Sunday, 27 February 2011

Holiday ON ICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adverts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why yes, more adverts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Skate-Off

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

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

Time for the results...after the break.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Skillz to pay the bills

Ultimate skillzorz test
Tx: 20th February 2011

Four months ago, a troupe of unfamous people started to skate and have fallen over a lot! Now, "only" eight of them are left, and they must undergo the ULTIMATE! SKILLZORZ! TEST! Kerry isn't Peter Pan! Sam might kill Brianne! And Ray FUCKING Quinn is going to resurface, isn't he? Fuck.

I'm not well. I'm not able for this shit.

Titles!

Who or what is Rumer? Actually, don't bother telling me, I don't actually care. [I have literally no idea who she is, but whenever she appears on something I'm always faintly disappointed that she isn't Rumer Willis. Dunno why. - Steve] She sings a version of What The World Needs Now. Her face looks like a toffee apple. Jayne and Chris skate. I get distracted by the singing girl going flat and not being able to sustain any notes. Also, Jayne is frickin' amazing. If I were Nicky Slater I'd ring Chris and tell him that he's fortunate to have done so well in life because Jayne is the difference between him and everyone else in the world, but I'm not.

Here are Phil and Holly, who has BALLOONED WITH BABY in the past seven days. She is wearing a pretty cornflower-blue muumuu. They witter on about the freakin' Ultimate Skillzorz Test some more. They have to do steps, jumps and spins. "Now it really matters!" claims the voiceover. Does it? Does it really? I'm going with "no". [I do however appreciate the implication that everything up to this point has been entirely meaningless, though. - Steve] Chris reckons everyone has been struggling with at least one element; Jayne says to look out for Sam, Chloe, Vanilla ICE and Laura. Because they are the ones who are not entirely shit.

Here are the contestants, then - Johnson and Jodeyne; Laura and Colin; Kerry and Dan; Jeff and Isabelle (who is just in her underwear); Chloe and Michael (who looks a bit scrawny); Denise and Matt (who starred on BBC Three last night); Vanilla ICE and Katie; and Sam and Brianne, who I actually remembered this time, probably because Jayne reminded me about them five seconds ago.

Break!

Last week, Michael starred as Enjolras in an entirely rewritten version of Les Mis, and Emma lied that Chloe could be world-class, because clearly she'd know. This week, Chloe has to do Ultimate Skillzorz, and has mostly shouted at poor Michael. With massive understatement, he says she is being hard to work with. She blames it on losing confidence. Whatever, you miserable moo. Like Bunton, though, she reckons she gets panic attacks. It pissed me off when Bunton used to claim she had panic attacks just before she went on stage on Strictly. If you were having real panic attacks, bint, you wouldn't be standing, let alone dancing. What you mean is that you're nervous.

Anyway, they skate to Little Bird, and some of Chloe's lines are very ugly, but they do a really mad bit where she's upside down and pumping her fists, which is clearly brilliant. First set of marks - Jason 5.5, Robin 5.5 and Emma 7.5 for 18.5. Chloe apologises to Michael for being a bitch all week. Phil makes excuses for her. Michael taunts us with the idea that the series is nearly over. Robin says there are up to six points for the skills and four for performance, and then utterly confuses me, so I'll hope Steve understood that. [No such luck. - Steve] Emma says she gave Chloe 1.5 out of 2 for each of her three skills, because Emma is qualified to judge on skating skills, you see. Jason says something about being grotesque. Karen and Judy pull similar bitchfaces.

Break!

Back with a joke about Denise being a dirty old perv, and then it's over to Johnson and Jodeyne. Chris and Jayne say that Johnson enjoyed the sentiment of his pointless illogical Spamalot homage last week, which is good, because nobody else did. Chris is making Johnson lift Jodeyne over his head, because just doing the Ultimate Skillzorz isn't good enough. And hooray, lovely Sean turns up to show Johnson how to be a Real Man and throw Jodeyne about properly. "Keep her safe, OK?" he says, before adding with an ironic quaver, "she's my pride and joy."

Look at Jodeyne and Sean doing proper skating to the Apprentice music (from 3min 50secs). Loving the bit where he throws her in the air and she twizzles. She is older than she looks, obviously. And he had hair!


Anyway, they're skating to She Will Be Loved, and the lift is fairly ugly, but Jodeyne doesn't fall and nor does Johnson, and I think everyone is basically happy with that. Scores - Jason 4.5, Robin 5.0 and Emma 5.0 for a total of 14.5. Phil points out that he did all the skillzorz and a lift. Jodeyne is proud, of course. Chris says the scores are lower because of the skillzorz.

Seriously, I cannot get over this. When they've spent the entire series telling us Jason is marking the dance, Emma is marking performance, and Robin is the skating expert, how can they possibly now ask Jason and Emma to award 60 per cent of their marks to the skating when they do not know anything about it? [And Robin sort of suggested earlier that either all of the other week's marks are meaningless, or this week's marks are meaningless. Either way, the two seem to be incompatible. - Steve]

Right, back to the rink. Simon Weston is in the audience. Emma talks. I'm bored.

Laura and Colin now, skating to Sam Brown's Stop!, which is Steve's favourite song. They go and meet that absolute twat from Pineapple Studios for a random pointless dance class. Laura's spins are slow OVER THE ICE and that's not a very flattering skirt length on her. There's a great lift, though Laura struggles to keep her legs steady and thuds back down, and her steps are good. Frankly, though, the most notable thing about this routine is the way they have butchered the soundtrack. [I really liked this routine. I didn't even notice that they'd butchered the song, so it must have been good. Although a lot of the songs were really truly massacred tonight. - Steve] Scores - straight 8.5.s for a total of 25.5.

While the judges talk for a bit, watch this. It's CRAZY.


By the way, I just heard Bunton say, "I couldn't fault that." Yes, because you know fuck-all about skating.

Break!

Tedious old Jeff now. Last week he was being Raoul, except even more tedious and wet. This week he is going to perform his skillzorz, but reminds us that he fell out of the last spin that he tried to do. In rehearsal he smacks his elbow, and then in dress rehearsal he clatters himself and Isabelle, which is frankly a bit excessive. They're skating to Forget You, and though Jeff splatters up a storm of ice every time he has to spin or do steps and none of them are synchronised, he doesn't fall over or maim Isabelle, who remains the most attractive person left in the competition. [YOU TAKE THAT BACK. - The Matt Evers Appreciation Society] Scores - Jason 5.5, Robin 5.5 and Emma 5.0 for 16.0. Jeff blathers about his nerves and needing to attack the routine. Isabelle, it is interesting to note, is smiling but leaning very obviously away from him. Emma witters on about fancying Jeff, Jason says it was messy and misplaced, Robin says the content was hard. Karen says she agrees with the comments but reiterates how hard the content was. Jason interrupts, and then Robin puts his Head Judge hat on to explain why some skaters get hard content they can't really do. Jeff keeps fucking whinging about needing to be pushed. At this point, Steve suggested on Twitter that FRANKIE! might be able to push him. After a lengthy discussion, we decided that between us we could fulfil his pushing requirements, shoving him from one side of the rink to the other, on his FACE. Problem solved.

Break!

Phil welcomes us back and also says hello to "the wonderful Coleen Nolan". That's funny, I thought she was the entirely mediocre Coleen Nolan. She is pleased that she didn't have to do Ultimate Skillzorz, and is no longer skating. Good, well, that was a job worth doing then, wasn't it? She is of course supporting Denise and Matt, who are the next to skate with a "packed routine". Lovely Matt tells her all week that she can do things, when the evidence suggests completely the opposite. They're skating to True Colours (wearing entirely white costumes) and poor Lovely Matt, he's really struggling to make his skating as slow and simple as Denise's is. That must actually be very tricky. "A brave attempt," says Gubba, and it's rewarded with straight 5.5s and a total of 16.5 - her highest ever. Simon Weston is sitting next to Tim Healy who gets to his feet and waves his arms, possibly the most animated he has ever been on this show. Well done, Tim Healy! Everyone keeps saying "serenity". Jason says he is proud of Denise. Karen genuinely looks like she is imagining new and varied ways to kill him.

Next, Sam and Brianne. Sam is happy with his skillzorz, but he is worried that Laura is catching him up. In order to wow the crowds, he's going to risk Brianne's life in the headbanger, which the show is trying to tell us is the first one EVAH by a male "celeb". "It's a move that is left to the professionals," says Chris, with tremendous understatement. Karen tells Sam that if he gets to the moment and he's not absolutely sure, then he DOES NOT DO THE MOVE. I like that we are ignoring David Seaman's near-decapitation of Pam in their headbanger, which was Pam's fault for presenting her boot wrongly, but they still did it. As Steve rightly blogged in the curtain-raiser to last series: "VO Phil says that the only non-professional man to ever attempt the headbanger was David Seaman." Phil, can your memory really have deteriorated that much in the space of a year? Or are you hoping ours have?



Anyway, they skate, it's fine, quite dull, Brianne doesn't die, who cares? [She does wallop her arm on the ice several times, and looks pretty annoyed when she comes back up. - Steve] Scores are 1.0 less than Laura, so that is funny. Phil asks Brianne about shouting during the headbanger. Apparently she shouts, "OUT!" when she's had enough. (Fnar.) Jayne makes a snarky comment about it being the only "travelling headbanger" she's ever seen, because Sam failed to stay fixed on the spot. Stupid audience people boo Jason for giving Sam 1.5 instead of 2.0 for one of the elements. I wasn't paying attention, I'm sorry. Once more, we can but hope Steve can fill in the blanks for me. [Jason tells the people who are booing to get a fucking grip. For once, I am entirely in agreement with him. - Steve]

Break!

Kerry and Dan next. She talks a lot in her VT and I'm not actually convinced that it's in English. She's worried about jumping. Karen ties her into a weird fishing-rod harness to practise, which apparently helps. Well done, Karen! And actually, Kerry manages to skate by herself for a large proportion of the routine, even when she's not supposed to be and Dan is holding his hand out to her fruitlessly. Gubba informs us that Kerry's booked a holiday next week. Scores - Jason 2.5, Robin 3.0 and Emma 3.5 for a total of 9.0, her lowest ever. "It's only a TV show!" she says. "I'm having a good time!" Jason says Kerry has given up on herself and that is a shame.

Break!

Hey, shall we watch some Nicky and Karen?




This week, Vanilla ICE is ON ICE to ICE ICE Baby! "What if I screw up my own song?" he wonders. So. Many. Jokes. "I can't dance like that on ice," he points out. Then brilliantly, he dances on his blades at the side of the rink with Katie and Chris trying to copy. "Ice Ice Katie!" he keeps singing.

Ah, so this is why he has this week's pimp slot. They dance in front of the panel for a bit. Jason is LOVING it. This is really, really good, actually. He is singing along. Is that more acceptable for Jason, do you think, as it's his own song he's syncing to? Gubba claims Vanilla ICE is not doing this show for the money. Then - what the hell is he doing it for? Scores - 7.5, 7.5 and 7.0 for a total of 22.0. "I never thought that my job would lead me to this," says Katie, with massive understatement. Robin says it was the best overall performance of the night. Huzzah! Then Emma starts to flap because she meant to give 7.5 too. So that's 22.5 overall. [So apparently we can add "button-pushing" to the things that Bunton is not qualified to do correctly. - Steve] Vanilla ICE thanks Jayne and Chris, Jayne and Chris thank Vanilla ICE. It's all good.

So that's it! Laura and Colin are top, Kerry and Dan are bottom. Time for Wild at Heart? [Or, if you're me, True Blood recorded on the V+ box. - Steve] Join us again in an hour...

Results show

Phil welcomes us back, and he and Holly keep saying "skills". Time for a recap? Don't mind if I do. Chloe is happy with her marks as it was a difficult week, and her parents are proud of her. Johnson liked the lift, which he thought felt really good. Laura and Colin were nervous but are amazed at their scores. Jeff hopes he will stay in. Denise is reeling from the nice comments from Jason. Sam whines about not being top, but apparently you can't be top all the time. Well, no, not if you're not the best one. Ray FUCKING Quinn managed it though. Kerry is sure she will be in the skate-off. Phil and Holly mock her. Vanilla ICE loves his great partner and is glad that Robin thought they were best.

Over to the judges. Jason notes that the skillzorz test affected overall performance. Wasn't that the idea? Concentrating on skillzorz over performance? Robin says that the celebrities mostly did quite well. Nobody cares what Bunton thinks, but then they never do.

Time for some results? Touch your ear! Through - Denise and Matt; Sam and Brianne; Laura and Colin; Vanilla ICE and Katie; Chloe and Michael; and time for an ad break before the final couple is announced................................

....................................................

.........................................................and it's Johnson and Jodeyne, who begins to dance around like a mad thing. I increasingly heart Jodeyne. So it's Kerry and Dan v Jeff and Isabelle in the skate-off, and we might as well save time here because we know what's going to happen. Jayne thinks skillzorz week has made an impact on the leaderboard. Chris suggests both couples skate better. Good idea, Chris! Anyway, Jeff and Isabelle are definitely loads better this time round, and Kerry and Dan look like they've been in the pub, including a desperate section where Kerry nearly falls out of a lift. (Not an elevator lift. A lift ON ICE.) Kerry bellows at Phil about it having been an honour and now is going to swim to her holiday. Dan, Jayne and Chris patronise Kerry for trying hard, and Chris says Dan is great for not letting Kerry die. Anyway, everybody saves Jeff and bids Kerry farewell.

Kerry starts to cry, of course, and thanks everybody in the country, reiterating that her kids are proud. She then points at everyone in the studio and thanks them too. Dan diplomatically says that partnering Kerry has been a "journey" and she is his winner.

Next week is the Dancing on Ice World Tour. What the hell is that going to be? [I have my fingers crossed for The Amazing Race ON ICE. - Steve] Find out with Steve! Until then, goodnight!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Comedy of errors

Theatre week: 13th February 2010

Last week! 10 contestants performed! There was a SHOCK BOTTOM TWO featuring Jennifer and Handsome Sylvain and Vanilla Ice ON ICE and Katie, and the panel opted to send Jennifer home, thus depriving us (and by "us", I mean "me") of the opportunity to admire Handsome Sylvain and his Lovely Arms and Swoonsome Gallic Indifference for the rest of the series. Heartless bastards. What fresh torment do they have in store for us this week? Jumps, apparently. Cue lots of training footage of people falling over, even though most people will probably not fall over on the night. This is one of the reasons why this show is inevitably so disappointing. It is also West End Night, apparently, so everyone will be doing musical-style numbers and making lots of groansome theatrical puns. [I tweeted Robin on Sunday afternoon and begged him to reprise his Frank N Further or Teen Angel. To no avail. So if you've come here in the vague expectation that this show would actually draw on the knowledge of people in its cast with actual West End experience, you will be sorely disappointed. Unless you get excited by the sight of a Dreamcoat. - Carrie] Two couples will have to perform an "encore" (except "encores" are generally for performances that had a good reception, so, whatever the opposite of an encore is) and it'll be curtains for one of them.

Titles! Phil and Holly are here. Phil's suit is disappointingly un-shiny, and there seems to be a button in the middle of his tie for reasons I can't quite fathom. Holly and Phil joke that Phil is one of those audience members who rustles crisp packets and slurps his drink, even though we all know Phil's the perfect gentleman. If anyone from this show is likely to cause problems at the theatre, it'll be Holly's Boobs meaning that whoever sits behind her has a Restricted View. Anyway, shall we meet our skating stars? Yes, let's - and I shall attempt to judge which musical they will be homaging this evening based on their costumes.

Chloe and Michael (something involving gay pirates in the 1800s if Michael's outfit is anything to go by), Vanilla Ice and Katie (clearly Grease, because Katie has Slutty Sandy hair), Denise and Matt (Chicago, clearly, because Lovely Matt is wearing a mesh top, presumably as this show's means of apologising to me for Sylvain's absence. I am appeased, show. FOR NOW), Dave and FRANKIE! (oh God, it's clearly Hair, I'm cringing already), Laura and Squinty Colin (Hairspray, obviously), Jeff and Isabelle (Phantom, although I would've liked a face mask), Sam and Brianne (Deckchairs: The Musical judging by his jacket), Kerry and Daniel (Avenue Q, judging by the fact that Daniel will continue to stick his hand up Kerry to operate her), and Johnson and Jodeyne (...is there a musical featuring O'Chunks from Super Paper Mario? If so, that one).

No one has addressed my complaints about this part of the show, so: everyone stands there awkwardly like planks until Jayne and Chris arrive, at which point they're allowed to wave at us. Phil and Holly remind us that the special skill for this week is The Jump, which will be demonstrated by some of the stars of yesteryear. I do hope one of them is Zaraah Abrahams. The skaters must jump unassisted (so no help from your partner, KERRY) and both blades must leave the ice. Chris tells us that there are good and precarious jumps ahead - Jeff will have to do three jumps in a row, and Johnson will be doing some good ones, while Vanilla Ice is attempting something rather Evel Knievel like. Phil reminds us that next week is the Ultimate Skills Test, which Jayne says that this will put extra pressure on the celebs. But that's next week, so let's not bother ourselves with that just yet.

When we return from an ad break (yep, after just over seven minutes of content), it's time for our first couple: Jeff and Isabelle. Last week he was vastly improved, so we're told, and Jeff thinks he's "on the upward climb" now. He tells us that the usual doubt that plagues his rehearsals is gone. Gone, I tell you! Jayne says that Jeff's been asking for more difficult moves, and they've been giving them to him. He falls over a lot practising the jump sequence, and admits that they're giving him sleepless nights.

They're skating to 'All I Ask Of You' (told ya) from The Phantom Of The Opera [the Michael Ball solo version. Why isn't ex-guest-judge Michael Ball in the studio performing this? SWIZZ. - Carrie]. Jeff is not wearing a face-obscuring mask, which is a little bit disappointing. His skating's a lot more confident this week and the routine's far more fluid as a result, though there's still something faintly mechanical about it to my mind. He performs his three jumps (which are more like hops, really) with toe-loops to follow and it's a good, clean performance. Gubba refers to one manoeuvre as the "Christine cuddle" (give me strength). Scores: Jason 6.5, Robin 8.0, Emma 7.5 for a total of 22.0. Jeff punches the air in glee, and then I don't know what to do with myself because he discusses his score without mentioning football at all. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JEFF BRAZIER? Jeff tells Phil that he wants to keep improving and build on this performance if he's back next week. Jayne tells Phil that Jeff has done three different jumps to demonstrate his versatility, and she's sure he'll have an excellent spin next week.

Robin admires Jeff's control over his blades and the way he takes care of Isabelle. He also singles out the individual control in the jump. Control is our word of the week, apparently. Jason says that as the "dance expert" and with it being "theatre week" and with me being slightly addicted to "inverted commas", he's looking at "your overall artistic impression". He feels Jeff is definitely improving and has great control with his upper body, but failed to convey the romance of the piece. At times, he thought Jeff's face was "very pedestrian, like you were waiting for a bus." Surely if you're waiting for a bus, you're not really a pedestrian any more? The camera cuts to Karen, simmering. Bunto admires the power of Jeff's skating, but tells Jeff that if he ever wants to perform in a theatre (because Bunto is apparently now an expert on the theatre arts) he needs to feel it "here" so she can see it "here". I'd try to transcribe the gestures she makes to accompany those words, but it's not like it'd mean anything either way.

After the break, it's time for Denise and Lovely Matt. Denise recalls getting her mojo back last week and vows to keep it. She can't allow herself to step back - except she's totally going to. Chris says that Denise doesn't have a big jump, but has to do three smaller ones back to back. Unfortunately, this is a Busy Week for Denise, because she's off doing Loose Women an' ting, and also visiting her children in The North who, due to an unfortunate piece of video editing, appear to live in an ice rink. Denise complains that she is tired, and falls over a lot as a result. However, she vows to keep going, and says she'll continue even if she falls over.

She's skating to 'Roxie' from Chicago [the film version, not the stage version, and not the Ruthie Henshall version. Why is ex-judge Ruthie Henshall not in the studio performing this? SWIZZ. - Carrie] and, as my boyfriend rightly pointed out, Lovely Matt has a sequin over each nipple. Brilliant. Denise vamps a bit on the kiss-and-cry area at the start of her routine before leaping into Matt's arms (lucky her). Her skating's less impressive this time, it's a bit more staccato and unsure, but she's gamely mugging for all she's worth , and just about manages the lifts before finishing with an aeroplane spin, then Matt removes her jacket and Denise strikes an end pose in front of the ice panel. Gubba calls Roxie Hart "the perfect role for Denise", despite the fact that she's about 20 years too old for it, even by the fairly loose standards of West End stunt casting, and then likens Denise to former president Mubarak. Does anyone on this show even listen to him? How is he still there? Tim Healy continues to look bored in the audience, bless him. Scores: Jason 4.0, Robin 4.5, Emma 4.5 for a total of 13.0. Denise congratulates herself for wearing a leotard on TV at the age of 52, and rightly so. She talks us through her falls, but says that she loves the routine and Chicago. Lovely Matt congratulates her on the jumps. Chris thinks she did well to bounce back after the falls.

Jason congratulates Denise on her "delightful derriere", and isn't even being sarcastic. Between this and Jeff's lack of football commentary, I'm starting to think that this week's Dancing On Ice is being beamed to us live from Bizarro World. Jason explains that the Fosse arms were more like windscreen wipers, and little nuances like the teacup fingers were missing from the routine, and he feels that she didn't quite capture the wannabe starlet aspect of the number. Robin praises Denise's lovely lady jumps and does that hugely irritating "was it X? No! Was it Y? Yes or maybe!" construction that I really wish he'd just drop already. He wishes she'd had last week's speed and gusto this week that could've improved the routine. Bunto has worked a lot on Bob Fosse choreography (a likely story) [seriously, when does she claim to have done this? She hasn't even BEEN in Chicago, and EVERYBODY who's ever auditioned has played Roxie at one point or another. - Carrie] and feels that wasn't quite right. She missed the cheekiness, at which point Denise clarifies that she was going for "smouldering" and Jason hoots that she didn't pull that off either.

Sam and Brianne are next. Last week he got the highest score of the series and hugely positive comments. Jayne thinks he'll be getting tens soon enough. Sam thinks Laura, Chloe and Jeff are closing in on him. Chris thinks that Sam has a tough week to keep ahead as his jumps will be under scrutiny. He falls over a lot, once landing right on his hipbone, but soldiers on. He takes a tumble in the dress rehearsal, and intones gravely that people expect a lot from him. You will note a conspicuous lack of Valentine's-themed Sam/Brianne showmance bobbins in this week's VT. I can't imagine why.

Their routine is to 'Flash Bang Wallop' from Half A Sixpence, and as such is complete with lots of "hilarious" Cockernee affectations, flailing limbs and gurning. There's no denying that they're slick - they even get a photographer at the side of the ice even though it is not Props Week - and Sam's jumps are impressive. They even incorporate a float spin, indicating the level of trust in their relationship. It's just a bit too frantic for my tastes, perhaps - I get that franticness is the actual point of this routine, but I think I'd rather they didn't push Sam quite so hard so fast, as it's hard to enjoy a routine that goes so damned fast and doesn't leave you time to process it. Gubba likens it to Hayley's 'Jai Ho' performance from last year. I remain unconvinced just yet. Scores: 8.5s across the board for a total of 25.5. Phil calls the routine "almost as complicated as your love life." Hee hee hee. Sam says he's loving every second and wants to stay in as long as possible. Jayne is impressed with how much he managed to pull off in one routine, and thinks he covered any mistakes with performance quality. Chris likes that it didn't require big lifts to grab scores.

Bunto loved it, but if she's being picky - and she is - she spotted synchronisation issues. Jason thinks it was full of character and energy, but agrees with Emma about the synch issues. Robin agrees with both of them, and says that he's "nailed [Sam] in the past" (FNAR) over his feet not being quite as clean as they should be - he's still not quite there, but he's getting there. Holly throws to Karen, who is not spoiling for a fight this week, and she says that it was a whole performance as far as she's concerned.

Next up, because we have one less contestant this week but still the same timeslot, we have some pointless filler. Hooray! Rachel Tucker is here to perform 'Defying Gravity' from Wicked. Her greenface looks a little roughly applied - her cheeks are kind of yellow. Also, I am greatly disappointed that she does not change any of the lyrics of the song to include her own name. The lyrics of the song have been tampered slightly to allow for the fact that it's no longer a duet, and this version doesn't really flow as well as the proper one, but there are people SKATING (Sean, Jodeyne, Alexandra and Lukasz) and SUSPENDED FROM WIRES (they are DEFYING GRAVITY, do you see?). There's also a camera trained on Rachel's face the whole time, and she occasionally catches Barrowmanitis, where what works brilliantly when playing to the back of a large theatre doesn't work quite so well on the somewhat subtler medium of television. Still, it's lovely to see her again, and if I hadn't seen the show already and the tickets weren't like £60 a pop I'd totally go and see her as Elphaba. [Watch out for that quote on a poster near you soon, folks! - Carrie]

Kerry and Daniel are next. Kerry thinks last week was the worst performance she's ever done. Oh Kerry - don't think we don't remember Atomic Kitten. She's surprised that the public kept her in, and wants to do her best to thank them. Her song this week is 'There's No Business Like Showbusiness', which excites Kerry because it's fun. Her skating is still so crap, though, that Head Coach Karen takes her into a remedial class where her arms are harnessed to her legs and she has to learn everything from the beginning again. Kerry thinks this has been very helpful with all the aspects of her routine - she even knows the actual words for the individual parts of the routine now! She just hopes the judges are impressed.

The routine's a proper gurnathon, and Kerry's clearly trying to reinvent herself as a comedy value contestant. Her solo jump comes right at the top of her routine and doesn't even require her to land unassisted. Beyond that, it's business as usual - Kerry struggling whenever she has to fend for herself, and relying on a lot of big lifts for oomph. Scores: 4.0s all round for a total of 12.0. Kerry cheers because her scores are going up. She tells Phil that she enjoys this song because it's kind of making fun of herself, and that going back to basics with Karen really helped. Dan says that Kerry let herself go and tried her best. Chris thinks that Kerry bounced back into life when she heard her music this week.

Jason tells Kerry that she's still getting carried around too much (true) and the required element wasn't landed by itself, and he's worried about how she'll fare with the Ultimate Skills Test next week. He's not sure that she's up to the standard of the others. Bunto, with some coaching from Holly, tells Kerry her confidence has improved and this sort of performance suits her better, but she's "getting away with" more than everyone else. Except not, because you're all pointing it out. Robin tells Kerry that she needs to spend the next week playing catch-up if she's still around to get herself up to standard for next week. Karen says that they need to continue the good work with Kerry. Holly asks if Kerry has it in her to be a good skater, and Jason shouts "no!", but is ignored by everyone else (hooray! They're learning!) and Karen says that it's all a confidence issue.

When we return from the ads, Phil identifies Jedward in the audience, just so we all know which direction to lob our popcorn in. Chloe and Michael are on next. This week they're skating to 'On My Own' from Les Mis, which Chloe loves, and identifies as a romantic song with lots of emotion required. No flies on her, clearly. Chloe worries that she won't be able to act it as well as Michael and get the emotion right. Chris advises her to tell a story through her face, and Chloe says that she loves the routine and wants to do Chris and Jayne proud, but she doesn't know if she's good enough to pull it all off.

Richard Madeley hollers encouragement from the audience as always, and they begin the routine. The improvement in Chloe is really noticeable this week - she's really lyrical in her movements, and I think she's selling the emotion of the song rather well. Also, my boyfriend pointed out that she kind of looked unusually hot this week, and you know what? He's not wrong. Her jumps are a little rough around the edges, but the rest of the routine is really rather good, so I'm willing to overlook that, for now at least. [NB - Why is Michael in an Enjolras costume? - Carrie] Gubba tries to explain the plot of Les Mis for the six people who don't know it, and cracks a joke about Chloe being on screen more often than her parents. By which he means "at all". Scores: Jason 6.5, Robin 8.0, Emma 7.5 for a total of 22.0. Chloe tells Phil that this was the most nervous she's ever been doing the show, and while she thinks she fluffed a step, she was really happy with her performance. Michael thinks she's getting there with the facial expressions. Jayne says that they love to challenge Chloe every week and give her something new to work on.

Robin tells Chloe that he wasn't watching her, he was watching Michael. It sounds like an insult, but what he means is that because Chloe was such a reliable and professional partner, she was always in the right place for Michael. I'm still not entirely sure it's a compliment, but okay, Robin. He thinks it lacked an emotional connection, though. Jason didn't feel the emotional consistency throughout the performance - she lost the longing and the passion at times, and he feels there wasn't enough light and shade in her execution of the choreography. Emma thinks there's "a little sparkle" missing from Chloe's performance. Thanks for the constructive feedback there, Bunto, I'm sure she'll find the specific detail you gave her hugely helpful.

Midway leaderboard: Sam and Brianne at the top, Jeff and Chloe tied for second, then Denise, then Kerry.

Next up are Johnson and Jodeyne. Jayne thinks Johnson's skating wasn't up to the usual standard last week. Johnson vows to get stronger this week. He'll be dancing to 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' from Spamalot, which Jayne is hoping will bring out the cheeky side of him. Johnson finds it hard to get into character because he has "no acting skills", so he gets sent off for comedy training with Marcus Brigstocke. Can I just say this was such a missed opportunity to get Jodie Prenger to show off her Spamalot experience? I bet she'd have done an amazing comedy masterclass. [Pfft. Better King Arthurs than Marcus Brigstocke include Tim Curry, Simon Russell Beale, Peter Davison, Sanjeev Bhaskar and JIM ROBINSON FROM NEIGHBOURS, who remains my favourite ever. - Carrie] Anyway, Marcus encourages Johnson to be more cartoony in his performance, and Johnson vows to go out there and have fun.

Johnson's acting is very much by the numbers and cartoony. It's still not funny, but at least he's trying, bless him. [I do not understand his costume in any way, shape or form. - Carrie] His jumps are a little bit Bambi-like, and I kind of lose interest in the routine about halfway through because nothing's really happening. Even Gubba can't think of much to say. Scores: Jason 4.5, Robin 5.0, Emma 5.5 for a total of 15.0. Johnson thinks that was his best routine so far, and that the acting lessons with Marcus were very helpful. [You'd have been a damn sight better off if you'd rung JIM ROBINSON FROM NEIGHBOURS. - Carrie] Jodeyne is very proud of him. Chris says that he's happy the public's getting to see the funny, witty Johnson that they know. He's also impressed with Johnson's SPEED OVER THE ICE.

Jason says that the beginning of the routine showed promise and characterisation, but Johnson lost character halfway and reverted to smiley normalness. Robin says that Johnson hasn't really been smiley since week one anyway, and he loved being able to enjoy Johnson enjoying the performance. And I enjoyed Robin enjoying Johnson enjoying the performance. Or something. Bunto is grinning like a loon and enjoyed the SPEED OVER THE ICE and the comedy and the fact that Johnson takes on a new evening class for the show's benefit every week.

When we return from the ads, Phil's donned his old technicolour dreamcoat from his Joseph days and recites all the colours just to prove to us all that he still can. He's so adorable. Vanilla and Katie are next. Vanilla says that being in the skate-off was stressful and he doesn't want to have to go back there. Jayne and Chris have given him a waltz jump and a toe loop, which he struggles with at first, but as he gets better, he starts to get increasingly creative - he's going to jump over Katie. ON ICE. "It's quite scary," Katie understates. She's a bit nervous. We could be having our very first decapitation ON ICE, kids. Karen can barely watch.

They're skating to 'Born To Hand Jive' from Grease - ahh, so presumably Katie is being Cha Cha rather than Slutty Sandy. Either way, it's a good look on her. Vanilla Ice's skating is a bit more controlled this week, though still somewhat haphazard in places. His solo jumps go okay, though his first toe loop is a bit sloppy. He successfully makes the jump over Katie without injuring either of them, and you can see the relief on her face when she sits up. Scores: Jason 6.5, Robin 8.0, Emma 6.5 for a total of 21.0. Robin's kind of confusing me with his scores this evening. Vanilla says that he would've sacrificed his body if the jump went wrong in order to save Katie. Katie doesn't look especially convinced.

Robin says that tonight he saw a figure skater who was so much stronger than usual, and he congratulates Katie on being brave enough to risk her life for light entertainment. Emma compliments Vanilla on his improved posture, and she loves the way he performs, though she felt it was less free-spirited than usual. Jason said that it was disjointed, and that while Vanilla is normally great with the lifts, there were a few tonight that lacked dynamism. Jedward heckle him from the audience, then applaud themselves. Sometimes I feel this show is beneath all of us, I really do.

Dave and FRANKIE! are next. Dave thinks that last week's performance was "a shocker". He'll be skating to 'Aquarius' from Hair this week, and since his step sequence last week was sub-par, Chris and Jayne are hoping he can raise the game with his jumps. FRANKIE! points out how hard it is to land properly. As Dave struggles with his second jump (a toe loop), Chris and Jayne amend the routine to include two waltz jumps instead, which Dave is happier with. Ooh, he rejected the choreography! I smell trouble brewing.

Sara Cox is in the audience next to Chris Moyles! I love Sara Cox. I do not love Chris Moyles. Obviously, this is a comedy routine, but most of the comic heavy lifting is being done by the costume and wigs, and Dave is just basically doing a smell-the-fart face underneath it all. He lands both of his jumps, which is nice. Gubba tells the "kids" in the audience that this is how their parents dressed in the sixties, even though I should imagine most of the "kids" probably don't have parents who were alive in the sixties. You're showing your age, Gubba. [Seriously. Every.Sodding.Series. It's the 21st century, Gubba! - Carrie] Scores: Jason and Emma 4.0, and 4.5 from Robin for a total of 12.5. Dave is pleased that his score is going up. He says that he was surprised to land the jumps, and he's had a bit of a "wobble week". FRANKIE! says that Dave is improving week on week, and she thinks he'll be fine with next week's Ultimate Skills Test. Chris thinks Comedy Dave is back, since we lost him last week in the same place we lost Kerry. Behind the sideboard, or whatever. He says that Dave is one of the hardest working contestants.

Bunto hoots and makes a bunch of meaningless noise until she cops that the costuming did most of the work - she thinks there's nothing in his face or eyes and it feels like he's going through the motions. She wants Comedy Dave back. Jason says that it's a number about reckless abandonment, and that Dave spent too much time looking down at the ice and not engaging with the audience. Robin thinks there's positivity - Dave made the jumps, for starters. However, he thinks Chris's comment about Dave being a hard worker is telling, because we can see the hard work in his face. Even Karen finds it hard to say nice stuff beyond "Dave works really hard" and basically admits that every day working with Dave is a day that she needs danger money. Poor Karen.

Our final contestant of the night is Laura. Last week she was epicmazing to Celine Dion and narrowed the gap on Sam, but she admits that she still hasn't quite rivalled him yet. She explains that this week's routine is very challenging, and she'll also be adding a backward flip, which has never been pulled off by a celeb on this show. As tradition dictates, she has several accidents in rehearsals and doesn't pull it off in the dress rehearsal, leaving an element of doubt (well, "doubt") over whether she'll pull it off on the night or not.

She's skating to 'You Can't Stop The Beat' from Hairspray. It suffers from a few of the same problems as Sam's - it's a bit too frenetic to really appreciate properly, and there's also a lift at the beginning that's so awkward-looking that the first time I saw it I thought it was a botch job, but apparently no, it was supposed to look like that. Her tits are bouncing around merrily again and OMIGOD SHE LANDS THE BACKWARD FLIP! That was pretty awesome. After that, she does her solo jumps which feel a bit of an afterthought at this point but she executes those well as well. She looks ecstatic when the routine finishes, as well she might. In the replay, it looks a bit like after she lands the backward flip, she gives Colin a little tap on the hip as if to go "yeah! We did it!" I don't know if that's actually what happened or not, but if so, it's super-cute. Scores: 8.5s all round for a total of 25.5 and a spot at the top of the leaderboard, joint with Sam. Laura tells Phil that seeing that VT beforehand was quite scary. Phil asks her if she was worried about the jumps, and Laura says that she was, because the routine was packed full of tricks and there was a lot to get right. Squinty Colin geeks out over how well-suited to their personalities this routine was, presumably because they're both dorks. Jayne says that they were a bit reluctant to ask Laura to do this manoeuvre, but she's pleased she pulled it off.

Jason tells Laura that she entertained him tonight - "you are so Disney, it's brilliant" - and says that she brought her children's TV presenter fun and goofiness into the routine. Robin loved her exuberance and that she has a go at whatever she's asked to try. Bunto says this was her favourite routine of the night, and that the exaggerated expressions really worked - "it was pure theatre, dahling". Oh do shush, Bunton.

Leaderboard: Tie for top between Sam and Laura, then tie again for second between Jeff and Chloe, then Vanilla Ice, Johnson, Denise, Dave and Kerry in that order. The lines are opened for the public to vote, and we get a recap of the night's performances. And there we have it. Two contestants will face the dreaded skate-off later - but who'll be posting early closing notices? [Dirty Dancing, featuring Ray.Fucking.Quinn! - Carrie]

The Skate-Off

You know the drill: earlier tonight, nine couples performed for our votes. One couple's going home. It's really very simple when you think about it.

Phil and Holly welcome us back to the show and lead us into the recap with extra backstage footage: Jeff is impressed that he's doubled his score in two weeks, and looks forward to next week's challenge if he gets through. Denise is disappointed with the marks, but knows she's basically dependent on the public vote and hope she'll be kept in because she's not ready to go yet. Tim Healy says he is proud of her [but bored of the show - Carrie]. Sam vows to work on his timing next week in the hope of getting that nine that Bunto promised. Kerry thinks the judges are all right about her, and she's going to keep having fun as long as the public are having fun watching her. How incredibly hubristic of her. Chloe feels she could've acted the performance better, but she's still very happy with her score. Johnson enjoyed every moment of his routine, and hopes to get higher marks if he's back next week. Vanilla Ice hopes not to have to do the routine again, and vows that he is not melting. Because he is ICE. [Could make an Elphaba/melting joke. Can't be bothered. - Carrie] Jedward are interviewed, and no one cares. Dave enjoyed his jumps and not falling over, so he's happy overall. Laura was thrilled to pull off the backflip, since it's gone wrong nearly every time before that, and was slightly bemused to have received the same score as Sam.

Holly's with the judges looking for a final word or two. Robin thinks that some people were so focused on the jump that they didn't focus on the rest of the performance. He thinks everyone will have to step it up with next week's Ultimate Skills Test. Jason thinks there's an upper echelon of Laura, Sam, Chloe and Jeff, and thinks Laura needs to believe in herself more. Bunto hopes the audience are voting for skating ability and "pure performance".

Phil's got the results. Go on, touch your ear. You know you want to. In no particular order, the following couples are safe and skating next week: Vanilla Ice and Katie, Laura and Colin, Jeff and Isabelle, Sam and Brianne, Chloe and Michael, Johnson and Jodeyne, and Denise and Lovely Matt. So Kerry and Daniel and Dave and FRANKIE! are in the skate-off. But first: there are commercials.

When we return, Phil and Holly are seeking advice from Chris and Jayne. Jayne thinks that both Dave and Kerry have struggled with the skills required of them. Chris thinks Kerry can improve her steps, and Dave needs to improve his overall performance.

Kerry and Daniel are out first. Kerry's a little improved this time around - she's still not really competition-standard, but she's fixed some of her smaller mistakes from the first performance and the whole thing is slightly more fluid and coherent. Kerry tells Phil that the judges are right, and while she's "devastated" to be in the skate-off, she's thankful to the public for allowing her to get this far in the first place. Dan, Jayne and Chris all agree that she skated better this time around.

Dave and FRANKIE! take to the ice. Dave is not so much improved - in fact, there are areas where he's noticeably more stumbly than he was first time around, and his balance seems to be off, though he does still land both of his jumps. It's not really a vote-winning performance though, if I'm honest. Dave tells Phil that FRANKIE! told him to bear in mind that he'd have to skate every routine twice, so they've always been prepared for the skate-off. The audience takes about six years to get this joke. FRANKIE! thinks Dave improved this time around, and he even smiled at her this time around. Jayne noticed this too, and Chris thinks the jumps were great, second time around.

Judgement time. Bunto goes first, and says that she found it a difficult decision, and while she can't believe she's saying this, she has to vote on performance [because, little as she knows about that, she knows fuck-all about skating - Carrie], and votes to save Kerry. There is some booing. Robin says that it was a real toss-up, but as a skater he needs to vote for the skater, so he saves Dave. Jason is looking for performance, as this is theatre week, and based on the skate-off performances, he's saving Kerry. So Kerry is through and Dave is out. He tells Phil that he's gutted, but he knows he's not one of the best skaters, and he's had a great time, and FRANKIE! has been a brilliant partner. We review his highlights, such as they are. He had fun, that's the important thing. Phil reminds FRANKIE! that they will miss her too, lest she shiv him.

Next week! It's the Ultimate Skills Test (you may have noticed them mention this - they were quite subtle). The skills will be worth half of the overall score. It will be DRAMATIC, apparently. Dave and FRANKIE! set out for their lap of honour, and that's the end of theatre week. Join us next week to see how everyone gets on with their Ultimate Skills!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

That's all, Hollyoaks!

Vegas Night
Tx: Sunday 6th February 2011

You know how Big Brother jumped the shark and kept bringing in more and more ludicrous gimmicks in an effort to keep its viewing figures but they moved further and further away from everything that made the show good in the first place and managed to drag in some new viewers because it was such car-crash television?

Yeah, that wasn't good, was it?

Just bear that in mind. Especially if you're a producer of Dancing on Ice. Actually, if you're a producer of Dancing on Ice, just remind yourself of the first couple of series of this show. You remember - when it was about skating, and the simplicity of having a weekly required element actually allowed even the non-skating judges (oh, that's right, THERE WEREN'T ANY) to compare the contestants.

Or, thinking about it, have you already been doing that, and ignoring the stuff that made this an interesting show, and opting instead to bring in the stuff that made it over-the-top light entertainment? That would explain the reprise of Vegas Night, first seen in Series 1, and featuring John Barrowman as Elvis.



And seriously, you can only get away with that shit when you have Barrowman in your cast. I think we can all agree that there is nobody in this year's line-up even slightly as jazz-hands sing-out-Louise as Barrowman.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

Pre-titles! The contestants are skating in Vegas! Except not! There will be rubbish skating and injury porn! Much like every other week!

Titles!

Oh, bizarre pre-filmed montage in the world's least glamorous casino, before we see Torvill and Dean begin a pro cast routine to Copacabana, with Colin doing backflips and OH IT'S SEAN! I'm mildly mollified. Oh! And then ROBIN DOES MAGIC! He makes Torvill and Dean appear in a big cage! And then makes them change their costume! Also, the sight of Sean trying to do club dancing (on ice) is brilliant. OK, so this is a big lengthy extravaganza, which is lovely (and notably all the contestants are missing). Why isn't Robin skating, or at least doing something worthy of his talent? We are being robbed, my friends, robbed, I tell you. [The whole thing did go on for at least a minute too long, though. I started doing my accounts. - Steve]

Phil and Holly welcome us, and tell us that the skaters will face a skating test and have to perform some elements. Well, it's about time. The people nominated to teach them in the weeks to come about these are Chris Fountain (who didn't win, by the way), last series' champion, and then some smug 50s-throwback twat. Phil and Holly congratulate Jayne and Chris on their lovely routine. Maybe Phil and Holly could be judges.

Right, time for some contestants: Jeff and Isabelle, Jen and Sylvain, Sam and Brianne, Laura and Colin, the no-surname twins, Kerry and Dan, Johnson and Jodeyne, Chloe and Michael (in a HAT and BRACES), Vanilla Ice and Katie, and Denise and Matt. And once we have them gathered on the rink, what better time to show some ads? And trail some weeping, of course.

I'm not going to make it to the end of this series, am I? [Me neither, for reasons that will become clear at the end of this recap. - Steve]

The stupid showgirls who are purporting to make this a Vegas-themed programme waggle their feathered fans concealing Phil and Holly, and it suddenly occurs to me that the tux-clad Mr Schofield is making a bid to play Billy Flynn in the West End. It's OK, Phil! Playing a lead role in Chicago comes to everyone in their time!

Jen and Sylvain are performing first, and she has to skate by herself to prove that she can do it after throwing a bit of a hissyfit last week at the judges' comments. [Sticking her on first, reminding us that she was a tad ungracious last week - she didn't stand a chance, did she? - Steve] This week, she is performing as Cher to If I Could Turn Back Time. She begins by herself, then there are a lot of lifts and elements where she leans on Sylvain. There's a side-by-side step sequence that isn't synchronised, and her lines look very wobbly from time to time. Gubba reminds us that these two are supposed to be shagging, as if we could forget. Scores - Jason 6.0, Robin 7.0 and Emma 6.0 for a total of 19.0. It really wasn't that good. You are all daft. Sylvain says Jen "did really great". Chris says they are part of the front-running group, and she needs to overcome her worries. This week, Jason is dressed as Billy Bunter, and admires their synchronicity (which was shit), asking them to stop holding back on the emotion: "it's as if you are a beautiful facade." Robin says she did well with the step sequence, but they can't be at the expense of the whole performance. Emma looks anaemic, and asks Jen to "own" the lift, or something.

We've had ten minutes of programme - surely it's time for another break? Phil promises us more Sin City after the break. [I thought he said Sim City. That would've been more entertaining. - Steve] So far, I actually fail to see how this is Vegas at all, apart from having showgirls standing around. You might as well have got a roulette wheel and put it by the judges' desk, it'd have served the same purpose.

Phil and Holly do a tedious little skit which ends with the gag that Holly smells, or something. Time for Jeff and Isabelle. He says being in the Ice Pick was easy because he didn't have to do anything, and thinks he is one good performance away from "arriving in the competition". Does that mean the competition still hasn't bloody started? Performance coach Kate comes in to tell Jeff that he is a lazy twat and should be better at things. I could do that.

They're skating to It's Not Unusual. Jeff is clearly doing Acting because he has a character face on, and makes as if to kiss Isabelle before they start the routine. The strongest feeling I have from this Tom Jones-themed dance - which is pretty good, actually - is that Chris so choreographed this because he wants to dance it with Jayne. You can just imagine it - the hip-grinding, the faux-arm-kissing, the Jayne-perched-on-shoulder moves. Love it. Scores - Jason 5.5, Robin 7.5, Emma 7.0 for a total of 20.0. Jeff reminds us that HE IS A DAD WITH CHILDREN. He then talks some bollocks about people wanting to see the skating rather than the performance, and that his name is Tom and Isabelle is called Natasha. Robin gives a big huzzah for Jeff's quality basic skating skills. Emma employs sibilance but little else. Jason says Jeff is doing much better.

Laura and Colin next. She lies that she is glad Sam is in the competition. She and Colin then totally fuck up their spiral lift in rehearsal, and she slices her blade through his leg. Still, at least it's not your scrotum, Colin. My Andrei and Pavel were not so lucky. This week they're skating to It's All Coming Back To Me Now, dressed in bright white, all the better to show up the blood if Laura maims Colin. They pull off the lift well, but the look of concentration on her face until she gets her balance is brilliant. It's a lovely, lyrical routine, although there's a slight stumble at the end. Good work. Scores - Jason 8.5, Robin 8.0 and Emma 7.5 for a total of 24.0. "Are you sure?" demands Colin. Laura does the humble thank-you routine....and I've just noticed, they actually DO have roulette chips on the judges' table. This show, srsly. Anyway, Jason says he was really moved, Emma jabbers about knocking marks off because the stumble was in front of her (clearly the ghost of Nicky Slater ON RELATIVE ICE has possessed her), Robin was happy with them showing such emotion. Karen says that Laura puts her heart and soul into everything, and they are a good team, and they had one of the most difficult step sequences. Ah, remember when people had to skate the same elements? So you could see who did them best? Good times.

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Denise and Matt do a little arm-wrestling skit, and Matt appears to have a £50 note. Did I see that right? Clearly he's been storing up the cash Heather Mills split with him. Last week she got rubbish scores and doesn't understand why; Jayne and Chris wonder why she's not got any better; Denise says she relies on Matt the entire time, and, after a tumble in the dress rehearsal, promises us that she will 'rethink' and do the whole thing tonight. Good idea!

They're skating to 'S Wonderful and Matt is pulling the cutest Twenties Charleston faces ever as Denise carefully tip-toes her way through her step sequence. It's unfortunate that the troublesome bit comes towards the end, because as soon as she's done it, she looks so much more relaxed and happy. Know who doesn't look relaxed and happy? Tim Healy. He looks bored. [In Tim Healy's defence, I think you or I would be gnawing our own limbs off if we actually had to sit through this shit every week without the benefit of fast-forward. - Steve] Scores - straight 4.5s for 13.5. The audience boo but Denise and Matt seem moderately content. Denise is also happy because Jayne says she did well. Emma patronises her, Jason says he only gives her a hard time because he loves her (the camera cuts away at this point to Karen fiddling with her hair), and Robin uses his rhetorical question device (does he? YES) yet again.

People lie that Dave and Frankie are entertaining. Dave says that he needs to show that he can skate, and Chris is worried about him being tired because of his daily routine. Seriously, don't start this shit. I've got no patience with it. Either don't do the fucking show if you haven't got time to do it properly, or do the show and stop your whinging. I told Metcalfe that the other week, it applies to you as well. There's a brilliant bit in rehearsal where Dave careens out of control and you can hear Frankie panicking, which she does through the method of making a sound like an air-raid siren - "Whoo! Whoooooo!"

Oh, fucking hell, it's a COMEDY routine to Please Release Me. Bored of comedy shit now. Surely Jason must mark him down on the assumption that he cannot do anything that isn't COMEDY. Frankie falls over at one point when she's supposed to be balanced on his boot and even though I've re-watched it, I can't really work out how it happened. Total of 11. Frankie says she fell, and even pros fall after 30 years of skating, so the judges shouldn't penalise Dave. Dave then says that there are people that work in factories and have three kids who get up earlier than him, so he should really stop his whining. Chris says the step sequence was OK and the ice is rough, so that's why Frankie fell. Dave keeps talking over Chris. Don't talk over Chris, you fool, he'll cut you. Robin says Dave focuses too hard on things so it doesn't gel. Emma wondered if he was playing a wooden soldier because his movement was so stiff, and wanted more comedy. Seriously, Bunton? "You're like a cod mime artist with rigomortis," says Jason. Is a corpse better or worse than a lump of turd? Who can really say?

Still to come - Johnson in a vest, Vanilla Ice regaining his memory!

And apparently a really lame Elvis lookalike. Honestly, even Barrowman was more convincing. [That's because he KNOWS HIS CRAFT. - Steve] This is all to lead in to the VT of Vanilla Ice and Katie, who are skating to Blue Suede Shoes, despite the fact that he buggered off to Canada for most of the week and didn't rehearse. And that is it. Out on the rink, he is skating in blue boots and sneering his way through miming to the backing track. It is fun enough, and ends with him throwing Katie over his head. They both laugh. Well, that's nice. Scores - Jason 5.5, Robin 5.0 and Emma 5.5 for a total of 16.0. Vanilla Ice claims to not be delusional, and then Phil reminds us that he had concussion last week. I had totally forgotten that. Maybe I have been hit on my head at some point. Jayne says she's never seen so much energy from Elvis. Well, no, because he's dead. Robin says Vanilla Ice skates like a hockey player trying to be a figure skater, but he likes that he looks after his partner. Jason begs Vanilla Ice not to mime along with the words. Karen says the judges are stingy and she hates them, the pissy bitches.

Last week, Johnson thought he was shaky at points, and now he wants to be better. Chris and Jayne note that he's not fully confident, but he has always coped well with that he's been given. Johnson recalls that he was probably the worst person Jayne and Chris have ever seen on the ice when they did their initial assessment of his skillzorz. This week he has struggled with the step sequence. That is all. He and Jodeyne are skating to Piano Man. Johnson seems to be taking his blades off the ice sometimes rather than gliding along, and also struggles with supporting Jodeyne's entire weight (of about three stone) at places. Straight 4.0s for a total of 12. Johnson says that tonight he has a friend in the audience who he hasn't seen for five years, since they were in hospital together. Jodeyne looks like she's going to cry with pride; she thinks he's done "not bad" bearing in mind he has memory problems. Jason reminds Johnson he's looking for performance, and he wants to see continued improvement. Karen, meanwhile, is crying, so obviously it's time to cut across to her and let her blub away about Johnson's "major achievement". Jason interrupts her and says, "If your opinion still mattered, you would still be on the panel." Oh, Jason. Are you really under the delusion that anyone cares what you or Bunton think? Karen gets up and offers him out, basically; she asks him to repeat what he said, and then they begin to have a rather embarrassing row before Holly interjects and gets Karen to sit down again. If Karen had any gumption at all, she'd have done a Sharon Osbourne and walked out. See how they liked that, and who's really more important to the show. Or, you know, actually slapped him. I wonder who Karen loathes more - Jason or Nicky? I genuinely think it might be Jason. [I love that there was a Twitter campaign to get Jason sacked after this - like this kind of shit isn't EXACTLY the reason he's still there. - Steve]

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Sam and Brianne next. I had FORGOTTEN ABOUT THEM AGAIN. Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. This week, they are skating to I Get A Kick Out Of You. Chris says YET AGAIN that there is a group of front-runners. Sam then weirdly says that this is the first character routine he's done. Shouldn't actors always be finding a character in a performance? If I've learnt nothing else from my study of reality shows, I've definitely learnt that. They then go to the Savoy (ironically, seeing as Brianne seems to be dressed as Elle Woods) to meet a Frank Sinatra impersonator to find out nothing they couldn't have found out from a quick scout through YouTube. They skate, and I do like their steps on the off beat, and also Sam's unintentional comedy straining face when he picks Brianne up by her ankle for the non-headbanger lift. Straight 8.5s for a total of 25.5, the highest of the series. Sam talks boringly about a few mistakes they made, which Brianne claims were her fault, and then he refers to 'Frank', as if he knows him personally. Holly throws to Emma with "Sometimes it's hard to tell which one's the professional," and Emma agrees. Well, yeah, if you know fuck-all about skating. Which Bunton does. Robin loves to see him being so committed to the routine, and says he is capable of a 10.0.

Last week, Kerry was rubbish, and thought she deserved to be in the skate-off. She cries about not enjoying it so much any more, because she can't do it all like everybody else can. "Can't do it!" she whines, like a petulant child. Even patient Dan, bless him, is clearly getting pissed off. "Don't give up on me. Don't give up on YOU!" he demands. But it's OK, everybody, because Kerry HAS CHILDREN and she is doing this FOR THEM. To be fair, the little ones are exceptionally cute.

Oh my goodness, that depth of spray-tan is not a good look with a bright pink costume, Kerry. They're skating to Woman In Love. She is still having problems with the step sequence, and her arms are desperately trying to keep her balanced. [Obligatory "it'll take a lot more than arms to do that" gag. - Steve] Still, the bits where Dan is throwing her about are good. Total of 10.0, and Kerry says she's not as good as everyone else but she is having fun. Except she wasn't the other day. Maybe she forgot. Maybe SHE had a concussion. Robin says that Kerry is a bit rubbish and should be better. So does Emma. So does Jason.

After the break - rabbits and hats!

And - water fountains, apparently, in pitiful attempt to make a gag about the Belagio. Oh, show. Last week, Chloe was a rock chick, except not; this week at the beginning of the "skills weeks", she has to do loads of step sequences to In The Mood, which Jayne and Chris once skated to.



I think once again we are reminded how farcical it is when idiots like Holly and Emma liken DoI contestants to proper skaters like Jayne, Chris and Robin. (NB - that clip begins with Sing Sing Sing, but worth listening to for the commentator using the immortal phrase "ON ICE" right at the start.)

Anyway, Chloe and Michael watch the routine on a laptop, and note how fast Jayne and Chris are OVER THE ICE as well as spotting places where they've been given the same choreography. They are honoured, but also a little scared. Out on the rink, Michael is dressed as the world's gayest soldier, and Chloe as a slutty Miss Moneypenny, for some reason. It's quick, it's quite rock'n'rolly rather than Forties, but it's performed well, with some good footwork from Chloe and a great lift or two. Scores - Jason 7.0, Robin 7.5 and Emma 7.5 for a total of 22.0. Chloe says it was the hardest routine she's had and Michael agrees that it was achallenging and they were both stressed by it. Heh. Jayne congratulates them; Chris says he doesn't recognise the young people dressed in green in the archive clips. Jason says the technical difficulty compromised her performance; Emma patronises a bit; Robin says, "Props to you, girlie," which I like for no discernable reason.

Right, that's it. Phone. Vote. Come back in a bit.

Results show

O HAI PHIL! The phone lines have closed, and this is the skate-off!

Titles!

Phil lies that the night has been Vegas-like and glamorous. He says he feels like George Clooney. So does Holly. In HER condition. Oh, Willoughby. Time for some recap filler? I think so. Jen hopes she gets through because she likes skating by herself even though she loves Sylvain; Isabelle has really nice eyebrows; Laura can't ask for more than 24.0, so expect no Matt Baker ten-grubbing from her; Denise is glad that people have seen an improvement; Dave thinks it was the worst he has ever skated, and Chris Moyles thought it was dull; Vanilla Ice is a PERFORMER and is here to PERFORM; Johnson thinks he is improving and will try harder, but does not want to get involved in stupid bitchfights between Karen and Jason; I HAD ACTUALLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT SAM AND BRIANNE AGAIN; Kerry thinks she will be in the skate-off, and so does Dan, by the looks of it; Chloe is happy that Robin, the Olympic champion, noticed that she had some hard choreography to do. Idiot.

Holly asks Robin how concentrating on the step sequences has changed the competition. He says that it has changed it a lot. Thanks, Robin. Jason then makes an apology to Karen, which is quite gracious, and then treads on it completely by telling her that she should listen to him more and also stop crying. Karen tells him to talk to the hand, for he is a "nasty, nasty man." Crashing on, then, Emma thinks Chloe most personified the spirit of Vegas. Where have the showgirls gone, by the way?

Some *touches ear* results, then? Safe couples - Sam and Brianne; Jeff and Isabelle ("That's us, right?" he verifies); Kerry and Dan ("oh my GOD. NO!" she screeches) [that's funny, so did I - Steve]; Laura and Colin; Dave and Frankie (who both seem to have strokes); Chloe and Michael; Denise and Matt...and Johnson and Jodeyne.

So Jen and Sylvain, who were fucked over by being put on in the graveyard slot, and Vanilla Ice and Katie, who were fucked over by...him being Vanilla Ice, as far as I can see, will skate again to stay in the competition.

After a quick break, obv.

Back. Jayne and Chris are surprised because Jen and Vanilla Ice are two strong skaters. "Obviously the audience at home aren't listening to the judges," says Chris. Well, quite, but why would anyone listen to Jason and Emma? We've been through this enough times.

I didn't notice before, but Jen has sparkly skates. Jen and Sylvain ftw! They skate, anyway, and Jen is suffering with some injury or other. Sylvain is spectacularly unbothered by both her injury and the prospect of leaving the competition. [I love his Gallic indifference so very much. Also: his arms. - Steve] Vanilla Ice does his obvious miming again this time round, and he and Katie still cackle at the end. He too is unbothered about the prospect of leaving the competition, but wants to give Katie credit for having a broken toe. HA.

The judges decide: Jason saves Vanilla Ice ON ICE; Robin saves Vanilla Ice ON ICE; and Emma also saves Vanilla Ice ON ICE. Although I do think that surely Jason should vote, then Emma, so that the head judge actually does get the casting vote in the event of a tie. This. Fucking. Show. Anyway, Jen and Sylvain can get off the rink and carry on their real-honestly romance in private.

Quick montage of their highlights, then back to the rink to see Jen weeping and Sylvain kissing her head. "See you on This Morning tomorrow! We'll have some tissues! Bye, darling!" bellows Phil as Jen and Sylvain take their lap of honour.

Another week over, kids. And next week Steve will have to recap the horror of a performance from the cast of Wicked, one of the few West End shows I simply cannot bear! Join him then! [I'm not even sure I'm watching next week. Without Sylvain and his arms, what point is there? In anything? *sobs* - Steve] [Man up, Perkins. You still have Matt. I have nothing and NO ONE. - Carrie, who misses her Andrei]