Monday, 29 March 2010

Tamaddon, Tamaddon, we love ya, Tamaddon

THE FINAL. ON ICE.
Tx 28th March 2010

12 weeks ago (is that all?) our celebrities took to the ice, with just one goal - to revive their flagging showbiz careers. Oh - apparently not; they wanted to become SKATING SUPERSTARS. Sinitta donned the Mumba blades of near-castration and applied them to my poor Andrei; Hayley got straight 6.0s for her Bollywood-themed routine. "Who'd have thought - a boy from Essex that can't dance and can't skate" - AND CAN'T ACT, adds the audience silently - "is now in the final?" asks Gary Lucy rhetorically. I don't know, Gary Lucy, I don't understand it either. Kieron thinks it's amazing that they've done this (presumably "reached the final"); Hayley reckons it hasn't sunk in, like she hasn't been expecting it since week 1. Tonight - the skaters must fly. "I've just had a jacket potato with tuna and cheese," bewails Hayley as she sees the wires for the first time. "We'll be seeing that again," deadpans Dan. Seriously, is Hayley a bit daft, or is she Acting? There is no WAY the flying can have come as a surprise to her. Anyway, only two couples get to skate the Bolero, as always, and then one will WIN. Gary Lucy lies that he will give it his all; Hayley will take risks; Kieron is going to make "them", whoever "they" may be, eat their words.

Titles!

And first, Jayne and Chris perform their latest version of Bolero, this time bastardised with silks and additional flying. And a band of musicians including a soprano sax. And an upper string section with horrible bridesmaid dresses in a variety of foul pastel shades. [I can't have been the only one who thought we saw far too many shots of the band and not enough shots of Jayne and Chris, can I? I mean, we can hear them, we don't really need to see them. - Steve] And some scary singing ladies. Everyone whoops at the end. Jayne and Chris have a little cuddle and look thoroughly knackered.

Time for Phil and Holly to make their entrance, welcome us and thank Jayne and Chris. There's then some very peculiar camera work as the focus is on Torvill and Dean standing on the edge of the rink waiting to be permitted onto the kiss-and-cry podium, and then scurry on. Chris exclusively reveals that the finalists are nervous. Holly explains that they may have to skate three routines tonight - a reprise of an old favourite, a flying routine and maybe the Bolero if they're lucky. Phil makes some flying puns. NB - this will not be the last time he does so this evening.

So let's welcome our skating stars - Kieron and Brianne, Hayley and Dan, and Gary and Maria. They won't skate yet, though, of course. Time for a break.

Back. And here are the Ice Panel. Nicky's dusted off the tux; Jason has an old diamante tie; Robin giggles at being called "a wise old bird" and then anticipates Holly's first question with a swift "yes IT'S EXCITING". He recommends that the finalists "enjoy it" and "supersize it". It is, obviously, nothing to do with him because judges' votes don't count in the final; it is all up to the Great British Public.

Time for some skating? Why, yes please! Kieron has always felt that every week would be his last, and thanks everybody. He skates into the studio to see Chris on wires and demands: "But why are you up there?" Kieron thinks flying is "a million times harder than trying to skate", and then they try to play the ChrisPIESandFrankie card by complaining that Brianne is too little to move Kieron on his wires. Srsly, Brianne, get to the gym; Kieron must weigh about seven stone sopping wet. [Now there's an idea for next year's Hollyoaks Hunks calendar. - Steve] At least Frankie was literally less than half Chris's size.

They skate and fly to One Day Like This, and sure enough Brianne does appear to be struggling to move him. He looks deft and graceful in the air, with some nice armlines and it's hard to judge content in routines like these, but it seems decent. He smacks back on to the rink, though. Scores - Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 4.5, Emma 5.0 and Robin 5.0 for a total of 24.0. Kieron reminds us again that flying is harder than skating and that he has been taking all the judges' comments on board. Crawler. Brianne confesses to nerves. Chris thinks it was Kieron's best performance. Jayne has changed into an outfit that makes her look like a sequinned Margaret Thatcher. Robin was worried by Kieron's ungainly rehearsal, but thinks tonight's performance was much better. Emma grabs the Alesha Dixon ball of appalling grammar to tell Kieron, "You was graceful," while your recapping team cringe [I bet no one complains to ITV about that, though. I'm sure it's fine when a white woman does it. *gets off soapbox* - Steve]. Meanwhile, Bunto has gold mascara on and it makes her look like she's got conjunctivitis. Jason says he expected to hate it but didn't, but points out that his transitions from air to ice were horrid.

Hayley and Dan were happy to get a 6.0 from Robin last week because he is the only judge worth listening to. Re: flying, Hayley is worried about being so high, and Dan mocks her. They try to develop their own move, and settle on one where Dan lies on top of her (stop it) and she has to bear his entire bodyweight as they fly.

They're skating and flying to Songbird. Hayley's harness makes her look like a box. For much of this routine she is flapping her arms. Like a songbird. Do you see? Their new move looks a total bloody mess. Gubba reckons the routine was "flawless" and starts talking about Thunderbirds. Scores - Karen 6.0, Nicky 5.5, Jason 5.5, Emma 6.0 and Robin 6.0 for a total of 29.0. Hayley feigns surprise and likens herself to a fairy on top of a Christmas tree. Because they fly? Jayne is proud; Emma is crying. The look on Karen's face when Holly asks Nicky for his comments is EPIC.

Now, Gary and Maria. He says Sunday was like a rollercoaster with nice comments (and some true ones from Jason) and having to skate off. In rehearsal he keeps on and on about being Superman and flails about the place. "I'm so scared!" says Maria. Gary replies, surprised, "What are you scared of?" Classic eyeroll from Maria as she answers, "YOU." Gary wants to prove to everyone "that we can do it." Leave Maria out of this, we know SHE can. It's just you who's tedious and shit.

They skate and fly to Star Man, though they might as well have picked Theme From Superman. All he does throughout the routine is put one fist in front of him. Booooooooooo. Oh, and look, there's his daughter, LIKE WE CARE. Scores - 5.0s from everyone except Jason who gives 4.5. Gary then drivels some more about it being every boy's dream to impersonate Superman really shitly and Chris saying he is the Best Evah. Jayne tactfully refers to "random moments". Karen says it came together. Jason says there were things wrong with it but he was better than he expected.

And the lines are open! Quick, everyone, give ITV your money!

OH MY GOD THERE IS RAY QUINN IN THE AUDIENCE. Fortunately Phil opts not to talk to him and introduces a montage of Kieron's JOURNEY. Kieron now loves lifting Brianne, and liked jumping even though he broke his face. The most important thing is his now-lifelong friendship with Brianne, which is sweet. They're choosing to reprise Ever Fallen In Love. Brianne still looks like she's a refugee from an amdram production of The Rocky Horror Show. Gubba then says "Johnny Rotten and arm candy with attitude", which riles me so much I don't listen to anything else until he mentions "auditioning in the summer". They AUDITION for this?! [Yep - one of the few useful things I learnt from Dancing On Ice Friday was that Sinitta auditioned four times before she actually got on the show. - Steve] Scores - 5.0s from everyone except Robin, who gives 4.5, for a total of 24.5. Kieron announces that he is bleeding in his mouth again because he got too excited and bit his tongue. [Bless his little cotton socks. - Steve] Nicky loves Kieron's attack and commitment, and then says something about "a raggedy show". Emma can't fault him on performance.

Hayley's JOURNEY VT talks about her friendship with Dan and not wanting to let him down, and realising that she was good after the first show. She is proud of them for giving the audience what they wanted, ie the headbanger, and feels that she is now living the dream. They're re-performing Jai Ho, obviously, and though it doesn't have the shock-surprise-wow factor as it did initially, Hayley's skating really has improved in the past few weeks. Didn't think much of that spin, mind. And her arm muscles are looking fine. Gubba reckons the routine got six 6.0s first time round. It gets five this time though. There is much celebrating. Hayley does a bit of humility. Chris's suit is lovely. Robin thinks it was even better than a few weeks ago. Karen is crying and everyone laughs at her.

Next is Gary, and of course he has a million memorable routines to choose from. Or not. He says he connected with What About Now, which I don't remember at all. [I had exactly the same problem. I could recognise Kieron's and Hayley's routines from the music, but when this track kicked in I didn't have a clue. Then again, what has Gary done that was memorable, apart from perhaps Pulp Fiction? And even then all I remember is the song. WORST FINALIST EVER. And that includes MacIntyre. And Langford. - Steve] Then he wails about not being able to dance and then invokes HIS DAUGHTER WHO WANTS HIM TO WIN. They skate. I really don't care; I loathe him too much at this point. Gubba then makes a really inappropriate comment about Gary losing his job at The Bill, at which I laughed. Scores - Karen 5.0, Nicky 5.5, Jason 4.5, Emma 5.0 and Robin 5.0 for a total of 25.0. Gary says it is a beautiful song to skate to, and then anticipates Jason's criticisms and looks like a child throwing his toys out of the pram. Jason comments on the lack of emotion in Gary's performance and then says the following, which is possibly the best comment by any judge on any reality TV show EVER -

"Talk about milking the cute kid card."

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Jason ftw! Gary is stony-faced. Holly tells him off, and says that Robin disagrees. But then Robin actually agrees with Jason's comments, saying his skating is good but he'll never be as good at performing as Hayley. And then Robin makes a stab at total ftw-ness with a subtle burn on Nicky - "three of us gave you what you deserved." HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Time for a quiz. Where are Jayne and Chris from? Glasgow, Cardiff or Nottingham? A clue - they're not Scottish or Welsh.

Jayne and Chris are proud of the finalists. Phil says it is his least favourite bit of the whole series, seeing someone ready to skate the Bolero and not being able to. Then time for another montage - Danny scraping his blades around, Heather and her leg, Dr Hilary being a doctor, Sinitta falling flat on her face, mad pro routine with clowns, Sinitta slicing up my poor Andrei again, Sharron being possessed by a tree, Jeremy putting a grenade up his arse, Dr Hilary singing doctorly karaoke, Gary's mates mocking him, Gary's DAUGHTER, Michael Ball being fabulous, Angela Rippon being journalistic and fabulous, and then the stars being culled one by one.

And it's time for the first set of results - who will skate Bolero? First through - Hayley and Dan! And the second - bloody Gary and Maria. SERIOUSLY? Kieron and Brianne are dignified in defeat. Of course he gets another montage, and they giggle at the clips of him falling over. Brianne snuggles in closer to him, too upset to watch, and they are very cute. It ends with him saying, "I LOVE Dancing On Ice, me," and...oh, poor Kieron. He thanks everyone and hopes he has done everyone proud. Jayne confirms they are all indeed proud. [And cut to Gary not clapping again. Twat. - Steve]

So Hayley and Dan skate against Gary and Maria, and once more the voting slate is wiped clean. They like to extract as much cash as possible from the viewers, don't they? Phil makes a gag about reciting the phone-vote terms and conditions in his sleep. Chortle. [And yet still they never explain exactly how the results are calculate, even though they do it on Strictly every week. - Steve]

And more chortling as the eliminated skaters return to the ice - Sinitta and my Andrei (should she be skating? She nearly falls over three times in about 12 seconds anyway, and then Andrei pats her); Bobby (who is dreadful) and Molly (who is so beautiful, and winks cutely at the camera); Jeremy and Susie, who are having an inordinate amount of fun - if they'd had that dynamic in the competition they might not have gone so early; Tana and Stuart, who I'd forgotten about due to her being a) not famous and b) a bit shit; Heather and Lovely Matt, who don't do a headbanger as they've been threatening to do; Dr Hilary, who is a doctor, and Alexandra, who look pretty good, actually; Sharron and Pav; Emily in Alexandra THE BEAST BURKE mode and Lovely Fred; Mikey and Mel and that peculiar Minnie Mouse hairdo; Danny and no shirt and Frankie; and Danniella and Matthew. Hooray for them all! [God, it was a rum lot this year, wasn't it? You could tell how shit most of the returning skaters were when I was actually glad to see Emily. I did love seeing Danniella glomp her way through an entire routine again though. - Steve]

Time for the annual bout of Bolero reminiscing. Hayley and Dan watch old footage on a big screen and hope to give the audience goosebumps. Chris suggests putting their experience into their routine. There's a good idea! Thanks, Chris! Dan insists on putting in the scissor lift which they fell on earlier in the series, deeming it "unfinished business".

So they skate in their very paso doble purple outfits. One thing I particularly notice here is Hayley's lovely hand shaping, and the drama they imbue into their moves; they have a strong connection and even when they're not looking at each other, it's palpable. I know they've been friends for a gazillion years and so it's not based on the past few months, but it's still nice to watch. Hayley is tearful and cannot talk; Dan looks like he's close to sobbing too. Robin and Emma are still applauding a good 40 seconds into the ovation. It always seems a bit weird, like something's gone wrong, when the judges don't give their scores after a routine. Phil asks some stupid questions; Hayley and Dan fail to answer them. Chris says that being in your own world, as Hayley and Dan were, is just how he and Jayne were at the Olympics. Robin says that Hayley and Dan are always in the zone but they never forget to give a performance for the audience.

Gary and Maria's turn. He says he's been watching the Bolero "several times" and sure enough, he and Maria watch on a big screen as he patronises the best ice skating couple of all time with comments like "Oh, that's lovely" and then promises us "TV gold" with his routine. Twat. Maria shouts at him a lot during rehearsal. Good for her. Oh, and then they skate the routine and I totally forget to watch. Twice. Don't worry, though, India, who is GARY'S DAUGHTER, has watched it enough for both of us. Gary smugs over to the kiss-and-cry podium. Robin says that Gary has room for improvement but has got better in the past few weeks. Heh. Backhanded compliments abound. I heart Robin.

Time for another break. There are lots of musicals being advertised on the telly lately.

And finally, the phone lines are closed. Holly claims that the Bolero is "an iconic song". Jayne and Chris exclusively reveal that the final two couples are now nervous. Phil talks to Hayley, and she confirms this. Montage of their best bits - meeting up at the rink; falling over; beating each other up a bit; gaying it up to Enough Is Enough; headbanging, etc etc. Gary never thought he'd reach the final because he can't dance (or act or perform), and Maria lies that he is hardworking as he kisses her forehead in a really fake way for the third time this evening. They have a montage VT too but nothing really happens in it apart from his daughter being there. Seriously. I know we mock a lot, but he has invoked her an embarrassingly unironically huge amount. That alone is a reason for him to not win by default.

And hooray, Hayley and Dan win, as we probably all expected from the beginning, and they were certainly the best couple. I've seen a few moans about Hayley not skating that much but she skates a hell of a lot more than Bonnie bloody Langford ever did. Gary pretends he is pleased for Hayley and then talks about his daughter (honestly, he does). Hayley and Dan receive their trophy from Jayne and Chris, and Phil and Holly bid us farewell. Actually, to give Gary credit, as the camera pulls away, he's giving his flowers to Jayne, which is quite sweet. But we still don't like him.

Well, that's it for another series. Don't forget that we're also blogging Over The Rainbitch - and we'll be back in the summer for the autumn reality TV monoliths...and then we'll see you back here next year! Bye!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Go, Westbrook

Top 4: 21st March 2010

Last week! It was props week, and I wasn't on recapping duty, which I was very upset about. It was a good week for Danniella, who hit the top of the leaderboard for the very first time, knocking Hayley down to second place. And Danny faced Kieron in the skate-off, with the former being sent home after the hat decided to strike out against weeks of tyranny from Frankie. We're now into the semi-final, and one skater must be sent home tonight. If we could make it Gary Lucy, that would be fab. Thanking you in advance.

Post-titles, we have Phil and Holly. Holly's boobs are looking magnificent again in a yellow dress with a glittery rim. I feel like I should be calling her Tinsel Tits. Because we've got a lot of time to fill tonight, we begin with a group routine where the celebs join Jayne and Chris to skate to 'As', accompanied by enough dry ice to completely cover Luxembourg. You will, I'm sure, be shocked to learn that Gary Lucy looks positively mortified to be involved in the entire thing. While it's nice to see the real skating stars of the show hitting the ice with the celebrities, I'm not really feeling this routine. It's a bit slow and laboured in places, especially where Jayne and Chris go off for individual spots with two celebs apiece. Still, I guess they have to fill the time somehow, and anything's better than more ad breaks, right?

Holly beckons Jayne and Chris over to the rinkside, and Chris talks proudly about how far they've all come. Jayne says they've all had to learn stuff for the final as well as their regular routines this week, so everyone has been very busy indeed.

It's time for a VT! Jason blathers on about how the competition is really starting now. A washed-out looking Gary Lucy talks about how no one wants to go out now. Karen calls Gary the strongest male skater. Nicky and Emma criticise him for not delivering performance-wise. Hayley is loving every minute. Karen knew that she was something special. Robin thinks she's the complete package. Nicky isn't sure that she can skate on her own. Kieron feels like he's earned his dark horse status by making it this far. Bunto thinks he's now a strong, confident man. [When she said this I couldn't help be reminded of Chandler's hypnotism tape: "You're a strong, confident woman, who does not need to smoke." - Carrie] Jason loves being proven wrong, although you wouldn't think it, and believes Kieron's in with a chance. Danniella can't believe she's in the semi-final, especially having gone from two skate-offs to the top of the leaderboard. Robin thinks she can command your attention, and believes she can bring out a performance that will get her to the final. The contestants all gaze moodily into the camera, and there endeth the VT. With almost ten minutes of content, that must make it time for an ad break!

When we arrive back, it's time to learn this week's required element: the solo spot, where the celebs must skate out of the tunnel alone and perform at least the first 20 seconds of the routine by themselves. Much is made of it being a huge test of nerve, but come on: Coleen Nolan got to this stage last year. It can't be that difficult. The ice panel are introduced, and are all looking very nice tonight. Even Jason's dressed like a sane human being for once. Robin explains that the required element is a chance for the celebrities to shine. Holly asks if Danniella's performance has thrown the competition wide open, and Robin non-answers that this is a new week, and if the contestants come out and dance like finalists, they will be finalists. Although one of them still has to go home.

First up this week are Hayley and Dan, and we're reminded that they've been top of the leaderboard every week in which they've performed, until last weekend, when they were a whole ONE POINT behind Hayley. Hayley is forced to say that she isn't jealous of Danniella, lest we all think she's a scheming Tonya Harding type. Chris says that she now has a point to prove, and it turns out that they've invented a lift of their own this week to impress the panel. It involves Hayley sticking her blade between his legs, and Dan admits that one rehearsal did leave her heel touching his "undercarriage". Ooer. Hayley's also had an old injury flare-up, but she's determined not to let it get in the way. "Can't breathe, can't move, broken arms, but apart from that, I'm happy," she grins.

Hayley enters solo like a pro, looking very graceful. Her routine is to 'In My Life', and her solo skate is rather lovely - very controlled and very dramatic, and she makes it until Daniel's arrival without any mishaps. It's meant to be a bit of a love story, this one, and their natural chemistry stands them in good stead. The risky lift goes without a mishap (although Daniel seems to be gritting his teeth a little bit - who could blame him?) and there's a nice mix of showy lifts and technical skating. Very nice indeed. Hayley looks very relieved when it's all over. Gubba calls her "Hayley's comet" but says that she's around every week rather than every 75 years. Heh. Scores: Karen 5.5, Nicky 5.0, Jason 5.5, Emma 5.5, Robin 6.0 for a total of 27.5. Hayley's thrilled by her score from Robin. Hayley tells Phil that the solo skate is petrifying, but it was a challenge, and that's why she's there, and she loved it. Dan confirms that his tackle is still in good working order: "It's nothing that a bit of witch hazel wouldn't sort out." Snerk. Jayne thought Hayley coped beautifully on her own, and when Dan came in, it got even better.

Holly's with the judges. Robin says that he loved her practice earlier, but tonight's was even smoother, and he liked that there was no difference in the quality of her skating whether she was on her own or with Dan. Nicky congratulates Hayley for being poised and precise, but criticises her for being SLOW OVER THE ICE. It's a slow song, Nicky. What is she supposed to do? He says she is a DANCER ON ICE, but not a SKATER ON ICE. [Seriously, we could just get a tape recording of someone droning on and alternating the words "ON ICE", "DANCING ON ICE", "SKATING ON ICE" and "SLOW OVER THE ICE" in place of Nicky, and I guarantee it would have a sharper critical faculty. - Carrie] [I vote we just replace Nicky with a speed camera and have done with it. - Steve] Jason says that he wasn't even worried about her being on her own, and that they moved so beautifully together, it was sublime. However, he would've liked a little more release in the back drapes, which is presumably what kept her from a 6.0.

More ads. Get used to seeing those two words.

On our return, Phil's in the audience with two new judges for the tour: Kyran Bracken, and BIGGINS. Kyran says he's nervous for everyone, and they all deserve to be in the final. BIGGINS thinks his judging style will be a mix of Jason and Robin, although he's not sure which way around.

Phil introduces Gary Lucy as "the macho star from The Bill". Dude, he was in Footballers' Wives. He really can't sell himself as being "macho", believe me. Gary complains about the indignity of having two props last week, but he survived. Chris says that Gary got good marks, but because the rest of the competition is so strong, he was bottom of the leaderboard. Gary is happy that the public liked him enough to keep him in. Gary is concerned at having to be on his own for 30 seconds (I could've sworn they said 20 earlier, but Chris is saying 30 now). It seems to be going okay for him in rehearsals. Jayne pretends that Gary has had a JOURNEY since the beginning when he was too embarrassed to dance to music. Who the hell does she think she's kidding? We all saw the look on his face during the opening routine, lady. Gary reminds us all that he is NOT A DANCER, and then we're into his arrival onto the ice.

He does a kind of jump spin that looks sort of like a trip, but I assume it was on purpose. He's dancing to 'You And Me Song' in a pink vest and still looking horribly uncomfortable, although you'd think that being asked to basically hug himself for choreography would be something he'd quite enjoy. Still, he is reasonably fast OVER THE ICE, because he has an uptempo song, which I'm sure will impress Nicky. There are lots of lifts and jumps which are all very strong. Gubba lies that Gary has "really loosened up" and mentions that Gary was a young footballer, because he is dead macho and that. Scores: Karen 4.5, Nicky 5.5 (I am WARNING YOU, Slater), Jason 4.5, Emma 5.0, Robin 5.0 for a total of 24.5, his personal best. Oh well, there go my hopes of getting rid of him this week. Gary is relieved not to have tripped or dropped Maria or knocked over a cameraman. He doesn't know why he decided to put a jump in. Chris thinks he did really well, and continues this fallacious journey that Gary is supposed to have had where he doesn't look uncomfortable on the ice any more. I call shenanigans. Emma says that his solo was strong and he's a strong partner, but he does still look self-conscious sometimes. Karen can't fault his skating ability, but he's on his toes a little bit and some of his lines were a little off. Jason says that Gary is like skating valium to him - he's still waiting for a performance, but there's no dynamism or thrill in his presentation. The audience boos, but Jason is not wrong. Jason finishes by saying there was more energy and vitality in his VT than there was on the ice there. [And there's a little pause there where the audience aren't sure whether to boo or not. HA. Idiots. - Carrie] Phil tells us to vote for Gary if we want to see "Lucy in the sky with sequins" next week. DO NOT WANT.

Competition. More ads.

Who's next? Danniella. In her VT, she says she felt convinced she was in for her third skate-off, so she was determined to go out and do it as best she could - and as a result, she ended up on top of the leaderboard. "It's the first time anyone else has been top of the leaderboard all series," she says, happily. However, she's less happy about skating solo, and tells Matt she only likes skating with him. Aww. She says it's going to be very odd without him being there, and skating out solo will be really scary. Matt promises he will be cheering on from backstage, and Danniella says she hopes to put her nerves to one side.

She has a very slight wobble before she exits the tunnel and is slower ONTO THE ICE than her predecessors, but otherwise Danniella makes it out. She's skating to 'When Love Takes Over', and her solo spot is a little slow, but it's quite measured and precise, which is admirable. She does look very grateful when Matthew arrives, though. The song kicks up its tempo a bit and they do a bit of dancing on the spot, including a jump, and then head out around the ice for a bit of showmanship, including some very fancy lifts. I have to say, Danniella's really improved her dismounts over the past couple of weeks. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.0, Jason 4.5, Emma 5.0, Robin 4.5 for a total of 23.0. Seriously, I am beginning to think that all you need to do to impress Nicky is fire yourself out of a cannon and shoot across the ice at Mach 2. Danniella says that she's very proud of herself for making it through, because she's not a natural skater. Chris says he didn't see the nerves, and he thinks she's given consistently fantastic performances across the series. Nicky says that her presentation was super, and she had energy in the dance movement, but it's static, and her skating skills are tentative compared to some of the others. This next bit's amazing: Karen turns to Nicky and says in a voice dripping with disdain: "Did you give that a 4.0? I can't believe it." I start doodling "Mr Karen Barber" all over my notebook. Nicky tries to explain himself by pointing out that he gave Hayley a 5.0, and Karen is so not even interested in his reasoning. HEE! She tells Danniella that the skating skills are there, and that the solo section was very good, and they must be watching something very different. Bunto chips in, saying that Danniella's performances give her tingles - her spiral was a bit unsteady, but her performances are great. I guess we'll be seeing Danniella in the skate-off again tonight, then?

More ads.

When we're back, Phil promises that they'll have everyone flying next week, "unlike British Airways". Chortle. Kieron recalls last week, where he gave a great routine but had the double blow of being in the skate-off and seeing Danny go. Kieron's amazed that he got this far, and said that even his mum didn't think he would. Heh. One of their moves from this week is a one-handed death spiral, which is incredibly lame to watch despite its supremely ominous name. Chris cautions that there is a lot of room for error here (I think "potential for error" is really the phrase he was looking for) and that any mistake could jeopardise Kieron's chances. Kieron skates out solo with some lovely arm movements and hair that looks like he was having sex in a park before arriving to do the show.

He's skating to 'Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)' by Green Day. His solo spot is rather nice, with some floor gymnastics and lots of dramatic arm-waving, and then Brianne arrives and they proceed to the lifts, some of which are more successful than others - there's definitely one where she's rather wobbly on his shoulders because they seem to have their weight distribution not quite right. It's definitely testament to how far he's come, mind. The misleadingly-titled death spiral goes without a hitch. Gubba says something about him originally looking "more malnourished than olive oil", or possibly Olive Oyl, which would make a bit more sense. Scores: Karen 5.0, Nicky 4.5, Jason 4.0, Emma 5.0, Robin 4.5 for a total of 23.0. Kieron says that the others were a tough act to follow, and he's amazed just to get 23.0. Phil points out that Kieron keeps writing himself off, and Kieron says that he never ever thought he'd get this far. He thanks Brianne for letting him do the death spiral, and says that he quite liked skating on his own, before adding, "sorry, Brianne". Bless. Chris says that he's impressed with how much Kieron's developed, and trots the dark horse out again. Jason thought the performance of the solo spot was rather ugly, because he was doubled over. He thinks Kieron skates well, but his arm movements and presentation let him down. He also didn't think Kieron was counterbalancing the death spiral properly. Karen says that they've watched him grow in strength and in confidence, and he did a lot of hard movements with speed, which made it one of his best performances.

Final leaderboard: Hayley back in first, Gary and Maria second, and Danniella and Matthew and Kieron and Brianne tying for third. The lines open and we're treated to a video recap of the night's performances, wherein Hayley was graceful but SLOW OVER THE ICE, Gary titted around in a pink vest hugging himself and looking embarrassed, Danniella flew through the air a lot and Kieron and Brianne did a death spiral, without any death.

And there we have it. It's time for everyone to get voting - hopefully not for Gary - before we discover who's in the skate off. The audience chants for Kieron, and then we're outta there.

The Skate-Off

We're back, and Phil teases a performance from Alexandra BURKE still to come this evening, and reminds us that one of our hopefuls will not continue to next week's grand final. There is, apparently, still time to vote for our favourites, so much so that we're given a reminder of the numbers. Some small print at the bottom of the screen explains that the lines will not close in a matter of nanoseconds, but rather after Alexandra BURKE's performance.

Time for a recap of earlier: Hayley was serene and had "everything right tonight" per Robin, but was not a skater ON ICE to Nicky. Hayley was really pleased to have good feedback from Jason, because she needed to impress him after last week. Gary gave it his all, according to Bunto, and started to excite her. The same could not be said for Jason, however. Gary openly says that he will not listen to Jason. Danniella's skating skills were too tentative for Nicky's taste, and Karen wished it was still props week so she could whack a cane across his head. Danniella just hopes the public will vote for her. Kieron had a lot of material in his programme, and gave his best performance yet according to Karen, which he thinks is the icing on the cake for him.

Phil reminds us that the lines are still open, and then Alexandra BURKE is here with her new single, 'All Night Long'. I think she's singing live, but in all fairness, I don't know what the studio version of this song sounds like, so I have nothing to compare it to. Stuart and Alexandra (I think?) [edit: huge thanks to loyal reader Michelle for pointing out that Alexandra was actually skating with her husband and skating partner, Lukasz Rozycki, something I would not have worked out for myself in a million years - Steve] come out and do some fairly terrifying lifts to accompany the song, which is pleasant enough but desperately in need of a decent chorus. It's no 'Broken Heels', let's put it that way. On the other hand, it's also no 'Everybody In Love', so she's doing something right, at least. And then Lovely Matt (hooray!) and Frankie appear and skate for us, and Lovely Matt is in a mesh top, not that that should matter, but it's my job to point these things out. Aw, the song is still going, and it's still a bit substandard. Poor Alexandra BURKE - she is actually quite an ace popstar and deserves stronger material than this, which I don't think is going to shift many units. Although her appearance has reminded me that I haven't bought her album yet, so maybe I should go and do that. The song finishes, the pro skaters clap for Alexandra, and she giggles. Bless.

Phil tells us that the lines are closed, and teases the never-fascinating Dancing On Ice Friday, which this week will feature the contestants getting ready for the final. As you might expect. Holly's with the judges next, and says that Danniella has gone from top of the leaderboard to joint bottom, and therefore does this mean it's anybody's game? Robin says there's pressure on all four of them, but the nerves showed for him tonight.

Now Phil has got the results. *touches ear* But we're not going to hear any of the answers until after the break. Who saw that coming? Oh, right: everybody.

More ads.

Right, where were we? The first couple through to the final is Hayley and Daniel, and the other couple definitely joining them is Kieron and Brianne. That leaves Gary and Maria facing off against Danniella and Matthew in the dance-off! I mean, Danniella's obviously going home, but Gary's presence in the skate-off is heartening, at the very least.

Gary skates back out, and his jump is a little more of a hop this time. He's obviously trying to give it his all for the skate-off, but his arm movements are still rather limp and lacking purpose. Is it wrong of me that I'm actively willing him to fall over just so Danniella gets an automatic bye? It is? Yeah, I thought so. Still, they lose their balance in their end pose and topple over, so maybe that'll count? A boy can dream, anyway. [They should have just got up and pointed at the camera, a la Chris The Pie Man. - Carrie] Oh, and there's a shot of Gary Lucy's DAUGHTER crying in the audience. Stay classy, ITV.

Danniella skates back out, still a little tentative, but more confident-looking than she was the first time. She's still rather slow this time around, but her solo spiral is a little stronger. It looks as though one of her lifts with Matthew goes very slightly wrong, but they cover it reasonably well, and they're giving it their all. I hope against all hope that the judges decide to save her, because I'd much rather see her in the final than Gary. She says that she thinks she nearly took Matt's leg off earlier, but for someone who couldn't tie her boots a few months ago, she's doing quite well. (Do you actually tie skate boots?)

Karen saves Gary. Nicky says that Robin as head of the judges has called that the fall at the end of Gary's routine doesn't count because it was after the routine has ended. BOO, say I. Anyway, he saves Gary, "by the skin of your teeth". Jason says it's about performance for him, and he wants an exciting final, so he votes for Danniella. Emma votes to save Danniella, for the same reasons. So it's down to Robin to decide. He votes for quality, content, skating style and movement, and saves Gary. DAMN YOU, COUSINS. For one blissful second there, I thought we were rid of him.

We see Danniella's best bits, including her mass of impressive performances, but sadly no reprise of her amazing Dusty Springfield number. Phil says that he's really going to miss her, and Danniella says that everyone left is a fantastic skater, and she's thrilled to have come that far. She thanks Karen for her help and patience, and she thanks Chris and Jayne, saying that she joined the show just so she could skate with them. Matt says she's been an incredible partner. Danniella thanks the voters, and her kids and her husband, and promises to do the school run again tomorrow.

Ooh, and this bit is interesting: there's a quick shot of the other celebs and pro skaters, all of whom are clapping for Danniella, apart from Gary, who rubs his arm before tucking his hands behind his back. Tosser.

So that's it! Carrie will be here for the grand final next week, which will give us flying, bolero, and a winner. I'm trying not to focus too much on the fact that Dancing On Ice precedent thus far has always given a winner from whichever gender had the higher proportion of the 2:1 split - which doesn't bode well for Hayley. Until next week!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Loose props

PROPS WEEK AT LAST, HELL YEAH!
Tx 14th March 2010

Last week! Hayley and Dan were awesome on Movie Week, Kieron and Brianne did a Pink Panther striptease of sorts, and Danny resorted to taking his top off. Meanwhile, Gary was dull as anything yet Mikey left the competition. This week is PROPS WEEK, FINALLY. And we can barely contain our excitement. Apologies for any typos, by the way - I've torn the ligaments in my right hand and cannot actually type with it, so it's a long, slow process. A bit like this series, really. Badoom-TISH!

Titles!

Oh dear GOD the I HEART YOU DADDY banner is out in force already, and we've not had any skating yet. Gary Lucy, you are an egregious vote-mongering gimp. Phil and Holly welcome us, and then ask us to welcome Jayne, Chris and two cowboy hats. No, seriously, that's actually what Holly says. [And they say television is dumbing down! - Steve] And the studio audience are so stupid they do so. Then something really weird happens with the sound - the applause fades down but you can still hear it in the background, even though nobody's clapping. Anyway, Jayne and Chris are doing a Western-tinged routine to A Little Less Conversation. Jayne is not happy with the hat tricks, I would guess, and Chris fancies himself as a cowboy.

Phil tells them they are show-offs, and then introduces the customary VT explaining what a prop is. This year's roster consists of a chair, a mic stand, an umbrella, a cane and a hat. I miss the wheeled suitcase and the table. Jayne and Chris confess that they don't really like skating with props either. Apparently all the couples have been struggling this week. Probably not as much as Gareth Gates, though, who had the hardest time in the history of ice-dance with his props, as I'm sure you'll remember.

So here are our skating stars - Gary Lucy, who IS A FATHER, and Maria; Danniella and Matthew; Kieron and Brianne; Hayley and Dan; and Danny and Frankie.

And obviously then it's time for a break.

When we come back, we meet the Ice Panel - Robin is already writing notes for some reason, and Emma is dancing around in her seat, the weirdo. Holly says to Robin, "This is one of my FAVOURITE weeks," and he just interjects, "Yep," in a really flat, sarcastic way, which is bizarrely brilliant. He says that the couples need to interact with their prop, and the skating takes a bit of a backseat. He also sounds out a warning to Hayley - last week doesn't matter any more and all five couples have to prove themselves.

Phil mocks Jason's peculiar sartorial taste again and then finally gets round to introducing Gary. 18 minutes in, and we get our first contestant, with Schofe warning Jason, "He's got a big stick." This is a family show, Schofield! Less of the filth. Last week, Gary didn't actually manage to do the required element, so he hopes to do better with the cane, which he seems to think is a baton. Maria informs us that canes do not listen, which I also tend to find is a recurring problem with inanimate objects. And once again Gary's inability to move with any kind of grace and coordination is creating difficulty in rehearsal. To his credit, though, he has decided to put in the spin (that he failed to do last week) just to show that he can do it. Well, better later than never, eh, Gary?

They're skating to Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, and have two silver glittery canes. They begin with some shoulder-shrugs and Gary couldn't look more embarrassed if he tried, which he wouldn't, because trying is anathema to him. There's a weird bit where Maria does some disco-dancing by herself while Gary does semaphore at her. Well, at least it wasn't as dull as it has been previously. Damning with faint praise, perhaps. Scores - 4.5s from everyone except Jason, who gives 4.0, for a total of 22.0. Gary tells Phil that the canes are his foes, and it is really difficult to get them to move in a line, and everything was better in rehearsal WHINE WHINE WHINE DID I TELL YOU I HAVE A DAUGHTER? Chris is pleased Gary put the spin in, just for his self-confidence. Robin says there were some major timing issues in rehearsal, and Gary did well to save himself from a couple of trips. Jason says Gary has upped his game, but there were some synchro issues, though he applauds him for adding the spin. Nicky says it lacked commitment and that it was "Ian Dury and the Blockheads meets Fred Astaire". What? [I swear I'm only understanding about one word in every twenty Nicky says this year. - Steve] Then he and Jason start bickering again so Holly has to break them up AGAIN.

Phil and Holly introduce the next bit with a little skit about Mothers' Day - he wishes his mum a happy day thus saving on the expense of a card. Holly looks genuinely outraged. Next up to skate are Danniella and Matthew, who had to skate off last week against Mikey and Mel, and were surprised to survive. This week, they have to dance with a chair ON WHEELS ON ICE. Their choreography this week seems to be living out some of Christopher Dean's perverse fantasies - he clearly knows the characters he wants them to play before he's even spoken to them. "Hmm, She's Got The Look - what do you think she might be?" he asks Danniella. Before she responds, he suggests, "What about a secretary, that's very prim and proper to begin with?" He then explains how he wants her to let her hair down (literally). Meanwhile back on planet earth, Danniella and Matthew are struggling with the chair. She throws it all over the place, and there are clunks as it crashes into the hoardings and wheels ping off.

First off, can we please just establish how amazing Danniella's breasts are looking tonight? Even better than Holly's, I think. And this routine is utter and absolute FILTH. [Indeed. I loved it. - Steve] She's fantasing about her boss, or something, and smouldering at Matt and the camera over the top of her glasses. And she does an admirable job of letting her hair down as she flies across the ice in that damned chair. The routine finishes a little behind the music as they get the float spin nailed, and then Tony Gubba clearly needs a cold shower as he recaps the routine for us. Scores - straight 5.5s for a total of 27.5.

Danniella has been panicking about the chair all week. Matthew reveals that the chair is called Scarlett. Jayne says that doing things with a chair is different from doing things without a chair. Chris jokes (?) that Danniella is well suited to work with a chair because she likes sitting down. Emma enthuses about Danniella's lines; Robin says that even sitting down, Danniella's feet look lovely and she's taking care of detail. Karen enjoyed watching the character develop over the week. Schofe presents Danniella with a bill for all the chairs she broke in practice. She bites her lip cutely.

Last week, Kieron and Brianne were adorable, pink and camp. This week, Chris and Jayne play them 'The Great Pretender', and Kieron asks, "Why do I know that voice?" Chris looks bemused and replies, "Because it's Freddie Mercury?" And Kieron and Brianne learn that their prop is a mic stand on a rounded stand. Part of Kieron's routine is to sing the words along with the song, which is the cue for a funny montage of him singing it in a variety of situations over the course of the week.

Sure enough, Kieron's doing a Stars In Their Eyes version of Freddie Mercury ON ICE, and this is actually a very appealing routine. The skating looks really good too, and though Brianne's pulling some odd faces, maybe she too is in character of some description. They use half the mic stand as a cane as well as keeping it in situ, which shows a bit of creativity. Scores - 4.5s from everyone but Emma, who gives 5.0, for a total of 23.0. Kieron is very happy, even though he still cannot sing. Chris is pleased that Kieron sold it, and Jayne has commented on how strong his skating is now. Nicky loved the commitment to the character, but thinks Gary had a harder task. Well, that's not Kieron's fault, is it? [And still not nearly as hard as Gareth Gates' props from series three, I'm sure. - Steve] He then tells him off for chucking Brianne back onto THE ICE rather than placing her gently. Jason says Kieron's turned it up a notch, and though he'd like to have seen more done with the mic stand, he knows that's not Kieron's fault. That's very reasonable of Jason, isn't it? Seriously, Nicky, when you're sounding more mental and illogical than Jason, you know you need help.

Next up, Hayley and Dan, who are going to have their work cut out to follow last week's full house. Dan was pleased that they got a standing ovation from the judges. Jayne thinks it will be a stand-out performance from all the series. They are then rather scarily enthusiastic about the umbrella they've been given to work with to the tune of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Hayley is not good at throwing, and then they do a quick Chuckle Brothers skit - "To me! To you!"

And see, this is lovely and lyrical and romantic, but it's a bit...diabetes-inducingly sweet. This is the kind of routine Hayley and Dan should never do because there is just too much showbiz gloss and insincerity. Oh, look, some beaming at the camera in tandem. Yuck. There are some nice lifts, some lovely lines, but just...there's nothing wow about it, particularly after last week's Bollywood extravaganza. Scores - 5.5s from the skating judges, 5.0s from the performance judges, for 26.5. Hayley lies that she's happy with that. She says that this week hasn't been about skating, it's been about "Dolly the brolly". Dan explains what a challenge this week has been, and Chris thinks they did very well with a charming piece. Karen says they are a pleasure to watch; Emma admires their control with the prop, but she didn't have any feeling as there was no energy or any spectacular. Robin says it was a different style of skating - not spectacular - and it was a bit "nice" for him, but they did what they were asked.

Next up, Danny and Frankie. Jayne smiles nostalgically with the reminiscence about Danny's toplessness last week. This week, he has a hat and a McFly track. The hat, he and Frankie correctly note, is orange. Danny is not good at catching it. Frankie is unimpressed and has her evil pixie face on. [Isn't that just...Frankie's face? - Steve] There's a bit where the hat is balanced on Frankie's toepick and it keeps slipping off "50 or 60 per cent of the time". That bodes well.

Danny has at least Five Colours On His Waistcoat, and his "shy" acting is appalling. I'm not overly keen on the editing of All About You, either. They seem to have decided to avoid the potential problem of hat-dropping by wearing it most of the time. Oh - no, there are a few throws, which seem to have improved since rehearsal. Hang on - for all Slater's whining about Gary having the hardest prop, didn't they used to have to have two props for each couple? If they try to tell us this is the Best Series Ever, there will be consequences. Scores - 5.0s from everyone except Emma, who gives 5.5, for a total of 25.5. Danny suddenly starts talking in falsetto because he is so very excited, and then says, "Cheers, thank you," to Frankie, which tickles me. Emma thinks his dancing is getting stronger, and that it is very difficult to dance with a hat. Nicky is pleased that the skating is better and that he stayed in character throughout, but advises him to avoid hesitation before each element. Jason mocks him, then Nicky starts shouting, "FASTER! FASTER!" and suddenly it's all gone a bit strange.

While we have a recap of the five couples' routines, I must mention here that the Dancing on Ice game for the Wii is a work of pure insane genius. Clearly the most important point to note is that I have been able to fulfil my dream of skating with my Andrei, albeit in pixellated form, but I'd also like it put on record that I got a 6.0 from Karen in week 3 of competition earlier. Also, for each week of competition you get through, you UNLOCK A NEW OUTFIT TO SKATE IN. I cannot wait for Steve to come round and partner Frankie the ice pixie. [Mentally, I am already there. - Steve]

The skate-off

You know what happened earlier. You know what's going to happen next.

Titles!

The phone lines have closed, so don't try and vote now, you hear? Meanwhile, here's some backstage gossip. Gary was glad to get the spin in and would like to be in the semi-finals; Danniella can't believe that she's top of the leaderboard; Kieron wants to be in the semi-finals and prove himself; Hayley magnanimously says that Danniella deserves to be at the top of the leaderboard; Danny and Frankie say...something I don't quite get. Something about confidence, maybe?

Jason says that Danniella's performance was "...so...DIRTY" and had "hairography" and that is why he liked it. Robin refers to "Danniella THE MINX Westbrook" but singles out Kieron and Brianne for best use of prop.

Trailer for DoI Friday like anyone in the actual world ACTUALLY CARES, particularly if they're bragging about Ray Quinn and Chris Fountain as studio guests.

Phil touches his ear. You know what that means? Oh yes, here we go - the couples skating next week are - Danniella and Matthew; Hayley and Dan (Gary has a HELL of a bitchface on at this point)...advert break...Gary and Maria. Oh FUCK OFF. Seriously. FUCK RIGHT OFF. [Remember the good old days when Gary was in the skate-off? *sighs wistfully* - Steve]

So Danny and Frankie and Kieron and Brianne have to skate again, much to everyone's disgust. Jayne lies that everyone is good now; Chris says he doesn't know what else they can all do, and it'll come down to this performance, right now.

And Kieron is really giving it some, more so even than he did earlier. And his spiral leg seems to be higher than before. He and Brianne beam at each other the whole way through. They're so cute. They're a bit Chris-and-Ola, aren't they? Kieron says that he never thought he'd get through to week 10 and if he goes out, he will go to Benidorm tomorrow. Right. Schofe tells him he won't get a better tan. Heh.

Danny and Frankie reprise their routine, but with two hat drops (one of them coming after the hat refuses to budge from Frankie's toe-pick, irony of ironies), and he has a face like THUNDER. Frankie plasters on a smile and wails that it stuck to her toe-pick. Danny tries to assume a "que sera sera" mindset, but it's like someone's DIED or something with a funereal atmosphere on the kiss-and-cry step.

So the judges give their verdict. Karen isn't crying, clutches her hair, and saves Danny; Nicky says that Freddie wins and saves Kieron; Jason says it comes down to the required element and saves Kieron; Emma is gutted for Danny, and saves Kieron; and Robin, even though it doesn't matter, declares, "BENIDORM WILL WAIT!" and saves Kieron. Hooray!

So Danny and Frankie leave the competition, to a montage sountracked by Macho Man. He does a chirpy Cockney list of thank-yous, omitting Frankie, until she presumably kicks him with her blade to remind him.

And that's it! Join Steve next week for the semi-finals! [Without props. Woe. - Steve]

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Zoned out

Movies Week: 7th March 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audience tickets competition. More adverts.

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

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

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

The Skate-Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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