela Rippon used to have a boyfriend with hair like Kieron's. Jason was rude to people. Nicky SPOKE THE TRUTH for once ON ICE. Sharron was utterly stitched up, and I lost my second beloved Eastern European boy skater. This week there is no theme at all, unless you count people falling over, or something. Ooh, some injury porn, as Kieron spurts blood from a split lip. It's Sunday night, and this is Dancing On Ice!

Here are Phil and Holly, who is in a beautiful low-cut satin gown with only half her breasts contained. And then here is Katherine sodding Jenkins and Andrew sodding Lloyd Webber, performing Love Never Dies from the new West End flop of the same title. Now, I saw the show on Thursday night, and won't give away any spoilers, but I don't think I'm giving anything away if I reveal that Sierra Boggess, who performed all her songs without consonants, which is some feat, is significantly better at singing than Katherine Jenkins. Oh, and here are Jayne and Chris skating round for a bit. And then there's a key change. And some of the pros skating round holding bed sheets. Wtf? It finishes, Lloyd Webber does that weird clunky handclapping he always does when he's feeling smug.

Jayne and Chris join Phil and Holly, and lie that they enjoyed skating to that caterwauling. The required element this week is an unassisted jump. This means NO ASSISTANCE and JUMPING. Seriously, that's what the exposition is. Nicky Slater-level comprehension here. Jayne hopes everyone will do well. Chris calls it a leap of faith, but I'm not sure he intends the pun, and says that everyone wants to be in the final.

So let's meet our Skating Stars - Mikey and Mel; Danniella and Matt; Kieron and Brianne; NotFamous Emily and Fred; Danny and Frankie; Hayley and Dan (who's looking increasingly gay); and Gary and Maria. And the Ice Panel - Karen (back on the end); Nicky (whose knowledge of ICE is second only to Pingu's apparently. HAHAHAHA!) [even more amazing - Nicky's hurt look when he genuinely thought Holly believed Pingu to be more knowledgeable than he is - Steve]; Jason; Emma; and HOORAY ROBIN IS BACK HOORAY! He does an adorable fake-out when Holly mentions that it was 30 years ago when he won his Olympic gold. Love him TOO much. He wants PROPER JUMPING. Fnar.

First up, Mikey and Mel. He says he is tired of basic competence and wants to be better. Chris and Jayne comment on his enthusiasm. I must comment on Mel wearing some kind of weird bra over her sweatshirt. Mikey is intending to pull his socks up and put his skates on, and Jayne says that the song they've given him is not a comedy one. Chris says that Mikey must be faster OVER THE ICE (not SLOW OVER THE ICE which is the worst thing anyone can ever be, obviously).

They're skating to Dancing In The Dark. And OK, these knee slides they've put in just look like he's fallen over. Oh, no, wait, he has in fact fallen over. He's clearly concentrating very hard and Mel seems to be leading a lot of the time. The jump passes without incident, if rather unsynchronised. They look really pissed off at the end. Scores - Karen 3.0, Nicky 2.5, Jason 2.5, Emma 3.0 and Robin 2.5 for a total of 13.5. Mel says that during the dress rehearsal Mikey took a nasty tumble and he is injured; Phil and Chris support this reading of events, but to his credit Mikey just says, "Meh, it is what it is." Robin says that in the afternoon's practice he thought Mikey had turned a corner, but there were lots of mistakes throughout and he needs to put that behind him. Jason says it looked like he was dancing in the dark with all the stumbles. What? Karen says that is not the Mikey she knows, and he will be back next week. Well, that's that sorted out then. Thanks, Karen!

After the break - more injury porn!

Danniella and Matt seem to be dressed as skating principal boys awol from a production of Aladdin. This week they are skating lots of little steps and it is testing Danniella's coke-addled memory. And also her right knee. She says that at the start of every session her knees give her gyp. Um, shouldn't she be warming up before she skates? Do some pilates, Westbrook. It's the way forward.

They're skating to kd lang's Rose Garden. As one might expect, there's more line-dancing-esque choreography packed in there; this is clearly Chris's latest penchant. Some of this looks really lame and messy, particularly the "saddle lift", though the one at the end where she's hooked round his neck is excellent. And oh my, they're miming guns. Scores - Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 3.5, Emma 4.5, Robin 4.5 for a total of 22.0. They are happy. Danniella says she ricked her hamstring on Friday night and at the age of 36 she is lucky to be out there at all. Chris and Jayne are significantly older than that and they can skate. And Frankie is 36 too. NO LAME EXCUSES, WESTBROOK. Jayne thanks her for her hard work. Unlike Sharron, who did not work and dared to cross the might of Torvill and Dean. Emma says it lacked sparkle, possibly because of the increased content. Karen thought it was special and precise. Jason makes some dancing criticisms and the audience boo like mentals.

Last week Kieron thinks his routine "went amazing". Jayne thinks he could be a contender. Brianne says he's got to do two half-axles in a row, which Kieron claims is a full axle. And then Kieron smashes his face up. They watch it on the CCTV and his face bounces off the ice. [Why doesn't the show have its own footage of this? Bunch of amateurs. - Steve] Brianne tells him he's going to have to go to A&E and get a stitch put in his lip. So he does. Then he decides he's not going to rehearse the jumps again until show day, which is clearly a shit plan, and sure enough, in dress rehearsal he forgets how fast he should be skating and falls over. Sigh.

They're dancing to Careless Whisper, and one of the strengths of this partnership is that they clearly get on so well. Kieron isn't smiling, but that might be because his mouth hurts. It's a beautiful routine and the jumps work well. Scores - Karen 4.0, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.5, Emma 4.0, Robin 3.5 for a total of 18.5. Kieron says this week has been hell, and he ripped the scab off his lip because he is so vain. EW. Brianne says that she has admired his bravery this week. Ooh, hello, Jayne is all dressed up and looks beautiful. Nicky says something about inner steel and character and COVERING THE ICE. Emma enjoys watching Kieron's speed ON THE ICE. Robin also likes his speed, and was worried when he noticed Kieron's shaking. Then Phil mocks their fake tans.

Next, NotFamous Emily and Fred. She talks to the camera; Fred plasters on a grin and stares into space. Poor Fred. Chris and Jayne have put in a huge lift, which Emily does not believe is possible. Fred demonstrates with Karen. MOAR KAREN SKATING PLZ. Chris goes through a list of things that could go wrong with the lift, the little ray of sunshine that he is.

They're skating to Da Doo Ron Ron, and they have a really dinky routine, with some speedy footwork (also, Fred deserves a medal for pretending that he likes Emily). She even manages the lift at the end, letting go of Fred's shoulders, and though she looks like she's going to fall over and vomit when she's back on the ground, she still manages it. Kate Robbins bursts into tears, either through pride or terror. Scores - Karen 3.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 3.0, Emma 4.0, Robin 4.0 for a total of 18.5, her highest so far. Fred claims that the wobble after the lift was his fault because he spun faster than they have done in rehearsal. Emily is all squealy and says she's really enjoying it now. Jayne says that her increased confidence is noticeable. Karen says that in that lift, you know you're in great hands with Fred, and then does a funny little reminiscent smile. Jason says he is annoyed because he doesn't see a performance from her. So why is he giving her 3.0 then? Kate Robbins is shaking her fist at the camera. Emma says she disagrees and Emily has improved. Jason interjects, "No." Oh, shut up. Wanker. [Emily was still at the bottom of the pack, but to pretend that her performance level hadn't improved from how she started out was beyond ludicrous. So Jason can have an extra helping of "shut up" from me too. - Steve]

After the break, we get to see some Mikey injury porn, showing us his fall pre-show, which is a hell of a crash, and just in case we missed it, we get to see it in slow motion. Mikey's off in physio, anyway. [This all felt far too gratuitous for my liking. Either show that during Mikey's section, or don't show it at all. - Steve]

Danny and Frankie get 17.0 every week and Jason tells him that his movements are unfinished while Nicky tells him to be faster OVER THE ICE. So Danny and Karen sit down and watch the old routines and rip them to bits, and then she makes him skate with big elastic bands joining his arms and blades. Seriously.

Oh dear me, they're skating to Yeah Yeah, which will bring back bad memories for anyone who ever watched The X Factor. I really don't think Danny is much of a dancer, he doesn't seem to be on the beat, whereas what Frankie's doing makes sense with the music. The skating is fine, and he lands the jumps, there's just no musicality. Scores - Karen 4.5, Nicky 4.5, Jason 4.0, Emma 4.5, Robin 4.5 for a total of 22.0, which is NOT 17.0! Danny chokes back tears, the wimp. Karen is pleased that all the detail is now in his performance. Nicky says that this afternoon he skated it faster, but the jump tonight was better.

Next up, Hayley has been struggling. O RLY? Let's see. Last week she stumbled because of the nerves and the pressure of being the best one. This week's routine needs speed over the ice, and she fears that it is too fast. Dan is getting pissed off with her.

They are skating to Don't Stop Believin'. Seriously, is this an X Factor 2009 tribute week? Oh, it's the hideous Glee version. The camera work here sucks; you can't see their big lift because they go for the long shot. It all looks very neat and tidy, anyway. Gubba lies that maybe Hayley and Dan will get married. [That was weird. - Steve] Scores - Karen 5.5, and everyone else 5.0 for a total of 25.5. Hayley says that she feels the pressure more every week and she feels it in her legs. Dan says he will do everything he can to make Hayley perform. Fnar. Robin says the skating now matches the performance, and calls her "young lady". Emma loved it and says they are lucky to have each other, and appreciates that they never forget about their audience.

Time to plug a competition, and then another break, after which Gary Lucy is to skate, as if anyone cares. Jayne and Chris pretend that Gary is amazing at skating, while admitting that he is shit at acting. They are doing a routine that is a tribute to the Winter Olympics, which looks both terrible and amazing. In dress rehearsal Gary claims fatigue and falls over. Fair enough.

Anyway, they are skating to The Race. How many sports can we spot in this routine? Skiing, speed skating (with some wobbly jumps there), figure skating, and...fuck knows what else. This is a stupid routine. Then we are reminded that Gary has a daughter. Scores - Karen 4.5, Nicky 4.5, the others 4.0 for a total of 21.0. Gary is exhausted; Maria nearly got smacked in the face on the way round. Chris says Gary had some good style moments and recovered well from a stumble. Nicky shouts at him for skating too fast, or something. Jason says it was not an easy routine. Robin agrees, and is gentlemanly about not mentioning how many years Maria has been skating for. LOVE him.

Right, that's it, and the lines are open! What will happen?

The skate-off

Earlier tonight, these couples danced ON ICE for our votes. Who's going this week? With all the injury porn to win our sympathy, I think we can guarantee that bottom-of-the-leaderboard Mikey will be safe. Anyway, let's see.

Mikey talks about his injury "getting into his head", and from the physio table he promises that if he's in the skate-off he'll damn well skate-off WITH A BANG. Danniella wants to impress Jason. Kieron and Brianne are adorably camp. Fred is proud of Emily, who has performed her best ever. Danny and Frankie are really happy. Dan and Hayley are happy with their scores, and intend to go onwards and upwards. Gary felt pretty urgent but clearly that did not come across.

Robin is pleased that everyone is willing to take the risks, but thinks tonight belonged to Danny. Jason says that Emily and Mikey disappointed. Emma thinks Danny and Kieron upped their games this week. Also, don't forget that Ben and Coleen are dreadful on Friday nights if you're really short of things to do.

Phil has the results in his ear, and the couples skating next week are - Danny and Frankie; Hayley and Dan; Gary and Maria; Kieron and Brianne; (pause for ads); Mikey and Mel (who promptly weeps).

Oh, guys, I think we know how this is going to go, yes? Danniella and Matt v NotFamous Emily and Fred. Danniella and Matt go first; afterwards she says she is too old to skate that routine twice in a night. Emily and Fred go second, and the spin is much more secure this time; afterwards she starts her goodbyes and is a bit weepy and dull. Anyway, time to get the decision confirmed - Karen is crying (hooray!) and saves Danniella; Nicky doesn't want anyone to go but saves Emily based on Danniella making four mistakes [oh, NICKY - Steve]; Jason saves Danniella; Emma says that Emily is a sweetheart but saves Danniella; and Robin says Danniella was technically more secure and saves her.

So while Emily gets herself together, time for a montage of her squealing and Fred pretending he doesn't want to slap her. Emily says afterwards that she has the best partner and a friend for life (presumably not the same person); Fred says she has a bright future ahead of her (without him). Time for a lap of honour as Kate Robbins cries in the audience. Next week - more skating! And Steve will tell you all about it!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Starting together. Or, indeed, apart.

Top 8: 21st February 2010

Last week: it was Valentine's Day, and there was romance in the air! Well, manufactured and entirely hollow romance, admittedly. Which is about right for Valentine's Day, surely? Michael Ball joined the judging panel, and Carrie was consequently very excited. Hayley got 26.0, the highest score of the series, so there was obviously love to spare in her direction, but the love died for Dr Hilary Jones, and he was sent home. This week: we're halfway through the competition (THANK GOD), and pretty much everyone who remains is trying to paint him- or herself as the dark horse of the contest, which has led to the editors sticking the William Tell Overture on the soundtrack and your recapper wondering which of the remaining contestants has the most equine features. It's something I'll be considering over the course of tonight's episode, anyway. Oh, and Gary Lucy is injured. Hooray!

Post-titles, Phil and Holly are in the house, and Holly's looking very Dita Von Teese this week. Phil says that it's a shame that they don't have a doctor in the house any more, due to the number of injuries this week. Holly gives Amy Williams a slightly patronising shout-out for her Winter Olympic gold, while someone in the audience picks precisely the wrong time to shuffle in his seat as the director cuts to a camera right next to him, and all this talk of Olympic gold is the perfect opportunity to introduce Jayne and Chris, who will be doing a routine to 'Haven't Met You Yet' by X Factor favourite Mickey Bubbles. I'm not a big fan of Jayne's blue and pink dress, which I think is all wrong for her colouring, but it's a pleasure to see them as always, though frankly after watching footage on YouTube of Robin Cousins back when he was skating in the Olympics, my expectations of the sort of skating I expect this show to deliver me have increased significantly. [You're welcome, sweetie! Head Judge Robin Cousins is wonderful. - Carrie]

The audience goes wild, and Phil and Holly beckon Jayne and Chris over to join them. First things first, we learn of this week's required element, which is an individual opening and closing position, which the contestants must invent for themselves. Chris says that it's been fascinating to see what they've come up with, as there have been some very distinctive ideas of what constitutes as an original start position. Jayne says that the real competitive spirit is coming out, and we can look forward to some great performances tonight.

The skating stars arrive: Kieron and Brianne are on first, and the "mint" costume he promised us last week appears to be that of a gay punk; Sharron and Pavel are next, with an eye-catching entrance; then Danniella and Matthew, both in searing tones of orange; then Danny and Frankie, who has a neckerchief on and is presumably off to the Grand Ole Opry after this; then Hayley and Dan, in shiny silver and white, then Not Famous Emily and Fred, who are in pink again; then Gary and Maria, who are in mint green (unless that's the costume Kieron thought he had this week?) and finally Mikey and Melanie, who are in black and silver with a lot of fringing. And as anyone who watched Strictly last year knows, you must ALWAYS beware of the fringing.

It's time for a break, but when we return, Phil promises the intro of a new guest judge, and some injury porn. Hooray!

We return, and the ice panel are in different seats again: there's a news theme to their intros, because Angela Rippon is this week's guest judge, presumably on the basis of her Come Dancing connections. Karen is still head judge, by the way. Angela says she's looking for confidence in the skating and performances, particularly in the relationship between the celebs and the pro skaters. Karen mentions that it's the 30th anniversary of Robin winning Olympic gold, and everyone applauds our absent head judge, and then she talks about "survival of the fittest", and how there aren't many fit ones left, while staring into the wrong camera. Holly congratulates Emma on the receipt of her pointless Brit award, and then we're back to Phil, who's explaining how the voting works, for anyone who's just returned from a cave somewhere in the wilderness. [Honestly, this show is a fucking farce. Robin, come back! - Carrie]

Kieron and Brianne are our first couple, and were proud of their performance from last week. This week's routine is to 'Ever Fallen In Love' by the Buzzcocks, which neither Kieron or Brianne have heard before. Seriously: what is wrong with this year's contestants? [At least they didn't tell us that they are TOO YOUNG to have heard music before the years of their birth. - Carrie] Kieron rolls off the judges' table and hits his head, but unfortunately it does not knock any music history into his brain. To educate themselves, the pair go to a Buzzcocks gig in York, where they are told that punk is about rebellion, and you seriously cannot talk about "rebellion" and then go on to talk about "ice rinks". It's just silly. Kieron and Brianne practise their routine in the mosh pit, which I'm sure is delightful for all of the aging rebels around them. Kieron says that they are not dancing ON ICE this week, but rather punkin' ON ICE. Nicky Slater is unavailable for comment at this exact moment.

Kieron and Brianne start lying poised on the ice in a crawling position, like wild felines of some description. Kieron's attempt at "punk rock", bless him, is not especially convincing, and his skating is a little shaky in parts this week - there's one lift early on in the programme where he appears to lose his grip on Brianne and almost drops her (though it looks a bit more stable in the replay, so perhaps I was just overly attentive to that bit), and he has a bit of a stumble while skating backwards. Still, there is some air guitar which he seems to be enjoying an awful lot, and they end by hurling themselves at the panel's desk before sliding down the sides back onto the ice. Gubba makes a lot of inappropriate comments about Brianne's attire. Scores: Emma 4.0, Nicky 4.0, Angela 4.0, Jason 3.5, Karen 4.0 for a total of 19.5. Kieron is thrilled, but suspects the scores are just for his hair. Phil asks him about the stumble, and Kieron says he thought he was a goner, but thanks Brianne for being so supportive and encouraging. Phil rolls his eyes at Kieron's lack of punk knowledge, and Chris praises Kieron for coming out and really attacking the performance.

Holly's with the judges, and Karen says it was a great performance - she liked the speed and energy, and thinks it was one of his best performances yet. Jason says it would've been a 4.0 but for the stumble, but he loved the performance, and particularly the start and end positions. He even thought Kieron's flaily limbs worked for this performance, but cautions him to be careful with putting Brianne down after the lifts. Angela says that she used to have a boyfriend with hair like that, and awards Kieron her "gold star for achievement", because she's amazed that he's achieved this level of skating and performance without any prior experience. Oooh, Angela's done her homework, everyone! Clearly a journalist to the core. [All the best journalists have gold stars to give out. - Carrie]

Sharron and Pav are next. Chris says that he doesn't think Sharron likes uptempo routines, but they need to show her diversity - so this week's routine is to 'I Want Candy'. Sharron doesn't really like the song, but has at least heard of it. She's a bit reluctant to dance this week's routine, and cites her old swimming injuries and her bad back for her trouble picking up the steps. Rehearsals go slowly, but Chris and Jayne are determined to make the routine work for her. Jayne says that they made a few simplifications to the routine on Monday, but then they discover that Sharron has changed the music and now wants to do a slow piece. Sharron says she wants to do something less taxing, which is surely the kiss of death on this show? She sulks a bit in rehearsals, and in all honesty, this is not a flattering VT for her. Chris says that he thinks she's playing it safe.

They begin with Sharron off the ice and Pavel on it, and 'Stay' by Shakespear's Sister kicks in. Pavel lifts her from her standing position onto the ice, and off they go. Sharron's face is again one of grim determination, and her leg lines are not, in all honesty, amazing. Someone has done a truly horrendous editing job on the track, by the way. As if not winning Popstar To Operastar weren't enough of a kick in the face for Marcella Detroit, ITV has to go and do this too. Sharron does seem to spend quite a lot of the routine on Pav's shoulders or in his arms. Scores are in: Emma 3.0, Nicky 3.5, Angela 3.0, Jason 3.0, Karen 3.5 for a total of 16.0. Phil addresses the controversy of the music switch: Sharron clarifies that she really wanted to do the original programme, but her shoulder couldn't quite live up to it after doing a fast number last week. She also adds that by "less taxing" she meant in reference to her shoulder, rather than in general. Chris says that the performance was good, when the mitigating circumstances are taken into account. Nicky is similarly impressed: he liked the consistent speed, and the extensions coming out of the lifts and movements. He thinks it worked overall, but there were no surprises. He hopes that she'll do something more surprising in future, because sometimes being pushed by your coach is good for you. Emma rather snippily says that she thought Sharron would be one of the most competitive and yet here she is changing her routine because she can't do it - she thinks Sharron's skating has improved, but her routines are getting very samey, and thinks Sharron should listen to Chris and Jayne if she's still here after this week. I think Emma was just stroking her random Brit award when Sharron was explaining why she couldn't do the routine she was given.

After another ad break, Phil says it's been a good week for Danniella Westbrook, because it turns out Sam didn't kill Archie. No, bloody Stacey did, and that was such a fucking swizz. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN JACK OR RONNIE. Although maybe my opinions are coloured because those were the two I had money on. Because they were the most dramatically satisfying storyline prospects, but apparently, those in the know at Elstree decided that Stacey should have MOAR DRAMA in her life, because being pregnant and bipolar isn't enough. ANYway, Danniella was thrilled to be called the dark horse of the contest by Karen last week - she thinks Hayley has set the bar really high, but it just gives the rest of them something to work towards. Their song for this week is 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', and Danniella says that they're aiming for some of Dusty's inherent sense of drama. They've created a character for her as an awkward, clingy girl, and she's also been given a taxing lift to do this week: given her history of having her nose rebuilt, Danniella is worried about having her face so close to the ice, because if her nose breaks, they probably can't re-set it. Eeep. Full marks to her for addressing that side of her history, though, rather than just trying to paint over it in broad strokes as I thought they might've done.

She begins by clinging onto the entrance tunnel and emoting fiercely, before skating over to Matthew and glomping him. It's quite a nicely comical routine, with him trying to get away from her, and her being all sulky and jittery. Her skating's really come on, too - she's very smooth OVER THE ICE. There are some lovely lifts, and Danniella's acting her heart out. The float spin at the end doesn't quite go to plan - she sort of bumps over the ice a few times before he manages to get her airborne, but when he finally does, it looks great. Gubba makes a random Fatal Attraction reference which doesn't really make sense in the given context. Scores: Emma 4.5, Nicky 4.5, Angela 5.0, Jason 5.0, Karen 5.0 for a total of 24.0. Danniella thinks she ate too many roast potatoes today, because Matt couldn't get her off the ground. Everyone laughs. Danniella says she's never worried about anything Chris and Jayne give her to do, because she knows they trust that she can do it. Hmmmm. I wonder if that was aimed at anyone in particular? Chris is clearly desperate to talk, but Jayne gets in first: she's impressed that Danniella managed to do the drama, the comedy and the skating. Angela is still giggling, and loves that Danniella told a story, and was graceful throughout with wonderful transitions. She says that they were all willing her to get up off the ice at the end. Nicky says that a lot of Danniella's skating is good, but she needs to be careful with her crossovers - he docked 0.5 because she couldn't get off the ice at the end, which seems more like something he should be docking Matthew for, but hey. Jason admires her attitude - he loves that she will give anything a go, and it was a committed performance. He says that it could've been a 5.5 if the end had gone a little smoother. Danniella is overawed.

Skate-off survivor Danny is next - his recurring score of 17.0 is brought up again, and he says that while the skate-off knocked his confidence, the tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory. He's skating to 'Sherry' by Frankie Valli, and does at least appear to have heard of it, even though he's not entirely sure it's the best song for him. He looks very ruddy faced in rehearsals, and then he and Frankie go off to see Jersey Boys in the West End to get some inspiration. [At least two of the Jersey Boys are utterly barking mad in real life. It is a shame we did not see more of that. - Carrie] The Four Seasons give him a natty red jacket and teach him how to swing it Sixties-style. Frankie swoons from the sidelines. Naturally, having met some actors in a theatre, he now feels READY FOR ANYTHING, as is always the case in this situation.

They begin back to back with their arms interlinked, and he lifts her up in the air while she kicks her legs, then he puts her down and she slides underneath him. There's a bit of business before they skate off while miming punting a barge, apparently. The dancing is a little bit stuttery, but Danny is at least attacking it with a bit of gusto, while Frankie does her best manic pixie face. They finish with a lift where she rolls around his shoulders and into his arms before he drops her gently to the floor. Now, will he get past 17.0 this week? Time to find out: Emma 4.0, Nicky 2.5, Angela 3.5, Jason 3.5, Jaren 3.5 for a total of...17.0. Doh! [AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAH! - Carrie] Phil is outraged that Nicky scored him 2.5, but an optimistic Danny points out that at least their overall score hasn't gone down. Chris says that Danny really gets into his performances and puts a lot of time and effort into it, and he's just wishing the scores could go up. Holly is with the judgerinos, and asks Nicky and Emma about the discrepancy in their scores: Emma loves that Danny takes criticism on board and goes away and works on things, and she's pleased that the cheeky chappy in him is back. Nicky hates giving him such a low mark, but felt compelled to do so because the elements are separated, he's slow OVER THE ICE, and he's not skating out. Someone boos, and Nicky says that they can boo all they like, but it's Danny's fault he had to give such a low score. This just causes the boos to grow louder, and Holly says she'll have to cut him off there because he's not popular. Hee! Danny says that if he's here next week, they'll take Nicky's advice on board and try to be more fluid and less contained next week.

After another ad break, Phil's in the audience with Jon Culshaw. Now there's someone deserving of some booing. Hayley and Dan are on next. Everyone cried watching them being all lovey-dovey last week, and gave them uniformly excellent scores This week they have a more jazzy number in the form of 'Get Happy' - a song that Hayley's sung a lot in her career as a STAR OF STAGE AND SCREEN. They're starting on the judges' desk, kicking their feet. Hayley says that they started messing around and ended up making up a little section, which they showed to Chris and Jayne, and they loved it and decided to incorporate it. Hayley thinks the competition is tough, and thinks Gary and Danniella are putting up the biggest fight, but she wants to prove she can be good, goshdarnit.

They begin, as promised, with a bit of leg-scissoring before trotting gleefully onto the ice. It's a really fun programme to watch, with some lovely lifts, and all very smoothly executed, aside from a small stumble during a step sequence. They end impressively, with a swooping lift of the kind that almost brought them down the other week (Gubba calls it a "magic carpet ride", and says it's appropriate because the Whistons sell carpets, apparently), and then she pinches his bum and he lies down on the ice, while she skates over to him and perches delicately on top of him, just resting on one arm and her knees. Very nice indeed. Scores: Emma 5.5, Nicky 5.5, Angela 5.5, Jason 4.5, Karen 5.0 for a total of 26.0 for the second week running. Phil asks if there's extra pressure on her because people think she's the one to beat: she says she's feeling the pressure because everyone else is so good, and she feels that she has to raise the bar every week. Chris says that they're never complacent when they come in on a Monday - they "work their tails off [...] and it shows."

Holly asks Jason why he gave Hayley a lower score than he gave Danniella. Jason points out that Danniella didn't mess up, whereas Hayley did. He says that he loves Hayley's attitude and work ethic, but he scores her hard because he knows what she's capable of. [Jason Gardiner, relative marker. Twat. - Carrie] Hayley says that's entirely fair. Jason adds that it's not a one-horse race at all. Karen says that she docked 0.5 for the stumble, but normally Hayley is foot perfect, which just goes to show how easily something like this can happen to anyone.

Leaderboard: Hayley and Dan in pole position, Danniella and Matthew second, Kieron and Brianne in the middle, Danny and Frankie fourth, and Sharron and Pav at the bottom. Phil reminds us that our votes can make a difference, y'know.

After yet more ads, we're back once more. Phil's in the audience, with Dean Gaffney standing behind him looking a bit bored. Not Famous Emily and Fred are next, and Chris was surprised - but happy for her - that Emily wasn't in the skate-off. She's very excited by this week's music choice: Alexandra BURKE's 'Bad Boys'. However, she's worried about having to bring out the schmexiness required for it, because she doesn't feel sexy or elegant. But wait, who's this? It's Alexandra BURKE herself! Emily is very excited, and hugs her gleefully. Fred is typically stoic about the whole thing. Alexandra offers performance tips, saying that she doesn't have an alter-ego, but she does call herself "The Beast" on stage, a tip she presumably picked up from her pal Beyoncé. Emily thinks this is the best advice ever, possibly because Alexandra gave her complete licence to flirt with Fred as much as possible. Emily is very star-struck, perhaps because Alexandra is Famous, unlike Emily. [I did love this bit. "Fred, I hugged her! Did you hug her?" "Um, yeah." - Carrie]

They begin with Fred lying on his front, with Emily reclined on top of him - he then rolls back and she slides over him. She's having a bit of trouble marrying the required amount of sass with the trademark Dancing on Ice cheesy grin , though. She's still a little bit uneasy out there, with some of the lifts looking a little clunky, and the dancing itself lacking definition. They do pull off a pretty decent tabletop lift at the end, though, and finish back in the position that they began in, so I appreciate the symmetry of it, if nothing else. Have her scores improved this week? Emma 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Angela 4.0, Jason 3.0, Karen 3.5 for a total of 17.5 - so yes, it's her highest score yet! Emily cops to being starstruck by Alexandra, and says that her advice was wonderful. Jayne is really pleased with how Emily developed over the week and got over her embarrassment. Fred thought he saw a little Alex out there tonight. Perhaps Emily should've kept her legs together then. Karen thought Emily gave her best performance yet, and particularly liked the tabletop lift. Angela thought it was an impressive performance, though she would've liked to see more sexiness and raunchiness: "You've got it, girl, go and sell it!" It's very odd to hear Angela Rippon saying that. Jason didn't think there was enough sexiness or raunch in it, and thought her unique move was "the ugliest thing [he's] ever seen", and basically slates the entire thing. Oh well, never mind. If I were Emily, I'd just be thinking, "Suck it, bitches, Angela Rippon likes me, and she is AWESOME."

Gary and Maria are up next, and Chris thinks that if Gary continues to push himself, he could be in the running for the top spot. They're skating to Westlife's wretched cover of the wretched Daughtry original 'What About Now', and they have anasty tumble in rehearsals. Gary says that when he got home, WHERE HE HAS A DAUGHTER, he iced the injury as he was told to, but when he woke up the next day, he was as stiff as a board. [FNAR. - Carrie] Sharon the physio says that he's sprained one of his ligaments, which has put all of his muscles around it into spasm. Gary's upset to have missed valuable training time, but is determined to turn it out on the night.

Oh look, Gary's daughter's in the audience with an "I LOVE YOU DADDY" sign, and the cameraman just happened to get a lovely close-up - what are the odds? Their starting position is Gary doing a side stand with Maria perched beneath his armpit. Lovely! He's doing his best "serious, emotive" face, using all the skills he learned on Hollyoaks and Footballers' Wives. His dancing's still a bit laboured, and it's not the best programme of the night, but there are, again, some nice lifts in there, and it's probably the best job he's done of selling a routine thus far. Marking relatively, I mean. He's still nowhere near the standard of Hayley, Danniella, or even Mikey. Scores: Emma: 4.5, Nicky 5.0, Angela 4.0, Jason 4.5, Karen 4.5 for a total of 22.5 - his highest score yet. Phil thinks he's a completely different bloke (still not an interesting one, sadly), and Gary says that the routine was fun and he really enjoyed it. Maria is very proud of him for everything he's achieved this week. Jayne recalls the slam when he fell, and how scary it all was, but she thinks he's coped admirably with everything, and she loves the emotion he put into it. Gary thanks Sharon the physio for her amazing work. Emma loves the way he throws Maria around with ease, and he managed to tell a story with ease. She even thought he was sexy tonight. Steady on there, Bunto. "Even in the green?" Gary asks. Oh, shut up, you preening ninny. Nicky liked that Gary was attacking his skating and going for his lifts - he isn't consistent yet, but he was SKATING OUT, so he thinks Gary is stepping up week by week. Phil points out that Gary's daughter, WHO IS A DAUGHTER, was enraptured by the whole thing.

After some tedious filler revolving around a competition and some thirty-second slots in which people try to sell us stuff, we're back for our final couple of the night: Mikey and Melanie. Last week, Bunto wanted him to get his confidence back. This week, he's dancing to 'Ring Of Fire' by Johnny Cash, which he's quite excited about, though I am not - not because I don't like Johnny Cash (I do), but just because they're really going to hammer the Western part of this into the ground, aren't they? Sure enough: Mikey and Melanie go linedancing to give themselves something interesting to do in their VT, and are shown how to do "the tush push". Mel thinks they have a bit of yee-haw in their step.

They begin in a rather unfortunate position, with Mikey reclining and Mel between his legs, holding onto his hands and leaning back. It does kind of look like he's going to the toilet. There's a definite air of linedancing ON ICE to their programme, though it's charming enough, and they're both hamming it up for all they're worth. It's a little rough around the edges, I think, but it's still an entertaining routine. Like Not Famous Emily and Fred, they end back in their starting position. Scores: Emma 4.0, Nicky 3.0, Angela 3.5, Jason 4.0, Karen 4.0 for a total of 18.5, the same as last week. Phil asks if the line dancing helped, and Mikey's all "um, not really". Heh. However, he liked having a persona to adopt, which gave him something to focus on. Mel is very proud of his work, as is Jayne, who agrees that being in character helped him, because it stopped him thinking too much about the skating. Angela would've liked to give him a higher mark, but thought it was lacklustre and underperformed, at which point some shitheads in the audience had the audacity to boo Angela Rippon. They will need to see me afterwards for a stern talking-to. Karen thought it was fun and showed Mikey's personality, and they're almost back to where they were a few weeks ago. Unusually, this is a good thing. Jason loves that Mikey doesn't mind looking a bit daft, though it's annoying that he's still letting simple steps trip him up, but he disagrees with Angela - he thought Mikey had a lot of yee-haw out there.

That's everyone, so let's look at the leaderboard: Hayley and Dan at the top, Danniella and Matthew second, Gary and Maria third, Kieron and Brianne fourth, Mikey and Melanie fifth, Emily and Fred sixth, Danny and Frankie seventh, and Sharron and Pav in last place. There's a video recap of everyone's programmes from this evening, and Phil and Holly remind us of the numbers to call should we wish to vote for our favourites. (I'm abstaining from the vote, incidentally, since my experiences on So You Think You Can Dance tended to involve everyone I voted for ending up in the bottom two. We'll be back after Wild At Heart to see who's in the skate-off...

The Skate-Off

Earlier! These eight couples danced ON ICE for our votes. I didn't vote, therefore they completely wasted their time - right? Two of them must face the skate-off, but which two?

Phil and Holly return, and bust out their usual trick of telling us that we have mere nanoseconds to cast a final phone vote, and then not actually leaving enough time for any normal person to actually do so. I still can't make sense of that.

Recap of earlier: Kieron looked like Angela's ex-boyfriend (Angela, darling, I think we need to talk about a few things), and despite his stumble, he thinks he had an amazing experience out there. Sharron committed the cardinal sin of changing her music and incurred the wrath of Bunton, but she's just glad she hasn't knocked herself out through injury. Danniella was dramatic and hilarious, and got reams of praise from Jason for her efforts. Backstage, she said that she didn't mind looking a bit psychotic, which is fortunate. Danny got 2.5 from Nicky, and then Nicky got booed by the audience and got very flustered. Frankie is strangely mute on the subject this week, which is almost scarier than when she gets angry. Hayley had a wee stumble, but was warned by Jason that he judges her harshly because he knows how good she is. Backstage, Hayley says that he was entirely right to do so because she needs to improve. Not Famous Emily danced to Alexandra BURKE's 'Bad Boys' and got her best score yet. Backstage, she felt gently elated but was aware of the need for improvement, and Fred was entirely uninterested as usual. Gary told a story this week and Bunto thought he was sexy, and he was very pleased with his highest score so far. Mikey and Mel went country and western, but Karen wanted him to try harder lifts, and backstage, he expressed awareness of the need to reach the next level - Mel promised a different Mikey if they made it through to next week.

Back in the studio, and Holly's with the judges for some final thoughts. Karen is asked if Robin will be impressed with the improvement on his return: she thinks yes, as a group they're getting tighter, but the gap at the top is getting closer. [He will not, however, be impressed with his fellow judges' behaviour in his absence, I suspect. - Carrie] Angela loved being so close to the action, and thinks it looks much different there than it does at home, and she thinks you have a better view of the glitches and errors from that seat, which is why the public sometimes quibble the scores. Well, that and the fact that the public, in general, are a bunch of grumpy malcontents.

After a teaser for the still-rubbish Dancing On Ice Friday, Phil's ready with the results *touches ear*. The first set of couples guaranteed a place in next week's show are: Kieron and Brianne, Hayley and Daniel, Gary and Maria, Danniella and Matthew and Mikey and Melanie - leaving Sharron and Pavel, Danny and Frankie, and Not Famous Emily and Fred having to wait until after the break to hear their fate. Well, the person who updated Wikipedia during Wild At Heart to say that this week's skate-off would be between Emily and Fred and Mikey and Melanie was wrong - possibly because the lines were still very much open at that point. Wikipedia is a strange and scary place when you think about it too much, or indeed at all.

Adverts. I know that Heart FM want us to think that they play such an exciting variety of music that we'll all be dancing in the workplace, but I'd prefer it if they didn't suggest that the music is in fact so exciting that it stops doctors and nurses from attending to the people around them who are probably in need of medical attention.

Back in the studio, and Phil has the name of the final couple who are guaranteed to survive this week, and that couple is...Danny and Frankie. Which means it's Sharron and Pavel against Not Famous Emily and Fred in the skate-off, which is pretty much what I thought it would be, even before I saw this week's show. Holly asks Jayne and Chris what advice they have for Sharron, and Chris says that she's an Olympic competitor, and will know what to do. Jayne says that Emily needs to dig deep to find her inner bad girl and impress the judges.

Sharron and Pavel return to the ice, and reprise their routine from earlier. Sharron looks a lot happier this time, perhaps because she thinks she might be about to go home and finally rest her aching muscles in a nice warm bath. One of the lifts is a little stumbly, but aside from that, they deliver a slightly better performance than they did earlier, largely because she just seems more relaxed. They skate over to Phil, and he asks if they wish they'd done the original routine now. Sharron says no, because they probably wouldn't even have made it to the live show if they'd continued with it, but she just wants to thank Pavel for basically being wonderful, and if this is it, she's had a great time.

Not Famous Emily and Fred skate back out, and I think Emily's looking a little sassier this time around - perhaps because she's already done this routine for the judges once, so she's less tense about it this time. It's still not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it's definitely an improvement, and I think she's pretty much a dead cert to be saved by the judges. At the end, Kate Robbins can be seen in the audience jumping up and down and clapping, which is sweet. Phil asks if they changed anything about it this time, and Emily doesn't hear him at first, but says that she just gave it as much attitude as she could, and she really enjoyed it this time - and she knew she'd have to face the skate-off eventually.

The couples head back out onto the ice to face the judges, who offer up their verdicts: Emma votes to save Emily for her determination. Nicky saves Emily, because it "would've looked fine on MTV" (?) [at which point I spluttered and shouted, "WHAT?", so I am glad it wasn't just me - Carrie], Angela says that it's not just skating on ice, it's DANCING ON ICE, and saves Emily [well done, Angela, for winning whatever bet it was that got you to mock Nicky on live television - Carrie]. Jason saves Emily too, and Karen makes it a clean sweep. She and Fred skate off, with Emily casting Sharron a forlorn look behind her. Sharron tells Phil that she's had a great time, and again says that Pavel is an amazing partner. She says that the other contestants are great skaters and fantastic people, and she'll continue going down to the Swindon rink to practise her skating even though she's not in the competition any more. So, er, look out for her.

Sharron's best bits: a lot of tumbling over and being tall, and giggling with Pavel, some gradual improvement, presence ON THE ICE, the terrifying uptempo number, and that's it. Back in the studio, Pavel is sad that they have to part, but they have had a tremendous JOURNEY, and seeing Sharron start to enjoy it was the best part. Sharron says that skating is a great sport and a great way of getting fit. Chris says they've been a pleasure to work with, and thanks Sharron for being a part of it.

Next week: no theme is given, but Katherine Jenkins will be here for a performance with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. [BUT ROBIN WILL BE BACK. I am clinging to this. - Carrie] I can't exactly say I'm going to be on tenterhooks for the rest of the week waiting for that. Anyway, Carrie will be here next week with all the terrifying details, so make sure you join her!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Struck off

Valentine's Day show
Tx: 14th February 2010 (duh)

Last week! Some navigated their way on the road to success. On a JOURNEY? Some gripped the wheel. Others crashed (Hayley), and Jason was the chief examiner. This motoring metaphor is not going well, Phil. Anyway, Heather left. This week, it's all about luuurve, and this is likely to get very sickening very quickly. Who will be left on the shelf (apart from your trusty blogger)? It's Dancing on Ice's VALENTINE'S SPECIAL!

Titles!

Cue for Love Is In The Air, some nauseating pink camera trickery, Holly in a floaty red frock, and Schofe in a tux. He presents her with a red rose. Everyone awws. For the first time - our skating stars, the pros, Jayne and Chris, marking the 26th anniversary of Bolero and the gold medal. Huey Lewis and the News prompt some nasty literal choreography for The Power Of Love, but it soon gets going, and maroon is a good colour on Jayne. The couples join them on the ice, with all the ladies pouting into the camera except for Hayley who continues with her ever-present stage-school beam. Fred is in skin-tight gold lame. Balloons fall on to the ice.That is all.

Holly congratulates Jayne and Chris on the 26th anniversary of winning gold. Balloons are audibly popping in the background. Jayne says they are marking the special date with all their friends at DoI. They then reveal that this week's required element is the shadow step sequence, which has caused some problems because some of the celebs have not skated by themselves in sequence yet. Yes, well, that would be a problem.

Time to meet the revamped Ice Panel - Slater, Bunton, Gardiner, MICHAEL BALL and Karen. Wait, Karen is head judge? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. [Amazing. I bet Nicky was not pleased. - Steve] Holly greets them. Mickey Ball loves the show and is honoured to be here, and promises to be looking for the connection between couples. Holly adds "ON ICE". Ball reveals that his ladyfriend is angry because he has sodded off to tart around on ITV1 tonight. Karen is beaming, probably because she is far away from Slater, and says she has Head Judge Robin on speed-dial just in case the panel get out of hand.

First to skate tonight, Danniella and Matt. Last week they were second on the leaderboard. This week they have a tricky lift that seems to be confusing the hell out of Danniella. Chris benignly admits that it is complicated. And that's about it. They're skating to You Got The Love. Danniella throws her hands up in the air at the appropriate place. This routine seems a bit weird - it's very floaty and lyrical and I just don't see the music as the power ballad they're billing it as. Anyway, whatever. Scores - 4.0s across the board for another 20.0. Danniella enthuses about loving being part of this series. Jayne is happy about all the work Danniella puts in, as is Karen. Michael says they look like a couple who are dancing together. Right. Because they are. ON ICE. Jason agrees, but wants to finetune them, giving them some technical points. Matthew nods, and Danniella says that all makes sense. Oh, well, that's a pleasant little start, rather than the pissyness of some people. Frankie.

Speaking of which, they're up next. She and Danny want to not get 17.0 this week. Jayne thinks it is important that they get a higher mark. Chris does not want any plateauing; he wants them to move forward. Danny is prepared to try new things to get better marks, fnar, and so they've got a routine packed full of mad difficult stuff.

They're skating to Higher and Higher, and Frankie appear to have a white exfoliating scrunchie attached to her neck. They start with some dance moves on the floor that Danny seems to be having trouble with. He can skate, certainly, but whenever he has to do anything that involves artistic movement, he looks odd. Scores - Nicky 3.0, Emma 3.5, Jason 3.5, Michael 3.5, Karen 3.5. So - they've got 17.0 again. Danny beams about enjoying the routine. Frankie has an incredible bitchface on, getting all arsey about not knowing what they have to do to get higher scores - "I thought it was a skating competition but apparently I'm wrong" - and even Phil steps in to tell her to shut up because she's not helping her cause. [Frankie's ongoing scoring mania is amusing me immensely this series. I expect her to be skating with throwing stars inside her boots next week to lob at the judges if they don't at least get 18.0. - Steve] Jayne tries to calm it down by saying that everyone is getting better and they're finding their level; Chris champions Danny's consistency. Jason says that Danny's movements are unfinished, sometimes with good lines and sometimes spasmodic. Nicky agrees - Danny does difficult elements, and then there's a gap before the next element, so the skating is not seamless. I hope the judges sit backstage before the show next week and confer on what scores they're going to award for a combined total of 17.0 again. Or 16.5, maybe, seeing as they're so fed up with 17.0s.

Emily and Fred are skating to Saving All My Love For You. She explains that it is a song about a woman wanting a man who's already taken, and is clearly hoping for some nudge-nudge, wink-wink banter with Fred. He on the other hand chooses to look mildly bored and quite uncomfortable, with a forced smile plastered across his pretty face. Fred really couldn't hate Emily more, could he? She wails about hurting her ribs, which is a problem for the lift they have in the routine, which involves a lot of "rib-holding". Emily's mum KATE ROBBINS is in the audience tonight. Emily and Fred begin the routine skating separately, which is brave. Her leg-lines look better, though the shadow steps are utterly out of sync. Cleverly, the camera goes for a long shot when Emily goes up for the lift, so we can't tell if she screeched with agony, but the landing is a mess. Kate Robbins is crying. Scores - 2.5s from everyone but Michael and Karen, who give 3.0s for 13.5. Emily is obviously disappointed, and does one of her now-customary tearful interviews with Schofe where she says very little. Chris tells Emily she looks lovely, but it was hard for her because they had to change the routine up until the last minute. Emma tells Emily to push it, push it real good. Karen is sure next week will be better. Michael congratulates Emily for digging deep and giving a performance, but wants her to be less passive in the partnership.

We're back after the break for a bit of spontaneous hilarity, when Phil realises from his vantage point of the floor he can see up Holly's skirt as she stands on the balcony. He eventually recovers himself to introduce Mikey and Mel, who had a bad week last week, but this week they are smiling much more. However, he is a bit sad because he misses his wife and kids, and as you can probably guess, that's a cue for a surprise visit from his very pretty wife, who arrives bearing Valentine's gifts for herself. Aw.

They are skating to Love On A Mountaintop, and are Fast Over The Ice. Mikey does appear to be leading, which is always nice to see, but his arms are a bit odd, particularly when they're doing their shadow sequence. Still, they're smiling, which always goes some way to convincing. Scores - Nicky 4.0, Emma 3.0, Jason 3.5, Michael 4.0, Karen 4.0 for a total of 18.5. Mikey says sometimes you have good weeks, sometimes you have bad weeks; Mel says last week was a breakdown and this week was a breakthrough. Then Mikey bellows words of love to his wife, who's in the audience. Chris tells him off for enjoying it too much in the middle and forgetting his steps. Nicky then starts shouting about covering a lot OF ICE, and Emma says she wants to see Mikey get his confidence back and look up and smile and be charming.

Phil tells us the audience have put their candlelight dinners on hold to come and see the skating, and one of those observing is Ronan Keating. Another is a BAWLING CHILD who grizzles the entire way through the interview. Take the CHILD OUT, you fucking mentalists. [The child was far more articulate than Ronan was anyway. - Steve] Ronan says he will never skate ON ICE. We'll see.

Sharron and Pavel do a little skit where she steals a lot of chocolate and he does not get to eat any. This week they are skating a faster routine, but parts of it are being hampered by her old swimming injury to her shoulder. She gets a bit hissy and sulky about it, but it's probably very frustrating for her. She does seem to be enjoying rehearsal much more, but then you would if you got to hold hands with Pavel all day.

They're skating to The Same Thing. And the grizzling child appears to be Sharron's. As an aside here, they have a bit of armography at the start too, and I love that Pav always seems to be having a whale of a time when he's dancing rather than skating. In a parallel universe that man is a dancer in Chicago. [You just want to see him in a tight mesh top. - Steve] Sharron looks a bit shaky, and there's real fear in her eyes at times, but they do at least manage the neck-ripper. Scores - Nicky 3.5, Emma 2.5, Jason 2.5, Michael 3.0, Karen 3.5 for a total of 15.0. Sharron says she has the knees of a ten-year-old but the body of a 47-year-old, that someone shouted at the start and it put her off, and she thanks Pav for coming to training all week despite being sick. Bless. Jayne praises Sharron's landings after lifts. Karen says it was a great routine, and that Sharron has accepted what Dancing On Ice is about. What might that be? [If only someone would tell us! - Steve] She then snarks that some of the scores are lower than they should have been. Michael tells Sharron she is "an incredible physical specimen", and gives her tips on improving her lines. Jason says Sharron is mechanical, devoid of emotion, and blah blah blah. Some might argue that Jason just does not like strong muscular women. He's heckled about him not being able to do the neck-ripper, and he bites back that he COULD do it if he wanted to. Everyone agrees that this would certainly be something to see.

We all remember what happened to Hayley and Dan last week, so let's not go over that too much. Chris says that they recovered fantastically, and Jayne points out that they got great scores anyway. On Monday, Hayley was still bruised and in shock, but it's tough luck, she has to rehearse anyway. By the way, Hayley and Dan sit with linked arms during their VTs. It is cute.

They are skating to Endless Love. It's gorgeous, and lyrical, and Hayley and Dan's obvious affection for each other helps with creating that chemistry. Gubba says, "If they're not lovers, they are the best of friends." Are they NOT lovers, Gubba? Why is that? Scores - Nicky 5.5 (at which Hayley goes mental, and does not calm down at all during any of this section), Emma 5.0, Jason 5.5, Michael 5.0 and Karen 5.0 for a total of 26.0. It's the highest score of the series so far, and Hayley is in bits. Dan says it is a really emotional number, and Chris is glad that everyone is sobbing. I say "everyone", it's mostly Karen. HOORAY! Then Holly asks Jason for his comments, and Michael starts talking. There is a bit of comedy bickering before Jason tells Hayley that she was sublime and he felt the love from both of them. Michael then gets his actual chance to talk and then adds "honour to be here" again at the end.

Dr Hilary talks about being stopped in the street by people wanting to talk about skating. Jayne mocks him a little bit for not being able to dance at all, even away from the ice. He is even bad at clapping. So, obviously, he goes to hip-hop class at Pineapple. Dr Hilary says he has not danced sober in years. Maybe he should skate drunk, then. [Carrie for Assistant Coach 2011! - Steve]

Dr Hilary and Alexandra are skating to Higher Love. And sure enough, his dancing is fuckawful and embarrassing to watch. Alexandra is smiling into his face in a "PLEASE GET THIS RIGHT" way. The clapping is dreadful. This, coming after Hayley and Dan, is a marked contrast. Gubba assures us that Dr Hilary is getting better. O RLY? Let's see what the scores say. Scores - Nicky 2.0, Emma 2.0, Jason 2.5, Michael 2.5, Karen 3.0 for a total of 12.0. They are pleased with that. SuperMalcolm (really?) shouts, "YOU DA MAN!" from the audience and Dr Hilary promises he will return for more classes. He sure needs them. Jayne pleads with him to maintain his progress. Emma adores Dr Hilary, who has achieved wonderful things, but the competition cannot really start while he is still there. [So apparently last year's competition did not start until the final, because we were waiting for Coleen to go home. Good to know these things in retrospect. - Steve] Everyone boos. Jason beams, and agrees with her. Nicky likens Dr Hilary to Todd Carty, and then talks about FLOW OVER THE ICE before asking him to skate as if he's playing squash or something. Karen looks fed up and basically tells him to be quiet.

Kieron and Brianne do a fake kiss behind a rose backstage. This week he has been a bit shaken up by the skate-off, and then does some weeping about it feeling like his last routine. Brianne is not having any of this negativity. Jayne does a little sad moue. Kieron says, "Brianne knows how to push me buttons. So to speak." HA. This week, he promises to be the BEST ONE - "Play the music. Let me skate on."

And they do, to Don't Know Much. And this is certainly looking good. Though Brianne's boobs are far too evident. Kieron's armlines are gorgeous, and he's looking strong in the lifts. This routine is full of content and he does it well. Scores - Nicky 4.5, Emma 3.5, Jason 3.5, Michael 4.0 and Karen 4.0 for a total of 19.5, his highest so far. Kieron is very happy, and he says that he thinks Brianne wishes she was partnered with someone like Gary or Danny. Oh BLESS. Chris says Kieron has a crisis of confidence at the end of the week. Michael says he hopes Kieron has avoided the skate-off this week, and gives him some advice about extending the neck and upper body line. Nicky starts talking about going OVER THE ICE. Seriously. This man is a parody of himself.

Last week, Gary and Maria did a really fun number, and they hope that came across. This week they're skating to My Cherie Amour, and working on the fact that his performances are always criticised for his acting and DULLNESS rather than his skating. It's a problem for someone who's supposed to be an actor. Gary tries to do self-deprecation about being a romantic lead, and fails. By the way, in the audience is HIS DAUGHTER, who WAS BORN. The camera work again is rubbish for the bits where it looks like it might be complicated. He's good at lifting, though, and Maria is gorgeous as always. They beam at each other a lot, which is nice. Scores - Nicky 5.0, Emma 4.0, Jason 3.0, Michael 4.5 and Karen 4.5 for a total of 21.0. Gary says he has so much love to give on Valentine's Day, and it was a beautiful song, then reminds us that he is not a trained dancer. Right. Jayne comments on the constant smiling. Nicky says he was impressed from the start with his leading and the seamless linking. Jason says that Gary has the emotional depth of tissue paper - "you have one smile on your face and that's it, all the way through" - and that Maria is wiping the rink with him. Gary says that Maria has been skating for 20 years, omitting to comment on the point that he is SUPPOSED TO BE AN ACTOR. Holly says she would like Gary to be her leading man; Jason says she should take him because nobody else would have him. Ouch.

Well, that's a cheery end to part one. What will happen in the results show?

Results show

Earlier, nine couples danced you-know-where for our votes. Now it's time for the SKATE-OFF!

Phil welcomes us back and tells us there has been a proposal in the studio during the break, and then informs us that if we want to see it, then we need to watch This Morning. I'm fairly sure none of us care that much. Anyway, the lines are now closed, and while the votes are counted, time for some backstage action.

Danniella and Matthew genuinely do have a lovely time on the ice, and are pleased their hard work is paying off; Frankie says that 17.0 is actually a great score, having realised that her pissyness does not serve her or Danny well; Fred thinks that he and Emily weren't as good as they were last week; Mikey is delighted with the comments and is glad he has got a decent score; Sharron enjoyed the routine, which Pav says is difficult, and then he promises that if they go through he will spin Jason round on his neck (YAY!); Hayley cannot believe her score, particularly the 5.5 from Jason; Dr Hilary knows he is a tailender but is privileged to be part of the competition; Kieron is over the moon to be "quite high up" on the leaderboard; Gary knows that Jason has his points of view, and all he can do is continue to improve and do the best he can.

Final word from the judges - Karen's mid-term report is that it is obvious who's top of the class, and some people need to do extra homework. Right, thanks for that. Emma is excited to see Hayley every week. Mickey Ball is acutely aware of everybody's braveness ON THE ICE and his hat is off to them.

Quick plug for the excruciating Dancing on Ice Friday. So far my highlight of that particular spin-off is Ben calling Nicky "strange" last week.

Time for some ear-touching, and the couples safe and skating next week are - Emily and Fred; Sharron and Pavel; Hayley and Dan; Mikey and Mel; Gary and Maria; Danniella and Matthew...pause for an ad break...and Kieron and Brianne. HOORAY!

So Danny and Frankie bitchface are skating off against Dr Hilary and Alexandra. Phil reminds us that they're being judged solely on the performances they're about to give. Well, yes, but I suspect we know what's going to happen. Chris wants them to go out there and SELL IT. First to SELL IT are Danny and Frankie. Danny is choosing to sing along, in an effort to distract from his inability to dance. Frankie says that's the best he could have done it; Danny admits that he should have voted for himself more backstage, and that "the doc is an amazing man". The doc skates next, and it's clunky as before. He knows his card is marked, enthusing about the high standard of the competition, and then does his thank-yous. Chris knows what's going to happen too, and says that was a great performance "to have", implying "as your final one".

Decision time. Nicky says it was much closer than he expected, but saves Danny. Emma says Dr Hilary should be proud of himself, and saves Danny. Jason says eating an apple a day has paid off, and saves Danny. Michael says Dr Hilary did the best he's ever done, and saves Danny. Karen says Dr Hilary has achieved a lot, and saves Danny.

Dr Hilary and Alexandra claim their flowers, and the montage VT runs, showing many crashes to the floor, slowness over the ice, a terrible spiral leg, and some charisma. Some platitudes, and Jayne adds that they will miss him on choreography days, and hopes he will continue to skate.

Next week! We have no idea what's going to happen because they didn't tell us! But Steve will fill you in then!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Unlucky Heather

Top 10: 7th February 2010

Last week! Dancing On Ice caught '70s fever yet again, which makes me suspect that someone high up on the production team really fetishises that decade. I'm pulling for 1920s week next year. That would be fun. Hayley scored an impressive 23.0, and even the judges were in a good mood. Well, except when Jason bitched out Dr Hilary (and called Sharron a turd, but funnily enough the intro glosses over this), and when they decided to send Tana home, at long last. This week! There appear to be lots of swimming-style routines, and a lot of people falling over. Again. What are the odds? Oh, and the headbanger is back. Yay! Hope it's better than that shitshow Roxanne was passing off as a headbanger last year. This is Dancing On Ice! ON ICE!

Phil and Holly are here - he in a sharp silver suit, she in a glittery bodice and with her hair looking absolutely lovely. Phil teases Hayley attempting the headbanger once more, but before we get to any of the real stuff, we have some filler: Jayne and Chris skating to Pixie Lott's cover of 'Use Somebody', which may I just say is ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY. And not even in a "don't ever cover that song" sort of way, because this one is lovely. But it's Pixie fucking Lott, taking up valuable airtime with something that belongs on Radio 1, being simpered over by Jo Whiley and/or Fearne Cotton. If she has to be on here, can't she at least have the decency to be plugging a proper single or something? Still, Jayne and Chris's routine is lovely, what we see of it - apparently it is more important that we see numerous closeups of Pixie Lott's face, rather than two experts DANCING ON ICE. I almost want to have Nicky Slater here with me at this point just to clarify what an aberration this is. [Note use of word "almost". - Carrie]

Finally it is over, and we get to see this week's required element: the Pairs Spin, where the couple must - wait for it - spin as a pair. Tricky stuff, this. They must also both be on one leg, and the spin must include at least two revolutions. This requires the couples to work in perfect unison, so I can't wait to see Emily and Fred make a hash of it. Back in the studio, Jayne clarifies that while two is the bare minimum, really they're looking for three. Ooh, harsh.

The Skating Stars are here: Gary and Maria are on first, with the latter having apparently come as Stephanie from LazyTown tonight, then Heather and Matt (whose opening display involves her kneeling on Matt's thigh, but her leg isn't co-operating and they only just manage to get through it), Danny and Frankie, Emily and Fred (and again, even their opening skate-on looks shaky), Mikey and Melanie, Sharron and Pavel, Kieron and Brianne (whose costumes were made from a tube of Refreshers), Hayley and Daniel, Dr Hilary and Alexandra, and finally Danniella and Matthew. It's going to be a long night, isn't it? And to prove that, we're into the first ad break, before any of the celebs have skated yet.

When we return, Phil asks where the show would be without its judges, and the answer is "not in all the papers this week", proving there really is no such thing as bad publicity. Holly introduces the judges, and Jason is wearing something utterly insane once more, with there being some kind of giant button hanging from his neck? I really don't get that man. Holly asks Robin what he's expecting to see this week, and Robin mentions some of the dancers who thought they would be part of the elite last week and were not, so they will be looking to redress the balance this week. He says that the girls have the edge over the boys, who need to "come out and skate like men". I kind of want that as a bumper sticker. [I'll get that for your birthday. - Carrie]

Gary and Maria are on first, and last week Emma told him off for not making the performance all about him. So this week he'll be skating to 'Good Vibrations' in the hope it will give him some personality. Phil's narration says that despite the fun routine, it seems showing off is not in Gary's nature. That's not what I've heard. Gary reiterates that he is just shy and self-conscious, so he's been sent off to talk to Brian Conley, who is currently hoofing it in drag for EIGHT SHOWS A WEEK in Hairspray. Brian asks Gary to sing the song for him, and Gary is too shy to do so. Brian is horrified, and so in a bid to make Gary less self-conscious, they...decide to dress him up as a 22-stone woman. I'm no psychologist, but this seems like a rather flawed strategy to me. Anyway, "Lucy Gary" makes her entrance and flits around the stage, and Brian says that Gary enjoyed the day and the dressing up, so if he can't get over the having to dance ON ICE at this stage, there is no hope for him.

Gary's daughter is in the audience again, holding up a big sign that says "I HEART YOU DADDY" and we get a big close-up of her, just to make sure we haven't missed that he is indeed A FATHER. He does look more relaxed out there this week and is smiling, and it seems to have lent his skating a fluidity I don't remember it having before. It's a confident routine, and the required element goes well. Gubba is sad that Gary did not decide to skate as Edna Turnblad this week. Me too, Gubba. Me too. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 4.0, Jason 3.5, Emma 3.5, Robin 3.5 for a total of 18.5. Gary says to Phil that he probably stayed as a woman. He thanks everyone for taking the opportunity to pull the stick out of his bum, and then he cringes at the fact that he has now been recorded for posterity in drag. I suspect this is not what we should consider total progress on the "get over yourself, butthead" front. Chris says that he was a bit sticky on the toepicks in his crossovers, but otherwise it was a great performance. Bunto says that we're gradually getting to see the real Gary, and HIS LITTLE GIRL IS GOING TO BE VERY PROUD. Nicky is a big fan of Gary's skating, and thought that while it wasn't as clean and assured as it should be, it was going to see him letting go. He wants more progress next week - since Gary is an actor, he needs him to act like a rock star ON (THE) ICE. Robin tells him to get off the toepicks, enjoy it, and "stop making excuses for being good". Phil implores us to vote for Gary, and there's a shot of the audience, including several Hollyoaksers who are here for Kieron: Ricky Whittle, Bronagh Waugh, and Carley Stenson. I don't know whether I should choose to read anything into the fact that Ricky and Carley are sitting apart these days.

More adverts! I will be an old man by the time this is over.

Next up are Heather and Matt, and apparently Heather's struggling with the required element. Last week, Bunto criticised her lack of fluidity, and Heather thought it was her worst performance so far. Heather confesses that the pairs spin has been erratic so far: sometimes she gets it, and sometimes she doesn't. Jayne explains that it requires a lot of control and is all about the timing. Heather thinks she's getting it right 25% of the time, but is determined to get it entirely right on the night. However, during the dress rehearsal, she injures her knee, pulling a hamstring, and has to go for physio.

They skate out, and I swear some total arse is booing her. Their song for this week is 'Chain Of Fools', and involves a lot of head-swivelling at the beginning, that Matt in particular enacts with great sass. Hee. Heather's on her own for a fair bit, and does quite well, although she's still quite slow OVER THE ICE. Thankfully, her required element this time falls into the 25% of times she's got it right. Gubba says it was a better performance than last week, though there was still a point where she seemed to get out of step. Scores: Karen 2.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.0, Robin 3.0 for a total of 15.0. Heather and Matt tell Phil they're happy with how it went, and Phil enquires about the fact that now her right leg is giving her trouble. "We've only got one good one left!" Matt quips. Hee. [I love Matt's utter lack of embarrassment and inhibition when it comes to mentioning Heather's leg. Everyone else skirts around it by talking about "your disability. - Carrie] Heather says that Sharon's done a great job with her leg, and that she's torn a meniscus, which she thinks sounds like having beheaded a flower. Heh. She asks Phil how his meniscus is, and he giggles. Jayne thinks Heather has done very well, considering the injury. Heather is also pleased to now have a leg that fits.

Holly is surprised that the lowest score came from Karen, and Karen explains that she took 0.5 off because there was just one rotation on the required element, and she would've loved to score Heather higher otherwise. She does say, however, that Heather improved on last week and that she was impressed that Heather did a spiral on her left leg rather than her right as expected. Jason was impressed with the control she displayed, and that the two of them had a great connection, but he does want her to lift her chin up during her lifts. Robin compliments the two of them on their speed and attack which he thinks may not come across at home. And judging by what I wrote in the paragraph above, it kind of doesn't. Still, the judges liked it, so hooray!

Danny and Frankie are next, and we're reminded that he hit the dreaded skate-off last week. Frankie scolds him for his poor technique, and we flash back to Jason commenting on his poor arms and general technique. Jayne says that this is because he rushes a lot, so as part of his JOURNEY, he is sent off to ballet class to sort out his shoulders and arms. He appears to make considerable progress in a short space of time, and hopes that he can deliver a more elegant routine as a result.

They're skating to 'Tiny Dancer' this week, and the ballet influence is definitely apparent in the routine, though I still think he's making some rather ugly shapes with his arms at times. The required element goes a little bit slowly and seems to bring the routine to a crashing halt when it happens, but otherwise there are some nice moves and some fairly solid skating. Frankie is literally skipping with joy at the end of it. Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 3.5, Emma 3.0, Robin 3.0, for a total of 17.0. Phil compliments him on his drape lift, and Danny says that he was glad to get it done. Phil says that they could see the concentration on his face - surely that's not a good thing? Frankie says he remembered everything he was taught, that there was a lot of technical content in there, and that the scores don't necessarily reflect that. [Frankie's pissyness is really starting to bug me. - Carrie] Chris says that they were focusing this week on Frankie not telling him what's next as they were going along. "That's why you were concentrating!" deduces Phil.

Nicky explains that he is marking relatively once more (dear lord), and his base mark was Gary, so although his spins were lacking, he did some big lifts very well, and while he's not passing over the ice very well, he's showing more grace, and should continue going to ballet class, because it is really helping. Jason says that it's commendable that he went to ballet class, and he did see an improved arm line, but advises Danny not to show the effort in his face, and to enjoy the lifts so that they become more spectacular.

After yet another sodding ad break, we're back, and it's time to see what Emily and Fred have been up to this week, apart from getting fitted for darling little matching mint-green costumes. Emily recalls being gutted last week when she was bottom of the leaderboard, and she says that she felt that she'd worked very hard and it wasn't enough, so she's got to really push herself to get results. Jayne says that this week is critical for Emily, and Chris adds that she needs to prove she's a confident skater. Fred says that Emily has been skating on her own all week, and that she's now better on her own than some of the other skaters, and he is sick of the judges not recognising that. Chris says that as a result of that, Emily has been given "a little bit of solo work by herself" (as opposed to...?) and Emily says she really wants to prove to the judges this week that she can skate just as well as everyone else, because she doesn't want to be bottom again.

They're skating to 'The Sweet Escape', and it's quite a fun routine to watch, with lots of comedy face-pulling, and indeed Emily is skating well on her own at this point. They incorporate some awesome lifts, including one where Emily wraps her arms around Fred's neck and he holds her up by her blades. Scores: Karen 3.0, Nicky 3.0, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.0, Robin 3.0 for a total of 15.0. Emily is absolutely beside herself, and squeaks about how amazing that feels. She tells Phil that when you're competing against so many amazing skaters, you realise how hard you have to work, and Fred says that her experiences last week affected her in a good way. Bunto says she was pleasantly surprised this week because Emily looked confident and sexy out there, and then takes all the credit for Emily's improvement as a result of their "constructive criticism". Like "you made me feel sick", you mean? Nicky says that there's more to come from her, but this is a big step forward. He wants her to sell a story, and then her marks will go up higher. Jason says this was her best week, but she still needs to watch her arms because there's no development in them, and says that she lost the story doing some of the more technical stuff. He also says to watch her jaw - "have you got an underbite?" Everyone boos this, even though it's not a rude question in and of itself, and Emily says that she has big teeth, and Jason tells her to be wary of clenching her jaw.

So, who's next? Mikey and Melanie. Last week he was the top scorer amongst the boys, but Mikey's aware that he can't rest on that, and now they have a new mountain to climb. Chris explains that this week's song, 'River Of Dreams', has a gospel feel to it, and that learning a new routine is like starting all over again, and it feels like swimming against the tide. Mikey admits that he's fed up of falling and being in so much pain - he's sore all over and it's a lot of effort. Chris thinks Mikey has hit a wall, physically. [To clarify: not an ACTUAL wall. Though that would indeed cause bruises and soreness. - Carrie] To add injury to further injury, Mikey falls over during the dress rehearsal: he says it's a tricky routine, so he's really got his work cut out this week.

There are a lot of cross-steps in the routine, which do seem rather cumbersome, though Mikey copes pretty well. There are some stumbles in the middle of the programme, however, which I presume will dock him a few points, and his pairs spin is a little bit on the wobbly side. Still, not a bad performance, all things considered. Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.5, Robin 2.5 for a total of 15.0. Ooh, ouch. Melanie pulls a face. Mikey says that you can't get it spot on every week, and he's happy with the score. Phil says that he thinks Mikey stumbled because he was being so challenged by a tricky routine. Chris says that Mikey had a breakthrough last week and a breakdown in the middle of this week, and he's not sure people appreciate how much effort the celebs have to put in. Robin says that his footwork needs to be right, and at the moment he's not crossing over quite properly, and while it was close to what Danny was doing, it wasn't as well-executed as Danny's, or indeed as Emily's, and since they both got 3.0, Robin had no choice but to give him a lower score. Holly asks the very valid question: surely being marked down for pushing yourself will encourage the celebs to stick to simplistic routines that they know they can do? Robin says that it's great for them to push themselves, but they need to recognise when things aren't working and changing them to make them work. He thinks that, like Gary, Mikey needs to stop convincing himself he's not as good as he actually is. Karen adds that it's not that Mikey can't do it, he's just inconsistent right now - this is just a blip.

Halfway leaderboard: Gary and Maria at the top, Danny and Frankie second, and everyone else tying for third. Ooh, interesting. Phil assures us that our votes do make a difference, with Danny and Emily cited as living proof.

Another bloody ad break.

Phil's in the audience, standing just in front of Jake Wood from EastEnders, but he's more interested in chatting to Gary Lineker. Phil tries to get David Seaman to talk Gary into taking part next year. Time for Sharron and Pavel, who were used to being in the skate-off, but then things turned around last week and they were saved, which they are both very pleased about. Chris says that Sharron's attitude was very different as a result, and she was in a much happier place. Therefore, they want to take advantage of her renewed enthusiasm and push her even further. They're dancing to 'Fast Car', which Sharron approves of, and which Jayne hopes will help Sharron to be graceful. Pavel demonstrates to Sharon how to to move elegantly, in one of those classic professional dancer "this is not the same as THAT"-type conversations.

The song starts, and apparently Mutya Buena has covered it, because that's the version they're using. WHY? What is wrong with the original? Soundtrack dissonance aside, I think this is Sharron's strongest routine so far - the skating is much more fluid, her arms have improved, and she genuinely seems more at home on the ice now. Scores: Karen 3.5, Nicky 4.0, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.0, Robin 3.0 for a total of 16.5 - her highest score so far. Sharron is pleased that she is "less tree-like" now and says that she's having so much fun and doesn't want to go home now. Pavel says that her performance shows how a good attitude pays off. Jayne says that she worked really hard this week, and her general skating and gracefulness have improved. Nicky says that they are a tall couple and therefore they have presence ON THE ICE. He thinks that her arm movements still need work, and recommends ballet class for her as well (is he on commission?) but is pleased with her improvement. Jason says that a week can make a lot of difference, and he saw real grace this week, and an improved leg line. Her upper body still needs work (BOOOOO), so she needs to learn to extend beyond herself, "even though you are rather large". Sharron wonders if she just looks large because Jason is very small. Heh.

Kieron and Brianne are next. Last week he was disappointed that his scores were going in the wrong direction, even though he's working just as hard as everyone else. They've got 'Pencil Full Of Lead' by Paolo Nutini this week, and Kieron has to start the routine on his own to prove he can hold his own without being overshadowed by Brianne. "You've got it so easy this week," he tells her. There will be jazz hands in this week's routine, it seems. But when will we get SPIRIT FINGERS? That's what I want to know. Brianne thinks all the attention may go to his head and promises to bring him back down to earth. They are quite cute together actually, these two.

Their routine is another sassy, fun one, and credit to both of them that neither one bats an eyelid when the music cuts out for a few seconds (unless that was a broadcast problem rather than a studio problem). There are indeed jazz hands aplenty, and a lot of energy, and a fun move near the end where Kieron picks Brianne up and she slides through his legs as he skates over her. Gubba confirms that it was indeed a sound problem in the studio, and compliments Kieron for keeping going, before noting that he looks like he's "just broken out of Toytown jail". Scores: Karen 3.0, Nicky 3.5, Jason 3.0, Emma 3.0, Robin 3.5 for a total of 16.0. They're going back up, Phil points out. Kieron explains that Brianne was sick this week, so he took charge AS A MAN and told her what to do. Is that really appropriate? Brianne confirms that he has been a leading man. Kieron says that each week he's feeling more confident, and he hopes he's selling it with his face. Chris compliments him on keeping going during the glitch, like he didn't even hear it; Kieron confesses that at first he thought he'd done something wrong and that's why they'd stopped the music. Aww.

Robin says that he's more natural when he has music he can connect to, and it felt like Kieron wanted to be there, and as a result it was a much better performance. Bunto says that Kieron makes her smile, and she loves that he's skating independently - some of his dance moves are a little bit awkward, and she thought the glitch threw him slightly, but the fact that he carried on proves how good at this he's become.

Yet more adverts. I'm starting to think that this series is responsible for about 80% of ITV's advertising revenue.

When we return, it's time for Hayley, who, lest we forget, is attempting the headbanger this week. Their '70s routine last week earned them 23.0 and a lot of praise from Jason. Daniel says that it's important for them to keep raising the bar and thus: the headbanger. We see Suzanne and Matt doing it amazingly, and then Roxanne and Daniel doing it less so, and Hayley says that this was her one biggest fear that she didn't want to do. (Interesting fact that I learned on Dancing On Ice Friday - if Hayley had refused to do it, then Danniella would've had it in her programme instead.) To try to coax Hayley into doing it, Dan shows her it with Jayne - who has also never done the headbanger before. Hayley recoils in horror, and gets a bit tearful, before apologising for being a baby. She dons the Roxanne Pallett memorial crash helmet, and they rehearse it. She says that they're doing it one a day, because it's scary and it hurts. We even see a Dan's-eye-view of the move, and it's only when you see it like that that I think you truly appreciate how much it must make you want to hurl. Hayley says that she knows she's in safe hands with Dan, and has her fingers crossed.

They're skating to 'Just Dance' by Dame GaGa, and Hayley's doing a good job of hiding her nerves. I guess the actress in her takes over at this point. An initially promising-looking routine goes awry when during one of the lifts, there's a fall - I don't know whose fault it was because the camera was too far away, but they both tumble rather inelegantly to the floor, which brings it all to a halt. However, they're up and off again as soon as they can be, and the routine continues effectively. It is my sad duty to report that Hayley begins the headbanger from the floor like Roxanne did, rather than from a standing position like Suzanne did, but it's a pretty decent effort, nonetheless. Hayley looks rather shaken at the end, bless her. Gubba attempts to blame the fall on the fact that she was afraid of the upcoming headbanger, which: um, sure? He says that this week's been a horror movie for her: Nightmare on Elstree. Groan. Scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 4.5, Jason 4.0, Emma 4.0, Robin 4.0 for a total of 21.0. Hayley shows Phil a bit of blood on her elbow and assures him she's fine. Hayley says that she banged her head, just not in the headbanger. Heh. Daniel says that Hayley's so brave, and he didn't even need to ask her if she still wanted to do it. He says that she's very brave to have carried on because a lot of professionals would've found that hard, and takes full responsibility for the fall, saying that he hit something (possibly a sequin - occupational hazard!) on the ice. [Surely you mean ON THE ICE? - Carrie] Chris says that they're so well polished, and that if they make a mistake, they just get back on up - they gave a strong performance even with the fall. Karen says it wasn't great to see the fall, and she docked them 0.5 for it, but the quality of the rest was excellent - there was so much that was good about it. Robin took a whole point off for the fall ("0.5 for each of you" - what? Sorry, Robin, I love you, but you're not making much sense this week), but the rest was absolutely sensational, and he reckons that in a few weeks time she'll be able to do the headbanger with the proper take-off and ending. Phil asks Hayley if she wants to up off and have a good old cry, and she nods, so he promises to get through the next bit quickly. Hee.

Dr Hilary and Alexandra are the next ones on, and he was pleased to be told he was improving last week, however slowly. Jayne thinks that his confidence has grown, and Hilary says that there are a lot of tricky new bits this week - particularly the spin, "which I think makes me a spin doctor". Theirs is right at the start of the programme, and Alexandra is worried that if it goes wrong, it will ruin a large part of their performance. Chris says that they're having trouble maintaining the speed, and Dr Hilary says that all the things he needs to sort out about the performance are making it quite difficult. After some more tiresome doctor-based puns, we're outta there.

They're skating to 'Truly Madly Deeply' and start off at opposite ends of the ice. The pairs spin goes well, if slowly, and they carry on with the routine, which involves a lot of lifts, some more successful than others - there are definitely areas where you can see the joins, as it were. Gubba says that the speed is like an NHS waiting list, and boy, can I relate to that one. Scores: Karen 2.0, Nicky 2.5, Jason 2.0, Emma 2.5, Robin 2.5 for a total of 11.5. The audience boo, naturally. Dr Hilary says he has a long way to go, but he's progressing every week and having a lot of positive feedback from the public. Jayne says each week they see a little improvement, so onwards and upwards. Jason is despondent, and says that what is missing from the performance in particular is that he's so stiff (that's not what's missing, Jason, that's what's present), and that there's so little content - it's basically the same routines set to different music. Karen says there is improvement and it was his best routine, but the spin was only just over one rotation so he lost marks on that. Bunto says he's doing it for the dads out there (sigh) and he's sturdy - at which point Robin and Jason shout her down, and rightly so. She says that everyone else is miles ahead of him, but he's doing a good job and should be proud all the same.

After a competition which pains me due to several apostrophes that should be listed in the multiple choice answers and are not, and another sodding ad break, it's time for the final couple of the night, Danniella and Matthew. Her '70s routine got good reviews last week, and this week they're doing a tango to Debelah Morgan's 'Dance With Me'. Rehearsals go slowly, with Danniella admitting it's a mess, so Chris and Jayne send her to "ballroom and tango expert" Kelly Baker. Matthew wants them to be able to show that they have more sides to their personalities than they've been able to show so far.

It's a great routine to watch, with some quite complicated steps and lefts involved, and I'm impressed with how much Danniella's improved in the past couple of weeks. They have a very slight wobble towards the end, but aside from that, it's one of my favourite routines of the night. Scores: Karen 4.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 3.5, Emma 4.0, Robin 4.0 for a total of 20.0. Danniella admits she was "squeezing everything" to stay upright at the end. She thinks it could've been better, but she's happy with the way it went. Matthew too is happy, and thinks that it's been a challenging week for both of them. Jayne thinks they did it justice, and Chris thinks Danniella is a great competitor. Bunto says that the tango is one of her favourite dances, and Danniella delivered for the most part - it needed more attack in places, and to be a bit sexier, but Danniella always gives a strong performance. Robin agrees - more attitude would have been good, but they've seen a completely different side to them as a couple.

That's it! (Thank GOD.) Final leaderboard: Hayley and Daniel in first, Danniella and Matthew second, Gary and Marie third, Danny and Frankie fourth, Sharron and Pavel fifth, Kieron and Brianne sixth, then a three way tie between Heather and Matt, Emily and Fred and Mikey and Melanie, and then Dr Hilary and Alexandra at the bottom again. The lines open, and we get a video recap, but quite honestly, this show is long enough as it is, and I said everything I had to say about dancing ON ICE the first time around, so let's just skip past that, shall we? After a final recap of the voting numbers and a reminder to return after Wild at Heart, there's one more round of applause for the contestants, and we're done!

The Skate-Off

So, earlier, ten couples danced ON ICE for our votes, but one of them must leave the ice for good at the end of tonight's show. Gosh, who will it be? Hell, as long as it makes subsequent shows come in under the two-hour mark, I DON'T CARE.

Phil confirms that the lines have now closed, but before we get any further in the proceedings, Fucking Pixie Fucking Lott is back again. Seriously, TWO PERFORMANCES? Whom did I offend in order to wreak such hell upon myself? This isn't even a new fucking single either. WHY MUST WE SIT THROUGH THIS? WHY? WHY? Fuck this, I'm skipping right to the bloody end.

Time for a recap of what happened earlier: Gary and Maria got improved reviews this week, and he really enjoyed himself. Heather and Matt got one mark knocked off by Karen for not doing two revolutions in their required element, a fact that Heather disputes, but Karen is adamant. Danny went to ballet class and improved a bit, and he thinks that being in the skate-off was a much-needed kick up the bum. Emily and Fred finally moved up the leaderboard, a little bit, and Emily is thrilled. Fred, as ever, is entirely uninterested. Mikey disappointed a little with his inconsistency, and he feels that Karen was right to say that. Sharron and Pavel were TALL and PRESENT, and Sharron is finally starting to feel graceful. Kieron was in control and leading Brianne, though he admits to having been shaking. Heather and Daniel fell over but got back up again, and Dan kisses her backstage for getting up and carrying on. Bunto thought Dr Hilary was sturdy, but no one else agreed, though he thinks he's making progress every day, and Danniella and Matthew tangoed with attitude, though possibly not enough, and had a thoroughly ripping time. Hurrah!

Holly's with the judges for final words, asking for clarification on Heather and Matt's turns. Robin says that they all have their own opinions, and having reviewed the tape, they feel it was only one rotation that was clean and on one foot. Robin's off for two weeks to do the Winter Olympics (commentating, not competing), so we'll be having a guest judge, who will be revealed on Dancing On Ice Friday. Please let it be Ruthie Henshall!!!!!!!!11111!!!! [Oh, WAIL. I miss Head Judge Robin Cousins already. Presumably it'll have to be a skater? - Carrie]

We're back with Phil, and the results are in. *touches ear*. The couples revealed as safe, in no particular order, are: Danniella and Matthew, Gary and Maria, Hayley and Daniel, Dr Hilary and Alexandra, Danny and Frankie, Sharron and Pavel, and then, in a break with tradition, we go to the ad break with four couples awaiting their fate. Just when I was whinging about how predictable this series is earlier in the week, as well. That's me told.

After the ads, it's time to find out which two couples are still guaranteed to return next week. They are: Emily and Fred and Mikey and Melanie, leaving Heather and Matt and Kieron and Brianne squaring off against each other in the skate-off. Heather is SO going home, isn't she? Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Holly points out that there's only a point separating them, making this "the closest it's ever been". Well, in a series that has so far spanned five weeks, yes. First out are Heather and Matt. There are supportive cheers for Heather, and they're both giving it a bit more sass than they did the first time around. It looks cleaner and more energetic, though I guess there might still be a quibble about whether they managed two clean rotations in the required element, as it looks like Heather puts her foot down just a smidge too quickly. Heather says that she can't even believe she's still here in week five, and thanks everyone for their support. Phil reminds her that she's not even gone yet, and she says that she's on her way out though, because Kieron is amazing and should totally stay in. Bless. I'm going to miss her crazy ass. I've actually found her really likeable on this show.

Kieron and Brianne come back out, and if his confidence is as shaken by being in the bottom two as I suspect it might be, he isn't showing it - if anything, he's giving it even more attack this time around. I would think it's very unlikely he'll be going home after that. Chris says that both contestants gave great performances and it's really hard to call. Kieron says it's all a bit of a blur, but if he goes now, he's had an amazing time.

Everyone heads back onto the ice to decide who gets to come back this week: Karen says it couldn't be closer, but votes for Kieron. Nicky opts to save Heather. Jason says that they were two very dynamic performances, but votes to save Kieron. Bunto thought they'd both come a long way, but votes to save Kieron. It's academic, of course, but Robin voted for Kieron, so he's back next week, and Heather's gone. There are consolatory kisses, and as Heather's VT starts, my recording cuts out because tonight's show overran by several minutes, and ITV Player haven't put the show up yet, so I'm afraid I'll have to come back and edit the last couple of minutes in later, but in the meantime, dear ITV: fucking sort it out, love and kisses from Steven.

EDIT: Right, now it's up, so to continue from where we left off: Heather's best bits (Heather, pointing at her tits: "What, these?" And that's one of the many reasons why I love her) shows lots of people being amazed at the fact that she can do...well, anything at all, it seems. There's a segment I don't remember seeing before where Heather's kneeling on Matt and he pointedly informs her "that's my goolies" (hee!), and two impressive early performances, let down by two slightly less impressive later ones. Back in the studio, Heather says that she's just pleased for all the kids who've lost limbs and have been in touch with her to say that they're now going to have a go at skating, and to get in touch if anyone wants some help from her and Matt. And really, I'm sure people will knock her, but as reasons for competing in the show go, I'll take that over "making my kids proud of me" any day of the week. Heather and Matt go out for their lap of honour, and we're done. There's a Valentine's Day special next week, which should be interesting. Carrie will be here with all the details in a week's time...