Tx: Sunday 8th January 2012
Hello all! Welcome to Bitching on Ice 2012. We're back for another series of vaguely famous people in sequins, lots of bitching, tears (mostly from Karen), Jayne Torvill being awesome, Christopher Dean being snide and patronising, and the occasional decent routine.
Prior to this series, we've had lots of on-ice injuries, with Keith Chegwin smashing his ribs up and Chesney Hawkes breaking his leg (and lumbering us with FUCKING CHICO, but getting a sparkly black cast out of it). Still, we have 15 contenders in good enough shape to compete, and we have 15 professionals partnering them. Hooray!
The race is on. Cue the titles!
We open with a Torvill and Dean-led professional routine to Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory, accompanied by some gymnasts in a chandelier hanging from the rafters. No, really. The ladyskaters are in big crinoline-style skirts, which get torn off in Bucks Fizz fashion. Lovely Matt is shirtless already. Matt, my love, keep your powder dry - where will we go if you're shirtless in week one? [*ponders this for a while, then goes for a lie down* - Steve] Tease us a bit! Don't give us the good stuff right away. Sean throws Jodeyne around, which is always brilliant, then all the menfolk throw Jayne around for a bit, reminding us of the epic week in which Chris was off sick and Jayne got to skate with all the boys and LOVED it. At the end there is fire juggling and pyro-flying and fireworks coming out of people's arses and all sorts of fun. Eat that, Strictly with your park benches and Russell Grant glitter cannons! Welcome back, Dancing on Ice!
So all is business as usual, right? Well, no, not exactly. Most importantly, there is no more Girl With The Perfect Smile looking for a fake boyfriend with her fake teeth.
We still have a Phil, of course, because this show could not exist without him; but rather than a Holly we now have a Christine Bleakley, fresh from her triumph as presenter of Daybreak. She's also one of the blandest, dullest Strictly contestants in history, so this should stand her in good stead for doing the incisive interviews with judges post-scoring. Tonight she is covered in so much dark eyeshadow that it looks like she did her make-up in a coal scuttle, and unfortunately also makes her look cross-eyed. Bad luck, Christine! Try not to take your sartorial advice from Tess Daly in future!
So who are our skating stars? Well, there's Sugababe Heidi Range with MY ANDREI! There's Coronation Street's Andy Whyment with Vicky Ogden; Dallas's Charlene Tilton with Matthew Gonzalez; Sam Nixon and Alexandra Schulman; Mark Rhodes with Frankie; EastEnders' Laila Morse and Lukasz Rozycki; Blue Peter's Andy Akinwolere and Maria Filippov; beyond description Jennifer Ellison and Daniel Whiston; Emmerdale's Matthew Wolfenden and Nina Ulanova; diet expert Rosemary Conley and Mark Hanretty; the founder of free running Sebastien Foucan and Brianne Delcourt; Hollyoaks' Jorgie Porter and Matt Evers; Chico and Jodeyne Higgins; skier Chemmy Alcott and Sean Rice; actor Corey Feldman and Brooke Castile.
Hooray! Jayne and Chris talk about all the breakages, including an injury to the beauteous Sylvain Longchambon (which did bring my Andrei back, so I shan't complain too hard). "It's a great cast," says Chris, possibly referring to the sparkly one that Chesney has. He promises us the best and most entertaining series to date. Jayne says the celebrities will not be able to hide any weaknesses in their skating, implying that previously they have been able to. Surely that is not casting aspersions on the ability of previous judging panels to note technical skating ability? [Well, before they could always hope that they messed up somewhere that was not right in front of Bunton. - Steve]
Well, yes, it probably is. We have a revamped ice panel now, though, and it is amazing. We've waved farewell to Emma Bunton, who realised that she was utterly superfluous. We've also waved farewell to Jason Gardiner, who is probably claiming that he wants to spend more time with his hair plugs, but who I secretly believe to have been the justified victim of a covert plot by Karen, eager to prove exactly who is more important to the show out of the two of them after last series' indignities.
So who do we have on our judging panel? Well, we head over to Robin Cousins's library to find out, where he is standing pensively, awaiting his new colleagues. First of all, Katarina Witt arrives ("one of the all-time greats," says Robin - too fucking right), to which I begin to screech, "That's Katarina fucking WITT!" at poor Steve. [It's true, she did. - Steve] She looks amazing, because she is amazing. Then Louie Spence turns up, about which I am significantly less excited. He purses his lips and shows us that he is going to be the Nasty Gay Judge. He also informs us, "I am DANCE," at which point we decide that we will therefore refer to him as "Dance" from this point onwards.
Robin tells Christine he is hoping to see some great performances, and the celebrities have to be dynamic and connect immediately with the audience. Dance says Christine is looking breathtakingly stunning, and then faffs about being the performance and choreographic judge, and wanting to see neverending performance. Katarina says she will look out for whatever is left after the boys have finished their judging, and she thinks it is great that the UK has a skating show. Bless her. She's not seen this before, has she? [I love that she starts as she means to go on - with a faint air of disdain for everything about this show. - Steve]
So Heidi and Andrei are first up. She tells us she is "probably" best known for being in the Sugababes. What ELSE is she known for? [Leaving Atomic Kitten before they got famous? - Steve] She's quite a scaredycat and screeches, but that might be because Chris is holding on to her. When Sylvain shows up, she looks much happier. You would be, admit it. They try to do some lifts and Heidi panics because it feels like take-off in a plane. Because she's such a wimp, they practise for FOUR DAYS off the ice. Everyone from the entire cast is standing rinkside when they return, all the better to see Sylvain rupture his bicep. Andrei arrives in a big car with a hold-all, skates on to the rink and reassures Heidi all the way through, informing the camera that he is very proud of her. I love Andrei so much. He's too good for this show.
They're skating to Katy Perry's ET. Heidi looks a bit like a robot rather than an extra-terrestrial. Maybe a Fembot from Austin Powers, with that crazy-big beehive. She's clearly nervous, with a smile plastered on, and as always the pro's effort to skate slower is noticeable. It's fine. Just a bit...blah. Scores - Dance 4.5, Robin 4.5, Katarina 3.5 for a total of 12.5. Heidi wibbles about enjoying it but being nervous, and then says she is lucky because she's got to skate for two amazing men. Andrei says Heidi has done brilliantly, and then adds that he wishes a quick recovery to Sylvain, because he is adorable. (Both of them are adorable, actually.)
There then begins a piece of Dancing on Ice history revisionism, where Phil and Chris talk about partner changes never having happened before. Sorry, but did someone forget series one, when David Seaman broke Pam, and had to have Natalia for a week? He dropped her, for goodness' sake, how can you forget that? Look, here it is:
Poor David. Last series they tried to wipe the memory of his headbanger; this series they're removing the memory of his partnerswap. Soon, Frankie will have nobody there when she goes home at all, because he'll have been erased from existence. [Just like her surname. - Steve]
Anyway, Robin says it was a very challenging week for Heidi, and it's tough to rely on a partner. Katarina nods, and tells Heidi that if there is one thing to trust a Russian man to do, it is to catch you. HA! Dance says that Heidi has good musicality, but she needs to extend her lines more.
Next is Mark Rhodes and Frankie. He tells us that he is best known for being one half of Sam and Mark. He does not want Sam to beat him. In the basic skills test, Jayne pulls her awesome schoolteacher face as Mark completely fucks everything up. Frankie will not stand for this kind of uselessness. She says it will take all of her experience to get him to the kind of standard she needs him to be at. Karen is there too, and gives him some kind of skinned mammal to carry. Excellent training techniques! None of them seem to work, though, because in the dress rehearsal his legs turn to jelly and Frankie falls. He says he hopes that won't happen on the night. I suppose she probably does too.
They're skating to I'm Still Standing (all hail the blessed memory of St Jill of Halfpenny and the BEST JIVE EVER). This basically looks a bit like a couple of kids on a date at the ice disco, where the girl is much, much better than her slightly pathetic boyfriend, but is trying not to show him up too much because of the pitifully fragile nature of the male ego. She's always ever so slightly in front of him, and every time he has to perform a skating move he looks terrified. Still, he throws in some fistpumping and gurning, so that's good, right? Scores - Dance 2.0, Robin 3.0, Katarina 3.0 for a total of 8.0. Mark is pleased because he did not drop Frankie. She says that Mark started from absolute zero, which causes much hilarity all round. Jayne says Mark has made a big improvement. Sheesh.
Dance says Mark has a winning smile, but choreographically it was remedial dad-dancing, dependent on Frankie going round the ice. She is basically the Ola Jordan equivalent now. Dance then says not to blow him kisses, but to actually kiss him, and Mark offers to snog him for more marks. Slut. Robin questions whether there is enough time for Mark to get good, and tells him to stop mugging. Katarina is open-mouthed, but finally manages to say that she got a kick out of the performance but wanted to push him along the ice so that he would actually move with some kind of velocity.
Next, Charlene and Matthew. She used to play Lucy Ewing on Dallas, and thinks it is scary to learn to skate when you are 150 years old. However, she would like a backside like Jayne's, and so that is why she is doing this show. She tells us that her fiance died last year, so she knows she has to make the most of every opportunity, and then she starts to cry. This is sad. She gets to skate with Matthew, which seems to please her, and she wants to win, except she doesn't want to do any lifts or choreography. That seems...a flawed plan, at the least.
They're skating to Guilty, and Charlene begins by skating by herself, which is brave. Her hands look pretty good throughout, and although she's a little tense in the lifts, they work quite well. There are a few wobbles, but largely, this is nice and lyrical with a lot of shiny lights. Scores - Dance 4.5, Robin 4.0 and Katarina 4.5 for a total of 13.0. Charlene says she is shaking like a leaf but she did enjoy the skating, although she did threaten to quit on the first day when she was given her choreography.
Katarina says she is amazed that someone who is 150 years old looks so comfortable on the ice. Oh, Katarina, you win at life. She suggests that they work more as a couple rather than Charlene skating off by herself. Robin admires her solo work and says she will be a few people's guilty pleasures over the next few weeks - his included. Dance says that the routine was packed and punchy, and then begins to screech about BARBRA, DARLING!
Jorgie and Matt next. She says she is best known for being a McQueen in Hollyoaks. In the skills test, she skates fast but then realises she doesn't know how to stop, and muses on the headbanger, "That's really close to my teeth." She's...not the sharpest blade on the rink, is she? Still, she's got Lovely Matt as a partner - he brings her a bouquet to say hello. [MARRY ME LOVELY MATT. - Steve] Cute. He says she is a sponge. Fnar! Jayne and Chris are worried that Jorgie and Matt do too many tricks and lifts, and not enough skating. You guys saw series one, right? When Matt partnered Bonnie and she didn't put a sodding skate on the ice at all? Anyway, this time round they have a slow routine, so no place for tricksy things.
They're skating to Skinny Love, and Jorgie looks like a pretty little pixie - elegant in the lifts, good arms, and good speed across the rink. Still, as Gubba informs us, she went to ballet school, so that would explain the good lines. Marks: Dance 6.0, Robin 6.5 and Katarina 6.0 for a total of 18.5. Jorgie immediately tells Phil that she doesn't remember a thing about it. Jayne says Jorgie is a beautiful, gorgeous ballerina, and Robin thinks it was one of if not the strongest opening routines in any series. He says it was a rather breathtaking duet and he cannot wait to see what they do in the next few weeks. Dance notes her classical training, and suggests putting some eye contact in for future routines. Katarina says that Jorgie is the whole package already, and she has added a spark of magic to the night.
Quick montage of next week's celebs - Matthew Wolfenden is aggressive, competitive and used to be a gymnast (RINGER ALERT!); Jennifer Ellison is a little bit in love with Dan; Rosemary Conley is adorably excited to be fulfilling her dream; Sam Nixon is finding muscles he never knew he had; Sebastien Foucan tries to do free-running on the ice and fails; Laila Morse notes that Torvill and Dean are "really good skaters"; FUCKING Chico has replaced Chesney and informs us that he is his own biggest competition, and when everything else fails, personality prevails - oh, just FUCK OFF; Corey Feldman has a weird hair-extension bit hanging into his face and generally seems a bit odd.
Rinkside, Matthew tries to be humble and says he is looking forward to it. Laila on the other hand is not looking forward to it at all. Chico tells us he's FORTY, you know, dear, I said I'm FORTY YEARS OLD, dear! Sebastien says skating is harder than he thought. Sam is proud of Mark. Rosemary is beaming about what a privilege it is to be skating and then thanks everyone again. Corey says he is going to wear a Jorgie mask - whatever works for you, dude. Jenny Elly says that she's rubbish. Well, next week sounds like a bundle of laughs, doesn't it?
Christine is over with Karen and the Class of 2012, who are apparently a very supportive group with a high standard of performance and technique. Karen reminds us how difficult and dangerous it is to dance ON ICE. Christine starts to interview Mark, who suddenly stands up, saying that it's really rude to be sitting down while she's talking to him. Heh. Andy W gets his bum pinched. Dan is laughing rather too hard to be an innocent party to this.
Next, Chemmy and Sean. She is brave and awesome. A year ago, she shattered her leg in a skiing accident, and that gives the show the chance to air footage of her crashing and being airlifted off the slope. Thanks for that, show. You couldn't have just described that to us, of course. Unsurprisingly, as they move into training, she gets nervous about jumping and although she can see that it's not dangerous to do the jump on ice, her body won't let her do it. Sean says that it's an honour to help her through this; Chris very helpfully says that she has to "put her fears aside". Whatever, Dean. I'm fairly sure you'd find it daunting too if you ever had an injury as bad as that.
They're skating to Raise Your Glass, and Chemmy is selling this like a pro - impressively so for someone whose face is usually buried under goggles and thermals. [And doubly impressive for how utterly moronic the choreography was. - Steve] It's fast, it's exciting, it's nicely done, and they are having fun. Sean's trousers are horrid, though. Scores - Dance 4.5, Robin 5.5 and Katarina 6.0 for a total of 16.0. Phil decides this is an appropriate opportunity to ask Chemmy about the footage of her accident, which she's never seen and doesn't want to; and then asks her if she feels it's a bit weird that everyone else has seen it, to which she says yes, and apologises to everyone. Aw. She agrees that skating is a physical and a psychological rehab for her, and says she keeps crying like a girl. Sean says that Chemmy always gives 1000 per cent. Take that, Lord Alan and your lame-ass 110%ers!
Katarina does some bonding with Chemmy over their shared athleteness and the awfulness of getting an injury, and tells her that she is an "explosion of excitement". Robin says it is good to see such power and speed across the ice, and praises her charisma. Dance says there was not much finesse or poise, but there was an explosion and it was exciting to watch.
Andy A and Maria are next. Chris tells us that Andy is not finessed, but he is fast across the ice. Maria is impressed by his naturalness on the rink, and thinks he has "rhythm inside him". Over-exuberant rehearsals lead to him crashing to the floor and hurting himself. Well, that's not smart.
They're skating to Moves Like Jagger, which begins with some horrid head choreography (I see what they're doing with it, seriously, but it just looks awful). He does seem to be a moderately good dancer and there is speed across the ice, but the lifts are clunky. Gubba, of course, invokes the "natural rhythm" meme. Ugh. Scores - Dance 3.5, Robin 5.0 and Katarina 5.5 for a total of 14.0. Andy shrieks about everything being brilliant and nailing everything, and then says that watching Maria skate is like watching a bird fly. Jayne praises Andy's natural skating ability and thanks him for not dropping Maria. Dance criticises him for being too floppy and not having enough control over his limbs. Katarina urges him to stay floppy, and then begins to dance in her chair, telling him she likes what he does. Robin says he looked after his partner well and was in complete control of the tricks.
Our last couple of the evening are Andy W and Vicky. He spends rehearsals being comic relief, and Chris concludes that "he can't skate". Optimistic words, there. This is Vicky's first year on the show, so she's lumbered with poor Andy who thinks he's rubbish. She disagrees, and tells him she's doing really well. With her help and the work of the coaches, Andy begins to progress, and impresses Chris and Jayne on their next meeting. Take THAT, Dean!
They're skating to Walk This Way, and I'm very taken with Vicky's sparkly leotard and plethora of hair extensions. This is an utterly ridiculous routine, with too much waving of hands in the air like one just doesn't care, and too much open-mouthed gurning from Andy, but it's quite good fun, and much better than one would have expected from that pre-skate VT. Scores - 4.0s all round for a 12.0. Andy is very happy indeed with that. He says he really enjoyed it and it was the best thing he's ever done by far. Chris says Andy had no basic skills, and he has come a long way. Robin says some of it was wrong "on so many levels" but he loved it none the less. Katarina says Andy has much more potential, and Dance says there were strong arms and it made him smile.
So everyone goes away happy from this first two-hour show. Jayne is proud of everyone, and then Chris talks over her, as he typically does, to say he wants to do that show again rather than go on to the results show. Anyway, Jorgie and Matt are at the top of the leaderboard, with Mark and Frankie at the bottom, and Katarina is the champion of everything. So who will be safe, and who will be skating off? The lines are now open, and we'll find out in the results show who'll be hanging up their skates!
So earlier tonight, seven couples skated, and now one has to leave. The lines have closed - there is a big graphic beamed on to the ice to prove it - and the scores are now being combined.
In the meantime, let's do the hot backstage action thing! Heidi was courageous and skated first, but needs to trust her Russian man more. She says some things to camera and I have no idea what they are. Sam did dad-dancing with no strength or power, but doesn't care because he feels like he was at the Olympics. Charlene will be a guilty pleasure for people, said Robin. Jorgie was breathtaking and the best one EVER, and Matt thinks that is incredible. Chemmy was exciting to watch, and she is happy to get a compliment from Dance because she has had no dance training ever. Andy A was floppy and Katarina liked it, and he and Maria muse that maybe Dance is JUS JELUS of him. Dance snarks that we must all get used to his epic, special style of judging. Robin said Andy W has a competitive skater inside him (fnar), which seems to have really pleased him. Chris gets to sum up the evening's action: Jorgie shone, Chemmy had energy, Andy W had character, and he was smiling. Well, that's the important thing, Chris. As long as you're happy.
Christine's with the judges. Robin says the standard overall is terrific so far, with power, speed, beauty and comedy, and collectively it's the girls' night. Dance says that the stand-out performance was Chemmy, who he thinks will be the dark horse, and proceeds to shimmy some more. Katarina says to be a memorable skater you need technique and performance, and for her tonight that was Jorgie, who has now raised the bar for herself as well as everyone else.
Time for some results? Then TOUCH YOUR EAR AND THEY SHALL ARRIVE. Our safe couples are: Andy W and Vicky; Charlene and Matthew; Jorgie and Matt; Chemmy and Sean (who shouts, "YES!"); and then we have to go to a break, because this show is nothing if not predictable...and when we return, we learn that the fifth couple safe is Mark and Frankie.
That leaves us with Heidi and MY POOR ANDREI in the skate-off with Andy A and Maria. We now have a lovely segment where Christine stands in the middle of the two skating-off couples and talks platitudes at them. Maria tells Andy to smile and enjoy it; Heidi smiles wistfully when reminiscing about her "turbulent few weeks", and says although she is gutted she will enjoy it. Andrei tells her to do her best, because he is nothing if not a good boy scout.
So they reprise their routines, Heidi and Andrei first, of course. When she heads over to the kiss-and-cry grott, she says she is nervous and didn't think she skated as well as she did the first time, and Jayne and Chris jump in to tell her she's an idiot and she skated much better just then. Andy and Maria follow, and I decide I actually really like their routine - it's fun and nifty and tricksy, annoying as the song is. Andy says he loves the song (of course) and the routine, and Chris jumps in to mock the dancing. Didn't you choreograph this, dude?
Time for the ice panel's verdict. Who will they save? Dance saves Heidi for being more refined and polished. Katarina thinks Heidi was better second time, but found Andy more impressive for keeping the rhythm and skating and dancing quickly, so saves him. It's down to Head Judge Robin - who likes a little suga with his babe, and saves Heidi. Oh, Robin. You've got an Olympic gold medal. That it should come to lame Sugababes puns!
So my Andrei lives to skate another day, and Andy weeps. Phil attempts to do some macho comforting. Chris and Jayne do sadfaces and hand over the flowers to Andy and Maria (out on week one for the second series running, poor her). Phil thanks the judges, the coaches, and Torvill and Dean, and then warns us that next week, when the remaining eight celebrities skate, Pixie Lott will be on the show. Fortunately Steve will have to recap that. [CURSES. - Steve] Join him then!