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.


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!

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