Sunday, 30 January 2011

A bit of a Cork up

Week 2 of the "official" competition: 30th January 2011

Last week! The competition officially started, even though this "official" business means bollock-all to anybody not actually involved in the making of this show because we all decided it started back in the first episode, like all normal things do. Last week, 12 notable people skated with their professional partners, and two of them ended up in the skate-off, those people being Coronation Street star Steven Arnold and cricketer Dominic Cork. The ultimate result being that Steven was punished for the cardinal sin of standing up Torvill and Dean, and sent packing. This week! There's a SHOCK! TWIST! Except it's not so much of a shock any more because the embargo was lifted at midnight on Monday and everyone's been tweeting about it, so we all know that the contestants will be deciding who's booted from the skate-off this week. SHOCKING! And quite possibly POINTLESS! Still, at least we have INJURY PR0N to look forward to later. Hooray! [Confession: I fell asleep just as this show started, woke up, and then having watched three minutes of it, went back to sleep again. I re-watched it on Sky+ but am fairly sure I wasn't really paying attention. - Carrie]

Titles! After which, we have Phil and Holly. Phil is pretty much beside himself with glee over the SHOCK! TWIST!, which has been termed "the ice pick". Oh dear. Holly, to her credit, greets both this innovation and Phil's subsequent excitement with the indifference they deserve. I mean, I know that's her standard mode anyway, but I feel like she's my on-show avatar at this point (only with better boobs, obviously), basically giving the eye-roll that I'm not there to give. Phil practically spits "THE ICE PICK!" in her face just to ram home how very excited he is about it, and Holly's all "I believe I said WHATEVER." Then fortunately they both calm down a bit in time to introduce the VT in which the Skating Stars learned of their fate.

Head Judge Robin strides out to greet them, and breaks the news that they will be deciding who goes home. As my boyfriend pointed out, the irony is that the outcome of this week's skate-off is being determined by people who are more qualified to do it than the usual bunch. Anyway, everyone reacts in "horror" and there are several cries of "I'm not doing it", chiefly from Kerry. Robin buggers off and leaves them to it. Kerry (looking a bit weather-worn without her make-up on, it has to be said) says that she will refuse to do it. Vanilla ICE shrugs and says there's nothing he can do about it. Denise says that it's a competition, so you've got to suck it up. Jennifer gets excited at the thought of getting rid of someone who's stiff competition. Laura (looking a bit like one of the Stalchildren from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in this harsh lighting) is fearful for the same reason, because she might well be a target, though she has the good sense not to say this in as many words. Cork thinks there will be tears.

Back in the studio, it's time to meet the skaters. Denise and Lovely Matt are first, followed by Sam and Brianne, then Kerry and Daniel, then Dave and FRANKIE, then Laura and Colin (Laura's intro is "millions of children are proud of her" - millions? Really? She's on Nickleodeon, not Glee), then Vanilla ON ICE and Katie, then Chloe and Michael (who've come as Bondage Funtime Barbie and Ken, for some reason), then Jeff Brazier (whose intro begins "still here", like even the announcer can't quite believe it), Dominic and Alexandra, Jennifer and Handsome Sylvain, and finally Johnson and Jodeyne. I've heard a lot of people complaining about how this show is kind of amateurish and "will this do?" compared to the comparitive slickness of Strictly and X Factor and such, and I think this method of introducing the contestants is a good case in point: it takes for-flipping-ever to get them all out, especially at this stage in the competition, and when they are all out, they have to just stand there for about another 16 bars of the theme music - no one's waving or clapping or doing anything interesting, they're all just...standing there. Standing ON ICE. That's not interesting. [To be fair, the Dancing hasn't been that interesting either. - Carrie] They just all look a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately, Jayne and Chris arrive eventually to break the tension and then everyone recovers the use of their legs and arms. Phew!

Phil and Holly remind us how the scoring works, even though it still doesn't make an awful lot of sense. First up tonight are Chloe and Michael, whose frog lift went well last week and left them very happy. This week, Chris tells us, it's "rock chick" and Chloe is very excited to "tear it up". She's just less convinced about the skating side of things, and asks the very reasonable question, "why do we keep doing lifts where I could potentially kill Michael?" This week she's doing the neck spin, where she has to lock her feet together around his neck and then he spins her around and eventually lets go of her arms. So not only could it kill Michael, it's entirely possible it could kill Chloe as well. Yikes. "Watch your foot," Michael scolds in rehearsals, as well he might. Michael models a cut at the base of his neck and tells us "that's another souvenir from Chloe Madeley". Heh. Chloe screams as they practise, although for some reason she's more worried about getting into the bottom two than she is about maiming herself or her partner. She says it's a bottom two that no one wants to be in, although I can't imagine they're terribly up for being in the skate-off any other week either.

Kinky Ken and Bondage Barbie (TM Shampoo) take to the ice, where they have a prop jukebox. Richard and Judy wave a banner that obstructs the view of about twenty people sitting behind them. Michael puts a coin in it and it starts to play 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'. LOLLERSKATES. Chloe kicks it and it switches to an offensively anaemic cover of 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll' (seriously, it makes Britney Spears sound like L7). The routine is quite a lot of rock posturing, and Chloe seems to have her tongue out most of the time, like she's Pink or something. She skates quite well on her own though, which I'm quite impressed by. The neck spin goes without a hitch, although from certain angles it does look a bit like she takes his ear off on the dismount. (She doesn't, don't worry.) Scores: 6.5 all round for a score of 19.5, "again" according to Gubba, even though she's never scored 19.5 before. Chloe says that the adrenaline kicked in and stopped it from being scary. Phil asks her about the SHOCK! TWIST! and Chloe says that it's worrying everyone - no one wants to turf out "one of the family". Jayne says it's put the cat amongst the pigeons, and Chris thinks everyone's really aware of what they've got to do tonight.

Holly's with the judges, and Robin says that it'll give them a chance to find out what it's like to be a judge. He tells Chloe that she looks great ("you little minx") and gave a great performance. He uses the "was it clean and technically correct? No" construction that's already been done to death this series and we're only four (/two) weeks in. Bunto tells Chloe that she's done three different genres - pop, ballad and rock - and she thinks that Chloe's very brave and should be around for a long time. Jason loves her versatility and her consistency. He would've liked a bit more reckless abandonment and maybe some hairography, though. Everyone in the studio is all "hairography? What?" because they don't watch Glee [I don't watch Glee and I'd say the term "hairography" is fairly self-explanatory - Carrie], and Chloe explains that she was doing it in the canteen earlier. Jason cajoles her into repeating it, which she does, except the camera's on Jason when she does it and cuts back just as she's finishing. LIVE BROADCAST FAIL.

After further adventures of The Girl With The Perfect Smile (otherwise known as Macleans Officially Sponsors Heterosexuality), Phil hams it up a bit more regarding his enjoyment of The Ice Pick, and then it's time for Johnson. Who is a Hero, lest we forget. Last week, Jason urged him to take dance classes, and this week he has 'One Love' by Bob Marley for his music. Johnson is surprised to be performing Bob Marley ON ICE. Chris reiterates Johnson's issues with choreography, so Johnson heads off to Finsbury Town Hall to learn from the Ballet Boyz. He seems to be quite enjoying it, and is very keen to show Jason how much he's improved.

On commencement of his routine, it's not especially clear if he's improved or not, as his dancing-on-the-spot at the beginning is a bit out of sync with Jodeyne, and on several occasions they seem to be doing entirely different steps. However, once he gets moving he does seem to be noticeably smoother, if still a little inhibited in his movements. Progress is being made, but using baby steps. Gubba blathers on about Jodeyne's outfit being "almost" the colours of Grenada's flag, and claims that one move is the "Jerk Chicken Plank", like I AM SO SURE THAT IS WHAT IT'S CALLED. Maybe I should go back to ignoring him. Scores: Jason 4.0, Robin 4.5, Emma 4.5 for a total of 13.0, same as last week. Guess that choreography class wasn't all that helpful, then.

Johnson tells Phil he never imagined he'd go to a ballet class, but he definitely enjoyed it and thinks his musicality is coming slowly. Jodeyne thinks he's embracing the "whole of what skating is", and that he's an inspiration to her. Because he's a Hero. Phil reminds us that Johnson is still skating with a broken finger, lest we forget that the broken finger is truly the toughest obstacle he's ever had to overcome, and Jayne says he's proven that he can dance ON ICE as well as on the beach. Jason applauds Johnson for going to the dance classes and says he can see Johnson starting to apply what he's learnt - it's just a shame that it's not applicable for this style of routine. And this is Johnson's fault...how, exactly? He adds that he lost interest because Johnson was disconnected. Bunto agrees, but likes Johnson's rhythm (naturally) and thinks it's becoming a performance that the audience can enjoy. Robin is also in line with the others, and says that Johnson needs to connect all the way through and not to be "flat" and "samey". Even Karen's in agreement, saying that Johnson sometimes concentrates too much, but she's happy with his progress since he is now wearing sequins.

More adverts. (I recap using the STV Player, so I get a lot of Scottish ads for products that I cannot purchase in London. This is simultaneously quite exciting and a bit disappointing.)

When we return, Holly calls the judges "sensible" and "unbiased". I know, right? Jeff is next. We get trauma flashbacks to last week where he got mediocre feedback. Jeff thinks a skate-off may be looming in the near future, and feels that he's falling short of what's expected of him. His latest routine involves an arabesque, which is causing some difficulty in rehearsals. Jeff asks Chris and Jayne for a big lift so he can raise his game. He says that he owes everyone who's voting for him a good, solid performance where he gets everything right. Ah, foreshadowing. It's such fun.

He's skating to 'Better Together' by Jack Johnson, and the routine starts out well enough, but then the arabesque comes. Jeff clearly doesn't have his leg up high enough, and basically clonks Isabelle on the head as she tries to go underneath. She grabs him for support, and he falls, and then she falls, and there's an audible gasp from the audience, though to his credit, Jeff gets straight back up again and carries on. The lift goes fine, but they end slightly behind the music because of the fall. Gubba predicts a skate-off for Jeff tonight. Scores: Jason 4.0, Robin 4.0, Emma 4.5 for a total of 12.5. Phil cries "what a shame!" regarding the fall, although frankly I'd call falling over and still getting a higher score than last week a bit of a bonus. Jeff blames it on "Tottenham getting smashed 4-0". I'd be very careful about using the word "smash" in a football context right now, Jeff. He thanks the crowd for their support, and assures us that his knee is fine. Chris says that Jeff put too much speed into his spiral and got too close to the edge, but he likes that he was working so hard this week.

Bunto says she felt "a bit emotional" watching him, and feels his skating is smooth, and wonders if he's just nervous each week. She likes his lifts, and hopes he'll be around next week. Jason says it was better than he's ever done until the fall, but he recovered very well, and then sneers that a roll-up is "not a difficult lift" but tells him well done anyway. Robin thinks Jeff's basic skating has improved, and thinks his improvement will be noted by the audience at home. Don't count on it, Cousins.

Kerry and Daniel are next, with Kerry sporting a kind of blonde fauxhawk. I think they were probably going for a sort of Robyn look, but the effect is a bit more "fifth member of Danish girlband who doesn't really do anything". Jason criticised her last week for being dependent on Daniel, which Kerry agrees to, and I'll skip over all the Katona/dependency jokes because we're all above that, right? Kerry feels she's not ready to skate solo. Well, you should be, petal. Chris has given her some bodypopping for this week's choreography, and they've given her some moments to skate by herself. Daniel says that while Kerry's solo moments are only a little part of the programme, they're very important to her. Kerry thinks her confidence is improving, but the little voice in her head is still telling her that she's not as good as everybody else. I would just like to clarify that that little voice is not me, despite what you might think.

She's skating to 'Disturbia' (again, no jokes) and dangles off Dan for the first 20 seconds of the song, until she does some body popping by herself and a very tiny bit of skating. Like, miniscule. And that's all we're getting of solo Kerry, folks. It's a bit of a dull routine to be honest, with a bunch of ho-hum lifts and Daniel doing all the work as usual. It's interesting that the show is harping on that so soon - I would've thought they'd hope we didn't notice for a few more weeks. Scores: Jason 3.0, Robin 3.5, Emma 3.5 for a total of 10.0. The audience boo. Kerry says that she really enjoyed the routine, "but fair dos". She's disappointed with the scores, but on the other hand, feels a bit more relaxed now she's had a lower score, because it was bound to happen eventually. Jayne says that they're always trying to boost Kerry's confidence, because that's the only way for her skating to get better.

Jason says that she's doing lots of lifts, and it's not a partnership right now, it's a dependency. (I'm not going to crack, I swear it. Oh, bugger, I said "crack".) He doesn't see any improvement from Kerry, and doesn't believe that she's having a good time out there. He calls the choreography a mess and says that the "double-rotation back stag" made it look like she was preparing for an internal exam. The camera's right in Karen's face ready to capture her reaction to this, and of course Holly turns to Karen next. Karen points out that Kerry didn't choreograph the routine, and while she understands the marks, she can only do what she's given. Jason complains that Daniel is basically manipulating Kerry into position throughout the routine (here Robin can be heard chipping in "absolutely" even though his mic is off, not that the show was purposely setting up another Karen/Jason clawfight again or anything). Kerry cheers Karen on. Karen tells Jason that he's here just to offend people. Jason claims he's here to give people "the truth". Either that's part of his schtick, which is quite sad, or he genuinely believes that he's "the honest judge", which is even sadder. Holly asks Robin if Kerry can skate by herself, and Robin's all "ask me that question when she's actually attempted it and I might be able to tell you." He points out to Karen and the room in general that the others are given more to do because they can do it. Kerry mugs for the cameras.

After more ads from north of the border, it's time for Vanilla Ice and today's obligatory injury pr0n. Last week Bunto criticised him for slouching, and this week he has a slow song, which he is not impressed by. It's 'Always' by Bon Jovi (sadly not the Ruth Lorenzo version) and Chris says that the music choice took him out of his comfort zone. We get a Trauma Flashback to Jason in the qualifying rounds, marking relatively because he didn't think Vanilla would be able to do the more lyrical routines, of which this is one. Vanilla says he does not do slow songs, but he knows if he pulls it off on the night, people will feel the passion of the routine. In the moment we've all been waiting for, Vanilla takes a tumble on the ice and lands pretty much on his head. Ouch. Katie inspects him quickly and then skates off, calling for a medic. Vanilla tells the team that they need to call an ambulance in case his brain swells. I get that it's a nasty-looking injury and everything, but at the same time, I'm kind of amused by how needy and panicked he is when he hurts himself. And yes, I'm well aware of how easy it is for me to say that from the comfort of my sofa, which is not and will never be ON ICE. Vanilla goes to hospital, and gets some stitches for the cut on his eye, but there appears to be no serious damage. He returns to training on "the ice that broke The Ice" (oh dear) and Katie tells us that his confidence levels have crashed, if you'll pardon the turn of phrase. Vanilla says "the concussion" has set him back, but he's going to give it all he can.

Surprisingly, the routine is quite good - even stripped of the "showman" props, he's quite a good skater and while his lines leave a lot to be desired, he's doing a good job of selling this routine. There are a few stumbles, but nothing too serious, and the bit where he and Katie lunge across the ice in perfect synchronisation is really quite good. Scores: Jason 5.5, Robin 5.0, Emma 5.5 for a total of 16.0. Vanilla tells Phil that the great thing about the show is overcoming obstacles, and he credits Sharon the physio and the make-up people for helping him out and covering his injury. Chris says that Vanilla has shown great courage, because they didn't know if he would skate tonight, but he's shown a lot of fight and passion tonight.

Robin calls it "a terrific job" and says that the fall internalised everything and made him very focused, which handily worked in his favour. Bunto says "you was looking down" (CALL OFCOM!) but thinks this is to be expected. She thinks he may be a bit of a romantic on the quiet. Holly calls Jason "Robin", and he agrees that being so inhibited worked well for Vanilla. Jason calls him a terrific partner for the way he looks after Katie during the lifts, and advises him to watch his arms ("you still look like you're searching for something in the dark").

When we return from the ads, it's time for Dominic and Alexandra. Dominic was "adequate" and "tentative" last week according to Robin, criticism that he agreed with. Dominic does not want to be in the bottom two again this week, because he wants to be the one making the decision of who goes home. Freddie Flintoff comes in to watch him rehearsing, and is impressed with Dominic's performance. Dominic calls Freddie "a showman" and Alexandra points out that he, Dominic, is one as well.

They're skating to 'I Can See For Miles' by The Who and wearing matching Union Jack-themed outfits [Union FLAG - tetchy sub-editor]. Has it really come to the point of playing the shameless patriotism card already? His skating is less tentative this week, but a little bit less stable for it. Alexandra, bless her, is selling this routine for all she's worth. Dominic? Not so much. Scores: Jason 3.0, Robin 4.5, Emma 3.5 for a total of 11.0. Phil asks how much it affected him being in the skate-off, and Dominic says that it made him question himself as a person. Really? Jeez, get out more. But then Andrew Flintoff came to see him and was a hero (but not A Hero) and that made him feel better. Jayne thinks that Dominic really enjoyed that routine, and improved this week. Chris urges us to check his nails, and we see Dom has Union Jack nail art on top of everything else.

Jason likes it when Dominic's performance is over. He feels that if anything he's deteriorating. Robin: "I'm going to disagree. If I was purely judging the performance and I didn't know anything about skating, I would be slightly in agreement with Jason." HA! Even better, Jason thanks him for saying this, having completely missed the stealth insult. Robin thinks the skating is strong, but needs to be faster. He thinks Dominic needs to deliver from the neck up like he delivers from the ankles down. What about the rest of him?

From there we move on to Laura and Colin. Laura says that she thoroughly enjoyed her performance last week, and Jayne tells us that they wanted to bring out the "Latin-y feeling" of Laura's music out in her choreography. Chris says that they're going to make her less smiley and, well, children's TV presenter-like. Her routine this week involves a move called the wrist ripper, which basically involves Colin hurling her about by the arm. Her arms are hurting like hell, and she's having trouble landing the move to boot. It doesn't work in dress rehearsal, and Laura says that her arm is pretty sore. She doesn't know if her routine will work, but she's going to try her best.

The music for Laura's Flamenco-inspired routine? 'Whenever, Wherever' by Shakira. Dear Dancing On Ice: Shakira is Colombian. Please at least attempt a small degree of cultural awareness. Cordially yours, Steven. Those issues aside, it's a good routine, and Laura makes a decent attempt at being more sultry than usual, though I'm pleased she's still crazy-intense as always. There's an impressive bit that involves her balancing on tiptoes, and the music omits the second verse, which is good because Laura's breasts are neither small nor humble. Whether they've been confused with mountains in the past, I don't know. The wrist ripper doesn't entirely come off - Laura lands facing the wrong way, I think, and overbalances backwards, but manages to right herself and finish on the final beat of the song. Points for effort, if not for execution. Gubba calls her a "Latino seductress." Latina seductress, you utter goon. Scores: Jason 7.5, Robin 6.0, Emma 6.5 for a total of 20.0. Laura is lost for words. She's also clutching her wrist like she's Kara Tointon. Phil asks if the big scores will make her more vulnerable in the Ice Pick. Probably not, Phil, because they make her less likely to be there in the first place. Chris loves that Laura doesn't hold back, and says that the routine has come together so well since the beginning of the week.

Jason loves the dynamics of Laura's performance, and thinks she had the flamenco nuances perfectly. He doesn't care that she didn't land the wrist ripper because she didn't fall either. Bunto thinks Laura has something very special. Robin loves the gusto with which she attacks everything, but wants her to make sure she crosses her feet over if she's going to do a barrel roll, but thinks it's great she's at this standard so soon in the competition.

When we return from the break, it's time for Jennifer and Handsome Sylvain. Things went well for them last week, but Jennifer thinks there's still room for improvement. She says that she didn't know the music at first - I like to assume that this is because it is Cilla Black's version of 'Anyone Who Had A Heart' and she rejects any version of this song not performed by Dionne Warwick. That's my canon and I'm sticking to it. Jayne thinks this routine will showcase their relationship. Jennifer says that Sylvain's getting a bit more serious with her, and they're both quite stubborn. They bicker a bit about who's right, just like a real couple, and Jennifer says she'll let him off because he's cute. Amen to that, quite frankly. Jennifer adds that no one wants to be in the bottom two, and no one wants to vote off a friend either, so she's just focusing on giving her best performance on the night.

So they're skating to some BASTARDISATION OF ONE OF THE GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME -- hang on, has Sylvain got his chest hair out? Never mind, carry on. There are elements of Danniella's 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' routine from last year in this, though not quite so played-to-the-back-of-the-room. The teapot drop looks a little bit wobbly to my eyes, but the skating and dancing elsewhere seems pretty good, if a little rough around the edges. Jennifer needs to work on the elegance of her dismounts too. Minor things, but if she can nail them, they'll really improve her performances. I should totally be a judge. I'm way more qualified than Bunto. Scores: Jason 5.5, Robin 7.0, Emma 6.5 for a total of 18.5. Phil asks who's right when they have a tiff, and they both reply individually that they are. SUCH SEXUAL TENSION! Jayne says that this was another great performance, and is impressed at the speed that Sylvain makes Jennifer skate.

Bunto loves the connection between the two, but she feels something is lacking, and would like to see Jennifer performing a bit more independently. Jason: "You're an actress, yes?" And he actually WAITS FOR JENNIFER TO CONFIRM THIS, JESUS CHRIST. I know this is not a massively A-list cast, but do your fucking homework, Jason. He wants to know where the emotion was, as it didn't have fire and passion until the end, which he thinks isn't good enough. Robin, on the other hand, liked that the emotion wasn't forced, and that Jennifer is coping with what Sylvain is asking of her, since he's probably one of the fastest male skaters they've got.

Phil warns us that the next VT, featuring Denise and Matt, involves underwear. And it isn't Matt's.

*switches off TV, concludes recap early, goes to bed*

Oh, okay, fine. But Matt had better be in his underwear next week, you hear me? Chris thinks Denise's skate last week wasn't her best, and Denise agrees - she was thrilled to get through despite underperforming. This week she's got a slow track to perform to, which lends itself to longer lines and more sophistication. Denise thinks she's not terribly sophisticated, and flashes her knickers to the camera to prove it. Denise finds the routine a challenge because it's more technical and she's got to work "twice as hard". She has a bit of a crisis of confidence, at which point Lovely Matt is Lovely, of course, and reassures her that she can do it. Denise says that she needs to stop being such a baby. "Just grow up, Denise!" she admonishes.

They're skating to 'Slow' by Rumer, which means we have a literal case of SLOW OVER THE ICE. Nicky must be so happy. It's not a bad performance, actually. Denise is pretty dependent on Matt - perhaps not as dependent as Kerry is on Dan, but not far off. Some of her lines still need work, but there is some good dancing from her here, and they do a good job of making the routine sweet rather than sleazy. There are a few stumbles, mind. Scores: Jason 3.5, Robin 3.0, Emma 3.5 for a total of 10.0. Denise says that being told to be sophisticated always makes her rebel a bit, but she loved it out there and loved this song, which she was so excited to dance to. She's disappointed not to get higher marks, but she's not going to beat herself up about it like she did last week. Lovely Matt says that Denise's confidence was shaken last week, but she's pulled herself up and he's proud of her. Chris thinks Denise had a lot more coverage OVER THE ICE in this number.

Jason says that he thought it was an improvement from last week, and he thinks the lyrical style played to her strengths. He thinks her lines and her dismounts still need work. Robin likes that we could see the mechanics of Denise's skating. Bunto thought Denise was more elegant and soft, but thinks Denise needs to work on her core strength. I think based on the comments they gave and indeed her actual performance, she probably deserved slightly higher marks. Not massively, but I don't think she deserved to be tied with Kerry at the bottom.

Teaser VT! There will be skills tests coming up in future weeks! Steps! Jumps! Spins! Since the required element is MIA, may I say it's about fucking time. They'll also be facing the ultimate skills test in three weeks, whatever that might mean.

Final ad break!

Up next it's Sam, who may well be the best skater here, but is such a personality vortex that I'd forgotten he existed until just now. Last week, his performance "set the competition alight", thinks Chris. Sam thinks that he needs to step it up again to remain on top. Jayne tells us that Sam is ambitious and wants to do more challenging lifts. However, he knackered his shoulder in the first week and that's bothering him this week, to the extent that he drops Brianne in rehearsals. Sam goes to physio, where he is filmed from an unflattering angle and reveals very hairy armpits. His biggest lift doesn't quite come off in the dress rehearsal, and he's worried that he might drop Brianne when she's 8ft in the air. Interestingly, in the so-called "dress rehearsal", he is wearing a slightly different outfit. TV FAKERY!

They're skating to 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love', and it's an impressive routine for sure. The big lift comes off properly, and you can see the utter glee on Brianne's face, though the dismount is a little shaky. He is so far ahead of the others, skating-wise, that I do kind of wonder why we're even bothering with the competition, to be perfectly honest. Gubba tells everyone that Brianne weighs 6.5 stone. She's such a tiny wee thing. [That's HALF A STONE more than FRANKIE! - Carrie] Scores: Jason 8.5, Robin 8.5, Emma 8.0 for a total of 25.0 again. Sam says that he thought it would be a bad score because he made a few mistakes. Brianne says that "it was a messy number anyway" so Sam had room to be sloppy. That old excuse, eh? Phil asks them if they're shagging, and they kind of mumble incoherently. Jayne says that it was a very difficult routine where he couldn't afford to miss a beat, and he didn't. Chris says that even with a few mistakes, he stayed on top of it.

Robin says he saw the mistakes, which is why it wasn't a 9.0. He loves that Sam is a cohesive package where the skating blends with the musicality and choreography. Jason calls him "skating Viagra" and says that everything rises when Sam and Brianne take to the ice. EWWWWWW. He commends Sam for making the lifts look easy. Bunto agrees, and thinks that Sam might be holding back a bit. She asks if he's got more to give. Sam, who's really bad at the whole spontaneity thing, looks to Brianne for an answer. She's probably not going to know, dear.

Finally, we have Dave and FRANKIE!, who pulls a mad face for us. He got mixed reviews last week, and this week he's skating to 'Achy Breaky Heart' by Billy Ray Cyrus, which he and FRANKIE! find hilarious. Karen and Jayne giggle helplessly in rehearsals as FRANKIE! tries to teach Dave how to hoedown. Dave's family come to visit him, which he's very happy about, although his daughter finds the whole thing a bit bizarre, as well she might. His daughter's kind of adorable, actually. She calls him "super-duper ace". Awwwww. I WANT ONE.

They skate out, and FRANKIE! slaps his arse. Chris Moyles calls out "I love you, Daddy!" Somewhere, Gary Lucy is failing to see the funny side of this. Dave does a hoedown ON ICE which is actually not terrible. The skating part of the routine is a bit hit-and-miss, probably with more misses than hits, but - and judge me for this all you like - I found it quite entertaining. Scores: Jason 3.0, Robin 4.0, Emma 4.0 for a score of 11.0. Dave is pleased that his score is getting slightly better. He thinks the routine was fun, and says that he's given himself a stitch. FRANKIE!, who clearly misses Nicky as much as I do, reminds the judges that the show is called DANCING ON ICE and that Dave was dancing from the very beginning, and asks if they're watching another channel. Chris declares her "feisty", and thinks Dave is definitely progressing.

Robin answers FRANKIE!'s complaints by pointing out that it's "smoke and mirrors", and says that if Dave wants to compete with the other guys (...and the girls, presumably) he'll need barrel rolls, crossovers, and bigger lifts. Jason says that he enjoys watching Dave, and it fascinates him that "someone so committed is just so average". Dave thinks average is "better than last week". Karen thinks it was Dave's best routine, saying that normally when he skates, "for health and safety reasons, I'm glad when it's over." Hee. Bunto thinks this routine really suited him and that his confidence is back.

LEADERBOARD ON ICE. Sam at the top, then Laura, then Chloe, then Jennifer, then Vanilla Ice, then Johnson, then Jeff, then a two-way tie between Dominic and Dave, and another between Kerry and Denise. Phil opens the lines, and then we're treated (if that's the word) to a recap. And if you need one of those, you can re-read all of the above.

So, who will survive The Ice Pick? We'll find out soon enough.

The Skate-Off

Phil informs us in a sombre fashion that the lines have closed, and now we and the judges are powerless to determine who goes home - it's all down to the contestants themselves. It's SHOCK TWIST o'clock, folks!

Post-titles, Phil and Holly return to the ice domain, and run through the twist once more. Phil asks whether the celebrities will "save a friend, or betray a rival". Can you really 'betray' a rival, as such? Time for the recap with added bonus footage! Chloe got all leathered up, and is still fearing the skate-off. Her famous father Richard Madeley says she's covered in bruises, but he's very proud of her. Bunto liked Johnson's rhythm, and Johnson is not especially worried about the skate-off - he's just going to enjoy the show. Jeff recovered well from his fall, and he admits that this is the first time he's ever fallen over doing that arabesque. Kerry was too reliant on Daniel, but she's enjoying herself - though she confesses to being "really annoyed" by the comments. Heh. Vanilla Ice recovered well from his injury in training, and is really happy with the way things turned out. Dominic's performance got slated by Jason, but Dominic says that he had a ball, and then tries the "let's see if he can do my job" tactic. Laura didn't quite land her wrist ripper, but otherwise did well, and she says that high scores are all well and good, but she knows you need public support as well. Bunto thinks Jennifer needed to be more independent, and Jennifer grouses backstage that Chris and Jayne didn't choreograph any skating for her to do on her own in this routine. Sylvain's chest is also there when this happens. Denise improved a bit but still got low scores, and can't decide whether she's more worried about being in the ice pick or having to decide between two others. Phil and Holly think the skate-off will be an emotional moment. Sam was "skating Viagra" (oh sure, repeat that bit) and does not know who he'll pick in the ice pick. No attempt at pretending he's in danger, I notice. Karen thought Dave gave his best routine to date, and Dave thinks that it's going to be tough to avoid the skate-off because everyone's getting better. Except all the people who didn't really.

Holly's with the judges, and asks for their final thoughts. Robin wants them to think like competitors and judges, and make a decision that they will be able to live with tomorrow. Calm down, Robin, they're not sending someone to death row. Phil has the results. *touches ear* In no particular order, the couples who are safe and back next week are: Denise and Lovely Matt (both of whom are utterly shocked), Vanilla Ice and Katie, Sam and Brianne, Dave and FRANKIE! (who politely wishes everyone else good luck as she skates off), Laura and Colin, and Jennifer and Sylvain. And this is where it gets hilarious for those of us who enjoy schadenfreude, because after Jennifer and Sylvain have hugged and cheered and we cut away to the wide shot, we see them skating away - and also Jeff and Isabelle, who seem to think that they're safe. There's some confusion, and then Phil clarifies that it's Jennifer and Sylvain who are safe, and Jeff and Isabelle have to slink back into the line. Heeheehee. I'm a terrible person. The last few safe spots in the competition go to: Johnson and Jodeyne, Chloe and Michael, and Kerry and Daniel. Which leaves Jeff and Isabelle and Dominic and Alexandra in the skate-off. But not before an ad break.

When we return, it's time for the skate-off. Jayne says that they never know how the public will vote. Chris thinks the celebrities need to vote with their heads and not their hearts. Jeff and Isabelle are out first to reprise their number. This time he doesn't fall during the arabesque, though it's still a bit wobbly, and overall it's a pretty decent performance. Certainly better than it was the first time around, to the extent that Jeff punches the air when he finishes. Steady on. He tells Phil that this was a much better performance, and he feels like he's in an easy position - it's the others who've got the hard choice. Isabelle says that they really needed to do it again properly to make sure Jeff's confidence wasn't knocked.

Dominic and Alexandra return and reprise their routine from earlier. It's pretty much the same it was earlier, with perhaps a touch more confidence than previously, though still lacking much of a performance from Corky. I suspect he knew he was doomed from the outset here. He tells Phil he's getting used to the skate-off, and tells Alexandra that she's brilliant. Like Jeff, he's pleased not to have to make a difficult decision, and tells the other skaters to vote with their hearts. Chris thinks it was a great performance, and Dominic skated with more confidence this time.

Jeff and Dominic head back out onto the ice, and Phil explains that the celebs will come out one by one, and skate to the person they want to save. I missed this part first time around, which is why I thought Chloe Madeley had forgotten to say who she was saving when she suddenly skated off, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. So, first out of the tunnel is Chloe, who says she loves them both, and hates having to make this decision. She says she wants to save the person who's been there with her from the beginning and will continue to progress - she skates over to Jeff. Johnson is next, and says that he's going to save the person he thinks will make a lot of progress, and skates over to Dominic. Kerry is third, and Phil says that he'll put his arm out for her "because she's not the best at stopping". Snerk. Kerry says she's going to save this person for being consistent, and skates over to Jeff. Vanilla Ice comes out and says that he's going to be "diplomatic and classy" and flip a coin. It's tails, which means Jeff, apparently, even though he didn't specify which side of the coin was attributed to which person, nor did we actually see the outcome of the flip with our own eyes. So that wasn't terribly helpful. Still, it's not the first time the words "Dancing On Ice" and "pointless toss" have been used in close proximity. Laura's next, and says that she enjoyed both performances, but she thinks this person has more to give, and skates over to Jeff. Jennifer is next and says that she's going to save a top skater with loads of spark who'll help her to progress each week, and skates over to Jeff. That gives him a majority, but we'll see what the others had to say anyway. Denise arrives and says she just wants it over with: she loves them both, but wants to vote with her heart, and skates over to Dominic. Sam skates out and fails to articulate himself again, but mumbles that he thinks this person has more to give, and skates over to Jeff. Dave's last to vote and says that he hopes he isn't losing a friend, but he's going to skate over to Dominic. With six votes to three, Jeff survives to skate again next week.

Phil calls Dominic over to join him, and we see his best bits. These involve skating like a stick insect, learning a bit of ballet, being chummy with Alexandra, having fun in rehearsals, and generally enjoying the whole experience. It's a shame this wasn't more evident during his time on the show really. He tells Phil that Alexandra is a top professional, and hopes she'll survive the inevitable cull between this series and next. Alexandra says she reminds him why she loves to skate. The money? Dominic says he's loved the whole thing, "even the judges". They take to the ice again for their lap of honour, and Phil reminds us that next week the contestants will have to learn a new skill, and it will be Vegas week [which will not be as good as the Vegas week they did when the Barrowman was Elvis - Carrie]. Holly thanks everyone involved in the making of the show since time immemorial, and we're done. Carrie will be here next week [assuming I stay awake - Carrie], and I'll be back in a fortnight. See you then!

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