Monday, 6 February 2012

Ewing some, you lose some

Tx: Sunday 5th February 2012

I begin with a confession. Actually, a few confessions. I am not enjoying this series of Dancing on Ice, nor do I care about it. I didn't watch last week's show and don't feel that I've missed out. I can barely remember who the contestants are this year. And yes, yes, there is Andrei, and his very existence on the planet makes me happy, but woman cannot live by Andrei alone. This is an uninspiring series, drawing upon uninspiring gimmicks to try to make it more interesting, and failing utterly.

So to be honest as I begin doing this recap I'm not entirely sure I'll make it through the evening. I may do what I did last week and just have to refer you to Twitter to find out who's been eliminated. It's a much quicker way to get through the show - and when one is dealing with a television programme as a chore to "get through", you know there's a problem.

Oh, and One Direction are on this week.

It doesn't get any better, does it?

Let's get on. The sooner we start, the sooner it's over. We're reminded of last week's Duel (look down the page if you too can't remember what happened last week and need a prompt). This week, our contestants are dancing to some of the best pop songs of all time, which will be butchered by the sound team, and which will have literal choreography as devised by Chris, who will look very proud of himself.


What is the point of One Direction? Why haven't they gone back to school yet? Why does their song sound like the start of Summer Nights? [And therefore also quite like the start of 'Wannabe'? - Steve] Is it supposed to? Why are Jayne and Chris debasing themselves like this? I am going to have to not watch this. It's undignified. Back in a moment.

Here are Phil and Christine, who is looking increasingly thin by the week. Eat something, please, Bleakley. I know your fiance likes to eat all the pies, but try to steal one from him. They remind us of the point of this week's theme, and then we're straight into the action - no big skate-on, and no judges' waving. Good good.

Jennifer and Daniel first - she reminds us of all the injury badness, and then says she needs to skate more powerfully and faster, and now she is absolutely loving the competition. Dan confirms that she wants to improve and is now more confident. They're skating to Vogue, which Jen insightfully suggests is one of the most iconic dance routines and songs of all time, and then they go to find a professional Voguer. No, seriously. That's an actual job. There is one. He is it.

Jen looks a bit like a Kewpie doll dressed as Madonna, and the whole routine is weird. The Voguing looks good, but the rest looks slow and clunky, and as if Jen is about to fall over at any minute. Scores - Dance 6.0, Robin 5.5, Katarina 5.5 for a total of 17.0, which is a pretty good score. I clearly know nothing. Jen says that she feels like Jayne when she's in the training rink but then she's rubbish when she gets to the studio. Dan does some cheerleading, and Chris backs him up: "You did some great Voguing!" Dance was impressed with the dancing, and thought it was a lovely performance, pointing out that six "is just above halfway in the marking system". Thanks for that, Dance, that's some great counting. Robin says the detail was brilliant, but the middle pulled back to a standstill. Katarina thought she was faster, but thinks the skating skills are still basic.

SamandMark and Alexandra are next. He was nervous last week but happy to be voted through. This week he hopes to control his nerves. Is he getting the adorable woobie edit? If so, it's not working. They are skating to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, and so they have a prop bed to work with. He panics about a big lift in which he keeps falling over. Maybe he could try to fall on to the bed? Or at least throw Alexandra on to the bed, if he HAS to fall?

There's some nice work on the blades, and he doesn't drop Alexandra (although he does look constipated as he lifts her), and after that it all looks much more relaxed and happy. Gubba makes a George Michael drug-driving joke, which I cannot help but feel is slightly inappropriate. Scores - Dance 5.0, Robin 5.5 and Katarina 6.0 for a total of 16.5. SamandMark is all sad about his nerves, and then cuddles Alexandra and praises all the women skaters for "putting so much trust in idiots like me". Chris mocks SamandMark's wig. Katarina says that he is like a surprise...egg, maybe? She thought the lift was "safe" and there was speed. Dance says the track was poptastic, but the performance wasn't so much. Robin says it was about the detail, and because he has good basic skills, he needs to work on the finesse.

Charlene and Matthew. She is now referring to herself as "Suzie Skate-off". The bitterest woman on the skating rink...the bitterest woman on the skating rink... She feels betrayed by Robin, who decided to save Corey last week rather than her. Jayne and Chris laugh at how excited Charlene and Matthew are about skating to a Lady Gaga track; they are oddly cute about it, and Matthew moves into Extreme Gay mode as soon as the music hits. She whines some more about the bloody skate-off. Shut up, Tilton.

Another epically ugly wig for Charlene, and some glitter make-up for Matthew, and a routine that shows off Charlene's rather impressive flexibility. Her lines don't look too bad, but again the dance sections and the skating sections do not feel integrated. Scores - Dance 5.0, Robin 4.0 and Katarina 4.5 for a total of 13.5. Phil admires Charlene's suppleness, and then she admits that she is disappointed. To lighten the mood, Matthew squeals some more about being "Gagatastic". Chris assures us that Charlene is getting better, even though her marks do not indicate that. Robin scolds Charlene for not offering anything new technically since week one. Katarina concurs, and says that she was so much looking forward to the "perky personality", but there was less skating. Dance starts wittering on about the Princess of Pop and then takes the Nicky Slater Memorial Ball of FAST OVER THE ICE before putting his foot behind his neck, which Charlene imitates.

Sebastian and Brianne had a good week last week - they were happy to win immunity, and he wants to now be near the top. They hope to do this with this week's fast routine, incorporating free-running-style jumps which Brianne explains are very hard because they do not involve the toes, and Jayne and Chris guarantee us that he will soon be snapping at the heels of Jorgie and Matt.

They're skating to Fire With Fire, and the much-vaunted jumps look a bit weird, but the rest of the routine is really nice - he's certainly trying to lead her now, and they're starting to look less like two individuals on the rink at the same time and more like an actual partnership. Scores - Dance 7.5, Robin 7.0 and Katarina 7.0 for a total of 21.5. Sebastian agrees with Phil that it is easier to cope with routines when you have no fear, but he wanted to do well for Brianne this week because it is her birthday. She "aww"s at him. Dance screeches about personality and being on fire and BEE-YEW-TIFUL armlines. Katarina says she is in love with Sebastian's spirit. Robin says it's great to watch their partnership, and Sebastian's journey is visible to people at home.

Karen is all excited about her charges, as always, over in her playpen; Matt reminds us that he is injured and that is VERY SAD; everyone mocks SamandMark's wig; and Christine reads out ridiculous texts from Z-list celebrities. Chemmy namedrops her pals Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall, who are in the audience, and then Christine is embarrassingly servile and royalist.

Right, on to some Andrei, who is skating with that Sugababe bint. She was relieved to get immunity last week, and this week they're skating to that bloody Jessie J song, and Andrei bobs his head in adorable fashion. Heidi seems to be very nervous if she's not touching Andrei, and Karen wonders if he is just basically a big bear of a Russian comfort blanket for her. Poor Andrei. This show uses him cruelly.

Also, they have awful costumes. Andrei appears to have a rubber top taken directly from the seedier climes of Soho, and Heidi has sparkly underwear. She's right, though - if she's holding Andrei's hand, her skating looks OK; if she's by herself, she looks like Bambi on ice. Scores - Dance 6.0, Robin 5.0, Katarina 5.5 for a total of 16.5, her highest so far. "They're getting higher!" she squeals. "And so are the lifts!" Chris offers his critique on the "acting" part of the routine. Robin says the lifts are great, but she has to allow herself to have confidence in herself. Dance thinks mid-tempo numbers are hard to dance to. Katarina swoons some more about Andrei, and then says Heidi has a lovely smile, but she needs to feel it as well as see it.

Andy and Vicky had a slower number last week, and he was cross because he thought he could have skated it better.This week, though, they've got to skate to 500 Miles by The Proclaimers, which he's extremely excited about. However, we are reminded that he has a real job as well as pissing about on the ice, and go behind the scenes on Coronation Street, where they show off their roll-up lift.

Andy has prop comedy Proclaimer glasses. Of course he does. And then he walks 500 Miles across the rink to Vicky. Oh, Chris and your literal choreography - never change. Lovely roll-up lift, though. Scores - Dance 5.0, Robin 6.0, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 17.5. Much general disbelief ensues. Andy says what a good time he's had skating this week, and Jayne says that he's doing a lot of skating content and is the most improved celebrity from the start until now. Katarina likes the nice chemistry between them; Robin says something about a complete package (Karen is weeping with pride, by the way - make sure you've had a few shots of vodka for that); and Louie admires the technical difficulty of some of the routine.

Phil and Christine mention 1984, Phil invokes the Broom Cupboard, and GORDON THE GOPHER appears. Dancing on Ice being Dancing on Ice, though, this is then ignored and nothing more is said about it. To Chemmy and Sean, then. She gave it her all last week, but it wasn't about beating Corey, it was about confirming that she can be a good skater. There are lots of lifts in this week - their routine is to The Locomotion - and we're reminded of Katarina being EVIL (except she wasn't). Jayne is the only reasonable one involved in this debate, and says that Katarina didn't mean don't do them ever, just don't do them yet if she can't do them.

Chemmy does look weirdly like late 1980s Kylie with her hair in a weird mass of curls and a frilly skirt, and this is a fun, sparkly routine, although her lines sometimes look a bit clunky. Gubba tells us that Chemmy wanted to join the army, but if she did, she might be dead, or something. Scores - Dance 5.5, Robin 7.5, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 20.0. Chemmy reminds us that she JUST WANTS TO BE LIKE THE OTHER GIRLS. Chris admires her renewed confidence; Robin liked the power and the detail in the transitions; Katarina likes that Chemmy takes risks but tells her not to take too many - "I want to see you in 2014 representing your country. Keep AWAY from the danger." Oh Katarina. You're amazing. Dance then starts squealing about Kylie. Shut up, Dance.

Matt and Nina next. He is a ringyringyringer and pretends to be amazed that he beat Jorgie in last week's Duel while reminding us that his back hurts and he hasn't been able to skate very much this week. And then he talks about his back some more. His back, WHICH IS HURTING.

They are skating to The Look of Love (ABC version), there is lifting, there is skating, there is ringing, there are backs WHICH ARE HURTING. And there is some odd camerawork which cuts away from the actual routine a lot, which makes me wonder quite how good this is. Scores - Dance 8.5, Robin 8.0 and Katarina 6.5 for a total of 23.0. Matt says his back is all right and on the mend. Phew. I was worried for a moment. Jayne says that Matt missed some training this week due to an injury. O RLY? Dance says it was consistent, fluid (fnar) and a pleasure to watch, but to his credit highlights Matt's dance training. Katarina says she has to disagree with Dance because her expectations are high and she could tell that he was struggling in place (he nods at this). Robin agrees with Dance and Katarina, because blessed are the peacemakers.

A bit more proud Karen-ness, some stupid Z-list tweets being read out, more inane comments from skaters, and then it is time to brace ourselves and cope with Chico. This week he has an up-tempo dance routine and "crazy lifts", with moonwalks and robotics. Karen is concerned that he will be too disjointed and ruin his performance. Karen, Chico's very existence ruins the performance from the start.

As indeed it proves. Chico and Jodeyne are skating to S Club's Don't Stop Moving, and there is, as promised, robotics; there is forgotten armography (although Chico covers it up well); and Jodeyne looks a bit off-form (perhaps because she is talking him through the routine). Scores - Dance 7.5, Robin 7.0 and Katarina 7.0 for another 21.5. Chris was worried when Chico got ahead of the routine AND THEN CHICO STARTS SHILLING HIS FUCKING TWITTER ACCOUNT. Katarina says there is much to improve but she always loves what she sees; Robin says to restrain himself a bit more and look after Jodeyne (Chico then tries to do some X-Factor-style talking-back-to-the-judges); Dance wants to see Chico do a lot more. I don't.

Chris promises that we'll see something different from Rosemary this week - a fun, flirtatious, tongue-in-cheek routine, which he acts out with Mark, incorporating grape-feeding. I am so puzzled by this and also nauseated by Chris's "flirtatious" face that I miss why Rosemary's vomiting into a bucket at the side of the rink. Maybe Steve can fill us in later. Is it an upside-down lift? [Basically, yes. She's being spun around a lot, and it's making her dizzy and nauseous. - Steve]

Anyway, they're skating to Perfect, and Rosemary's grape-feeding looks more like moving beads along an abacus. Still, the actual routine is good - complete with upside-down lift, with no vomit - and still some nice fluid steps and pretty lines. Scores - Dance 4.5, Robin 5.5 and Katarina 7.0 for a total of 17.0. Katarina beams. Rosemary witters about being disoriented, and Mark says he feels awful for making a 65-year-old lady feel sick all week. Jayne says her skating is really coming along, with the lifts getting bigger and better. Dance doesn't think he's seeing a progression; her routines border on boring. Katarina says Rosemary is charming and elegant, because it's amazing seeing her deal with the challenges and do the tricks.

Guys - I think Katarina is basically marking relatively, but not in an annoying fashion. [Either that, or she's just trolling. Either is fine by me. - Steve]

Back to Robin - he likes the idea of relaxing and not worrying that the contestant is going to fall over because her skating is excellent. Well, that's fair enough.

Jorgie and Matt next. She agrees (the other) Matt deserved immunity against her last week, but this week she is skating to Britney and she loves Britney. Chris has an odd look in his eye when he says that he is sure she will perform to ...Baby One More Time in the manner in which it was intended. Jorgie being Jorgie makes it explicit: "I GET TO DRESS UP AS A SCHOOLGIRL!" The only person who seems interested in the skating is poor Lovely Matt, who informs us seriously how difficult it is to perform tricks.

Jorgie's pigtails are flying everywhere as they do all the lifts in the world. It's all gone a bit Langford. You can imagine bloody Langford revelling in this routine, can't you? I mean, I'm not saying it's a nice image, but you can imagine it. Scores - Dance 8.5, Robin 8.0, Katarina 7.5 for a total 24.0. Jorgie says lots of ridiculous things and pulls faces while Matt does adorable sincerity. Chris says Jorgie has the technical skills, but brings life and character to the routine, which is wonderful to watch. (The camera flits over to The Other Matt who has an amazing fake smile on.) Robin liked that she encapsulated the character throughout the routine. Katarina says it was packed with stuff, and then gives up talking - "mep!" Dance squees about Britney. Of course.

And that is of course the natural place to end tonight's show, which lasted approximately 28 years even though we are now halfway through the competition. The lines are open - who will leave? (I typed "who will live?" then. I don't think they are going to kill the eliminee.) Join us in an hour to find out!

The skate-off

Blah blah blah hang up their skates for good blah blah blah skate-off TITLES!

Oh, fuck, One Direction are still here. I didn't know they had another song. Or is this the same song? Lots of teenage high-pitched voices are singing along as the boys clutch their stomachs and look as though they are in severe intestinal pain. The blond one can't sing, by the way. Just an observation. Come at me, scary fangirls, I'll take you all on! Anyway, not even Chris can be arsed to choreograph a second routine to One Direction, so they just stand on a block while people scream at them.

Phil and Christine remind us that the lines are open and urge us to vote, before throwing to the backstage summary, which informs us of the following: Jennifer wants to get better; SamandMark has been nervous all week about that bloody lift that didn't even go above his head; Matt squees more about Lady Gaga while Charlene says nothing; Sebastian promises us he will go "higher and higher"; Heidi screeches about her scores getting better, and although poor Andrei wants to say something he is not permitted; Andy is pleased that he and Vicky now look like a pair; Chemmy is all excited about having done a lift but doesn't say too much because Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall are clearly much more important and interesting; Matt does not think he deserved his high score from Dance; Chico tells us that he loved his routine, and Jodeyne lies that it was good to see him "unleash his Chico" (ugh); Rosemary says her nerves are getting better; and Jorgie whoops some more due to happiness.

The lines are closed, so it's time to waste a bit more energy on the judges' comments - Dance wants something special and individual, possibly tighter costumes, Robin thinks some male contenders are pushing Jorgie hard (FNAR!) and Katarina wants people to touch her heart.

Shall we see who's safe then? Heidi and Andrei; Jorgie and Matt; Andy and Vicky; Sebastian and Brianne; Matthew and Nina; Jennifer and Daniel; Chico and Jodeyne; Chemmy and Sean; Rosemary and Mark. That leaves SamandMark and Alexandra in the skate-off with Charlene and Matt. Again. SamandMark whines to Christine some more about that SODDING LIFT; Charlene knows what to expect so she feels OK.

So the couples skate off; Charlene and Matt go first. Phil calls her "the queen of the skate-off", and then they are adorably camp together some more. I don't think they really care much about this competition any more, to be fair. They're just happy they got to skate to Gaga. [This is my theory about why the judges kept Charlene last week - because Matt already knew he was due to skate to Gaga this week and they were worried that if he didn't get to do it, he might come after them. - Steve] SamandMark and Alexandra do the world's shittiest dullest lift and then talk about their tough week. Shut UP already.

The judges' decision: Dance loves Charlene but saves Sam; Robin saves Sam; Katarina thought Charlene turned in a more solid performance but she's saving Sam anyway. Phil says, "I can't believe we've lost you!" despite the fact that she has been in the skate-off every week for seven years. Charlene thanks hair, make-up, wardrobe and the cast, beams at her montage, and then says that Jayne and Chris have such humility in the face of their greatness before trying to put Dance in her luggage to take home and be her pet fag-hag. Next week is a Valentine's special, which sounds horrific. Join us then!

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