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 François 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.
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?
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]