Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sam as it ever was

2011 Final: 27th March 2011

We begin with black-and-white toned reminiscences of all the people who have appeared in the show this year. As always when reality shows do this, it's a bit unnerving; they're not dead, after all, they've just been eliminated from a fairly silly reality show about figure-skating. At least this show mixes things up a bit by including contestants who are still active in the competition at this stage. And it was quite helpful to have a prompt that people like Craig McLachlan and Elen Rives were ever actually on this series. Or WERE THEY? I forget where the official cut-off point actually was, considering we were in limbo for two weeks. Anyway, we start the show as we mean to go on: lying, as the voiceover man claims that there were 16 celebrities this year. I mean, if we count FRANKIE!, Dan, and Lovely Matt as about eight celebrities between them, the numbers might work. Barely. Anyway, people skated, people fell, there were pointless twists, there was pointless Bunton, and now there are just three couples remaining, and the judges insist that anyone can win. Only two can skate Bolero, and only one can be champion. Coincidentally, Sam is the next person to get a talking head after this comment. Conspiracy theorists, make what you will of that.

Titles, for the final time. The rink is covered in ribbons, and then rock music starts playing, with violins and whatnot courtesy of David Garrett (who is apparently famous, but then this is the same show that tried to convince me that Laura Hamilton was famous, so *shrugs*), as all the pros and a few more besides skate out of a circle to reveal Jayne and Chris, who then perform a Bolero. Because you may not realise this, but they did Bolero? At the Olympics? And got a medal or something? The details are a bit sketchy in my mind. If only the show would remind us occasionally, I might recall it more easily. It is actually pretty awesome seeing all the pros echoing them in their movements, and just seeing how fantastically flexible Jayne still is. I mean, I can't do a backbend like that now, ON ICE or otherwise. It ends with the classic lying-down-on-the-floor movement, echoed by the pros and the random extras.

Finally, we have Phil and Holly. Holly's looking lovely in red tonight, and is approximately twenty billion months pregnant by now. Phil claims that Jayne and Chris "defined the Bolero" (I think Ravel might have something to say about that) and tells us that we can download that special version of Bolero for free on the website. I'll pass, thanks. Holly explains the programme for tonight - each couple will reprise a favourite routine, and perform a routine they've choreographed themselves, and of course two will get to Bolero. [The verb 'to Bolero'. They will conjugate it. - Carrie]

Time for the skating stars: Sam and Brianne are up first, followed by Laura and Colin, and finally Chloe and Michael. Chloe is in pink. I fear for her chances. I think Chloe winks at the camera. This really is getting to be an infectious habit. Phil tells us that the competition to decide who'll be champion will begin...after the break, naturally.

When we return, it's time for the stars to perform their showcase routines. Holly asks Jayne and Chris how much pressure this adds. Jayne says that this is the first time it's been done on the show, and the celebs have had to come up with their own concept, lighting, props etc for their routine. I hope Sam's designed himself an all-hat dance. Phil warns us that there will be three headbangers in this performance. This presumably does not include the number of times I will be bashing my head on the coffee table in frustration at the idiocy of the show.

Sam's up first, and thinks it's "incredible" that he's in the final, and not at all something that has been predetermined for about six years. They've got 'Footloose' for their music, and Chris says that they'll need to bring out a sense of fun with this music. We see Sam doing his lighting design ("spotlight, spotlight, spotlight" - no seriously, this is fascinating stuff), costume design and choreography, assisted by Jayne and Chris on the last one. Sam has a lift where he has to lift two pros at once - and he tumbles in rehearsals, as was well-documented during the week. Sam struggles with his rib injury even in the dress rehearsal, but vows not to let it get the better of him. Cue more shots of him getting physiotherapy from unflattering angles. Poor Sam.

He begins with the track blasting out from his headphones, before putting his retro walkman in his locker and pounding out the bassline on it, which is copied by the five pros sitting at desks in the corner: Brianne, of course, as well as Dan, Lovely Matt (hooray!), FRANKIE! and Nina. Was the pro allocation entirely random? Because Sam appears to have conveniently landed himself the pick of the bunch. There's some general '80s crazy-dancing, and then Sam and Lovely Matt swing Brianne between them in an aeroplane lift. Then there are some float spins, where the girls are passed from guy to guy (perhaps another move that they all rehearse in their sex lives?). Then there's the infamous two-pro lift, where Sam carts Brianne on his shoulders while also lifting Nina, and it is is entirely underwhelming - it takes place at about 0mph and the camera barely manages to catch it before Nina has to step out of it. Then there are three consecutive headbangers, with Brianne STILL having to pound the ice with her arm to prevent brain-smashing death. Scores: Jason 9.5, Robin 10.0, Emma 10.0 for a total of 29.5. Brianne goes insane. Phil celebrates the arrival of the first ever tens on this show. Sam is asked about the condition of his ribs, and assures us that they're fine now he's seen the scores. Brianne calls him a trouper. Phil asks Sam if he told the other skaters about those headbangers. I imagine he would have to have done that at some point, Phil, yes.

Robin says they've been waiting week after week for the charismatic Sam to show up, and he showed up in abundance tonight. He thought that Sam was very much the leader of a great ensemble, and he saved the best for last. Bunto loved that Sam showcased himself as a performer, and was more fun and expressive than ever. Dr Bunton MD goes on to suggest that the pain from his ribs was pushing him through tonight. Jason thought it was a "feisty" opening and loved the choreography and the way Sam worked with the pro skaters. The reason he didn't get a full 10.0 was because the counterlever lift didn't move around fast enough, but he thinks it was a wonderful opening.

Laura and Colin are next. Colin is shirtless. Oh my. Chris recalls how Laura lit up the ice in her solo last week. Laura's excited about her showcase, and has chosen 'Express Yourself' by Madonna (or 'Born This Way' by Lady Gaga, as it's now known) and is using the video for her inspiration. We see Laura doing her backstage planning, which is every bit as fascinating as when we saw Sam doing it. Laura says that this is a massive responsibility, and there's a lot on her shoulder. She's worried about having to do a backflip over Sylvain (SYLVAIN!!) because she's not used to skating with him, and he's taller than Colin.

The opening of the routine is porntastic, with shirtless men pounding pistons and steam coming out and stuff. I need a cigarette. I think Laura should win automatically for giving us shirtless Sylvain, quite frankly. She's skating with Sylvain, Maria, Isabelle and Mark, as well as Colin. Her routine involves a lot more of all the skaters working together as a team, which I like, but it's not as spectacular as Sam's. Laura manages her backflip over Sylvain, but it's a bit unsteady. From there, there are more lifts and floats, although to be perfectly frank, this all takes a backseat to the toplessness.

Gubba tells us that the topless skating was all Laura's idea, to give the ladies (and the gays) a treat. Thanks, Laura! You've got my vote. [Mine too! I suddenly like Laura much more. - Carrie] Scores: Jason 8.5, Robin 8.5, Emma 9.0 for a total of 26.0. Laura says she really enjoyed the routine, and thanks all the other pros for their hard week. She thinks the backflip went well. Colin hopes they'll be skating the Bolero, but they had a lot of fun either way. Chris says that it's all down the public to decide who goes through, and who knows what will happen?

Holly asks Bunto the Human Hormone if she could concentrate at all throughout the performance. The answer is, of course, no. She thinks it was missing the sexy Madonna feel, which is why she couldn't give it a ten, but she loved the backflip. Jason felt that it wasn't as engaging as he hoped for, and feels that while the shirtless men were very nice, they didn't wholly detract from how laboured it felt. Robin agrees - there was too much concentrating on getting to the right place at the right time, and as a result it lacked spontaneity.

Phil reminds us that the judges' scores are "only for guidance" tonight, and if anyone out there is genuinely guided by Bunton's opinion, I worry deeply about them.

Time for an ad break. Confused.com really need a commercial that makes them look like an insurance comparison engine and not a dating agency for people who haven't pinned down their sexuality one way or the other yet.

When we return, Phil and Holly reminisce about the joys of this series (such as they were) and tease Jason more about his hat and his well-publicised hair transplant before we go to Chloe and her showcase. Chloe's opinion on last week is as follows: "GUH." I think that says it all. She says that being in the skate-off was terrifying, but at least she made it to the final. She's very excited about her final showcase, and her music is the Glee version of '(I've Had) The Time Of My Life'. We see her picking costumes and planning lighting (YAWN) and then we get to see her skating team, who are all people I have NEVER SEEN BEFORE. Okay, fine, we have, but compared to Sam's team, Chloe's line-up is basically all people who started this series and lasted about two weeks. She's got Sean, Lukasz, Alexandra and Jodeyne (I could've sworn Jodeyne was a brunette, until my boyfriend pointed out that I was confusing her with Isabelle - such an impact this lot have left on me). Chloe says that it's all very challenging as she's got some great skaters on the ice with her, and she panics a bit at learning all the moves. She doesn't want to be the one holding everyone back, though apparently she is. She's determined not to show herself up after last week.

As is to be expected with this music, it begins with a lot of poncing around on the kiss-and-cry, to the point where I distinctly remember feeling compelled to point out on Twitter that the show is not in fact called Dancing Near Ice. They go for the iconic Dirty Dancing lift, and it's not terribly successful because Chloe's legs are all wrong, and it's all a bit embarrassing. There's a point where there are three drape lifts all happening together, and it's a bit unfortunate because if you look at Jodeyne and Alexandra, you can clearly see Chloe's legs are not in the right position at all. It's a lot of Chloe being born aloft by the guys while the other two ladies skate behind her being all "shit, we'd better do something interesting, then", and a bunch of impressively gymnastic lifts, but despite the deployment of the emergency fireworks, it's probably the least impressive of the three showcases. Not nearly as polished as Sam's, not nearly as shirtless as Laura's. Scores: Jason 8.5, Robin 8.0, Emma 9.0 for a total of 25.5. Chloe tells Phil that she never expected to get this far, and she just wants to enjoy tonight as a big party. Works for me, although Phil points out there's a trophy at the end of the party that Sam and Laura have both set their caps at, so Chloe might want to, y'know, buck her ideas up a bit. Michael is asked for his opinion, and says he feels very fortunate to be in the final in his first year, and skate with Chloe. Jayne says that Chloe came to them with distinct ideas of basing the routine around the movie (no shit) and she thinks that really came off.

Jason says that it was an okay recreation of Dirty Dancing and she coped well, but when you're putting in iconic moves, you need to get them right, and Chloe...did not so much. He thinks that maybe she had too much fun, and that's why she was getting sloppy. Richard heckles from the audience. Robin says that Baby might not have been in the corner, but she wasn't where she needed to be for two of the big skating tricks tonight. He liked the neck spin, and thinks she looked like she was enjoying it, but she also looked like it wasn't quite all in order. Bunto thinks Chloe lights up the ice, and while there may have been some finesse missing, Dirty Dancing is a FEMALE RITE OF PASSAGE or some half-baked shit like that. Go home, Bunton.

Leaderboard: Sam, then Laura, then Chloe. Not exactly a massive shock. The lines are opened, and we get a quick reminder of everything that we've seen so far. Including Laura's Big Gay Shirtless Orgy. Sigh. The audience aren't quite ready for the end of the VT and don't start clapping until it's a bit too late. Oops.

After some more ads, it's almost time for the finalists to reprise their favourite routine of the series, but not before Phil's had a quick chat with BIGGINS, who will be a judge on the tour. Biggins says that he loved doing the tour last year, and has got some lovely hats to wear this year, but he doesn't know yet what's going to be going on under that hat. He thinks Chloe was undermarked tonight. And then Biggins is gone. Bye, Biggins!

The first skater to reprise a routine is Sam, who'll be doing his Riverdance for us again. He says that his legs went to jelly when he skated for the first time (presumably he does not mean as a child, when he used to go skating to impress the...girls) and he entered the competition to challenge himself, and not at all to try to claw back some semblance of fame after being axed from EastEnders. He speaks highly of Brianne, and says that they've had an amazing time together. ESPECIALLY ALL THE SEX. His favourite routine was Riverdance, because initially he thought it was a ridiculous idea (dear Sam: it was) but then he got wicked awesome scores for it. His VT also briefly revisits Hatgate, and he says that he tries not to take the judges' criticisms too personally. He's found it all to be a life-changing experience.

Out they come, and the routine is every bit as bizarre as it was the first time, though I guess I can't deny how impressive it is from a technical perspective. Beyond that, there's not a lot to say about it that hasn't already been said about it the first time around. It's possibly a bit cleaner and sharper this time, although there wasn't really much that needed to be done on that front in the first place. Gubba wonders if we are looking at perfection, and calls it Sam's "signature performance, like Hayley's 'Jai Ho'." Scores: Jason 9.5, Robin 9.5, Emma 9.5 for a total of 28.5. Phil asks Sam why he picked this routine, and Sam says that the idea of Riverdance on ice seemed "barbaric" to him at first, but he ended up loving everything about it. Brianne loves it too, and doesn't want the whole experience to end. Chris thinks Sam is on fire tonight, and thinks that Sam's rib incident has toned him down and make him more focused.

Robin says it was a much stronger performance than last time, and there's a comfort factor to seeing it now, but there were a few stutters at the beginning that stopped it from being perfect. Jason agrees, and says it was astounding first time around, and tonight Sam upped his marks, but they have to deduct for the stutters. Bunto's like "there were stutters? OH YES, THERE WERE STUTTERS. And charisma and performance and stuff."

Laura and Colin are next, and Laura appears to be rubbing her lucky penny. She reminds us that she almost didn't make it into the competition in the first place, so she's amazed to have got this far, and has been buzzing throughout the whole experience ever since. She says that the show and Colin have been her life. We revisit their many, many dress rehearsal snafus and how that drives Chris and Jayne nuts, but they always get it right on the night. Laura's favourite routine was the 'I'm So Excited' routine, because it was fast and full of tricks and got them 9.5s across the board. Her lowest point of the competition was when she gored her leg, and she laughs about the scar she now has as a permanent reminder. She thinks the show has proven to her that she can achieve incredible things if she pushes herself.

The opening is perhaps a tad sloppy, but Laura's energy in this routine is ridiculous - she's practically throwing herself into every move. She pulls off the flip over Colin without incident, and there appears to be a new lift thrown in, which rather frighteningly involves her dress completely covering Colin's face as he lifts her. It's a good choice of routine to reprise because it sums up Laura really well: fast, excitable, and generally loud. They finish with a helicopter lift where Colin lets go of her for a split second - it's not that exciting to watch, but I guess letting go for any longer than that would be seriously dangerous. Gubba thinks it looks faster and cleaner than when we first saw it, and informs me that the scary lift is apparently a "front Detroiter", although you never really know with Gubba. Scores: 10.0s all round for a perfect 30.0. Well, someone had to do it this series, didn't they? Laura jumps for joy and Colin grabs her into a hug. She says that she's speechless, and that Colin span her so fast her eyes started to water. Colin giggles that she was holding herself up very strong, and he was able to let go very quickly. Laura reminds us that she needs our votes to win. Jayne says she knew Colin was going to let go because she could see him getting faster and faster, and finishes "brave girl". Insert obligatory "don't talk about Colin like that" joke here. Chris thinks Laura is a consummate performer who gives 110%. Make sure you've checked off your Ice Bingo card.

Jason: "Laura, I have to say my darling, I take my hat off to you." And he does, and reveals his new head of hair, completely stealing her moment. Sneaky! I feel the hair itself deserves comment, but: it basically looks exactly like you'd expect a hair transplant to look. He says that she's just proven why she's in the competition, and that it was even better than it was three weeks ago. Robin does not have any new hair to debut, and mangles his words: "Everything I didn't like very much about the first routine, you brought it in buckets in this, young lady." I mean, I know what he was getting at, but...yeah. He thinks she engaged with the audience, and performed alongside Colin at his level.

Phil, tapping his head: "So that's what 20 grand looks like." Hee hee hee. Time for Chloe and Michael. Michael's got his tits out as well! I guess we know what's coming. Chloe says that having got this far is the most incredible feeling ever, and nothing can compare to it. She thinks it's overwhelming how the whole experience makes her feel. Her favourite routine was 'Kiss Kiss' because she got to pretend to be a belly dancer, and Michael was topless. Oh Chloe. Laura's pretty much blown you out of the water on that front tonight, and none of her shirtless hotties had pigeon chests. (No offence, Michael.) Her hardest week was semi-final week because she fell over - she wishes she could go back and do it over. Which, in a way, she did in the skate-off. She laughs at how many injuries she's given Michael over the course of the competition, and says that the competition has been the most exciting, terrifying and nerve-wracking experience of her life, and thinks it's the best thing she's ever done and will ever do. Yep, she even rates it ahead of Celebrity Quitters on Channel 5.

Her hair ends up all over her face at the beginning of the routine and remains there for a good thirty seconds or so, which is quite distracting. There are some nifty slides in the routine that I don't remember from the first time around, though some of the arm movements aren't quite as sharp. She does manage to remove her arms in the final lift, though thankfully Michael does not, because that would probably result in severe maiming of Madeley Jr. Scores: Jason 9.5, Robin 9.5, Emma 9.5 for a total of 28.5 - up four whole points from last time. It's Chloe's highest score of the competition, and she's thrilled. She recalls dancing to this song as a kid, and Phil asks her if she's done enough to get to Bolero. Chloe's all "um, sure, why not?" Chris says that Chloe has matured hugely to get to this point, and they're all very proud of her.

Bunto tells Chloe that tonight's performance was tighter and sharper than last time, and she's loved watching Chloe over the competition, and thinks she's developed the most over the competition. Robin thinks it was very tight, and says that the transitions were brilliant tonight. Karen's a bit weepy [SHOCKER! - Carrie], and says that it's been a fantastic final, with three amazing celeb skaters. She says this is the night she's glad she's not a judge. As opposed to Jason being glad she's not a judge, which is every night.

Leaderboard, not that it actually means anything: Sam in first with 58.0, Laura in second with 56.0, and Chloe in last place with 54.0. All very respectable scores, I'm sure you'll agree.

Time for an ad break once again, after which we shall discover who shall be skating BOLERO.

When we return, Phil declares the lines officially closed, and he and Holly reminisce about the general amazingness of the series, AGAIN, which culminates in a VT, of course. Bunto recalls the qualifying rounds where some people were booted early - like Angela Rippon, who returns to the ice with Sean Rice (ooh, that rhymes!) to skate to 'At Last' one final time. I'm still slightly sad that she didn't make it onto this show, I think she would've been quite fun. She deserved to be here more than Kerry fucking Katona, anyway. After her should be Nadia Sawalha, but is actually Craig McLachlan and Maria, who looks embarrassed to be reminded of her epic failure this year as they reprise their 'Sympathy For The Devil' routine. Next are Elen and Lukasz, and Elen is looking lovely tonight, and again I'm slightly disappointed we didn't get any of her temperamental craziness. So, what do we think about Nadia, then: couldn't be arsed to come back, or had a genuine excuse? Although "couldn't be arsed" is an entirely valid excuse where this show's concerned, and not coming back for the final is a grand tradition started by Samantha Mumba, after all. Then the VT moves onto week three, where Bunto patronises Steven Arnold a bit, and he returns with Nina to reprise 'Rhythm Of The Night' and look generally embarrassed throughout. I hope Nina gets someone good next year, assuming she survives the cull. Week four was the ice pick, of course - hands up everyone who forgot that even happened? Bunto lies that it was exciting, and then Dominic and Alexandra are back to perform 'Are You Ready For Love'. I kind of forgot he was ever on this show in the first place.

Next was Vegas week, of course, with the first SHOCK SKATE-OFF, as Jennifer faced off against Vanilla Ice. Karen thinks they had so much more to show. LIKE SYLVAIN'S CHEST, I add. Seriously, Jennifer Metcalfe was so robbed. They should give her a do-over and let her come back next year like Shangela on RuPaul's Drag Race, only without all the stank, and with fractionally better dress sense. Then was theatre week, which saw off Dave and FRANKIE!, much to the relief of Jason. They reprise 'Achy Breaky Heart', and mime a bit of mid-air rumpo in the middle of it, presumably of the kind that Sam and Brianne did when they were practising their lifts at home.

Then we had the Ultimate Skills Test, which of course saw the demise of Kerry Katona. They, unfortunately, are performing their terrifying 'No Business Like Show Business' routine for their encore. Kerry has Kameltona, and looks as unsteady on the ice as she ever did. From there, we went to Strictly Come Dancing week, where Vanilla Ice was eliminated. He is, of course, doing his 'Ice Ice Baby' routine tonight, because everyone on the show wet their pants at the very idea of it. I've quite missed Katie Stainsby, actually. I hope she's back next year. After that, we had Team Challenge week, which also featured Tim Healy having a scrap with Jason, much to Karen's joy. It also lamentably saw the demise of Denise and Lovely Matt. They're skating to 'Slow', appropriately enough, although part of me thinks they should've done 'Let's Get Loud' purely for the lulz. Then there was EVIL HAT WEEK, and naturally Jason took against people who dislike hats, and Sam ended up in the bottom two with Jeff, who ultimately got the boot. Jeff and Isabelle reprise 'Hit The Road Jack'. I am so glad Jeff didn't make the final. And finally, of course, there was semi-finals week, and Karen blubs that Johnson is her own personal champion because of how much he achieved despite all the physical limitations he had. He is also a HERO, but Karen stops short of reminding us of that. He and Jodeyne reprise 'You Are So Beautiful To Me'.

Nadia's absence remains unexplained at the end of the performance. There's a quick plug for the tour via a competition, and then Holly's with the judges for some final words. Robin says that all three have done very well tonight, and have done as much as they can. He refuses to be drawn on who should go through. Jason says that unlike all those other predictable finals, these three have been fighting right through to the end, and he's glad that the judges don't get the casting vote, because they all deserve to skate Bolero. No one cares what Bunto thinks, naturally.

Everyone's in their Bolero outfits (Laura's wearing a particularly unflattering shade of purple lipstick, which is odd because the shade that Chloe's wearing is actually quite nice), and Phil touches his ear, so you know it's srs bsns time. The first couple through to skate Bolero is...Sam and Brianne. The other couple definitely through to skate Bolero is...Laura and Colin. So Chloe and Michael finish in third, which is perhaps the right result, although I would've quite liked to see her giving Bolero a go. (Note to anyone who cares: you can see it on the official website. It's...interesting.) Phil says this is his least favourite bit of the whole series, when someone's all dressed for the routine and then they don't get to do it. Chloe says she's thrilled to have even got this far, and hopes they might be able to do Michael's Bolero on tour, because "it's a treat".

Highlights VT: Chloe screamed a lot in training, and subsequently blossomed INTO A WOMAN. She now lists Christopher Dean as a fan, and says that she'll be heartbroken when the show ends. Which, for her, is now. Judy is very proud of Chloe. Blub blub blub. Jayne and Chris bring Chloe and Michael their flowers, and Chloe says it's all been incredible fun, and she's totally jealous of everyone who's going to get to do it next year. Heh.

After the break? BOLERO.

We're back, and the lines are re-opened, the vote totals having been reset to zero (I'm never entirely sure how I feel about this - I suspect I will decide properly when I know the result).

Sam and Brianne are first to BOLERO. We see clips of Chris and Jayne's famous routine, naturally, and Sam and Brianne have to copy the start and end positions, but can make up the rest themselves. Sam says it's hard trying to find moves that fit with the music, and that the whole thing's like a jigsaw puzzle. As the week goes on, they're still struggling to finalise a routine that they like, and Sam says that being this close to the win, he has to give the performance of his life.

Their Bolero is tense, although Sam looks quite scared. I think he's going for "passionate", but it's not quite working. Brianne spends a lot of it on one leg, and the synchronicity between the two is impressive. There's a tabletop lift in there, and that weird death-dive thing where Brianne basically hovers above the ice on her arse while Sam keeps her suspended by one leg or something. It's a spiral of some kind, I think. Perhaps Carrie knows the technical name. Sam says that he's loved all the competition, but doing the Bolero was his aim. It's also, apparently, his nan and granddad's 40th wedding anniversary. Oh, calm down, Sam: you're clearly winning this thing. Grabbing furiously for any kind of audience hook at this stage is a bit pathetic.

Robin liked that it was about the emotion of the Bolero rather than finding an excuse to do lots of tricks. He thinks that Sam connected in a way that he didn't previously. Bunto thought it was intense, and she couldn't take her eyes off them. Jason thought it gave everything he was looking for in a Bolero, and particularly liked how they allowed the routine time to breathe, so the audience could enjoy it with them.

Adverts. The girl with the perfect smile picks a mate. Literally no one cares. [Oliver Tompsett, formerly star of Wicked, did - his tweets were lolarious, mostly because he seems to know the guy who got picked. And is married. And thus he was outraged that the girl with a perfect smile was all a big big scripted farce, unlike Dancing on Ice itself, obviously. - Carrie]

Time for Laura and Colin to do BOLERO. More clips of Jayne and Chris. Laura says it's very daunting knowing that they have to choreograph it by themselves. Colin admits that he's not a choreographer. This doesn't bode well. They seem to do a lot of skating around the rink and shrugging in rehearsals. This, basically, is where Laura loses the competition, because you just know that whatever she comes up with, it's not going to be enough to beat him. Laura says that she's really worried. Karen asks them what they're building up to. The answer seems to be "nothing". Laura says that having got this far, they have to perform from the heart, and they'd love it if their names were on the trophy.

They take to the ice to skate BOLERO. Colin winks at the camera. Dammit, Colin! Their interpretation of the opening is more traditional than Sam and Brianne's was. Laura is doing her SRS ACTING face. There is, of course, a backflip in there, because this is Laura. Their routine is less showy than Sam and Brianne's was, but I rather like its simplicity. It picks up significantly towards the end, with a brilliant step-up lift and a float spin, but Sam and Brianne's was superior, there's no escaping it. Laura says there was the added pressure of wanting Chris and Jayne to be proud of them. Colin says he grew up with Chris and Jayne's routine, which really does up the ante, but he's proud that they're dancing BOLERO because they nearly went out in the first week.

Jason thinks they've been brilliant throughout, but he thought their routine was slow to get going, and it lacked the choreographic finesse of Sam's. He thought it picked up a lot in the second half, though. Robin is glad she didn't go out in the first week. He thought the step-up lift was brilliant and loved the ending. Bunto liked the intensity of Laura without being "crazy lady" for once and thought it was great.

Quick recap. BOLERO. Then BOLERO. The end.

Adverts. No BOLERO here.

Back to the ice. Holly tells us that the lines are now closed. Jayne thinks Sam has shown great skating over the weeks and tonight, and has entertained everyone with his performances. Particularly in the tabloids. Chris thinks Laura has engaged with her JOURNEY. Jayne points out that they both got tens tonight as well. But Laura got more, I might add.

Phil's on the red carpet. Sam wants to thank everyone who's supported them, and all the backstage people who made it all happen etc etc. He says that Brianne is a friend for life, and kisses the top of her head. He says that he wouldn't be here now if it weren't for her. And he'd have looked damn stupid lifting nothing, I might add. We get his highlights VT: a supremely able skater from the very beginning, he says that he loves skating and he loves Brianne. Chris lies that Sam was the first male celebrity to attempt the headbanger (DAVID SEAMAN NEVA 4GET). Montage of excellent feedback for Sam. He says that the adrenaline rush is like nothing he's ever felt before. He never thought he'd love skating. Even though we all know he skated as a kid. What a phony.

Back in the studio, Laura realises that Sam got all the good thankyous, so echoes what he said, thanking everyone on the show and her family and friends, who've put up with her ignoring them for six months in favour of BEING ON ICE. Colin thinks he couldn't have chosen a better partner for his first series. Aw, I've grown quite fond of Colin. If he returns next series, I may honour him with the prefix "Lovely" as well. Highlights: Jayne remembers Laura being bubbly and enthusiastic on their first meeting. Laura thinks it's all been incredible. They laugh at how she tackles everything at great speed. Montage of excellent feedback for Laura. Laura points out that she won't know what to do with herself when the show's over. She says that she feels like the luckiest person in the world.

Time for the final result. The Dancing On Ice champion for 2011 is...

...Sam and Brianne. "What? What?" screams Brianne. Oh come on - like it was a surprise to anyone. Holly hands over runner-up bouquets to Laura and Colin, and reminds them that they nearly went out in week one. She asks if they're going to continue skating, and Laura says yes, and adds that Lewis Hamilton came 2nd in the Grand Prix today, so second isn't that bad. Or that people who share her surname are doomed never to lift the trophy; I can't really tell, that last bit was kind of muffled.

Sam and Brianne get the trophy. Sam hands it to Brianne and puts her on his shoulder. That's pretty much it - Holly thanks everyone on the show, Phil thanks us all for watching and reminds us that they'll be back next year. As, indeed, will we. ON ICE.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Don't worry, Beharry

Solo spots on ICE in the semi-final
Tx: Sunday 20th March, 2011

Good evening, children, and welcome to this year's semi-final ON ICE. Yes, the series, which began only three thousand years ago, with just eighteen million contestants, is drawing to a close, with our final quartet of Laura, Sam, Chloe and Johnson still standing. You'll notice that one of those contestants is a significantly weaker skater than the others. However, I should point out that FRANKIE! enlightened us all on Twitter earlier today that Johnson in fact began the series in a coma. (While the rest of us are slipping wearily into one.) So that's that one cleared up.

I also must point out that on the Sky EPG, Johnson was given his full title of Lance-Corporal, whereas Sam was described as an "ex-EastEnders actor" and neither Chloe or Laura's metiers were included. Maybe that's because they're so famous (much like FRANKIE!) they need no introduction? Or, y'know, the other thing.

Anyway, this week's shock twist, which leaked onto the internet by the end of last Sunday's show and which everyone involved in the programme seems to have given up keeping secret, is that each contestant must skate a solo routine this week. Previously, Jeff fucked off, defeated by props, as Sam had been, and we are treated to a reprise of Sam's protest against headwear. Now, people are excited and want to win. Including Johnson. Chloe is very fearful and Michael pats her like a scared puppy (there's also a cute bit where she hurls herself at him and he picks her up like you would a toddler); Sam claims skating solo is like being naked; Chris thinks it is too close to call, and Jayne is hoping for some tricks. Right on cue, everybody reckons they are going to do the headbanger, or at least something as dangerous as it.

Titles!

Here are Phil, Holly and the imminent new person emerging from under her frock. They welcome us, and immediately the "skating stars" - Laura and Colin; Johnson and Jodeyne; a wobbly Chloe and Michael; and Sam and Brianne. Phil promises us an exciting semi-final. The rest of the series hasn't been exciting, Phil, why are you changing the format now?

Quick clip of lovely Robin being forced into playing the bad guy and telling the contestants they have to skate solo. I like the way he says, "You WILL skate again." This week, contestants can score up to 60.0. He advises them to be selfish, to enjoy the limelight and commit to the performances. I want ROBIN TO SKATE.

Break!

Shitty montage of the judges saying mostly patronising things about the contestants, with shockingly minimal content from Robin. Laura says they never expected to reach the semi-final; Sam says it has been an amazing journey; Johnson says he can make it to the final; Chloe thought she would be eliminated immediately. Back at the rink, everyone agrees this is the highest standard of skating ever (sigh - you'd hope, they've been skating for THREE THOUSAND YEARS). [I had a long drive home on Sunday, and missed the start of this show by 15 minutes. I wasn't wholly surprised to discover I hadn't actually missed any of the competitive skating. - Steve]

Here we go then. Chloe is proud of herself and is now excited about the semi-final, demanding that Chris "hit" her with some choreography. Karen says it is the first time that a female celebrity has done a knee slide, which Chloe is struggling with; and then we see a stupid lift where Chloe stands on Michael's chest. "This is the most ridiculous thing we've ever tried to do," she concludes. In the dress rehearsal, she throws a bit of a wobbler and Michael, God bless him, gets a bit annoyed.

And here is where I finalise my decision that I actually love Michael. Before they skate out, he MOCKS COLIN BY DOING A STUPID WINK TO THE CAMERA. Michael ftw! They're skating to Firework, and the ridiculous lift looks a total fucking mess. Chloe skates much more fluidly for the end of the routine, but then she and Michael lock blades and both crash to the ground. Not a good display, kids. Straight 7.0s, and Michael kisses her hair. He has bashed his cheek on the ground, and he says the fall was his fault because he stepped too wide. Then everyone is all like "well, you did the hard bit!" ignoring the fact that it all went horribly wrong. Robin says it was FAST OVER THE ICE and calls Michael "Frenchie". Like on Grease? Jason has stolen Sam's hat from last week and decided to wear it in tribute. Emma says she is confused. Emma confuses me.

Johnson and Jodeyne now. He enjoyed last week and thinks he handled the props well. He is now ready to take it to the end, and likes his track this week, Life Goes On. Chris tells us that Johnson is the weakest skater left and has to up his game and be FAST OVER THE ICE. However, Johnson is struggling with remembering both routines, and fears he is "full up of information".

Tonight they are wearing some really ugly outfits. It never fails to amaze me how they can make attractive people look dreadful on this show (and Strictly, to be fair). This is not a great display of mastery from Johnson; Jodeyne is clearly leading and prompting him. However, he does manage to smile and put across a semblance of a performance. 6.0s from the boys, 6.5 from Emma for a total of 18.5. Jodeyne leaps in to talk about how great Johnson is, particularly in keeping her safe and doing tricks that she normally does with Sean. Chris is proud of Johnson's complex routine. Emma snarks that this was very basic compared to Chloe, but keeping it simple is the best thing for him. [And for her, probably. - Steve] Jason is unnecessarily bitchy about it being a tedious performance, and then Robin says that Johnson compromises his performance by concentrating on getting things right and looking after Jodeyne. Which is a much nicer way to say it. Because Robin is classy, rather than a pissy old (balding) queen.

Break!

Laura and Colin next. Jayne says it has been an exciting series because there have been lots of different people emerging at the top of the leaderboard. I say it has been a dull series because...it's been dull. This week Laura and Colin are doing lots of tricks, and lots that they haven't done before. Including the headbanger. Karen presents her with a helmet. "You must wear this. Otherwise it's bye-bye semi-final," she portentously declares.

They're skating to The Last Dance, and Laura has some hilarious SRS ACTING FACES on. When she is skating, she is gorgeous, and the tricks all work, although she skirts the ice with her hair worryingly on the headbanger. 9.5s from the idiot judges, 9.0 from Robin for a total of 28.0. Laura screeches about having felt the ice and it being closer than when it was in the dress rehearsal. Colin is all, "YEAH WHATEVER ADRENALINE!!!!!1111ELEVENTY!!!" Jason says it was a semi-finalist performance, and Robin says it was a "finalist-wanting-to-be" performance. Crazy old Emma takes about goosebumps. Karen says that headbanger was the closest she has ever seen. Laura beams happily.

Break!

Um, what the hell is this? It's a SAND ARTIST. Artistifying to the sounds of Yellow by Coldplay. As Jayne and Chris skate around him and the image he is creating is beamed on to the ICE. I...don't even get this. Jayne and Chris have a nice lie-down. [I don't understand why, if they had to fill time, they did it three-quarters of the way through the performances. It just made it look like they thought Sam was so awesome they wanted to separate him from everyone else. - Steve]

Phil makes an inappropriate joke about stealing all the sand for gritting the roads, and then lies that Sam is over last week's Hat-Gate. The show certainly isn't, as that particular episode takes up the first half of his introductory VT. We then see them try to do the headbanger, but Laura has stolen that particular clap of thunder. Sam then worries about having been so awesome all series and being the bookies' favourites. Brianne's hair looks dreadful; much like Christina Aguilera's, with all that entails.

They're skating to Don't Stop The Music. [A hideous cover thereof, to be precise. With this week and last week, I'm wondering what Rihanna did to upset this show. - Steve] Sam's chest hair is on display. Sorry, must go and vomit quickly.

Right, where was I? Oh yes, Sam and Brianne. Yeah, whatever. He lifts her over his head, their footwork is tricksy and intricate, she doesn't die in the headbanger (though his feet look wobbly afterwards). 9.5s from the boys, 9.0 from Emma, for a total of 28.0, to tie with Laura. Sam crows that he stayed on the spot during the headbanger. AND THEN FOR FUCK'S SAKE SAM STARTS TO TALK ABOUT THE BLOODY HAT. How exactly is THAT being over it? Jason smugs about being right and thanks Sam for his "gallant" apology. Emma witters about the "sparkle" between the two of them. Robin tells him that in previous weeks he was skating for the wrong reasons (a pay cheque?). Sam then displays a cut finger and Phil tells us that there is blood on the ice.

So the leaderboard - Sam and Laura tied, then Laura and then Johnson. And next, some solos!

After a break!

We're back. Robin explains that in solo skating, you don't have a partner. Thanks, Robin! He says that it's about commanding and maintaining people's attention. And Chloe has to go first. Jayne and Chris also tell us that solo skating is different, and so they've got Robin to teach the contestants about it. He sets up in a little classroom at the side of a rink, and conducts a workshop. Love.Him. Then he does little tutorials and pokes Chloe in the stomach. "I cannot HELP her!" screeches Michael. Chloe wants to get to the final for Michael's sake. Aw. I love when couples actually like each other.

She's skating to That's Not My Name. She lipsyncs. I thought we'd decided that was a bad idea, even when it's your own song (on ice). She gets through it, and her lines are improved from earlier. Scores - idiots 6.5, Robin 7.0 for a total of 20.0. She says it was a weird experience but she enjoyed it. Jayne says that Chloe looked confident; Chris says they wanted to get Chloe's fun nature out in that routine. Robin thought it was terrific and that she did well coming out first. Emma enjoyed the attitude. Jason says he is nitpicky and thought she was awkward and tentative tonight. Karen says this was a big achievement for Chloe, who covered her mistakes well, and Chloe cackles at this and then shrugs into the camera. Pfft.

Johnson is excited to prove what he has learned in the past five months by skating to Don't Worry Be Happy. "I'm not worried. I'm Beharry," he chuckles. Back to Robin's masterclass, in which he introduces a video showing by saying, "We've selected one of my performances from the world professional championships, which I WON," and I then have to pause the SkyPlus because I'm laughing so hard. Back to the show and Johnson's face when watching Robin skate is so adorable. Johnson intends to enjoy his skate, like he always does.

He actually does look remarkably comfortable, more so than one would expect. He too is lipsyncing, and his choreography is much like a nursery school's singalong routine. Scores - Jason 4.5, Robin 5.0, Emma 6.0 for a total of 15.5. Johnson complains about the smiley faces being beamed onto the ice, which keep "looking" and "winking" at him. Jayne is proud of Johnson. Jason says he was worried and unhappy with that performance, which demonstrates Johnson's awkwardness and that he is not as good as the others. But you didn't need a solo skate to show that, silly. Emma points out how much progress he's made, and then says her foetus kicked all the way through the routine. Seriously, she's increasingly barking. [I don't blame Bunto's foetus for kicking her. If I were close enough, I'd do the same. - Steve] Robin wanted to see more of the playful Johnson. Jodeyne says that he inspires her to do better every week, because she's very sweet. Karen thinks Johnson coped well with a simple and entertaining routine.

Break!

Laura next, and Chris says that she likes to push herself but usually she has Colin to rein her in. Robin suggests that she think, "Yeah, Colin, you've been lovely for the past few months, but now it's ALL ABOUT ME." And thus she skates to These Boots Are Made For Walking, in one of the most hideous outfits I have ever seen, and attempting to look coquettish by twirling her pigtails, for this is the Jessica Simpson version, and all is not right with the world. Scores - Jason 8.5, Robin 9.0 and Emma 9.0 for a total of 26.5. Laura pretends she is surprised. Chris says Laura comes alive on the ice (because she's really dull the rest of the time? How rude). Emma says that Laura is a confident, competitive performer who is upping her game. Jason notes some musicality problems, but says she deserves to reach the final. Robin never thought it would be better with Colin. Heh.

Break!

Finally, Sam. Chris says it is his chance to shine, so choreographs a hydroglide for him, which apparently he can't do properly. However, everyone is hoping it doesn't go wrong tonight. OK then. He's skating to Superstition, which I can't listen to without tormenting myself with memories of having to play that bass line back in the day - it's hideously difficult. Whereas Sam is just hideous, with hip thrusting and stripping and breakdancing and using Chris Fountain's patented "worm" move. Scores - Jason 9.0, Robin 9.5 and Emma 9.0 for a total of 27.5. Sam says initially he was terrified and wanted Brianne, but has enjoyed it, and then moans about not throwing his jacket far enough away. Robin says the routine was clean and controlled, with great speed OVER THE ICE. Emma is glad that Sam got to do a solo, and then pontificates on how much fun it is being a "solo artist". Jason says that overall it was an excellent solo skate. Brianne is fake-pissed off that he didn't miss her. Karen says that Brianne is noisy. Sam then makes a late plea for votes. Shameless, I tell you. SHAMELESS.

Right, that's it. Sam and Brianne are top, then Laura and Colin, then Chloe and Michael, and then Johnson and Jodeyne. What will happen? Wait an hour, and you'll find out...

The skate-off

Earlier tonight, all that stuff above! Now, the skate-off!

Titles!

And a recap - Chloe and Michael are gutted that they went wrong in the crossover; Johnson had fun; Laura scolds Colin for being cheeky and bouncing her in the headbanger, and he attempts to ingratiate himself by saying he only did it because she was so good; with his head in Brianne's cleavage, Sam says he has his fingers crossed that they've done enough. Then the solo recaps - Chloe thought it was exciting, but doesn't think she's done enough this week to make it to the final; Johnson says he is capable of skating by himself, even though it's not perfect; Laura missed Colin but hopes she's got them both through to the final; Brianne says she and Sam are "back in the game"

Robin invents the word "acompletelynother"; Jason was a bit disappointed with Chloe but in another way wasn't; Emma loved the solos, headbangers and Laura. Good, glad we know that, Bunton.

Touch your ear, Phil. Give us the good stuff. Yes, it's results time - in the final are: Sam and Brianne...and...after a break...Laura and Colin. Who go really quite insane.

Time to skate again, then, and Jayne says that the public can really see the skaters now, while Chris suggests that Chloe avoids falling over and that Johnson show his playful side, employing the verb "to pizzazz".

Chloe and Michael go first and, though evidently nervous, don't fall over; Michael displays his war wound, and Chloe is highly entertained that the bruise looks a bit like a firework. Chris says he keeps grabbing Jayne when Chloe does a scary lift. Phil tells him to stop choreographing them, and man's got a point.

Then Johnson and Jodeyne, who surely know they're on their way out no matter what they do now, so basically grin their way through. Despite that, Johnson says he didn't like it as much as the first time round; Jodeyne goes all weepy again about Johnson's inspirationalness. Johnson then tries to take the mic to do his thank-yous, but Phil refuses to let him because there is time allowed for that when the decision is made. Basically Johnson is pre-empting it in order for us all to get to bed earlier. Robin congratulates Johnson but saves Chloe; Jason says it is about a final to be proud of, and though Johnson has come a long way, he is saving Chloe; and Emma concurs with the inspirationality but Chloe is saved.

So Johnson and Jodeyne are out, having made it a surprisingly long way. Johnson says he is not sad because he has had so much fun, and then finally gets to do his thank-yous. And next week, we have a final, with the three least famous people who competed in this series! And Steve will recap it! See you then!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Hat's entertainment

Props Week: 13th March 2011

Last week! Six couples skated, and Laura topped the leaderboard, while Sam slipped to third - and then Team Laura won the team challenge, dropping Sam down to fifth. Somehow he survived the public vote, though, and Denise lost out to Johnson in the skate-off. This week, it's props week, and the potential for injury is even greater than usual. For certain couples, this can only be a good thing.

Titles! Holly is by now thirty thousand weeks pregnant. Phil, on the other hand, is not. They remind us that it is indeed props week, and Phil is sad that there is no snooker table, lawnmower or chainsaw. I can only assume that they had to veto anything that could possibly be used as an offensive weapon just in case FRANKIE! was still in the competition at this point. We begin with a performance from The Overtones, who will be this week's house band. Yes, that's right: house band. They will be singing the backing music for every single skating performance tonight, because props week was looking like being too much fun and the producers are determined that I must suffer one way or another. The Overtones are such an affront to humanity that I shall not be recapping their performance or anything that happens around it. Sorry to those of you who were hoping I might talk about it, but ignoring them is the only way to make them go away.

Phil tells us that each routine tonight must tell a story, and the props are there to aid this. Each couple must incorporate TWO props into their performance, expertly and seamlessly. No one mentions that the two most heinous props in the world are a hat and a cane. Surely this is an oversight? Chris says that everyone's been struggling with the props, even the pros - Karen put her hip out, and he lost a fight with an umbrella. Rumours that the umbrella was bribed to stage the fight by Jayne at the beginning of the week remain unsubstantiated. Chris also shows us a scar on his chin that he got from losing a fight with a table a few years back. Rumours that the table subsequently received a significant pay-rise remain just that - rumours.

Let's meet our skaters then: Laura and Colin, Jeff and Isabelle, Sam and Brianne, Johnson and Jodeyne, and Chloe and Michael. They are all allowed to wave straight away this week, because Jayne and Chris are already here. I am, at least for now, appeased.

Adverts.

When we return, Phil mixes a cocktail, and hands it to Holly. An entire nation screams "she's pregnant, you murdering monster!" It turns out to be the set-up for an "ahh, milk and two sugars" gag. This had better be related to the next routine, because otherwise this show has finally lost the plot. In his VT, Sam wails about being misunderstood last week, and says that this was the first week he'd had to rely on the public, but luckily they saved him. Fate is watching this clip and thinking "wow, that is tempting." Sam has a mic stand and a hat for his props. The mic stand smacks him in the face. Pause. Rewind. Replay. Pause. Rewind. Replay. Pause. Rewind. Replay. Brianne stabs Sam in the legs with one of her blades. Sam says that after Jason's comments last week, they daren't change a single bit of their routine. Oh please, Jason's all talk, it's Jayne you should be scared of. [Srsly. Jason is scared of Tim Healy. - Carrie]

They're skating to 'Beggin'' and begin the routine sat at a bar, which is being tended by Lovely Matt. Poor Lovely Matt. Times can't be that hard already, can they? Sam prances around with the hat, and drops it. Hooray! They manage the overhead lift without Brianne emasculating Sam when he puts her between his legs (this would presumably be another one of those lifts that they famously rehearse in bed, I suppose), more's the pity. At the end of the routine, Sam drops Brianne on a stool and returns her to the bar, where she appears to ditch him for Lovely Matt, as any right-thinking person would. Gubba thinks the inverted lift was amazing, but he also thinks that the hat snafu was "a little slip", so his opinion is officially moot. [Moo. - Carrie] Scores: Jason 8.0, Robin 8.0, Emma 8.5 for a total of 24.5. Sam is annoyed because he dropped the hat, and claims it's because it's not the hat he rehearsed with. Oh puh-LEASE. He was happy with everything else, though. Sam claims to be a big fan of the Overtones. Another reason to hate him.

Robin thinks the skating was great, as was the whirlybird and the lifts, but Sam dropped the prop and must be punished. [Oh my goodness, bitches, I loved this bit where Robin went all strict and masterful. Swoon. - Carrie] Bunto thought the performance was effortless and had lots of swagger. She thinks he'd make a great pop star. A pop star ON ICE? Jason wanted to see more pleading and begging, and thinks Sam handled the mic-stand well, and tells him not to blame the hat for the fact that he dropped it. Apologise to the hat, Sam. [/tyrabanks] He also thanks him sarcastically for not changing his routine. Sam and Jason argue about the hat and exactly what "last minute" means, until Phil intervenes and says, "Hats can cause all sorts of trouble, can't they, Jason?" HA!

Adverts. I feel like James Marsden could do better than be in Hop.

When we return, Phil's in the audience with Dave, but not FRANKIE! I'm more interested in Stacey Solomon, who is sitting behind him. Dave tells us that he's skating with Nina on the tour. Dave's daughter points excitedly at the camera, having spotted that she is on the telly.

Johnson and Jodeyne are next. Johnson thinks that last week went really well, and "the routine for me was 100%". He got his highest score so far, but ended up in the skate-off. He thinks his skate-off performance was even better, and says this was the most fun he's had in the series. His props are an umbrella and a hat, and his scenery is the front of a house. Johnson explains that his routine is about taking his gorgeous lady on a date, and apparently there's some sort of theme about her not wanting to stay out and him trying to convince her otherwise. It's about sex, then. I think. Johnson worries about dropping the props as it will affect his score and he might be in the skate-off again.

They're skating to 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. Nicholas Lyndhurst is nowhere to be seen. Jodeyne makes lots of googly eyes at Johnson during the routine, so I'm guessing she won't take much convincing to prolong the date after all. Johnson does not drop the hat, and chucks the umbrella around a bit. At the end, Jodeyne blows Johnson a kiss and goes into her house. I hope she remembered to shake the umbrella off first, otherwise she'll have a wet mark on her hall carpet. Gubba says that the only house with such a posh front door in Grenada is the prime minister's. Seriously: does he think we can't hear him? What on earth makes him think he can get away with insensitive, xenophobic shit like that? [He thinks we can't hear him; Paul Gambaccini and Matt Wolf don't know we can see them (and their grapes) - Sunday night telly is going to the dogs. - Carrie] Scores: Jason 6.5, Robin 7.0, Emma 6.0 for a total of 19.5. Johnson is impressed that his scores are going up. Phil tells Johnson that he handled the props like a showbiz pro. Johnson says that the umbrella is the hardest thing he's ever had to deal with, including fighting in Iraq. Seriously, he actually said that. This is why people who are genuinely famous for awesome reasons should not go on reality shows. Jodeyne says that they've wrecked a lot of umbrellas this week and are on about number five by now. Chris points out the number on the front door is 84 - Bolero year, in case anyone's forgotten.

Jason thinks Johnson handled the props with finesse and panache, which he was not expecting. He thought the acting at the beginning was ridiculous and yet charming at the same time, and he congratulates him for not dropping the props. He would like to see Johnson finish the rotations a bit more. Bunto liked the romance of the routine, but because Johnson was so near to her, she could see his nerves. Bunto, once again, judging performances based on the part of the rink on which they take place. BEST JUDGE EVARZ. Robin thinks there could've been more skating in there, but sometimes less is more. Karen is happy with the scores, and thinks that his performance had detail.

More adverts. Looks like we'll be getting one ad break per performance tonight. Joy.

We return. Phil shows us the evil giant octopus under the ice. This is in no way a pointless time filler. Holly makes a "size matters" joke. The audience find it the funniest thing they've ever heard. Laura and Colin are next, and Laura gets a bit giddy about her victory last week, both on the leaderboard and the team challenge. Her props are a chair and a cane, and she has a dressing table to sit at. Laura says that the chair is hard to control across the ice. She also finds it hard to lob the cane at Colin without hitting him in the face. Chris has a new, lethal lift for them to try, which involves Laura inverting herself while holding onto the cane which Colin supports. Laura almost removes Colin's face with her blades in rehearsals, and Karen points out that there's no room for error. Ya think? In dress rehearsal, the chair falls out from underneath Laura, which makes her a bit worried. Because falling off the chair is way more of a concern than turning Colin into a cyclops. I know his eyes are tiny targets, Laura, but that doesn't mean you still can't take them out if you're not careful.

They're skating to 'Rolling In The Deep'. God, The Overtones and Adele. It just gets worse, doesn't it? Laura makes crazy faces into the mirror. The chair does not fall from underneath her this time. Laura continues to make crazy faces. Laura does not remove Colin's face in the lift. Sadly, she does not mutilate the Overtones either. Laura finishes with another crazy face. Maybe there should just be a crazy face week? Gubba tells us that Laura wants to work on grown-up television. No idea what she's doing on this show, then. Arf arf arf. Scores: Jason 8.5, Robin 8.5, Emma 8.5 for a total of 25.5. Phil asks Laura if being top last week was a hard act to follow, and Laura says she tries not to think about that, and focus on the job in hand. Colin laughs off the danger of the Face Removal Lift and says that the routine needs to be dangerous to be fun. Jayne says that they broke three or four chairs, and she wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of Laura. Who'd win in a fight between Laura and Jayne? That'd be a tough one to call.

Bunto enjoyed the anger (read: the crazy faces) but wasn't keen on the butterfly lifts. Jason says that she always has great characterisation, and he too enjoyed the "angre". He thinks the butterfly lifts were sad, and there were a few problems with the chair. He thinks it wasn't bad, but he expects more from her. Robin likes that she managed to maintain her aggression and deliver the control for the routine and manage the props. Karen says that Laura has blisters all over her hands from the rehearsals, and while the butterflies weren't great and Laura's done them better, she delivered a great performance.

Blimey, no adverts! We got straight to Jeff and Isabelle, who did well last week with a boring routine. Jeff was pleased to get to second in the table after winning the team challenge. Their props are a table and two chairs. Jeff looks quite worried about all of this. Their theme is a "domestic dispute", which Jeff claims has been caused by Isabelle not having his dinner on the table when he gets home. I assume Carrie will have a lot to say about this. [I...have nothing to say about this, because Jeff Brazier is of absolutely no interest to me. - Carrie] Jeff is going to be the first male celeb in the history of the show to attempt a float spin from the chair. It's not as impressive an accomplishment as it sounds, really it's not. It goes wrong frequently in rehearsals, and Jeff makes lots of obnoxious comments about how everyone will love him and consider him "ledge" if it goes right. Don't count on it, Brazier. You're fast approaching Gary Lucy territory at this rate.

They're skating to 'We Can Work It Out'. Jeff makes crazy faces, and then knocks his chair over. It is not part of the routine. He fires Isabelle underneath the table, which is admittedly quite cool. They do an elaborate lift. The much-feted float spin takes forever to get going, lasts about three seconds, and Isabelle loses her balance when she comes out of it. She doesn't fall over or anything, but it's not that graceful. Gubba makes a Cheryl Cole joke, because that's the most topical domestic dispute he can think of. Scores: Jason 6.5, Robin 7.5, Emma 7.5 for a total of 21.5. Phil says that Jeff did the difficult stuff quite well, but had trouble with the easy bits. Jeff is happy that he broke two DoI records, because he's the first male celeb to lift someone up and let go, so he's going to focus on being happy with that. Isabelle pretends to be happy about the float spin. Chris thinks there was "a little bit of improv" going on out there, but Jeff got it together. Jeff claims the table is the table that Chris and Jayne ate breakfast off before the Bolero. Chris accuses Jeff of being full of shit. Maybe after Laura and Jayne finish their fight, we can see who'd win in a scrap between Chris and Jeff? My money's on Dean, in case you're wondering.

Robin agrees with Chris, presumably right up to and including the part where Chris said Jeff was full of crap, and basically rips the float spin to pieces, pointing out how awkward it looked and basically crediting Isabelle for managing to rescue it in spite of Jeff's incompetence, adding that for every brilliant moment Jeff had, he got something very basic wrong. [Ohhhh I love Robin too much. Burning Sam AND Jeff in one week. All we need is Nicky back to get slapped down and I'd be perfectly content. - Carrie] Karen nods. Jason tells "Jeff-o" that the performance didn't work - the domestic tension didn't have enough cat and mouse, and he wanted to see more drama. He dropped his prop, and says that while it's great that he did the lifts, he needs to link everything else together. Bunto is frustrated by the mistakes which ruined the whole routine (so much so that she gave it 7.5/10, just so we're clear) - she loves the acting and the fact that Jeff's connecting everything now.

Adverts. There we go. Virgin Media claim that they "fill your home with entertainment". The entertainment of sitting in a queue on the phone for half an hour waiting to speak to someone about the poor quality of your broadband, presumably.

As we return, Phil is still bemoaning the lack of a snooker table. Oh Phil. Chloe and Michael are the last couple to take to the ice. She got her highest score so far last week, and she says that getting validation like that has made her feel like she can do it. Her routine is about being at the gym while Michael tries to flirt with her. She has the skipping rope and hula hoop for her props. Chloe says she can manage the skipping rope, but the hula hoop is another matter entirely. Karen interviews that they're both struggling with the props and the routine doesn't seem to be getting any better. They bicker a little bit about Michael not warning Chloe when he's adjusting her during a lift, because she keeps thinking she's going to fall. Chloe thinks she needs to stay calm if she wants to make the semi final.

They're skating to 'Only Girl (In The World)', which has been been bastardised to an obscene degree by the fucking Overtones. Chloe's routine is a bit SLOW OVER THE ICE, and the bits involving the hula hoop are a bit messy, quite frankly. It comes together a bit more at the end, and Chloe manages to catch the hoop when Michael rolls it over to her. Gubba invokes Richard and Judy and the fact that they used to call her "Coco Pops". Just the sort of thing everyone wants to have revealed on national television. Scores: Jason 9.0, Robin 9.0, Emma 9.0 for a total of 27.0, putting her at the top of the leaderboard. Phil congratulates her for pulling off such a difficult routine. Chloe says that she hated the hula hoop, but she loves it now it's all gone right. She says that the score is thanks to the coaches and Michael pushing her so hard. Michael says the props were hard to work with, but they had a lot of fun. Jayne thinks Chloe was brilliant and blows her away each week.

Robin says that week after week Chloe delivers what they ask of her, and reminds her that she's just as responsible for the great score as Michael and the coaches are. Bunto thinks Chloe had the hardest props of the week, but she can handle them, and she hopes the people at home can appreciate that and vote for her. Jason is very proud of her for dealing so well with the tricky props and sustaining her performance. Richard and Judy almost erupt with glee in the audience.

Leaderboard: Chloe and Michael at the top, then Laura and Colin, then Sam and Brianne, then Jeff and Isabelle, then Johnson and Jodeyne. Phil declares the lines officially open, and we get a reminder VT of all the performances: Sam dropping his hat (seriously, this actually makes his highlight reel, lol forever), Johnson and Jodeyne getting all flirty in front of her posh front door, Laura and the Faces of Crazy, Jeff and Isabelle's domestic dispute from the 1930s, and Chloe succeeding despite the worst musical accompaniment since Our Fabulous Singers Dave Arch, And His Wonderful Orchestra.

Phil reminds us to vote if we don't want our favourites to land in the skate-off, and he and Holly go through the numbers again. Phil tells us to stay tuned for Wild At Heart, where one of the props is a big rhino, and Holly is disappointed that they didn't get a big rhino for their own show. If props week next week genuinely does have a snooker table and a giant rhino, then something good might actually come out of this series. Who's going home? We'll find out soon.

The Skate-Off

Holly's bump enters. About a minute later, Holly and Phil arrive. Phil says that this is a cruel time to get the boot, so close to the semi-final. And if you think that's cruel, we now have to fill time with another performance from the fucking Overtones. Seriously - what kind of awful shit did I do in a previous life to deserve this? Did Nicole Scherzinger get to do nine performances last week? NO. NO SHE DID NOT. I mean, it's rare that a performance makes me think that even Westlife would be preferable, and yet somehow that is exactly what I am feeling right now.

Time for the all-revealing recap VT. Bunto squinted at Sam while calling his performance effortless. Sam blames the hat and scowls at Jason. Backstage, Sam is disappointed about dropping the hat, and blames the hat some more. Karen reinforces the hat blame. Karen says that Sam was given a choice of which hat to do it with, and chose that hat. Hahahaha. Nice one, Karen. Jason liked Johnson for not dropping his hat. Johnson says once again that it was the hardest thing he's ever done. LISTEN TO THE WORDS THAT YOU ARE SAYING, JOHNSON. Laura got broadly positive comments but was picked up on the poor quality of her butterflies. Not her breasts, just in case anyone's wondering. Those are still superb. Laura is just glad she didn't fall off the chair. Jeff got a lot of his basics wrong, but Bunto loved it anyway. Jeff hopes that the big stuff is enough to get the vote. Stacey Solomon: *gibberish*. Everybody loved Chloe. Chloe thanks the hoop for co-operating. No, seriously. She's very pleased to be top of the leaderboard.

Holly's with the judges. Robin thinks the girls rocked it tonight. Holly thinks the leaderboard's been mixed up a bit, and Jason thinks that's what's great about this show, and it's good when Sam's not good at stuff. Bunto thinks Chloe has to be in the semi-final, and Laura too.

Over to Phil, for the results. After the obligatory ear-touching, the following couples are safe: Johnson and Jodeyne, Chloe and Michael, and Laura and Colin. Wow, I wasn't expecting that. So it's Sam vs Jeff in the skate-off. Hooray! Whoever loses, we all win! Also, I think this demonstrates clearly that in the case of Attwater vs Hat, the jury came down unanimously on the side of The Hat, which has now been cleared of all charges. Perhaps it can join us as a guest blogger for the final. Note to self: find out if The Hat has an agent.

Time for the ads. I hope next year's series is sponsored by Ultimo, so the ongoing sponsorship saga can star The Girl With The Amazing Tits.

When we return, Holly asks Jayne why Sam and Jeff are in the skate-off. Jayne says that both of them gave great performances, but had trouble with their props. DO NOT BLAME THE HAT, JAYNE. THE JURY HAS SPOKEN. Phil asks Chris which hat Sam should use. "The one he can keep hold of," Chris replies sagely.

Jeff and Isabelle are out first, even though Sam was the first to skate earlier. Iiiiiiinteresting. Jeff's chair does not fall over this time, thought his acting is still as questionable as ever. The floatspin looks even more hapzard this time, and I keep expecting Isabelle to smack into the chair that they wasn't launching herself from. She survives, however, and at the end of the routine Jeff slobbers all over her face.

Phil congratulates Jeff on getting all the difficult stuff with no wobbles. Jeff says he'll be happy to go out on that performance, as he thinks it was his best. Jayne says that Jeff always gives his best performances in the skate-off. Yeah, sucks to be him.

Sam and Brianne (and guest bartender Lovely Matt, and featured artist The Hat) return to the ice. Sam does not drop The Hat this time, although that might be because he totally catches it with both hands this time. Pussy. Beyond that, it's a pretty clean routine, and with no prop-dropping he's totally going through over Jeff. Sam even clears his own props away afterwards.

Sam says that he decided to go with the same hat from earlier, to prove to himself that he can do it. This is a ridiculous amount of primetime television to spend on one man's grievances against a hat. Chris applauds him for keeping hold of the hat, and delivering a passionate routine.

They skate out to learn of their fate, and Chris and Jeff share a man-hug. Time for the judges to vote. Robin is first, and thinks they both raised their performances to another level, but votes to save Sam. Jason thinks Jeff definitely "worked it out", but it wasn't enough, as he votes to save Sam. Bunto's vote is as pointless as ever, but she would've voted for Sam anyway.

Phil mistakenly asks Sam to come over and join him, before realising he means to ask for Jeff. Heh - letting your colours show there, Phil? Jeff says he feels great to have made it this far amongst so many great people. We see his best bits: they are annoying, but you can at least see that he's improved quite a bit since he started. Back in the studio, Jeff vows to keep skating, and thanks Isabelle for putting up with him for six months. Chris says that they've seen Jeff grow so much, he's a real live boy.

That's it for another week. Next week, there will be another Big Twist which has already leaked onto the internet. Join Carrie for the full details next week!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Denise Denise

TEAM CHALLENGE Week
Tx Sunday 6th March 2011

Previously on Dancing on Ice! Denise was messy, Johnson wasn't passionate, they were the bottom two and neither skated off. Remember this, it'll be important later. Vanilla ICE ON ICE skated off against Laura and had no chance at all. This week it's the Team Challenge, multiplying the pressure. Chloe is concerned about being in the skate-off with Sam; Johnson says he is coming for "you"; Laura is going to get her butt kicked up and down the ice; Isabelle gets squashed by Jeff. [And in award-worthy work by the editors, the clip of Jeff saying he feels he's got a shot at winning the whole thing is immediately followed by Denise yawning conspicuously. I loled. - Steve]

Yes, bitches, this is DANCING ON ICE!

Good evening to Phil and Holly, beautifully resplendent and fully restored to health. She scolds him for losing Vanilla ICE from the ICE last week; he explains about the Team Challenge, and throws to a VT where Jayne and Chris break the news to the six remaining couples. Jayne cannot stop beaming the entire way through it. The boys giggle; the girls look vaguely appalled. Ludicrously, the three couples in the winning team get their scores doubled. Sam and Laura are the team captains, as if this is some kind of primary-school event. Jayne brooks none of Laura's "oh noooooooooooo" wailing and makes them pick. Laura picks Jeff; Sam picks Chloe; Laura picks Denise; Sam picks Johnson. I think we all could have guessed that without watching, couldn't we?

Phil promises us some Scherzinger later, which I assume imbues Steve with much glee. [Darn tootin'. - Steve]

Time for the couples: Denise and Lovely Matt; Johnson and Jodeyne (nb, just want it to be noted that Sean Rice ON ICE told me that I rock. Via Twitter, admittedly, but STILL); Laura and Colin; Sam and Brianne; Chloe and Michael; and Jeff and Isabelle. Then Jayne and Chris skate on, but in their normal clothes, which looks a bit weird.

So, now we've met our skating stars, it's time for a break, but not before Jeff tells us he is the underdog and Sam admits he wants a 10. Somewhere, Matt Baker is cheering.

This week in the ads, that smiling bint is having her affections bought by her suitors. Just so you know.

Phil and Holly remind us again about the Team Challenge. Chris does an evil laugh. Jayne is too dignified to do this. Chris is excited that Laura has t-shirts for her team, and Sam has banners. What the actual fuck? Do some bloody skating.

Denise and Matt go first this week. This graveyard scheduling will also prove pertinent later. Denise talks about the public voting her in, and "when the public want me to go, that's when I'll go." Fate, fate, you're being tempted, right here right now. This week she and Matt are skating to 'Alone' by Heart, and she is worried about the transitions. Ie, the skating in general. Also, in case you didn't know, Denise is 52 and feeling her age what with the two routines to learn.

Anyway, it's a bit slow and clunky, and although Denise seems to be going for an expression of serenity, it just looks smug. She ballses up one of the lifts, and Lovely Matt has to hoick her into the air in the roll-up at the start of the chorus. Poor Lovely Matt. "She knows she's not the best, but she's never been in a skate-off!" trills Gubba. Scores - straight 5.0s for a total of 15.0. Denise complains about the pressure, but reiterates that it is fun. Lovely Matt says that Denise has coped well and has had a tummy bug this week. "I like the fast ones, it's just them that don't!" says Denise as Jayne tries to emphasise her strengths and weaknesses. Robin says this is her comfort zone, as it allows her time to think. He says that "people" always say it is easy for celebrity females; no, JASON does, and HEAD JUDGE LEN GOODMAN. [And a decent percentage of the Digital Spy forums. - Steve] Bunton does not even want to talk about the transitions. Jason says it was an improvement on last week's "abysmal" effort, but it looked like two people playing Twister. At this point, Tim Healy storms on to the stage and shouts at Jason, who (very maturely) responds, "Ew, your breath! It smells!" Denise tries to laugh it off, but this is an embarrassment to all concerned, surely? [Tim Healy is currently playing a comedy cross-dresser in Benidorm. To be honest, this incident was probably a step upwards, career-wise. - Steve]

Break!

Jeff and Isabelle next. The camera zips away from Jeff and focuses only on Isabelle. HA. Last week he got good marks and he is now starting to believe he can make the final. Hence, time for a Rocky-esque montage. Chris thinks Jeff's confidence has been boosted since last week. Jeff claims that everybody now expects big lifts from him. Really, Jeff? I expect nothing from you apart from vaguely offensive homophobic comments. In dress rehearsal, he dropped Isabelle, who hit her head and arm due to his uselessness. The violins of DOOM strike up as we see her lying on the ice looking pissed off. Everybody is nervous about tonight.

Ooh, they're skating to Hit The Road Jack. Let's see the best-ever reality TV performance to that routine, shall we?


Does Jeff Brazier have a glittery door? NO. No, he does NOT. And he screws up a couple of the lifts. He looks annoyed with himself, Isabelle looks relieved to be alive. Scores - Jason 7.0, Robin 7.5, and Emma 8.0 for a total of 22.5. Jeff says the routine is so tough there is no one thing to worry about, but he enjoyed the characterisation as devised by Kevin Adams. Isabelle lies that she trusts Jeff. Chris thinks Jeff could be in the final three as his presentation improves. Bunton, of course, loved it. Stupid cow. Jason whines. Robin disagrees, and feels that he saw an all-around performance. Karen thinks all Jeff's weeks came together. For some reason, Holly feels the need to agree.

Break!

Oh, you know what? There's a Team Challenge tonight. And pictures of sharks being projected onto the rink for some reason. Sam and Brianne next! Last week they Riverdanced, really lamely, but Robin liked it. Now they are questing for a 10. Sam says he does not want to let his team down but he also has a lot to work on in his individual routine - namely, five lifts. So he has to have stamina training from a personal trainer. Brianne sits on a bench and shouts at him. The end.

This is an odd routine. Sam doesn't look that stable in some of the lifts, and Brianne makes some really ugly lines - probably the two are related. They're fine in the rest of it, although we get one unflattering up-skirt shot of Brianne. Then I am overwhelmed by the horrible news that Sam is up for a part in a major new musical. What can it be? I can only think it'd be Rock of Ages. Ew. Scores - straight 8.5s, and Sam is happy with that because it was the worst run-through they've ever done. Jayne comments on a couple of the lifts being removed from the original choreography. Jason LEAPS on this, and then he and Karen bicker about health and safety and removing lifts from routines and that Sam ought to do his best at all times, eventually shutting up and claiming they agree with each other, and Sam keeps trying to interject but everyone ignores him. Jason concludes that it is good to see a man do skating in a masculine way. HEAD JUDGE LEN GOODMAN is proud. Sam explains that it is dangerous to do lifts if you're not sure about them, and Jason puts on a supercilious expression to conclude: "I have spoken." Nob. In between all this, Robin says nice things, Bunton comments on the lack of sparkle.

Onwards! Chloe and Michael. They're skating to Empire State of Mind. Let's remind ourselves of the legendary group Dorothy performance.




Meanwhile, Chloe and Michael have gone off to ballet school amidst a load of very, very thin people. Michael is LOVING the dancing, mark you. And that is it. [It's typical of this show's boring po-facedness that not one person thinks to crack a Black Swan joke. - Steve] Michael winks at the camera before they take to the rink. It is a quite graceful routine, and Chloe does have a point, her arms do look quite ugly and solid at times. Still, her skating is good. Gubba says that one of the moves is called the "Staten Island Ferry Lift". Scores - Jason 8.5, 9.0s from the others - highest of the night so far. I almost like Chloe for a minute, then she says she had a panic attack in dress rehearsal, and we've covered how ANNOYING it is when people claim to have had panic attacks when they are just NERVOUS, so we'll move on. Robin says that she amazes him every week, and that was one of the most difficult routines any female celebrity has had in six years of the show. Karen nods smugly. Robin then applies a subtle burn by reminding Chloe of how unfamous she is - "you're not an actress, you're not a dancer, you're not a singer." Jason thinks the ballet classes have paid off. Bunton says Chloe brings something very special to her performance.

Break!

Time for Johnson and Jodeyne. Last week, Johnson threw a strop when he went through, and it transpires that he was angry with the judges, and angry that his best chum Vanilla ICE went out. Jayne says that Johnson must show that he has made an improvement this week, and he is doing this through the medium of lifting Jodeyne above his head. He gets tired and grumpy, so they invite Vanilla ICE back to help him practise. Vanilla ICE reminds us (informs us?) that doing the big lifts was his speciality. And now, of course, Johnson is very confident that all will go well with his lift. Hooray!

They're skating to 'You Are So Beautiful', and they have a little hug before skating to opposite ends of the rink. Bless. The lift goes relatively well, which they don't seem to have expected judging by the grins on their faces. It's a cute routine. Scores - Jason 5.5, and 6.0s from the others, for a total of 17.5. Phil patronises Johnson a bit, and then reminds us about the sodding Team Challenge. Johnson utterly ignores the talking about skating, and informs us that he can now feel his left leg for the first time in seven years. Jodeyne has a little weep and says that she would never have thought he'd be able to lift her above his head. Robin says it is lovely to see Johnson look so happy and relaxed, and was impressed to see him manage an overhead lift. Bunton felt a lovely connection between the pair. Jason patronises him a bit, and then calls Jodeyne a "dead weight" by accident. Hugs all round!

Break!

Laura and Colin to wrap up the show, then. This week they're skating to I'm So Excited, incorporating a helicopter lift, which makes her vomit in rehearsal. As she announces this, Colin happily asks, "Ooh, for real?" Also, there is a Team Challenge this week. Just in case you'd overlooked that. Lovely, quick routine, although Laura does look a bit awkward in some of the overhead lifts, and well-rewarded with straight 9.5s. Colin reveals that he'd never done the helicopter lift before either. Ha! Chris fawns over them - "we challenge them every week, they deliver every week." Jason says they are unbelievable to watch, but they never compromise their performance or their technique, and then urges people to vote for them. Because that's the way this show works, Gardiner. Shut up. Robin once again reveals that he's part-voting on how they perform on the night compared to the dress rehearsal. Bunton says the competition needs them. Karen tells us there is a Team Challenge this week but Laura's performance was great.

Time for the leaderboard - Laura and Colin top, Denise and Matt at the bottom, with Johnson and Jodeyne just above them. Now, however, it is time for the Team Challenge. Jason wants to see the skaters work as a troupe; this is something Bunton does know about, and she basically descends into reminiscing about the olden days when Geri was a bitch and everyone argued.

Team Sam are skating first. He says that he got exactly the people he wanted on his team (Chloe and Johnson, in case you'd forgotten that). Jayne says there has never been a Team Challenge before, because the 2009 Christmas Special doesn't count. Chloe wants Sam to crack the whip so they can kick Laura's butt "up and down the ice". Johnson struggles with the step sequence and admits that he is the weak link in the chain, then he wishes Laura good luck for she will need it.

The team skate on, and Chloe and Michael are whirling round imaginary lassoes, but nobody else is. Miseries. They're dancing to I Don't Feel Like Dancing, with odd dancing-people images being projected onto the rink again. Seriously, this should really be Reality Show Rehash Week Featuring Stuff That's Been Done More Entertainingly Elsewhere -



Johnson does not look happy with the step sequences, particularly when they put him front and centre. Also, everybody is in orange, and it clashes with their spray tans. Sam lies that as long as you enjoy it, you are a winner. Johnson egregiously says that he knows great leaders, and Sam is a great leader. Chloe and Michael are totally hyped up like Haribo-fuelled toddlers. Jodeyne talks about "all doing it together". Snigger.

Break!

MOAR TEAM CHALLENGE! Team Laura are shouting about ROCKing. VT Laura wails about how difficult it is to pick teams. Also, is she wearing a Saved By The Bell sweatshirt? If so, WANT. [It certainly looked like it. I want one too. - Steve] Jeff says Team Laura have gelled in a way that the "superstars" on Team Sam will not. Denise says that lunges are the worst thing in the world. Everybody shouts, "Cross your legs, Laura!" Snigger again.

They skate on to the ice doing the stamp-stamp-clap that precedes 'We Will Rock You', but in fact they're skating to 'Rockin' All Over The World' and this is LOLARIOUS. Lovely Matt's air guitar face is one of my favourite things I have ever seen, followed closely by the face he pulls when using Denise as a guitar. Hmm, where could he have got inspiration for that move from? Seeing as it's Reality TV Rip-Off Week -



Back on the ice, am LOVING the electric pulse move they do along the line at the end. Incidentally, Karen is giving them a standing ovation and her skirt looks weird - positively rhomboid. Laura too waffles on about fun, and Denise joins in. Jeff thanks the crowd for joining in and assisting in the veritable Rocking Out we have just witnessed. Jayne says she would hate to have to judge it.

Pfft. Over to the actual judges. Jason didn't feel Team Sam's energy sustained the whole way through, so votes for Team Laura; Robin lists a load of qualities and presumably indicates who owns them through gesture, because he certainly doesn't specify through his words, but eventually opts for Team Sam; the stupid crowd get over-excited at this point and have to be shushed; and Bunton gets to choose Team Laura, meaning they win by two votes to one and have all their points doubled. The drama!

So Laura and Colin stay top, Jeff and Isabelle are second, Denise and Matt are third, Chloe and Michael are fourth, Sam and Brianne are fifth, and Johnson and Jodeyne move to the bottom. Chris reminds us that it is the voters who will make the difference. (Or not, if you're a cynic and have watched ahead, like me.)

Lines are open! What will happen? Another shock? Or something entirely predictable?

The skate-off

Tonight! Six couples skated ON ICE for our votes! The lines have closed! It's time for the SKATE-OFF! ON ICE!

Before we get down to the srs bsnss of results, though, it's time for some Scherzinger. ON ICE. She seems to have got thinner and her breasts bigger since last year's X-Factor. There is pro skating amidst a lot of dry ice, though I can't really see properly. There are also some musicians without their instruments plugged in. Well done, Nicole and skaters!

What happened earlier? Denise and Matt did not play Twister, Jason's childishness re Tim Healy was edited out, Tim is proud of his wife; Jeff and Isabelle focused on winning the group challenge; Sam was sad about getting bad comments; Chloe never thought she and Michael would get more than 25.0; Johnson was adamant they would win the Team Challenge while the audience sang 'Sandy' from Grease in the background; Laura wanted to double her points in the Team Challenge, and did, huzzah for her. Team Laura are delighted to be top three; Team Sam make do with a team hug.

Robin tells us that with a 9.5 we are close to a 10.0, just 0.5 away. Thanks, Robin! Jason fears that Sam and Chloe are in danger tonight. Bunton is asked who's made the most progress this week, and the look of utter confusion on her face as she tries to construct a coherent sentence is amazing. Holly then thanks them all three times before handing over to Phil for the ear-touching results. Who's safe? Laura and Colin, obv; Jeff and Isabelle; Chloe and Michael; and...Sam and Brianne.

So, children, we are left with third-placed Denise and Matt and bottom-placed Johnson and Jodeyne in the skate-off, and seeing as they are the two weakest skaters it just seems a leetle too convenient to be true. What say you? [The entirety of the pre-titles VT at the start of the main show this week basically seemed to be a thinly-veiled propaganda piece telling everyone that Denise and Johnson should be in the bottom two this week, so I wasn't really surprised. - Steve] Chris says that Johnson needs to retain his tenderness from earlier, and though Denise had a great performance "for her", she needs to do that again. So they both skate again. Denise is all, "I had a great time and did my best"; Johnson is all, meh, "I did my job."

And guess what, everybody saves Johnson. So the weakest skater is out. Despite finishing third on the leaderboard. And showing no signs of being in the skate-off previously. Anyway, conspiracy theories aside, we get to see Denise's highlights, including declaring that all she wanted from the show was a funny partner with a great bum. Matt reminds us that Denise is 52, and Denise, bless her, grabs the mic and says, "Did you know that, Jason? Did you know I'm 52?"

Next week it is PROPS WEEK, BITCHES, and Steve gets that particular joy. Join us then!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Delayed recap

Hello all. Just to let you know that this week's Bitching on Ice recap won't be up until Wednesday evening at the earliest - Steve has a broken laptop, and Carrie is away for a few days. However, chances are the show will run along these lines - Sam and Laura will skate well, Jeff will make some vaguely homophobic comments, Jason will be a bitch, Karen will cry, Bunton will be pointless, we'll all get rather bored, and Robin will be gorgeous and look thoroughly bewildered at what has happened to this show. Come back on Wednesday to see whether or not those predictions are accurate!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Holiday ON ICE

Strictly Come Dancing Ripoff Week
World Tour Week: 27th February 2010

Last week! Despite her impressive history of working with things that are frozen (king prawn rings, for preference), Kerry was dispatched after the Ultimate Skills Test. Normally at this point we'd just review the skaters in the bottom two, but perhaps because the skaters are so unmemorable this year, we're getting a rundown of everyone's progress so far: Chloe is a great contender, Denise brings the energy and the fun, Jeff has great potential over his blades, Johnson is upping his ante, or possibly his auntie, Laura is an unbelievable performer, Sam gives Jason a big kick whenever he steps out on the ice, and Emma has a ladyboner for Vanilla Ice. This week, we're going global, apparently, for the "Dancing On Ice World Tour". You have every right to be concerned about how naff that sounds.

Titles. We have a Phil, and we have a...Coleen? Holly's not well this week, so Coleen Nolan is here instead, once again being paid to pretend that she gives a shit about any of this. Did we learn nothing from Dancing On Ice Friday last year? Phil goes all Eurovision and welcomes us in many different languages. Coleen's comic timing fails with a "recognising the wrong language" gag. To get us in the mood, Jayne and Chris have a South American style routine to 'Dance With Me' by Debelah Morgan. They are doing a much better job of tangoing on ice than Johnson will later, but I still maintain that "tango on ice" is a fundamentally flawed concept. At first I was impressed by their non-skating partners for managing to tango on ice without skates on and not falling over, but they appear to be on some sort of slightly raised platform which is probably less icy. Still, it's an enjoyable enough routine, all things considered. I say that a lot in these recaps because it's hard to muster much of a response to this show beyond "meh".

Phil and Coleen consult with Jayne and Chris, who explain that the skaters have had big challenges this week because they've had new styles and techniques to learn. Chris tells us that Sam will be one to watch out for tonight, and Chloe will be really sexy, and the ladies will want to look at Michael.

Time to welcome our skating stars. Sam and Brianne first, then Denise and Matt, Vanilla Ice and Katie, Chloe and Michael, Johnson and Jodeyne, Jeff and Isabelle and finally Laura and Colin. Twitter reacts "what the FUCK is that?" to every single outfit, even the tamer ones. It's just that kind of a week.

Laura's on first. Apparently her international destination this week is LazyTown, judging from the pink fright wig she's sporting. She was top of the leaderboard last week, but is smart enough not to rest on her laurels. Her rhythm "from around the world" is the charleston. She'll be skating to 'Upside Down' by Imelda May. Ryan Fran├žois The Charleston And Lindyhop Guy from Strictly Come Dancing comes in to teach her the finer points of the dance. They're trying to incorporate a charleston lift - you know, the sort where you grab someone by the arse and invert yourself, like they do on Strictly. As always, there's one part of the routine that threatens to bring them down entirely, and that's the bum lift. As it were.

So, the LazyTown on crack wig notwithstanding, Laura's determined to put on a good show tonight and is impressively light on her feet, despite being ON ICE, as Nicky would point out if he were still here, which he sadly is not. There are some synchronisation issues, but the charleston lift comes together, just about, and there's an aerial cartwheel which looks pretty decent, and another whole section where Laura is upside down (do you see?) and Colin winks at the camera, not that you can really tell, because it's Colin. There's a float spin that starts from lying on the ice, and it has a bit of a bumpy Daniella Westbrook-style start to it, but comes together in the end. Gubba tells us that Laura missed her niece's fourth birthday party today, the heartless cow. Scores: Jason 8.0, Robin 8.0, Emma 8.5 for a total of 24.5. Laura says that she was worried about having her wig fall off, as well she might. She really enjoyed the routine, and admits to being nervous as it was their first time going first in the line-up.

Coleen's with the ice panel, and looking nervous about being so close to Jason. Robin thinks it's a fantastic start to the show, and thinks that Laura conveyed the character of the dance throughout the routine. Everything was cohesive, and he thought it was a brilliant job. Bunto thought Laura lost timing a bit but she's a great performer and managed not to be too cheesy. Jason tells us a bit about the history of the Charleston, Len Goodman-style, and criticises Laura for a lack of shoulder movement, but thinks the whole thing was great fun.

Adverts!

When we return, Jeff and Isabelle are taking us to Vienna. Metaphorically, sadly. Jeff was in the skate-off last week, and Jayne thinks he gave a great performance. Jeff thinks he always bounces back from (/has previously been overscored following) a skate-off, so he's confident he can do the same again. He thinks the judges will be looking for him to get the timing right, so he gets some help from Dancing On Ice coach Rob, who asks Jeff about listening to the music, and Jeff confesses that he doesn't, he just reels out a sequence of steps. Oh dear. So he is taken through the very basics - counting lessons from a ballroom specialist. I was kind of hoping he'd be sent to a year one primary class. Maybe if he got a question right, they would've let him use the Flintstone phone during free play.

They're skating to 'When I Need You', and the synchronisation of his skating with Isabelle is noticeably improved. It's all a bit dull, though. I don't really watch this show for technical expertise, I watch it for full-on craziness of the sort Laura usually gives us. Still, it's a decent performance from him, and this is probably about as interesting as Jeff Brazier is ever likely to get in our lifetime. Gubba tells us Jeff's been learning to juggle this week - not for the show, just to entertain the kids. Scores Jason 7.0, Robin 7.5, Emma 8.0 for a total of 22.5 - his personal best. Jeff is happy, and forgets to draw some kind of football parallel to his score somehow. Phil asks him if he was depressed by his poor performance last week, and Jeff is like "no, I wouldn't get depressed about a ridiculous programme like this, you goon", and says that his focus this week is to deliver the quality of performance that he gave in last week's skate-off. Chris thinks Jeff has been a great partner tonight, and is getting turnout on his leg lines, and the quality and ambition of his lifts is improving.

Bunto thinks Jeff and Isabelle they had a great connection tonight. She says that the Viennese waltz is difficult, which she remembers from her third place finish on Strictly Come Dancing (memo to Bunton: no, that does not qualify you for this job) and she can't imagine doing it ON ICE. Robin likens Jeff's performance to a professional skater, and is impressed that he was so elegant on the exits of the lifts. He thinks it was very classy. Jason, thrilled to talk about something he actually understands for once, tells us about the Viennese waltz, and gets booed by idiots in the audience for mentioning that it's an old dance. Boo old things! Youth is everything! Seriously, who are these people? Jason thinks the quality of Jeff's work is definitely improving, and he's elegant. Karen is also thrilled that, despite being concerned about the waltz when she first saw it on the list, the waltz has been "one of our strongest performances". Yes, out of the two that we've seen so far, it is one of the strongest. But also one of the worst. So glad you're here, Karen.

After another ad break, the camera makes us peer right down Coleen's top at her boobs. Thanks for that, camera people. Also, Phil and Coleen have no chemistry together whatsoever. Denise and Matt are next. She got good notes last week, and is starting to believe that she "can skate a bit". She's got the samba, and is very pleased about that, but slightly concerned about the tempo. Jayne and Chris say that Denise has to prove she can skate faster. Denise says she has to sass it up and make it as sexy as possible. Lovely Matt tells her "not to do too many monkey arms". Heh. They go out to meet some professional samba dancers, and learn that it's all about moving your hips. Lovely Matt waggles his bum at the camera. I black out and miss the rest of the segment, but assume that it was something along the lines of "I had a night out, hooray, now I've got the hang of it!" I regain consciousness just in time for Denise to call herself "a Geordie Jennifer Lopez - Den from the block." Lovely Matt cackles.

They're skating to 'Let's Get Loud', and it's all a bit frantic, in the way that Sam's routines usually are. I don't like it when Sam's routines are like that, and I don't care for Denise's efforts being sloppy in that way either. Also, I am distracted throughout by the terrifying Hannah Montana wig that Denise is wearing. They're both trying to sell the routine, and I am enjoying watching Lovely Matt shake his hips, but the whole thing's a bit of a mess unfortunately. Gubba talks a lot of nonsense. Scores: Jason 4.5, Robin 5.0, Emma 5.0 for a total of 14.5. Denise thinks this was a very different routine, and she's not a speed skater by nature. "No, but your hair grows fast!" Phil chuckles. Denise thinks Jason might want to borrow it. She's disappointed to be lower than last week, but she's doing her best. Matt says that Denise is 52, and doing this because she loves it. Jayne laughs at Denise's silly costume (wouldn't you?) and thinks that Denise coped well with such a tough routine.

Coleen asks Jason why the scores have gone down. Jason says that it's supposed to be lively, rhythmical, high octane and seductive, but Denise "looked like you needed an MRI scan after it". So I guess we can add "the practice of medicine" to the things that Jason lacks any knowledge of, unless he thinks "somewhat sub-par ice dancing" is a typical side-effect of having a tumour. He thinks she wasn't on the beat, and the whole thing was messy and Denise was playing catch-up with Matt. He thinks she's good at slow-tempo stuff, but she doesn't mix well with uptempo songs. Coleen tells him to fuck off because he just insulted her friend. Bunto thinks Denise was behind the beat, but liked that she smiled through it and gave it her all. Robin enjoys Denise's commitment to the performance, but she struggled this week and wasn't delivering the steps the way they wanted her to. Karen points out that Denise can't do a slow song every week, and sometimes she has to face a challenge like this week, but she is here to enjoy herself. "Thanks, looky-likey!" Denise calls from beneath the gerbil sitting on top of her head. Ooh, burn.

Vanilla Ice and Katie are next. He says that the pressure was on last week because he was performing to his own song, and didn't want to humiliate himself. He got a great score, and says that he still gets goosebumps thinking about it. Their routine this week is to 'Like I Love You' by Justin Timberlake, which the show has decided is "a Spanish flamenco sort of thing". This entire week pretty much has "WILL THIS DO?" sprayed right across it, doesn't it? Chris says that it's hard to keep Vanilla from "busting a move" and get him to do some flamenco instead. Two flamenco experts are brought in to give him a bit of a crash course in what to do with his limbs. Chris tells Vanilla to be proud in his chest. Vanilla says he is not Vanilla Ice this week, but Roachim Cortez. Or something.

Katie looks fabulous in her flamenco outfit - I just have to say that, if only to demonstrate that I do look at aspects of the pros beyond Matt Evers' bottom. Again, there are slight synchronisation issues, but Vanilla makes a decent job of playing the matador in the routine, and you can really see at this point how much he's improved from his early days in the competition - his movement is a lot smoother and better-defined, although he's still arguably mid-pack at best in this year's batch. Gubba tries to pimp Katie out. Scores: Jason 7.0, Robin 7.0, Emma 7.5 for a total of 21.5. Phil giggles and says that Vanilla is never far from hip hop. Vanilla says he enjoyed the routine and being so out of his element - this whole competition has been a musical and skating adventure for him. Phil asks Katie if it's been a fun week, and Katie's all "um...sure?" Chris says that they had to deprogram Vanilla this week to get the hip hop out of his system, but they think he's tried really hard and focused more than ever before.

Robin says that Vanilla gave a great performance, and he's proven that he can drop his hip hop persona. Having said that, he missed "the Vanilla flavour" from the routine and quite wants to see that back next week. Jason disagrees - he thinks Vanilla got the balance right between the flamenco and the Vanilla Ice, although there were wobbles in the actual execution of the performance. Bunto - oh, here, we go - thought it was manly and sexy, and says that he caught her eye at one point and she nearly melted. Bloody hell, Bunton, stop acting like a giant hormone. It's really unnerving. Phil tells Vanilla to try looking right at Jason in future. Vanilla's all, "sure, why not?" Heh. [Anybody know if Vanilla Ice has ever done any hip hop before? WE MUST BE TOLD. - Carrie]

Midway leaderboard: Laura and Colin on top, then Jeff and Isabelle, then Vanilla Ice and Katie, and Denise and Matt at the bottom.

Adverts. Including an ad for Disney ON ICE. That placement was a no-brainer, wasn't it?

When we return, Phil does a spot of morris dancing for us. You don't get that on Strictly, do you? Sam and Brianne are next. Last week they were KNOCKED OFF THE TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD OH NOES, and were criticised for a lack of synchronicity. This is what comes of not having a fake romance anymore. They've got Irish dancing (or "Riverdance", as this show insists on calling it), and Sam has his head in his hands at the very prospect, much like a lot of the viewing audience. They get a former Riverdancer in to teach them the art of the Riverdance, and Sam and Brianne work very hard on their synchronicity. In rehearsals, two hours before the show, Sam fucks up the drape lift and drops Brianne on her back as she comes down. Oucheroo. Again: this is what happens when your showmance fizzles out so early on - there are only tears and violent recriminations.

They take to the ice. Brianne has an excellent "I know exactly how stupid this is, but fuck it" look on her face. The crowd goes nuts, but there are still some synchronicity issues. It's quite an elaborate show, however, and less manic than their usual efforts, which I appreciate. The drape lift goes right this time, thankfully, because I doubt Brianne's spine could withstand two falls like that in the same night. Gubba calls it "really authentic", because he's mad. Scores: Jason 9.0, Robin 9.0, Emma 9.0 for a total of 27.0. I guess this is Redemption Week, then. Sam says that he drank as much Lucoz--er, POWER DRINK, THAT'S WHAT I MEANT--as possible to repair his shoulder. Nice save there, Sam. Maybe he should team up with Tina O'Brien and do some kind of sponsorship deal. Jayne and Chris are very proud of him; Chris admits to having tingles. Or possibly shingles, maybe my hearing's playing up.

Bunto doesn't know how they just managed to pull off a Riverdance ON ICE. She thinks they nailed the synchronicity. Robin likes that they worked together as a partnership, and that their feet were underneath them the whole way through. As opposed to being on top of their heads. Jason thinks they're back on form for him - he didn't think the idea of Irish dancing on ice would work, but they pulled off the nuances, the cleanliness and the footwork incredibly well.

Why yes, more adverts.

Phil is in the audience with Richard and Judy, who are here every week because they don't have jobs any more. Judy gets all weepy about her "little girl" doing this, and says that she gets much more nervous than Richard does. I try and fail to look surprised. Richard says that her confidence has improved this week. Where are the parents of the other skaters? This is such favouritism. I wanted to see Laura's parents, dammit. I wanted to see whether she got her jugs from her mum or her dad. Anyway: Chloe. She thinks she got a good score last week, but she could've done better. She's got 'Kiss Kiss' for her music selection, from the country of Holly Valance. A specialist is brought in to help Chloe get the hang of the Middle Eastern hand movements that are required. Chloe makes faces of confusion. She knows that her hands are bad, and can't decide if this is good for getting her to focus on them, or bad because it's going to make everyone look at her giant ungainly claws. She's also got the helicopter lift in her routine, and is nervous about letting go once she's up there and ending up in hospital.

Michael is shirtless. It's not actually that exciting, he's kind of pigeon-chested. Chloe's hands aren't too bad, but they are a bit like lobster claws upon occasion. She's looking very cheerful this week, though, which is an improvement on her usual over-concentratey face. Her miming to the "kiss kiss" noises is a bit Bella Emberg. She gets up in the helicopter lift and manages to let go: it's a bit wild, but it'll do. She's also far too late for the final "mwah", but it's funnier that way, so I'll allow it. Gubba makes up a lot more terms for the names of the moves, including the ones we've already been told the names of. Scores: Jason 7.5, and 8.5 from Robin and Emma for a total of 24.5. Chloe's thrilled. She thanks the choreographer who came in to help, and laughs that her belt broke at the beginning and she was worried it would smack Michael in the face. Like anyone was looking at his face, though. Chloe's happy with how it all turned out, and so is Michael. Chloe kisses his naked chest. Chris and Jayne get the giggles because Jayne was ogling Michael. Chloe stands in front of Michael to help Jayne concentrate. Chris applauds Chloe for being one of the fastest skaters over the ice. [The Ghost Of Nicky Slater overtook him for a moment there. - Carrie]

Robin says that he thought Chloe might have already delivered her best and was starting to plateau, but she delivered a lot of tricky material tonight. Emma thinks that Chloe hasn't always had control over her limbs in previous weeks, but it's all getting tighter. Jason thinks she's getting back into the competition, and thinks it was exciting to see her work so fast and furiously. He thinks some of the arm choreography still wasn't quite right, and it lacked start and clean finishes. The audience boo, of course, so he points out that he's trying to help her improve with constructive criticism, so the audience responds to that with an "oooh!" that clearly has a silent "get her!" on the end of it.

After the final break, we have Johnson and Jodeyne. He showed improvement last week and impressed the judges. This week, he's skating to 'She Drives Me Crazy' by the Fine Young Cannibals, which is apparently a tango number for the purposes of this show. Okay then. Fame Academy's Kevin Adams [officially more famous than at least three-quarters of this series's line up - I actually knew who he was and everything - Carrie] comes in to help Johnson get the hang of the movements, and tells Johnson off for smiling. Johnson says that he knows how important it is to keep in step, being a soldier and everything. Kevin advises him to do "military, but sexy military". I think I've seen a few of those movies.

Kevin Adams is in the audience, poking his tongue out. Excellent. Johnson's timing with the head movements at the beginning is well off, but the general tango-ness of the piece picks up a bit after that. Although, the very idea of doing a tango ON ICE is deeply, deeply silly to my mind, more so than a lot of what we've seen this evening. There's a whole section of side jumps in the middle where it all falls apart a bit, and then a back somersault (from Jodeyne, not Johnson, just so we're clear) which is a bit unexpected and terrifying, but they finish on time, which is more than several people have managed tonight. Scores: Jason 4.5, Robin 5.0, Emma 5.0 for a total of 14.5, the same as Denise. Phil talks to Johnson about doing more lifts than ever before, and the audience applauds him for being a hero. Jodeyne thinks he's improving each week. Jayne likes that we saw the sultry, leading man side of Johnson this week, and that he had more speed and was doing bigger lifts.

What did the judges think? Jason thinks Johnson is pushing himself, but he didn't get the whole sexual tension aspect of the routine. Bunto thinks the tango is strong and passionate, and she's not sure that's Johnson's strong suit, but she applauds him for trying something different and progressing. Robin agrees, Johnson is going in the right direction and did well with the lifts. However, he saw the determination not to smile on Johnson's face, and think he might've done better to just let go. Karen thinks Johnson should've got higher marks because he had more lifts and detail, and he tried hard to incorporate the tango rhythm.

Everyone's skated, so let's see the leaderboard: Sam and Brianne are back on top, Chloe/Michael and Laura/Colin are tying for second, then Jeff and Isabelle, then Vanilla and Katie, and then Johnson/Jodeyne and Denise/Matt tying for last place.

Recap: Laura wearing the second most unflattering wig of the night and stumbling through a charleston, Jeff performing the most boring routine in the entire universe (albeit competently), Denny from the block struggling with her samba, Vanilla doing a hip hop flamenco, Sam doing Riverdance ON ICE, Chloe learning how to master her hands, and finally Johnson and his snail's pace of improvement.

One of these people will not be handed a return ticket, but who will it be?

The Skate-Off

We're back with Phil and Coleen, who looks as thrilled to be here as ever. Time for a recap: Laura got a largely positive reception for her bouncy and jovial charleston, and Laura says that it was hard to get the timing right because of all the pauses. Jeff was very refined, but Jason would've liked more emphasis on the downbeat. Jeff feels like he's dreaming and needs to pinch himself because he's bounced back from the skate-off. Denise was "messy" and "playing catch-up" according to Jason, but Karen thought she brought entertainment value. Denise says that she had a ball, and hopes that this will not be her last skate. Emma flirted with Vanilla Ice (how embarrassing for all of us) and Jason thought his flamenco routine lacked flamenco-ness. Vanilla has had a great time, and doesn't really care. Sam's Riverdance ON ICE got rave reviews and the first nines of the series, and Sam's very pleased about that, as is Brianne. He goes in for the kiss, forgetting that they've abandoned the showmance angle now. Chloe also got a good reception for her Middle Eastern routine, and says that she tried to just forget everyone else and have fun, and that seems to have worked. She's very happy to have had her best score to date. Jason didn't see any sexual tension in Johnson's tango, but Robin saw improvement. Johnson says that no matter what the judges say, he goes out there every week, has fun, and gives 100%. And is A HERO. He doesn't say that bit, but I'm editorialising.

Coleen's with the judges for some final words. Jason thinks that tonight has shown a lot of the skaters up their game, and that the margins are being narrowed between the frontrunners. He asks Coleen to remind him of the scores, and Coleen doesn't know and doesn't care to pretend otherwise. [I never thought Coleen Nolan would be personifying my thoughts live on national television. - Carrie] Robin thinks everyone was challenged, but the stars of the night were Sam and Chloe. Bunto says that the leaderboard says it all, and that Johnson and Denise struggled tonight.

Time for the results...after the break.

When we return, Phil touches his ear in the time-honoured fashion and informs us that the following couples, announced in no particular order, are safe: Chloe and Michael, Jeff and Isabelle, Johnson and Jodeyne [what was Johnson shouting at this point, and who at? - Carrie], Denise and Matt and Sam and Brianne. So that leaves Laura and Colin facing off against Vanilla Ice and Katie in the skate-off. I'd say it's a shocking result, but...eh, there were a lot of ties on the leaderboard which tends to increase the chances of an upset like this, and it's not like neither of them have circled the drain before.

Coleen pretends to care, and tells Jayne and Chris that tonight's show has tested dancing and skating abilities, unlike every other week, apparently, and Jayne says that she's surprised to see people in the skate-off who were quite high on the leaderboard. Chris thinks they both did well earlier, but there are a few small improvements they can make.

Laura and Colin return to the ice. They still have a few of the timing issues from earlier, but the charleston lift is better this time, I think. The float spin gets off the ground a little more smoothly too. Also, I find myself increasingly taken with that kind of multicoloured argyle tank top that Colin's wearing. I mean, I couldn't pull it off myself, but I think it's actually an amazing garment. [I TOLD you. I know your clothes taste better than you do, apparently. This worries me. - Carrie] Jayne thinks this performance was even cleaner than the first one.

Vanilla Ice and Katie are next, to reprise their flamenco number. His performance has improved from earlier, but his arm placements still leave a fair bit to be desired. It's a good performance, with solid skating and a real commitment to the choreography. Vanilla says that he enjoys the whole experience, even the skate-off. Chris thinks he gave another great performance, and that he gives it his all every time on the ice.

Time for Vanilla and Laura to head back out onto the ice to find out which one of them is staying. Robin says that he didn't expect to see either of them there "for at least another two weeks" (charming - also, didn't he say that last time Vanilla Ice was in the skate-off, against Jennifer?), but votes to save Laura. Emma says this has been the toughest decision so far, but votes to save Laura. Jason votes for Laura as well, so she's back next week, and Vanilla Ice will be ON ICE no more.

Vanilla Ice thanks everyone for the experience, and we get a VT of him being charming and incredibly fearless, if a bit mediocre as an ice dancer for the most part. Vanilla and Katie get their flowers and take to the ice for their lap of honour. Coleen and Phil thank everyone for this week's performances, and the other six couples make rapper gestures at Vanilla and Katie from the safety of the side. Phil promises another new challenge next week, tells Holly to get well soon, and we're out of there. [Next week - some old shit that I'll have to watch in order to recap despite caring less about it now than Coleen does! WOOHOO! See you then! - Carrie]