Sunday, 29 January 2012

Battle Royale with Cheese

"The Duel" Week: 29th January 2012

LAST WEEK! People were scared. There was a tie at the top of the leaderboard. Rosemary stumbled again. Chemmy's lift didn't quite come off. Mark went home. Now 12 skaters remain, and it's time to spice up the format. No, it's not the return of the Ice Pick (thankfully), it's the Originally Named Duel! Each couple will compete on the ice against another couple head-to-head, dancing to the same music. The judges will decide which couple wins each duel, and the winners will be immune from the public vote. Everyone's in a fighting mood, of course. Titles? Yeah, titles.

Phil and Christine arrive, and Phil promises us "something very special from Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean". Please don't let it be their holiday snaps. He and Christine then explain the stupid Duel twist that we've already had explained to us in the pre-titles part, other than the new information that the couples were paired up according to their position on the scoreboard last week, meaning that the couples (of couples, bloody hell this is going to get confusing) for this week are:

Matt and Jorgie
Heidi and Charlene
Chico and Sam
Jennifer and Sébastien
Corey and Chemmy
Andy and Rosemary

Shall we meet the couples? Here they are: Jenny Elly and Dan, Sébastien and Brianne, Corey and Brooke, Chemmy and Sean, Andy and Vicky, Rosemary and Mark, Charlene and Matthew (with Charlene looking a lot less like a drag queen this week, which is good news for her but bad news for me, as there's a lot less comedy mileage in her looking fairly normal), Heidi and Andrei, Jorgie and Matt (who are in leathers with fake tattoos, oh dear), Matthew and Nina, Chico and Jodeyne, and Sam and Alexandra. Finally, of course, we have Jayne and Chris, and Jayne is looking very lovely in a red dress tonight. Everybody scooches up a bit for a line-up, and Jayne gives Chris a side-eye. Intriguing.

Everyone disperses, and Phil promises our first duel coming up after the break, while a VT promises more injury porn. Hooray!

Adverts. I still can't believe that the kid from the BT family is getting his own advert spin-off series. Still, anything that moves Kris Marshall out of the picture is a positive, I suppose.

On our return, Christine reminds us all that it is DUEL NIGHT and asks Robin what we're all looking for tonight. Robin says that they'll be sharing the music, which means we get a direct comparison between all of them. Yeah, sure, that sounds like a thing that's going to happen, since I gather they'll be doing different choreography to that music. Dance is asked the same question, and he says he's looking for danger. Katarina says that Jorgie and Matthew are the strongest contestants, so she's very intrigued to see them go head-to-head. She also appears to have borrowed an outfit from Hilary Devey off Dragons' Den.

Our first duel, and the only all-male battle of the night, is Sam versus Chico. Chico says that Sam is a fantastic skater who's getting better and better, while Sam points out that Chico has beaten him score-wise both weeks so far. Chico vows not to underestimate Sam. Jayne says that both celebrities will start the performance together, then one will do a bit on their own, then the other one will take over. That sounds stupid. The judges will be looking for timing, precision, synchronicity and good skating. Chris thinks this is due to be a heck of a duel because they're both exciting people who are also good skaters. Make of that what you will. Alexandra says that Sam's got some crazy footwork to master, and Sam falls over a lot in rehearsals. Chico, meanwhile, is also struggling because he's got so much to learn. In life, generally, I imagine. Jayne says that she can't tell right now who's going to win this one. Which makes it drastically different from most of the others, which are pretty much all foregone conclusions. Sam says that he wants to win. Odd, that.

They skate out in matching outfits - yellow jackets and white tracky bottoms with red stripes down the side - and do a bit of posturing. 'Under Pressure' comes on the soundtrack and they begin with press-ups on the ice, and proceed to be out of sync before Chico scarpers and Sam and Alexandra get their spotlight moment. It's not too bad, but perhaps a little bit overly careful. Nicely controlled, though. There are a few jumps, but they're a bit lame. Then Chico and Jodeyne arrive, and their programme is a lot faster and more showy, as you might expect. Chico is grinning like a maniac, but executing his moves very cleanly and his whole section of the performance just appears to be much better than Sam's. They return to the centre of the ice and both couples do the push-up thing again.

Gubba reviews it all, and points out that Sam did an inside death spiral with Alexandra, while Chico has had to cancel all his bookings - like GOING TO THE DENTIST, lols. There are no scores, so Phil comes straight to Sam, who says they've worked really hard on the footwork this week, and Alexandra says he's a pleasure to skate with. Chico says that he feels like he's going to the Olympics, and he's enjoying every moment of this and feels like "the child of the present moment". Okay, then. Jodeyne says that Alexandra is a great friend of hers, so it's great to share the ice with her, and Chico says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer man than Sam.

Chris says he wants to put moustaches on them both. Keep your sexual fetishes to yourself, Dean. He says that they've worked hard this week and he and Jayne are only going to push them more in the future. Phil tells them that they must head out and face the judges to decide who will win the duel. Dance tells Sam that he's starting to show elegance and grace in his performance, as well as nice lines, but he thinks the connection with his partner is lacking sometimes. He thinks Chico did some lovely turns, but he wants him to watch those connecting steps. He votes to award immunity to Chico and Jodeyne. Robin compliments Sam on his neat footwork, but would've liked more enthusiasm. Chico on the other hand was powerful AND enthusiastic and controlled, so he gets Robin's vote too. So Chico has immunity anyway, but let's go to Katarina because she's awesome. She says that they both gave great performances, and Sam's skating is getting smoother but she wants to see him develop his connection with Alexandra. Chico uses his natural presence, and she was impressed with his axles, and votes for Chico and Jodeyne as well - so Chico gets the immunity, and Sam faces the public vote. Not really a surprise, was it?

Christine asks Sam how it feels, and he says it's been a tough week, but that was a fantastic twist, and he thinks Chico's a great person to be up against because his enthusiasm really spurs you on. I can think of many possible alternative endings to that sentence, with "...to leap off a cliff and never look back" being just one of them.

Up next are Jennifer and Sébastien. Chris does the "choose your weapons!" gag again, and Sébastien picks Brianne. Damn straight - I'd want her on my side in a fight. Sébastien wants to prove to Dance that he is a performer, and says Jennifer is a great skater, and he fears her dance background because he has none. Jennifer says that she needs to give it a bit of welly, because she'd love to have immunity this week. Jayne says that she thinks Sébastien is uncomfortable with the dancing (ON ICE), but she knows he will go away and work on it. Meanwhile, Jennifer is starting to doubt herself, and Dan says that she can totally win the duel if only she'd BELIEVE. They both deliver a bit of fighting talk, and then it's time to deliver on all of that.

They sass each other a bit (Sébastien totally wins the sass fight, if you ask me) and 'Just Can't Get Enough' (by The Black Eyed Peas) plays. Jennifer's section of the routine is quite balletic in the opening and then moves into more of a hip-hop section. Her skating's getting stronger, and there are some good lifts in this that are executed and landed well. Then Sébastien and Brianne start out with a bit of body-popping and some spins and jumps. His skating isn't as good as Jennifer's, but his performance is more flashy and energetic, so this one could go either way, I guess. Personally, I'd vote for Sébastien, but I'm not the one in control here.

Gubba reminds us that they had tied scores last week, and makes a reference to "The Showgirl and the Frenchman." Ah, yes, that famous film. No doubt the behind-the-scenes antics on that one will be the setting for a future Oscar-contender, My Week With Jayne Torvill.

Jennifer tells Phil that it was lovely to go out there without anxiety for the first time, and she thinks she did a really good job. Dan says he thinks it's the first time she really enjoyed the routine. Jennifer adds that she had a really lovely time skating with Sébastien. Sébastien adds that he really enjoyed it, and he thinks people saw that. Jayne points out that they have very different styles, and she wouldn't like to have to choose between them.

Phil sends them off to face the judges. This time, Robin goes first, and he says that Jennifer is glamorous and elegant and always hits her lifts, as well as really improving her skating. Sébastien is fun and exciting, but needs to work on keeping his legs together. Fnar. He votes to award immunity to Sébastien. Katarina thinks Jennifer has beautiful lines and her skating has improved, but she needs more speed in the crossovers. Sébastien is free of spirit and not polished, but she likes that, and the fact that he did a corkscrew. She votes for Sébastien too. Dance says that he would also have voted for the couple who found their personality this week: Sébastien and Brianne.

Jennifer skates her way over to Christine and says that she really enjoyed it, and if she has to do it again in the skate-off, she'd actually quite enjoy that - though she quickly clarifies that she would also like people to vote for her. Christine reminds us that Jayne and Chris will be dancing with Christina Perri, but not before the break.

When we return, Phil reminds us how everything is working tonight, but doesn't manage to make it sound any less stupid. Christine is with Karen, who says that they've all loved the challenge of the duel this week and the competitive spirit is strong amongst this lot. Christine turns to Andy: "Andy, you want it desperately, don't you?" FNAR. Andy says Rosemary's so lovely that he's not actually sure he wants to beat her. Wimp. Christine congratulates Séb on his amazing performance, but doesn't actually give him a chance to say anything in response.

Time for Duel #3: Corey vs Chemmy. Last week, Chemmy's lift went tits-down, and Corey got almost negative points, so it wasn't a good week for either of them. Chemmy admits that she didn't feel like she'd done herself justice. Corey says that having been knocked down, it's hard to come back with a sense of pride. Chris says that Chemmy's a much better skater, and Jayne adds the only reason they're skating together is because Chemmy had a bad week last week. Chemmy says that Corey's a better dancer than her, but I think she's just being polite. During rehearsals, Corey and Brooke bicker a bit, and he tells her she has "negative energy" because she won't let him dance to the music straight away. Brooke's like "bitch, learn your steps first and then maybe we can try it to the music". He calls her "impossible". TEAM BROOKE. Meanwhile, Chemmy and Sean are surrounded by bright sunlight and dancing woodland animals, so great is their bond. Since things are going so smoothly for her, Chemmy pays Corey a visit, and he bitches about Brooke to her. Chemmy's like "...what's the problem exactly?" and says that she wants them to sort out their differences. I quite wish Chemmy had done last series instead of this one - I've got amazing mental images of her trying to mediate between Jason and Karen.

They're all skating to 'Opposites Attract' and Chemmy's dancing at the start is way better than Corey's. Corey's completely out of control and off-balance in places, but has decent speed. His dancing is is very static in the body and kind of...wavy in the arms. Chemmy, meanwhile, is vamping it up and doing some elaborate lifts with Sean to make up for last week's mishap. They're clearly having more fun and working better, including doing quite an impressive spiral together. Her dancing's a bit flaily too, but because her skating is so much better in general, it doesn't matter as much. Also, whoever did the edit job on this song made SUCH a mess of it.

Gubba makes up more shit about a "pantomime gesture sequence" for Corey and mocks him for not quite managing his jump. Phil asks Corey how he feels now, and Corey talks about his strand. He says he feels really good about how it went, and that they've worked through their problems now. Phil asks if they're friends now, and Brooke says "yes", unconvincingly, adding that Corey is a challenge, but one she's not going to give up on. Chemmy says that she wasn't familiar with the song (SACRILEGE!) but now she's living and breathing it. She thinks both she and Corey upped their game out there, which is good for everyone, and Sean drops in the fact that Chemmy skated with two broken fingers. "You don't need fingers for skating," Chemmy shrugs. Chris says that it's a bit of a mismatched couple, but this was Corey's best week on the show, and that Chemmy is back.

Corey and Chemmy make their way back out to the ice. Katarina agrees with Chris that this was his best performance, and that she felt he had his feet grounded on the ice for the first time, although he still has a long way to go. She's happy that Chemmy used her physical strength and energy and did a whole pair spin. Phil harps on at her to give a name, and that's one of the reason why I hate this set-up: it doesn't give the judges enough time to give proper feedback. Anyway, Katarina's going to vote for Chemmy for immunity. Dance tells Corey there were more dance moves in there this week, and it was great to see him out there on his own. I'm surprised he doesn't break into a musical number here. He thinks Corey needs to learn to take direction, while Chemmy is a powerhouse who gave beautiful legs in her lift, but needs to remember to keep it contained from time to time. He votes for Chemmy to have immunity. Robin lapses into his bad habit of trying to use lyrics from the song to give his feedback, but votes for Chemmy because she's sassy. Corey skates over to Christine, and says that it's very good for his morale to have had good feedback, and he's interested to see where this goes now, because he finally feels like he's in the game. (Spoiler: he isn't.) Brooke says tonight was his best performance, and so much fun to do.

More adverts. I've yet to see any of those "Philadelphia recipes" ads where the finished product looks even remotely appealing.

We return to some painfully scripted banter between Phil and Christine. Their chemistry...needs work. Before we get back to the business of duelling, we have a performance from Christina Perri, who is still flogging the life out of 'Jar Of Hearts'/'Giraffe Farts'/whatever you want to call it. Jayne and Chris give us a little showcase performance, but I think I'd prefer it if they had to face the judges afterwards, and one of them would be safe and the other had to face the public vote. I think we all know Jayne would win if this was a real duel, of course. Meanwhile, Christina Perri honks away, fairly tunelessly, and getting all out of time with her piano playing. I hope for her sake she's got some more tunes tucked away somewhere, because even she seems quite bored of this one now.

Time for a girl-on-girl duel: Heidi vs Charlene. Charlene says it's the Bond Girl against the Marilyn. Jayne says that they've only been separated by half a point each week, though the first week Charlene was ahead and the second week it was Heidi. They have the skate-off as common ground, so obviously immunity is a big sell for both of them. Charlene's got to do some actual skating this week, and says that she can't depend on (air quotes) "acting" this routine for a week. She thinks Heidi's a lovely skater, but Heidi admits to struggling with her final lift and says she's running out of non-bruised places on her body. Charlene vows to fight all the way for that precious immunity.

They do a bit of pat-a-cake to start with (really? That's your pre-fight sass? RUBBISH.) and then 'Islands In The Stream' kicks in. The opening's quite fun, with them doing circuits around each other's partners. It's all quite line-dancey, and Charlene is vamping it up as she is given to do. Charlene is indeed actually doing some skating, including a spiral and some nice dainty steps. She concludes with an aerial cartwheel that knocks her hair all out of place. Heidi takes her turn, and is SLOW OVER THE ICE, with a programme full of lifts. Her skating is still a little unsteady in places, but she's definitely got the hang of balancing her lifts properly. I can't call this one - Heidi will probably take it, but they've both got their plus points and their downsides.

Gubba acknowledges that whoever doesn't win immunity is probably in the skate-off, and tells us that Heidi's 81-year-old nan is in the audience tonight, having come to London for the very first time. Heidi says she really enjoyed it tonight, adding "there was a few..." before thinking better of it, and just going back to how much she enjoyed it. Phil says they were really supporting each other as a team, and Charlene says that it was a thrill to get to know Heidi and Andrei. She thinks that trying to learn the choreography and the skating was hard for an old gal, and says that she hasn't done a cartwheel since she was nine, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I'm not being mean, she actually said that. Jayne says that Charlene is a natural performance, and her skating came on this week, while Heidi did have a few wobbles, but she's really coming on as well and her lifts were impressive.

Time to get the judges' verdict. Robin says it's a difficult one, and that Heidi really pushed herself, while Charlene really ingratiates herself with the audience, but he would like to see her push herself as hard as Matthew pushes her. He awards immunity to Heidi. Dance says that Charlene was a bit safe, but gave a good performance. He thinks Heidi really pushed herself and made a breakthrough this week, so he's giving her immunity as well. Katarina says that Charlene's side-by-side spiral was great, while Heidi looks more comfortable and is gaining confidence, but she wants her to perform more. She would've also voted for Heidi, so it's another clean sweep. I suspect they're all going to be clean sweeps tonight, apart from Jorgie vs Matthew.

Charlene skates over to Christine, and says that she thinks Heidi's definitely got the edge on her ability-wise. She begs people to vote for her, saying that she'll come and wash our dishes if we vote for her. I'm actually having trouble washing dishes right now because I sliced my thumb open last week and I'm not supposed to get the wound wet, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted by this.

Ads. If someone came up to me in the street and implied that my toothpaste wasn't working, I think I might punch them.

We're back, and it's time for Jorgie vs Matthew. Matthew reminds us again that they drew at the top of the leaderboard last week, so he feels he's up against the strongest skater in the competition. He doesn't actually SAY "other than me", but one gets the feeling it's implied. He calls her "faultless" and "a beautiful skater" and says that worries him. Jorgie says that going head-to-head with Matthew is nerve-wracking because he's confident and he has a dancing background. Jorgie says that if she doesn't win the duel, the lack of leaderboard means she's going to need people to vote for her. Yes, dear, that's how it works. Chris says that they've both got difficult lifts to conquer this week - Jorgie's worried about actually taking off during her tabletop lift, because she's not very bright. Meanwhile, Matthew's got a serious case of the OOH ME BACKs, and things cause problems during the dress rehearsal when he has a bit of a wobble and drops Nina. He frets about the possibility of things going wrong on the night, but let's face it, they probably won't.

They're skating to '4 Minutes'. Matthew goes first, and the choreography isn't doing him a lot of favours here, because he looks like a lumbering zombie and I don't think it's his fault. That said, there is a nifty move where he and Nina slide down onto the floor while they're moving and leap back up again. He manages not to drop Nina in the lift he was worried about. They finish with an elaborate lift, before Jorgie and Matt take over, and do some more elaborate lifts. I quite love the looks of shade Lovely Matt is throwing Matthew and Nina as they finish their routine - he's quite the sassmeister. Jorgie's skating's really come on as well - I think our initial worries that she might be a bit of Langford might be unfounded. The tabletop lift comes off without Jorgie launching into space.

Gubba says that life is imitating art for both of them, because they're both romancing their on-screen partners. In the soaps, that is, not on this show. Lolz, indeed. Phil tells Jorgie that people are tweeting about her black PVC outfit. Lovely Matt says she did brilliantly, and both she and Matthew have worked really hard this week. Matthew says his back is really sore, and he's going back into physio straight after this. Chris says it's impossible to separate them, and says that they both always deliver on the choreography front. He begs for them both to have immunity. Where would the fun be in that?

Dance says it's incredibly difficult to judge because they were both phenomenal. He loves the way Jorgie moves, but people don't realise HOW HARD IT IS FOR A MAN BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO LIFT. He votes for connection, and votes to give immunity to Matthew. Katarina says they both managed incredibly complex choreography, and she loves seeing Jorgie being sexy. She votes to give immunity to Jorgie. So it's down to Robin, who says that Matthew skates like a skater and lifts his partner like a pro, but asks him to be careful when he's lifting not to bob his head around. He tells him to keep his legs together. He calls Jorgie "a rough and ready little girl" and calls her sassy again, and awards immunity to Matthew and Nina. Not an entirely popular decision - there appear to be a few boos in the auditorium amongst the cheers.

Jorgie tells Christine that she's "a little dizzy". AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH. Christina tells Jorgie that the people judging along at home on the Dancing On Ice app voted for her to have immunity tonight. I bet that makes her feel so much better, knowing she's got the support of six whole people.

Final ad break. It's baby and toddler time at Morrison's, apparently. I'm more of a peanut butter jelly time person, myself. Also, seriously, does anyone understand those bloody Macleans bumpers? Because I haven't got a clue.

Time for our final duel: Andy vs Rosemary. Rosemary's worried because Andy's skating has improved a lot, and she hasn't delivered a performance without a stumble yet. Jayne points out that Rosemary's always fine in rehearsals, so perhaps this is a nerves issue. Andy, meanwhile, is struggling with his lunges. Jayne says that it's going to come down to who gives the best performance, and Chris blahs on about the direct comparison allowing the judges to see who the better skater is. Yes, because how else would they be able to tell? It's not like they're professional dancers and skaters or anything.

They're skating to 'Baby It's Cold Outside' (which leaves me obliged to link to this), and Andy goes first, with his right lunges looking a lot better than they did in rehearsals. He's still a bit wobbly sometimes, but he's definitely come on a lot since week one. He assist Vicky in a cartwheel lift, but it's a bit ugly going up, largely due to his unsteadiness. Rosemary is looking pretty good, too - going quite fast and having some nice lines in her choreography. She looks rather nervous going into the last lift, and after an almost mistake-free programme, stumbles slightly in her dismount.

Gubba says that neither has yet delivered a fault-free programme, but they'll both be pleased with that one. Seems like a fair enough assessment. Phil says that it is indeed COLD OUTSIDE, but it's warm in here. Phil says that he didn't think Rosemary stumbled this week, as a giant elephant wanders onto the ice, only to be ignored by everyone. Rosemary says she doesn't want to beat Andy because he's so lovely. Mark says that this duel is an excellent distraction for Rosemary, and he thinks they should do it every week. Andy says that he's skated this a lot better, and he's not sure why it didn't work tonight, but he did his best. Vicky says he pulled it together and worked hard. Andy makes a comment about "trumping" on his cartwheel and Phil makes a crude comment before apologising for lowering the tone, though after last week I hardly feel that's necessary. Jayne says that Andy's skating is still improving, and Rosemary looked like she really enjoyed things tonight.

Time for the judges to vote: Katarina thinks Andy gave beautiful ballroom dancing tonight and they worked well as a couple. She thinks Rosemary's storytelling was great. She was pleased to see her nerves not give out. She awards immunity to Rosemary. Dance applauds Rosemary for not stumbling, as the elephant blows its trumpet. He feels Andy (whom he calls Mark) really pushed himself, and says he's going to save the person who challenged herself more, and thus saves...Andy. Wow, that was confusing. A split decision, that I was not expecting. Robin tells Andy that his tension showed, but he was really skating. Robin tells Rosemary that she was elegant, and votes to save Rosemary.

Andy skates over to Christine and says again that he doesn't know why it didn't come together, but says that he's not bothered because he'd have felt gutted for Rosemary if things had gone the other way. Christine reminds us of the importance of voting.

So the immune couples are Chico and Jodeyne, Sébastien and Brianne, Chemmy and Sean, Heidi and Andrei, Matthew and Nina and Rosemary and Mark. The other six couples will face the public vote, and the lines are now OPEN. Time for a recap of the performances, focusing of course on the people who aren't safe and ignoring those who are.

So that's it! Who'll face the skate-off? I dunno, I'm off to make some enchiladas. See you in the second half!

The Skate-Off

Earlier tonight: the stupid duel. Six couples lost in a head-to-head and were left to face the public vote, and now two of them will have to go head-to-head again before one couple gets kicked off. This makes my brain hurty. TITLES!

Phil and Christine return, and remind us that the lines are still open, should we feel sufficiently motivated to vote for anyone. After a quick recap of the numbers, we get a less-quick recap of the performances. Sam thinks that Chico did deserve his clean sweep with the judges tonight, but hopes that with Mark already ousted from the competition, he can stick around a bit longer to keep the Sam and Mark flag flying. Jennifer says that the thought of going is heartbreaking, because this was her first "clean" skate, free of injuries and nerves, and she wants to be able to do some more. Corey says once again that getting positive feedback was nice, even if he didn't get saved. Chemmy tells him that she'll vote for him. Aw. Charlene says that she was in the skate-off last week, and really doesn't want to be there again because she wants to stick around and get better. Jorgie begs the public to back her and keep her in. Phil thinks that they've had finals as good as Jorgie vs Matthew was tonight. And indeed in the case of Ray vs Donal, they've had finals significantly worse. Andy says he gave it 100% and the judges obviously felt Rosemary was better, so he just hopes people vote. Jayne opines that the competition really spurred everyone on, and Chris says that the standard was more like show nine or ten than show four. So, y'know, up there with the real greats, like Coleen Nolan.

Phil declares the lines officially CLOSED. Christine's with the judges and asks Robin if people lived up to his expectations. He says they did, and while there was friendly rivalry backstage, they all delivered on their own performances and did a fantastic job. Christine asks Katarina which was the toughest duel to call, and Katarina says it was Rosemary and Andy, because they both had an elegant routine, and sometimes you just have to let your heart decide, because she loved Rosemary's desire to skate. Katarina asks Dance who stood out, and he says there's more than one person out of those in danger, and they are Jorgie, Jennifer and Sam.

Everyone's lined up on the ice, and Phil is rinkside, but we won't find out who's in the skate-off until after the break. Crivens!

Ad break. HSBC want to get my new year off to a good start, apparently by encouraging me to borrow money that I don't need in a time of generally dire financial straits for everyone. Thanks, HSBC!

We're back, and *touches ear* it's time to find out which of the non-safe couples are safe after all. In no particular order, those definitely returning next week are: Jorgie and Matt, Sam and Alexandra, Jennifer and Dan (Jennifer leaps about and can't get herself off that ice fast enough) and Andy and Vicky. So it's Charlene vs Corey in the skate-off, perhaps unsurprisingly as they've both been there before.

Christine's with the couples in danger, and asks Charlene what else she can give. Charlene says she's going to go out there and kick some ice. Matt says that they've had so much fun and it's been great working with everyone. "You're saying goodbye already!" Charlene scolds. Corey says they're going to have a good time because that's all he can do, and he's had a good time, so if he has to go home, at least it's been a fun trip and he really loves London.

Corey and Brooke go out first, and he seems to almost knock her over as they swap sides. Whoops. The skate-off itself goes reasonably well - once again Brooke's completely out-performing him, which is maybe something she needs to look at if they survive because it might be in her best interests to stop making him look bad. I mean, he makes himself look bad, but if she dialled back slightly on the performatron, it might help.

Corey says it went well, and Brooke congratulates him on the best skating he's even done - she says if that's the way he goes, then what a way to go! Jayne says it was a great skate and they both looked like they enjoyed it, and Chris congratulates him on making the jump without stumbling at long last.

Then it's time for Charlene and Matthew to return. She blows him a little kiss, which is sweet. She's really going for it, which is nice, but I expect it's because she thinks she's going home. She needs not to grit her teeth quite so much, and to stablise her dismounts from the lifts, but it's a good performance, and she really has come along. She cracks up at the end of the aerial cartwheel and just does a sort of "ta-da!" gesture at the end of it.

Phil asks her if she just "kicked some ice", and Charlene cackles that she kicked some ice all over the place. She concedes that it wasn't her best, and Matthew says that she had a lot more energy out there tonight, and he just has fun skating with her, and then his voice goes really high and Phil makes fun of him. Chris points out that Charlene was improvising out there tonight, but does not specify whether this was in fact a good thing or not.

It's decision time, but who will the judges save? I think probably Corey, to be honest. Katarina's up first, and tells Corey it was his best performance, and then tells Matthew that it won't be goodbye just yet because she wants to see Charlene kick ice again next week. Robin congratulates Corey on being controlled and together, saying that Charlene wasn't quite as together as she was earlier, so he votes to save Corey. It's all down to Dance, and he says that while Corey gave his best performance and had a lot of fun, he has to save his blonde bombshell Charlene - so Charlene skates next week.

We review Corey's best bits, a lot of which seem to revolve around him being entirely unprepared for the competition. He says that he'll walk away with the knowledge that this has been a great experience and he's done things that many people never will. Back in the studio, he thanks everyone for the experience and says any excuse to have a vacation in London is good. I think treating it as a vacation might have been part of the problem, dude. They're handed their flowers, and Phil says how sorry we will be to lose Brooke. I kind of will be - she's my favourite of the new pros this year. Still, Brooke looks kind of relieved to be done with all of this.

Next week is pop week, and One Direction will be here. Lucky Carrie, eh? She gets to recap that one. See you next week!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Everybody leaves somebody

Movie Week
Tx: 22nd January 2012

Good evening, everybody! Last week, we concluded that Jorgie and Matthew are this year's ringy-ringy-ringers, we learnt that Laila did not give a tiny rat's ass about the competition, and thus were quite pleased when she left. We learnt that the show does not object to the commodification of women because they happily welcomed and revelled in the presence of a warrenful of Playboy bunnies. And we also gained further proof that Katarina Witt is amazing, as if we needed it.

The Macleans bumpers are being weird now. Not as annoying as the Girl With The Perfect Smile And Fake Boyfriend, but pretty weird. It looks like they're doing some kind of Military Wives-esque choir with ordinary folk who brush their teeth. This is not something I wish to see on my television. I have a phobia of people brushing their teeth in front of me, it makes me vomit. If this persists, I will be writing a strongly worded letter.

Ooh, you guys! Welcome to Dancing on Ice: The Movie, which is cruelly and inappropriately using the epic score from Back to the Future! All the contestants are dressed up, possibly as famous actors, but I have no idea who they're supposed to be! They wander down a red carpet and give the usual anodyne quotes, just like real Hollywood stars! [All we're missing is Kim Taylor Bennett trying not to look embarrassed about playing second fiddle to a couple of anthropomorphic M&Ms. - Steve]So what are we to expect tonight?

Jayne is excited to see Jorgie and Matt compete against each other, but wonders (warns?) that Chico might jump ahead of both of them. Chris tells us that the competition starts THIS week, so the past two weeks were a pointless waste of time.

Cue the titles!

Lights, camera, action, and we're live at the rink. Christine is in a gold dress, presumably in an effort to look like an Oscar. Phil tells us that everybody is hoping for an Academy-Award-winning performance tonight, and introduces our contestants: Andy W and Vicky; Jorgie and Matt; Chico and Jodeyne; Jenny Elly and Dan; Rosemary and Mark; Chemmy and Sean; Sam and Alexandra; Mark and Frankie; Heidi and my Andrei (in a tux!); Corey and Brooke; Sebastien and Brianne; Charlene (who is presumably supposed to look like Marilyn Monroe, but looks more like Michelle Dotrice) [I was thinking more Delta Work - Steve and Matthew; Matthew and Nina, and obviously, at the top of the bill, Jayne and Chris.

Fuck me, that's 13 couples. I was excited when the show started at 6.10 tonight as I thought it'd finish by 8.10, but no, it's an 8.30 finish as usual. UGH.

Phil and Christine then tell us we can go to the official Dancing on Ice website and play a fabulous new game and pretend to be one of the judges. Two seconds later, the entire website crashed as the whole viewing population rushed there in order to pretend to be Katarina Witt for the rest of the night.

Chico and Jodeyne are up first. She still has a look of utter terror in her eyes. Her lovely smile does a good job of disguising it, but we all know the truth. Chico tells us that last week was beyond his wildest dreams, and he hopes he surprised people in a good way, because he wants to show us that there is more to him than just Chico Time. Dude, if that is the case, please stop fucking saying it then. This week, they are skating to You've Lost That Loving Feeling, from Top Gun, and Chico must be romantic rather than cheeky.

Instead, he opts for whatthefuckworthy, marching on to the ice in military style, miming the first line of the song into a military microphone, and then beginning the routine with military Barbie Jodeyne. Gubba reminds us that Chico used to be a goatherd in Morocco. Scores - Dance 6.5, Robin 5.5 and Katarina 6.0 for a total of 18.0. Chico clasps his hands together in an earnestly thankful way, and then he starts FUCKING TALKING AND DOES NOT SHUT UP FOR ABOUT THREE SOLID HOURS. When Jodeyne gets a word in, she says the usual thing about Chico working really hard and being proud. Chris says they were trying to make Chico into a classic pairs skater. Katarina says they cover the ice very well, and she likes the simplicity of the choreography as well as the control of the skating and partnership. Dance is hyperventilating and talking about his own loving feeling. Nobody needs to know about this, Dance, shush. He adds that he thought Chico captured the moment and then shouts, "Chicatito, there's NOTHING WRONG!" Robin then veers into utter madness and says Chico does not have an arrogant bone in his body. What the fuck ever, Robin.

Next we have Rosemary and Mark. She says last week was scary and she was disappointed when she stumbled. Jayne thought the rest went very well apart from that. They've got Wind Beneath My Wings from Beaches to skate to, and she's very pleased because her routine is "exquisite". Ah, but then we get plinky plaintive piano music, and we all know what that means - she's struggled this week, and is very worried about having to "skate to survive". Come on, Rosemary. Get a fucking grip. You're supposed to be an inspiration to older women everywhere, not a pathetic woobie old lady.

The routine itself is packed with glitches and stumbles - she seems to be catching her blades all over the place right from the start - and that seems to throw her as her speed noticeably slows. Scores - Dance 3.0, Robin 3.5 and Katarina 4.0 for a total of 10.5. Rosemary jokes about adding extra dancey steps, and Mark jokes about grabbing a lady in places he's never grabbed them before. She talks about how stressed she is, and normally she doesn't stress about anything, then thanks Mark for being so patient. Bless. Jayne says Rosemary did everything they asked. They asked her to fall over? Robin says Rosemary has to allow her talent to emerge because she has perfect lines and perfect glide. Katarina says Rosemary is her hero for taking on those challenges, but she has to let go of her fear and use it to become more forceful. Dance says that Rosemary has natural poise and he wants to see more of it as well as breadth through her movement.

Incidentally, in the middle of all this, there is a terrifying and unnecessary close-up of David Seaman's face. Maybe he's there so he can point out to them the next time they try to erase him from Dancing on Ice history. Or maybe this is the start of SEAMAN-CAM [*childish snigger* - Steve], a similar innovation to LEN'S LENS. Regardless, I do not like it. We need warnings of this kind of thing.

Next Sam and Alexandra. I genuinely don't know which is Sam and which is Mark from week to week, and I only know they exist because of this show. They are skating to Kung Fu Fighting. Really, show? There are lots of air-punches in rehearsal and a fucking scary back flip for Alexandra, which Sam is panicking about. Because of course it's all about him.

Sweet mother of God, they have props, and Sam is karate-chopping through planks of wood before moving into a routine full of ethnic stereotypes. It all feels ever so slightly racist, particularly as Alexandra is one of the most Nordic-looking people on the face of the planet. Anyway, she doesn't die during the back flip, meaning that Sam throws himself to the ground with glee. Scores - Dance 4.5, Robin 5.0, and Katarina 6.5 for a total of 16.0. Sam reminds us that he was really worried about the back flip, and Alexandra admits that it has not been going well all week. Sam looks a bit narked by the comment, even though he has been whining like a bitch for the past seven days. Katarina talks about "the whole ice going backwards" and says that Sam is not a dangerous kung fu fighter but a cuddly panda. HA! Robin starts talking about technique, to which Sam is nodding but clearly has no idea what he means. Dance reminds us that he is looking at the way the choreography is executed, and then starts shouting about sloppy arms.

Karen is beaming and looking beautiful in lots of bling, telling Christine how proud she is of everyone. Jorgie talks absolute babble, Matt wails about setting himself a high standard. RING RING RING. Christine bizarrely then tells Rosemary that Dr Hilary has tweeted about how beautiful she looks.

Right. Chemmy and Sean. Chris says that she is exuberant but needs to pay more attention to the detail. Cue footage of her falling backwards a lot and telling Sean, "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," before weeping about her pride being hurt. They are skating to Rescue Me. From Sister Act. With habits. Oh what the very fuck. And then Sean takes Chemmy's clothes off her. This show is so inappropriate tonight. I don't want to watch a nun's clothes being stolen. The big lift at the end goes very wrong - poor Chemmy. Gubba then tells us that Chemmy wears a hearing aid, but you wouldn't know. If we wouldn't know, and we don't need to know, why are you telling us this? [Also, he called it a "deaf aid", which: no. - Steve] Scores - Dance 3.0, Robin 3.0 and Katarina 4.5 for a total of 10.5. Ouch.

Chemmy says it was a 50/50 challenge whether she would get it up, and Phil pounces on the double entendre, asking Sean whose fault it was that they couldn't get it up. Sean, bless him, either doesn't get it or opts to ignore it, telling us that it's teamwork. Jayne smiles about Chemmy trying really hard. Dance commends Chemmy for trying the lift, and says he was looking forward to seeing her do a slower routine with light and shade, but she was weak in her centre. He urges her to come back fighting. Katarina begs her not to do the big lifts because she is a tall woman and it scares her. Chemmy tries to interrupt and says that she wants to challenge herself. Katarina rightly says to leave it for a few more weeks. Robin points out that Chemmy can skate and doesn't need the trickery; Phil interjects that it went well in rehearsal. Whatever, Phil.

Corey and Brooke now. And guess what he's skating to. Stand By Me. He talks about his friend River Phoenix WHO IS DEAD, and asks if he can add his own dance moves in, because he used to be friends with Michael Jackson, WHO IS ALSO DEAD. That's some good reality TV troping right there, Feldman, invoking two dead friends in the space of two minutes. Jayne, with the power of understatement, says they don't normally choreograph moonwalks into routines.

Corey begins with an off-ice Temptations-esque routine and then head-pops his way on to the rink, getting in a tangle with a lunge, and then throwing his sunglasses on to the floor. Brooke smiles elegantly. Scores - Dance 2.5, Robin 2.5, Katarina 3.0 for a total of 8.0. Corey looks genuinely gobsmacked. Phil adds a purple strand to the front of his hair and Corey does not seem to realise he is being teased, and then starts to talk about River some more, wondering if the mistake on the lunge was what lost him the marks. Robin says that it feels as if Corey is walking on the ice, and wants to see more "blade action". Dance enjoyed the choreography off the ice, and his performance faces, but feels that Corey doesn't really do much else. Katarina eulogises about the "canvas made of ice" and says he will need the fans to stand by him. Corey folds his arms and looks thoroughly pissed off.

Jenny Elly and Dan next. Last week, she was terrified about being in the middle of the leaderboard, and also because the judges were judging her, apparently ("literally everything is under scrutiny!" she frets. She should've done the show when Bunton was a judge. She didn't notice anything). This week she has hurt her ribs and she had to go and get physio in the middle of the dress rehearsal. As such, they are now having to change the choreography so Dan isn't holding her anywhere near her ribs.

They are skating to Listen from (the movie) Dreamgirls (but not the stage show). Presumably Dan here is cast in the role of cruel manipulative husband, while Jen is poor sweet innocent Deena. Jen does have lovely foot positioning, which I suppose is the ballet training. I'm trying to look at Jen's face as she's skating, but the camera is cutting away - the fact that she's crying when they finish is probably indicative of the fact that she is in a fair amount of pain. Scores - Dance 6.5, Robin 5.0, Katarina 6.5 for a score of 18.0. Jen thanks Dan, and sobs a bit. Dan says they had the aim of beating last week's score, which they managed, and Jayne says rib injuries make it hard to breathe let alone skate. Chris says, "More pain, more gain." Dance talks about fingertips, Robin talks about ankles and being on top of Dan, and then collapses into giggles. Katarina says that the pained face worked for the routine. HA!

Now Mark and Frankie, who seems to be wearing the same purple-tinted sunglasses that Corey had earlier. He says he needs to start stepping up to the mark. Was that a pun? They're skating to Everybody Needs Somebody from The Blues Brothers, and Frankie believes this plays to Mark's comedy strengths. She then makes a pun about a "marked improvement".

For someone who initially purported to be a singer, Mark is a really bad dancer, struggling to get his arms moving in time. Weirdly, he's better when they're on the ice, particularly when he's facing Frankie and can copy her. Scores - Dance 3.5, Robin 3.0, Katarina 4.0 for a total of 10.5. They squeal about reaching double figures and Mark points out that you have to get better in a competition. Phil tells us that Frankie told Mark to "stay with her" before they went out on to the rink, and Frankie says he managed that and awards him a gold star. Chris is then a bitch as always and says that Mark is rubbish at skating. Katarina says that of course everyone loves Mark but asks him why he has skates on if he is not going to skate. Oh, Katarina. You are so amazing at everything. Robin says it was fun to watch. Dance likes Mark and his energy, although it was a bit ploddy, and mentions that he wanted to throw him a fish because his mouth was open (like a seal at feeding time, one presumes).

Christine talks to Sam about "your magnificent back flip". He didn't DO a back flip. Alexandra did it. He just stood there. Christine lies to Chemmy that she is currently trending on Twitter, and then she cries about it all going wrong some more. Karen says the judges aren't being particularly tough, but they are providing comments they can work with, and there have been lots of risks taken this week. THEN FUCKING CHICO INTERRUPTS AGAIN to tell us how wonderful Karen is, and to kiss her, and generally hog more screen time. But he's not arrogant. Oh no.

Jorgie and Matt now. She narrates the past two weeks in the style of a rather confused toddler, which I'd like to think is an acting choice, but which I actually believe might be her natural demeanour. They're skating to Dolly Parton's 9 To 5, which incorporates a sitting lift, about which Jorgie screeches a lot in rehearsal, partly because she's up very high in the air, and partly because it hurts her buttocks. Which is fair enough really.

Obviously they skate it beautifully, with a nifty piece of toe-stepping, and Jorgie does the "sexy secretary" cliche well. Scores - Dance 7.5, Robin 6.5 and Katarina 7.5 for a total of 21.5. Jorgie declares that she was saved by her knickers. I don't even know what that means. Matt thanks Jayne and Chris for fulfilling his fantasy of skating with a secretary. I don't even know what that means either. Jayne laughs that Matt was really hanging on to Jorgie's knickers, and Phil starts talking about wedgies. Dance is happy about all the choreography and all the acting, and wonders what will happen next. Katarina thanks Jorgie for being like a shining jewel and admires the fact that she can act, skate and scream simultaneously. Robin says it was all right on the button and worked really, really well.

Ooh, and so we get to directly compare the two frontrunners, because Matt and Nina are next. He lies that he never expected to be at the top of the leaderboard in the first week. They're skating to Night Fever, and because Nina has never seen Saturday Night Fever, he takes her to a Seventies club to dance. They then try to translate the moves on to the ice, at which point Matt wobbles and falls on top of Nina. You see? He's not a ringer! He falls over! Like normal people!

Matt is white-suited up, and also has three backing dancers before he gets on to the ice. He tries to do a Travolta sneer, and fails. Still, the skating is nice (although there are some really ugly lifts in there), and he does look like he's leading, which is unusual for the men in this competition. Scores - Dance 6.0, Robin 8.0 and Katarina 7.5 for a total of 21.5. Ooh, he's matched her! Matt admits he was nervous because it all went wrong in rehearsal today, and Nina then tries to steal Phil's mic in order to declaim about how proud she is of her partner and the risk he took in doing the lift. Robin says that Matt delivered big tricks and danced well, but he also gets the blades working properly - "you wouldn't know which was the professional and which was the celebrity." Katarina says it doesn't feel like Matt is a non-skater, and Dance says a mid-tempo number can go either way - "For me it didn't have that spark you should have with every tempo," he says, and gets booed for his trouble.

Charlene and Matthew are our next contestants. She says she had "so much fun" on week 1, and she's excited about dancing to Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend. However, she is less keen on some of the lifts and spins that are in the routine, particularly after she too incurs a rib injury. Poor old Sharon the physio is earning her money this year.

Corey's boy-band chums are back to dance with Charlene at the top of the routine, before she gets on to the ice and joins Matthew. Her dress is very long, which seems a bit cumbersome to me, until I realise it's got splits up the side (the material flaps into Matthew's face when they do the lift, but hey ho). Gubba talks about Moldovan ambassadors. Scores - Dance 5.0, Robin 4.0, Katarina 6.0 for a total of 15.0. Charlene says that if she goes through, she won't chicken out of lifts next time. [I knew she was heading for the bottom two as soon as she said that. YOU DO NOT QUESTION TORVILL AND DEAN. - Steve] Chris looks unconvinced. Jayne interjects again about how hard it is to skate with a sore rib. Katarina says the character suited her, and she liked the portrayal. Dance agrees about the characterisation of the choreography, and says the lines were much better. Robin says that Charlene moves "very lovely" on the ice. Seriously, is he drunk tonight?

Sebastien and Brianne next. Last week he did freerun-dancing on ice, and surprised everybody, although Robin told him to skate more with his partner. They're skating to Mad World from Donnie Darko, and they will have to be in tune with each other with some odd-looking moves that look like they will tear your hamstrings. Seb tells us that it is "crucial for Brianne and I to be as one." Brianne explains that basically they'll both go arse over tit if one of them is slightly off-beam.

They begin with some caped and masked weirdness, before moving on to the rink where their speed is notable. Nobody falls over, and Sebastien finishes in a strange little headstand thing. Scores - Dance 5.0, Robin 6.5, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 18.0. Sebastien says there is no more "I", there is "we". Or "wee". Or "oui". He says it is hard to work with a partner but he likes it. Brianne says she needs to learn what Sebastien's style is so that they can really work together. Chris muses about Sebastien's "gentle spirit". Dance says Sebastien has long legs and a short torso which produces nice lines, but he needs to work on his performance. Robin disagrees - his lines are "great", and the quirkiness of the routine worked well. Robin and Dance start to bicker, and then Sebastien tries to explain to Dance what his acting and characterisation choices were. Heeeee!

Andy (in his really ugly wig) and Vicky now. For their first performance, they did much comedy and entertained Robin and Dance, scoring 12.0 in the process. This week they're skating to Grease, which, sadly for him, means he has to go and see Ray Quinn for advice. FUCK OFF RAY QUINN. He tells us he was in the West End playing Danny (which he got on the back of his Dancing on Ice win), and then gives Andy some acting advice that is ever so slightly reminiscent of Susan Sarandon's to Joey in Friends: "You OWN the room!" [So from that I extrapolate that Andy and Ray ended up sleeping together. *shudders* - Steve]

Anyway, Andy combs his quiff, Vicky leads him by the hand around the rink, but at least they're not doing Comedy Faces this time round. It's quite a cute and tidy little number. Better than anything I'd have expected with Ray Quinn's involvement. Scores - Dance 4.5, Robin 4.5, Katarina 5.0 for a total of 14.0. Andy is happy with the improved score, and reveals that when he ran his hair through his wig, his fingers nearly got stuck in the hairspray. Vicky says Andy has worked hard (of course), and Jayne is shocked at how well he skated. Katarina says Andy keeps surprising her - this routine had much more skating, but she wants him to find a way to work with the music a little more. Robin says it was entertaining for the right reasons, and then somehow Dance manages to repeat everything I typed in my recap above.

IT'S THE FINAL PERFORMANCE! And it's Heidi (who broke Sylvain) with my Andrei! In the first week, she was slow, timid and clinical by her own admission. She reckons she loves being in the competition, and is excited to be skating to Goldfinger. Jayne says Heidi needs to be a Bond girl, but Chris is the one who demonstrates the appropriate Bond girl movements, because he's an old ham. Amelle!Sugababe turns up to rehearsal to yell "SEXIFY!" from the sidelines, which I'm sure is incredibly helpful. [I think that's the lyrics to their next single. - Steve]

They are skating to some kind of fucked-up remix of Goldfinger which I hate more than I hate Heidi. Also there isn't enough camera close-up of Andrei, and images of giant dildoes seem to be projected across the ice. I don't understand this show tonight. Scores - Dance 5.0, Robin 5.0 and Katarina 5.5 for a total of 15.5, which Heidi is really pleased with. She then says it's tough to concentrate on performing when Andrei is shouting at her to get down on her knees. Everyone screeches, Andrei blushes, Heidi takes a while to realise what she's said. Honestly, the double entendres tonight are impossible. [If not the double entendres, then the audience's insistence in POINTING THEM ALL OUT. I mean, that's our job. - Steve] Dance then tells Andrei if he needs a new partner, he's available. Where is Susie? Why is she not here putting a stop to this behaviour? Robin says it wasn't so timid as before, and Katarina says Andrei is wonderful so the lifts are secure, but she wants Heidi to spice it up a bit more. Chris has now controlled his hysteria, and says that Heidi and Andrei are now secure in their partnership having had a fortnight to work on it. Wow, Chris, that was worth waiting for.

So the leaderboard - Jorgie and Matt are tied at the top, with Corey languishing at the bottom. Vote vote vote if you care! The results will follow later this evening!

The skate-off

Welcome back,children. Earlier tonight, we celebrated the movies, and approximately 159 non-famous people skated for our votes, which we all failed to give them because none of us have voted on this show for three years! Now - it's time for the skate-off...

...titles!

Phil and Christine welcome us back, and remind us that one couple will be leaving this evening - the lines have now closed, and a suitably ominous graphic is beamed on to the rink. Before we get any results, it's time for a recap (please just see above) and the backstage gossip, such as it is: Chico kissed an old lady and claimed that he was being cool rather than cheesy; Rosemary was disappointed to mess up on the night; the kung fu Sam-and-Mark was really nervous; Chemmy cried and cried and cried but hopes "the people" respect that she took a risk; Corey refused to talk to the camera and so Brooke and Karen tried to cover his hissyfit up; Jen was in physio immediately after the routine so Dan tried to cover that up; the Blues Brothers Sam-and-Mark promised he will get better week on week; Jorgie and Matt think they will go up (on strings); Matt was "chuffed to bits" to get the same mark as Jorgie; Charlene feels a responsibility when playing Marilyn Monroe, notwithstanding the fact that nobody is really watching this or cares; Sebastien thinks comments are "good to take" and will work with them; Andy is glad that he keeps surprising people; and Heidi enjoyed this routine much more.

Wow, we really do have a stunningly interesting troupe of contestants this year, don't we?

Christine asks Robin about the bunching at the top of the leaderboard, and he says that there will always be somebody at the bottom. Which is sort of how leaderboards work. And then he talks about people getting on their knees again. Dance talks a bit about the potential on show from the middle of the pack, and says how excited he is to be working. Katarina beams beautifully, and says that Jorgie is breathtaking to such an extent that she doesn't look at Matt (meaning Lovely Matt, but the camera operator is confused and shows Emmerdale Matt instead).

Phil touches his ear, and begins to give us the results. Who's safe? Corey and Brooke. What the fuck? Everybody is entirely confused. Who else? Sebastien and Brianne; Chico and Jodeyne; Matthew and Nina; Jorgie and Matt; Kung Fu Sam-and-Mark and Alexandra; Heidi and Andrei; Rosemary and Mark; Chemmy and Sean; Jennifer and Dan; and Andy and Vicky.

So that leaves Charlene and Mark and Blues Brother Sam-and-Mark and Frankie in the skate-off. I am totally unbothered by either of these, which is probably the reason why they are both in the bottom two.

Blues Brother Sam-and-Mark and Frankie go first. They are slow over the ice, and several mistakes including "me tie falling out me jacket", apparently. Chris scolds him for admitting errors. Charlene and Matthew (and their three random dancing boys) follow; it's much better acted, obviously, and this should be a foregone conclusion. Surely?

Robin saves Charlene; Dance loves Mark's spirit, but Charlene's performance was stronger; and Katarina completes it by saying that Charlene used her second chance best. That means that Mark and Frankie are out of the competition. "Oh no!" exclaims Phil. "What a nightmare! I'm so sorry!" Mark is very pragmatic about it, saying that he was near the bottom and made mistakes, and Charlene was much better, so she deserves to go through. Aw, that's nice.

Montage of his best bits - mostly falling over and saying that he is in competition with Sam. Jayne and Chris say that it's been lovely working with him and he has a magnificent spirit; Mark thanks Frankie for working "with limited resources" and urges a round of applause for her, while Steve takes to Twitter to urge a ringer for her next series. More shoddy camera work as Mark and Frankie skate in front of the shot and Katarina seems to be doodling on a notepad, and we're out!

Join us again next week when the contestants face some kind of immense challenge, and Torvill and Dean will perform a solo routine for us! Steve will be here for that, but until then...keeeeeeep fast over the ice!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Morse the pity

Week 2: 15th January 2012

So, last week, half of this year's contestants made their ice debuts, while the other half watched - and this, according to Rosemary Conley, was quite scary. Corey, similarly, felt the pressure from watching such luminaries as Heidi "Sylvain Breaker" Range, and Jennifer decided that she just didn't want to be the one to let the side down. Presumably she was off frying up a batch of chunky chips for everyone when Mark Rhodes was on. Jorgie Porter was commended for the strongest opening routine in Dancing On Ice history, and Matthew Wolfenden saw that as the benchmark for the rest of them. Meanwhile, in a SHOCK RESULT, Andy Akinwolere went home. See, this is what comes of moving Blue Peter to half past two in the afternoon or whenever it's on now - adults don't get to see as much of it, thus making the transition from children's TV presenter to grown-up reality star far more difficult. Anyway, that was a SHOCK RESULT, and we'll be hearing a lot tonight about how it was a SHOCK RESULT, so just, y'know, prepare yourselves for that. Tonight, the remaining eight celebrities must skate to prove their worth to Epic Goddess Katarina Witt and also some other people, and this apparently involves a lot of falling over and muffled curses. Sounds good to me!

Titles, now using footage apparently recycled from the pre-series advert. Cutbacks, I guess.

We open with a performance from Pixie Lott, sounding quite rough, to be honest. Also, her posture is terrible. Stand up straight, love, you're in for a world of back problems in later life otherwise. This appears to be the "hen night" version of Pixie Lott, which is the most frequently occuring of her many personalities. Well, "personalities". Apparently the song's called 'Kiss The Stars', and I'm certainly not too mature to make a "more like Kiss My Arse, AMIRITE?" joke. She's accompanied by Lovely Matt and Nina (I think - I'm going mainly on the hair here) as well as Mark and Maria, but they're not featured anywhere near as much as they should be, and far more airtime is given to Pixie's off-pitch warblings and her bizarre underwear choices.

Thankfully, it ends (eventually) and Phil and Christine arrive. "What a way to start the night!" exclaims Phil, having apparently not noticed the stage direction "(despairingly)" in his script. Time to meet our skating stars: Jennifer and Dan, Remaining Andy and Vicky, Heidi and Andrei (get well soon, Sylvain! Seriously, you might have to hurry if you actually want to participate this year), Charlene and Matthew, Sam and Alexandra, Mark and FRANKIE!, Rosemary and Mark (she's looking a bit wobbly, sadly), Jorgie and Lovely Matt, Sébastien and Brianne, Corey and Brooke (he almost goes arse over tit the second she lets go of him), Chemmy and Sean, Laila and Lukasz, Chico and Jodeyne, Matthew and Nina and of course ICE LEGENDS Jayne and Chris.

Phil has a good old chuckle about Corey's near tumble, and reminds us of the SHOCK EXIT of Andy A last week, and Chris says this has put the wind up everyone and they've realised that performing well with the judges is no guarantee of survival. Christine asks Jayne who we should be looking out for, and Jayne non-answers that everyone did well in rehearsals. Stop sitting on the fence, Jayne. Phil tells us that Jennifer and Dan will be skating first, but not before...

.. an ad break. That "Truvia Scrumptious" commercial might just be the worst thing ever.

When we're back, it's time to meet the ice panel: Robin, Dance, and FLAWLESS GODDESS KATARINA WITT. Christine asks Robin if he's expecting everyone to perform as well as Jorgie did last week, and Robin says ABSOLUTELY NOT, because Jorgie did what she did, and everyone else needs to do what they do, and not worry about competing with other people. Isn't that kind of the whole point of the show, though? Robin clarifies that going out trying to beat other people rather than focusing on your own performance is the big problem. Katarina says that they won't get a second chance to make a first impression, so she wants everyone to do as well as last week's lot did. Dance is looking for "oodles of personality" once more, and also good timing, musicality, and precision. Three times precision, even. He reminds us that Robin and Katarina are here to judge the skating, while he is here to focus on dance and performance. I like that everyone knows their role this year. I suspect the problem in recent years was that Bunton was there, and no one had a clue what her role was supposed to be. I imagine, if asked, her response would've been something like Bubble's on Absolutely Fabulous: "I don't really know. Nothing. Get paid." Anyway, hooray for a likeable ice panel!

Up first, as promised, are Jennifer and Dan. Phil introduces her as a "dancer, actress, singer and chef", and my boyfriend instantly grouses that winning Hell's Kitchen does NOT make you a chef any more than winning I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! makes you Crocodile Dundee. Anyway, Jennifer prefers to describe herself simply as an actress, though she states warningly that she's mainly been a mum for three years, and while she's "loved every minute of it", she's looking forward to a different challenge. Also: money. Chris notes that Jennifer lacks confidence, but has lovely lines, so overall there's potential. Jennifer wishes for Dan as her partner, but fears she won't get him; of course, her fears are unfounded because her partner for the year is two-time Champion ON ICE Daniel Whiston, who is definitely up for a hat trick. They rehearse well together, have a lot of fun, and Daniel thinks that Jennifer's picking things up quickly. Her confidence is still an issue, however, and is further shaken when she sees the uptempo routine she's got for the first show. To further complicate matters, Dan incurs an injury during rehearsals for last week's big group number, much to Jennifer's distress. It's a torn hamstring (cue hilariously suggestive footage of Dan with the physio, his leg in the air with his thigh being gently caressed), and Sharon the physio (whom I suspect we will be seeing a lot of this year) says it's a very serious injury, but they're determined to have him fit for Sunday. Dan vows to soldier on and be there for Jennifer.

They're skating to...sorry, what now? I didn't get a word of that, Gubba. Hang on, I'm going to Wikipedia. Bear with me...

...oh, apparently it's 'Bei Mir Bistu Shien' by the Andrews Sisters, though Gubba's pronunciation was somewhere closer to the Germanicised title, though still not quite correct even in that interpretation. Anyway, I've never heard this song before, but it's got a Charleston-y feeling to it, so their routine is quite 1920s, a little bit silent movie-style, and Jennifer's got some great lines, as Chris previously pointed out, and moves well over the ice. There's also a frankly terrifying lift where she sort of dangles around Dan's waist and does the splits while leaning back UPSIDE DOWN, and that's quite a lot to take in for week one. Jennifer's friends and family are wearing "Keep Calm And Vote Team Jennifer" t-shirts. Ugh.

It looks pretty good in the recap, and Gubba reminds us that she's played Roxie Hart in Chicago, though to be honest I think everyone's played Roxie Hart at least twice by now, haven't they? I've played Roxie Hart twice myself. Also, it appears that even Gubba's ability to give nonsensical names to the lifts has its limits, as he can't think of a name for the terrifying leg split back bend. Scores: Dance 5.5, Robin 5.0, Katarina 5.0 for a total of 15.5. Over at the kiss and cry, Phil asks if they have a name for that lift, and Dan titters that they do, but it's rude. Dan says that he's recovering nicely from his injury, and a breathless Jen adds that they're just glad to be here. Chris says that Jen "razzled and dazzled us" and opines that Jen's legs are the longest they've ever had on the show. I have my doubts, personally.

Christine's with the judges, and Dance says it was choreographed to her strengths, but says she would have got an extra point if she'd kept her shoulders down, though she gave him precision in the movements, which is what he was looking for. Katarina says that you can see Jennifer's dance background in her performance - the steps are careful, but perfect in a way. She thinks Jennifer looks comfortable, and her face is glowing and beaming. Robin agrees, and likes the naturalness of the performance, and then likens Jennifer to the DREAD LANGFORD, though doesn't point out that Jennifer appears to have at least mastered the rudiments of skating, unlike the Dread Langford. [Why has everyone forgotten that Langford never fucking set a blade on the ice? Honestly, this show's memory capacity worries me. - Carrie]

Phil encourages us to tweet our opinions using a hashtag that no one is using (#dancingonice, if you please. Everyone in my timeline was using #doi, or #ONICE), and then we go to another ad break, in which a man pretends to be Richard Branson. [It's Usain Bolt! - Carrie] I assume this is because Virgin Media's customer service is now officially so terrible, the man has to hire decoys lest he get attacked in the street.

When we return, it's time for Sam and Alexandra. Phil's intro for them actually acknowledges Sam and Mark's Pop Idol beginnings, which I don't think happened last week. We see some clips of what kids' TV looks like these days, and Sam says that he and Mark do everything together, before hastily backtracking that they don't do EVERYTHING together, nothing gaywise or anything like that. He says that Mark's the more competitive one, but he wants to beat him - again, presumably not in a gaywise fashion. Sam would like to win, not just for the sake of winning, but also so he can "rub it in Mark's face". Just assume that everything he says is followed by "not in a gaywise fashion", it'll save us all a lot of time. Alexandra is excited about Sam because he has a great work ethic, but Chris thinks Sam needs to work on his energy. Sam thinks the pressure is on because Mark's already survived one week. Chris thinks that Sam's the stronger skater, but Mark surprised everyone by not being entirely unpopular. Sam muses that if he doesn't get through, he'll never hear the end of it.

He and Alexandra are skating to 'Fascination' and he is biting his bottom lip for all he's worth (let's not be crude about this, just for a change). His dancing is quite hesitant and a little bit off-the-beat, and he doesn't appear to be too keen to let go of Alexandra, though to be fair he's not too bad when required to skate solo. He does look very nervous throughout, and there's a very slight slip when getting up from a slide, but by and large it's pretty good. Gubba tells us that Sam has already lost a stone in training, and is also preparing for the London marathon. Gubba fails to come up with any good names for the lifts. Scores: Dance 4.5, Robin 5.5, Katarina 5.5 for a total of 15.5. Sam pulls "WTF" faces, and Mark gives him the thumbs up from afar (not in a gaywise, etc etc). Sam says that he loved it, and Alexandra says that he's great and so positive that she's just smiling all the time, goshdarnit. Jayne thinks Sam's worked really well on his core strength and is in great shape now. She thinks there were a lot of steps in the routine, and that's why they got such great marks.

Robin thinks Sam is looking very comfortable in a natural stance over the blade, and to be doing an inside double turn in week one is very impressive, even if it's not quite perfect. He thinks it was messy around the edges but not at the expense of being in control. Dance says that it was a good programme with good musicality, but he's looking at the arms, and he thinks Sam could've been stronger at the start, though he warmed up throughout the programme, and he had a good relationship with his partner, which is important. He thinks Sam really has the ability to progress. Katarina tells Sam that he is much faster than Mark, and that she was really impressed with his step sequence and the twizzles and turns and going on his toes were all very impressive.

Next are Rosemary and Mark. Rosemary reminds us that she's a diet and fitness guru, and is very excited about being here. Jayne asks her if she's skated before, and Rosemary says yes, so Jayne invites her to skate around the rink. Rosemary does so, s-l-o-w-l-y. Rosemary says that she's had skating lessons a couple of times a week for the last few years. Wow, someone REALLY wanted to do this show, huh? Chris jumps out at her like a bastard and then comments that she's starting from a good level, but that's with two years of practice, so will she improve? He wonders if we'll see her doing a headbanger. CLEARLY NOT, DEAN. Rosemary worries that she'll need a patient partner because she's taking longer to learn things than someone half her age. Mark says that he's hoping to do slightly better than last year, where he went out in week one, or week 0.2, or whatever we call it. In training, Jayne notes rather scornfully that Rosemary is treating things like a fun day out rather than a serious competition. Rosemary reflects on Andy's departure last week and how even doing well with the judges doesn't guarantee your safety. She doesn't want to be in the skate-off, and vows to do everything in her power to prevent that.

They're skating to 'Fernando'. It's all very mannered and rather static at the start, and Rosemary slips - but doesn't fall - soon after moving from the start position. There's a faintly wobbly, Bambi-ish quality to her skating, and it's all a bit slow over the ice (TM Nicky Slater), but by and large it's a respectable programme.

Gubba notes the early stumble but opines that she's got it back together. He tells us that she has a 25 inch waist, which is INSANE. Scores are in: Dance 3.5, Robin 4.5, Katarina 4.5 for a total of 12.5, which is "respectable", as Phil puts it. Rosemary thinks the trip was unfortunate, and Phil asks if it was nerves, because he's not seen her slip before. Rosemary admits that this is one of the scariest things she's ever done, though she admits that it's still "a huge privilege" to be on "the most wonderful show on earth". Calm down, Rosemary. Mark says that he's loving having Rosemary for a partner and says that if he can do what Rosemary did at the age of 65, he'd be happy. Chris patronises her about being A Lady and always being well turned-out and pristine. He thinks nerves got to her tonight, but was impressed by her speed over the nice. Phil also decides to get in on the patronising act by telling her she looks beautiful.

Dance tells Rosemary that he was glad for the slip, because it caused her to break into a smile where before she'd looked tense. He thinks she did some nice lines, but he felt it was a bit laboured and hesitant in the choreography, though she exudes elegance and grace. Robin disagrees and says that it wasn't laboured, in fact it was genteel (wtf?). He thought the quality of the footwork was great, despite the stumble, and there was something lovely in seeing her and Mark on the ice together. Katarina thinks that Rosemary is Inspirational and she hopes that she can be out there, many years from now, with the same poise that Rosemary has. She also notes that there is no sound when Rosemary skates, meaning that she's caressing the ice, which is a good thing, apparently.

Ad break.

When we return, Christine is with all the couples and head coach Karen, who tells us that everyone's very nervous, especially Jennifer, who conquered her nerves tonight. She votes for Chico as the dark horse of the competition, citing him as a hard worker. Chico chips in that he wants to be a horse that finishes the race, and continues talking forever and ever and ever and OH GOD THIS IS TOO MUCH. Jennifer says that seeing her family helped her to settle, and she hopes she did okay. Christine asks Corey if he's nervous (sensing a theme here, anyone?) Corey says that the stage is shaking, it's not him. Christine looks lustfully at Matthew Wolfenden in his leathers (it's really not doing anything for me, I have to say) before introducing our next couple: Laila and Lukasz. Laila reminds us that she's best known as EastEnders' Big Mo, so I wonder how well she'll fit in on this show where she's far from the only big mo. (*Rimshot*) Laila says that she's fairly terrified, but wants to prove all the naysayers wrong, hopefully. Chris admires her determination, and Layla says she wants to do it for the older women out there. Unfortunately, she is amongst the walking wounded this year: she tells us how she ripped a tendon in her shoulder in training, but vows to make it back onto the ice. However, it takes a toll on her skating, as she's three weeks behind everyone else. Lukasz says that he wants to make sure Laila has fun and also that she stays safe. Oh, bless him. He's impressed by Laila's balance on the ice. Chris explains that Laila's routine is slow- to mid-tempo with lots of character, and he hopes the character will come out, and not the pain. Oh Dean, you utter drama queen. Laila's injury continues to plague her throughout rehearsals, but she determines to go ahead because doing this is important, for some reason.

They're skating to 'My Girl', and Laila is an early frontrunner for the "loudest supporters" award. There's not an awful lot of skating in the first 30 seconds or so, and her lines are a bit feeble because of the arm injury, but her footwork's actually surprisingly good. She's impressively light on her feet. She's mouthing all the words too, and given what we saw in her VT, I wonder if this is a diversionary tactic she's employing to take her mind off her injury. She looks properly chuffed with herself when she gets to the end, though, as well she might.

Gubba reminds us that Laila only had one month to train, and name-drops that Laila will be sending a DVD of that performance to her little brother in LA, Gary Oldman. You mean he's not in the audience, waving a banner, Richard and Judy-style? Shame. Scores: Dance 3.0, Robin 3.0, Katarina 3.5. Laila tells Phil she thought it was absolutely brilliant, and Phil says that she's a real trouper. "Well, we're the Oldmans," Laila responds, and giggles. Lukasz explains that rehearsals have been difficult because Laila can't move that arm much, so they've had a lot of things to work around. Jayne says that Laila was very determined, and it looks like she had lots of fun out there, so Jayne is very impressed.

Robin says that she made it through unscathed, and he wouldn't have known that she was coping with an injury if he hadn't seen the VT, because the actress in her came out and she worked through it. He thought it was basic, but she was in control and enjoyed herself. Katarina thinks Laila deserves a 10.0 for her courage and for not showing pain, but this is about skating, and she saw Lukasz basically doing all the work, so she needs Laila to be more in control on her own, because she's singing more than she's skating. Dance compliments her on her lines, and tells her to remember to keep stretched when she's in the air, but tells her it wasn't a bad performance considering the injury. A cheap knockoff of the EastEnders drum riff plays as Phil encourages us to vote, and then it's time for our next couple: Sébastien and Brianne.

Sébastien talks about how free-running is "more than just a sport, it's an art" (sure, why not?) and, in a bid to prove he's definitely famous, honest, tells us that he's in the opening of the film Casino Royale. He freeruns into the skating arena to meet Jayne and Chris, and Jayne recoils a little bit, which is quite funny to watch. Chris says that Sébastien wants to bring his natural agility to the ice, and he gets a 7 out of 10 in his basic skills test, which he seems quite pleased with. Brianne arrives and declares herself THE CHAMPION of last year's series. Yeah, Sam who? She enjoys Sébastien showing off in rehearsals, but Chris worries that Sébastien is treating it as an individual sport rather than a team sport, and Brianne does seem to be bristling a bit with him in rehearsals. Chris says that Sébastien needs to sort out his partnering issues if he doesn't want to be criticised by the judges.

Sébastian's fans are also loud, and Brianne appears to have a few screamers in herself. They're skating to 'Clocks' by Coldplay, complete with dazzlingly literal choreography with Brianne as the pendulum. They're not quite in sync throughout, but he's definitely good, with excellent balance and a lot of energy as you'd expect. Gubba cracks an "if he gets voted out, he'll really go up the wall" joke. Oh dear. Scores: Dance 5.0, Robin 6.0, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 17.5. "Formidable!" exclaims Phil in his best French accent. Sébastien says he wants to cry because he has So Many Feelings and he's very happy to be here. Brianne says that she's hard on him, but only because she loves him and sees his potential, and she's so proud of him for doing so well tonight. Chris claims that he tried to include an element of free-running in the choreography (oh Chris, I'm not sure that three forward-rolls really counts as "an element of free-running").

Katarina tells him that she enjoys the element of risk within the routine, and she hopes he will keep experimenting, because more interesting things will come out of that. She's impressed with his skating skills and speed, and thinks the big challenge will be for Chris and Jayne to choreograph routines worthy of him. Dance tells Sébastien that he reminds him of Chemmy last week, with the same speed and aggression in the performance. He thinks it was very contemporary, but points out that Sébastien spent a lot of time looking at the floor and needs to work on that. Robin agrees with everything that Dance and Queen Katarina have said, but also wants to remind Sébastien that this is a pairs skating competition, and as lovely as it is to see him skate out on his own so much, he does need to actually acknowledge Brianne's existence at some point.

Adverts. I would say something horrible about Wonga.com here, but last time I tried that on Twitter, an official representative pounced on me and gave me a telling-off. Still, it's good that they're not super-defensive or anything. [Let 'em come after me. Those kind of loan companies are the personification of evil capitalism and our crumbling indebted society. - Carrie]

When we come back, it is Chico time, apparently. It's strange - there doesn't appear to be any specific designation on the clock for this wondrous hour, it's just Chico time whenever anyone says it is. If only that worked for lunch time. NotChesneyHawkes tells us that he is a singer, and one who is so excited but also so scared. My God, it's like the entire plot of 'Jessie's Song' encapsulated in one sentence. During the skills test, Chris observes that Chico is "precarious", but he gets through by the skin of his teeth. Jayne expresses concern that Chico lacks the necessary stability and balance, but says that his passion and enthusiasm keeps him going. Jodeyne reminds us that last year she made it to the semi-finals with a HERO, but this year she's planning on making the real final. Chico explains that he's had the fun part of training, being a reserve, where there's no pressure on you - but then Chesney went and broke himself, and suddenly the heat is on. He pretends to be a live-action cartoon while relating all of this. Jayne says that he's been working hard in rehearsals, and loving every minute. Chico says he's skating 50% for himself, and 50% for Chesney, so the two of those add up to the full 100%, which is what he is going to give. Pfft. Amateur.

They're skating to 'Wild Thing', and Jodeyne looks fucking terrified. I think this might be what happens when you're forced against your will to live in a world where it is Chico time all the time. His dancing is skittish, to say the least, but his general speed is impressive and there are some quite tricky manoeuvres in there for this stage of the competition.

Gubba tells us that Chico is "still chasing stardom". I think he may be looking in the wrong places. Scores are in: Dance 6.0, Robin 6.0, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 18.5. Chico takes this score with quiet grace. Oh, of course not: he goes absolutely nuts. Phil points out to Chico that he got the same score as Jorgie. Chico thinks that this is the first time in his life that anyone's ever told him he did something well. If that's true, then that is very sad indeed. He goes on to remind us that he is turning 40 soon, and that is all fine because life starts at 40. You might even say that when you turn 40, it's Chico ti--no, it's no good, I can't do it. Jodeyne says they've only had seven days together, but Chico's determined to make the best of the time that they have. Jayne agrees, saying that when they're working on the ice, Chico is very focused. Robin opens for the judges, saying that the song should be named 'Wild But In Control Thing'. Oh, Robin. It really shouldn't, for so many reasons. He saw speed and power, but control, and he thought it was terrific. He hears that Chesney was pretty good, but he also thinks that Chico is pretty good, and thinks the partnership worked instantly. Katarina says that she thinks his speed and performance and interaction with his partner was all great. Dance says that Chico is not just easy on the eye, but he knocked out a great routine - but he would've got an extra 0.5 if it were more sexy and less cheesy. Fair enough.

Ad break. Anybody else planning to watch Winners And Losers? I'm sort of tempted, I won't lie.

As we return, Phil reminds us once again of Andy's Shock Exit last week and how that affected the skaters who survived. This takes us into a VT, and Heidi says that being in the skate-off just shows you how easily this could all end. And this is from a woman who's used to having her colleagues kicked out at regular intervals [/obligatory weak Sugababes joke]. She likes her new routine, but it's more difficult, so she just wants to enjoy it. Still Here Andy says that he was relieved to survive last week, and wants to survive and get better - he's here to show that he can skate. Charlene admits to having been shaking when she got off the ice, and while she feels she's making progress, she's still having to review the basics all the time. Chemmy didn't realise how much she would enjoy the opening week, but needs to work on her finesse and her lines, and she's quite scared of the lift she's been given for next week, which she can't seem to land. Mark says that he was "jubilant" to survive, and is aiming for the lofty heights of double figures. He's got a "comical" routine for next week, which is worrying. Jorgie is feeling the pressure to maintain her score from last week, and her new routine is very fast with a lot of things going on. She hadn't anticipated getting such a hectic routine so soon.

Christine's in the studio with the viewing skaters, and asked Jorgie how she's feeling about next week, now that her high score from last week has been equalled by Chico and therefore tarnished somewhat. Jorgie says that she is "so much scared". Oh, she speak English goodly. Mark thinks that Sam has laid down the gauntlet, and compliments him on pulling off the orange outfit so well. Christine reads out a tweet from "Comedy" Dave last year complimenting Sam, and tells us that "Big Mo" is globally trending, though do we know for definite that it's referring to Laila Morse? Maybe homophobia's just really popular right now. Matthew (still in those leathers, still not doing a thing for me) says that he's feeling all right at this point, if a bit sweaty because it's pleather, not leather, and trying to control his nerves.

Up next are Corey and Brooke. His voice sounds kind of destroyed at this point. He affects a Wild West drawl as he faces the ice for the first time, with that ludicrous thing still dangling from his hair. He's given his skills test by Matthew Gonzalez, because he had too many commitments to come to the UK for it, or something. Brooke tells us that she's a pretty tough partner, capable of whipping anyone into shape. Anyone, it seems, except Corey, whose progress is slow. In training, Karen scolds him for having stuff in his pocket, giving him a full-on health and safety lecture. Chris is unimpressed with Corey's lack of progress, and Corey rates his own skating ability as "zero", oddly proudly. We see clips of Corey watching last week's show and his complete lack of ability slowly dawning on him. Oops, indeed. He says that watching last week's show was "eye-opening, to say the least" and now appears to have developed some sort of work ethic. Hooray for work!

They're skating to 'Summer Of 69', and his skating is really not good. He's all over the place and bungles one of the slide-throughs because of a stumble, leaving Brooke hanging behind him. Brooke's really working it, and I feel rather sorry for her - I think she deserves a rather better partner. I'd say "maybe next year", but with the turnover on this show, we might never see her again. [She looks a bit like Stacey Solomon if you squint. Or look at her through an odd strand of hair. - Carrie] He manages to stop on his toepicks, and pulls off a knee-slide, so there's clearly some hope here, but it's not that great a start. I find myself oddly drawn to him though, if I can ignore that thing in his hair. I think I just have a weakness for a man with a strong jawline.

Gubba tells us that Corey's got six Playboy bunnies in to support him, ugh. Scores: Dance 3.5, Robin 4.0, Katarina 3.5 for a total of 11.0. Phil then says that there are eight bunny ladies in the audience - apparently they're multiplying like, well, like bunnies, or someone can't count. [The very fact that this show is proud of having these women there makes me want to puke. - Carrie] Corey says that he was working on two films at the same time as training for this, so he didn't have the time to devote to it, but now he's here and totally ready to commit. We've all heard that one before, am I right ladies? Phil welcomes Brooke to the show, and she says that what's great about Corey is that he gives 100% in terms of performance. Chris says he was on the edge of his seat, possibly for the wrong reasons, but thinks that Corey gave a great performance when he was out there, and calls Brooke "my hero".

Robin cracks some dreadful puns about "tension" and "intense" and says that Corey tends to "plod" rather than glide. He makes a laboured "lost boy" joke and says that Corey needs to work on bringing the same intensity to training that he does to the performance if he gets through. Dance says that most of the marks were for performance, and that it was tentative all the way through, and he was waiting for him to fall over. He tells Corey that he needs to work on the choreography and "danceability". Katarina says that he's working so hard that she finds it hard to criticise him, but it was like he was walking on raw eggs, and she's worried about him stepping on Brooke's hair or dropping her in one of the lifts, so she's pleased that neither of them are dead. Phil mentions that Corey's hair has its own Twitter account, but I think it's best we all ignore that and hope it goes away.

Ad break. I wonder if Max Beesley spent a lot of time moaning about work last week, or whether having lots of ad-money numbs the pain.

Finally, we have Matthew Wolfenden and Nina, who openly admits to his dance and gymnast background. *cough*ringer*cough* He gets 10/10 in his basic skills test, and grouses (albeit in a tongue-in-cheek fashion) that he wanted to do better. Oh dear, he's one of those. Matthew grunts and snarls at himself a lot in practice, and says "oh, CRIKEY" like a good ITV1 soap star. Chris worries that Matthew's perfectionism getting in his way, and Matthew thinks that Jorgie has set a very high bar for him to meet, and hopes he can do it on the night.

They're skating to 'Give Me Everything' by Pitbull and surprise, surprise - he's very good indeed. He's light on his feet, sharp in his movements, and infectiously enthusiastic. I'm a bit disappointed that nothing in the programme really explained the pleather though, because now it just feels gratuitous. I know, on this show, who'd have thought? Matthew pounds the ice in exuberance afterwards, and The Ice is all "yeah, you just watch that in future, sunshine".

Scores: Dance 7.0, Robin 6.5, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 20.5. Phil declares this score "astonishing". Matthew tells us we should all have a go at ice-dancing in front of millions of people because it's a real buzz. For a perfectionist, he admits to being very chuffed with his performance. Phil asks Nina if it's harder to work with a perfectionist, and Nina says that she's one as well, so it makes it harder, but he turns up at practice and gives it 100%. Jayne says we've had several contenders tonight but Matthew's got the highest score, so that makes him a definite contender. Thanks for that, Jayne.

Katarina tells us that she DEFINITELY gave her score for the right reason, that being Matthew's skating skills, and not for how sexy he is or how great he looks, then cracks "Okay, I'm a woman!" Hee. I heart Katarina, especially since she then tells him to ditch the pleather and get into jeans and a white shirt, which will be a much better look. Possibly still not very practical for ice-dancing, mind. Dance says, on the other hand, that his points are SOLELY for the pleather. Hee. He thinks it was "almost perfect" and thought that Matthew built with the music and it was all very exciting to watch. Robin thought it was a fantastic end to the night, and thinks this is going to be a fantastic series.

It's Chico leaderboard time! Matthew's at the top, Chico's in second, Sébastien is third, Jennifer and Sam are tying for fourth, behind them is Rosemary, then Corey, and Laila is, unsurprisingly, at the bottom. Also, Phil says "Jennifer and Danielle" when he's reading out the scores, which I think is a couple in a very different version of this show. The lines are now OPEN, so get voting! Or, you know, don't. I mean, I didn't, so it's not my place to force anyone to do it. And this was two days ago, so they're closed now anyway.

Recap: Jennifer and Daniel(le), several hours ago, with a song whose title Gubba couldn't pronounce; Sam and Alexandra trying to clear the low bar that Mark Rhodes set last week; Rosemary fulfilling all of the Inspirational Older Lady tropes in one fell swoop, right down to not actually being that great; Laila definitely not being Inspirational, but still being surprisingly entertaining; Sébastien doing something that I have decided to call "free-icing" (mmm, free icing); Chico doing whatever it is that Chico does; Corey doing the Dancing On Ice equivalent of turning up to an exam having done no revision and indeed not attended any of the classes, and finally Matthew possibly being the Ringiest Ringer That Ever Rang, even though this is technically a woman's year to win.

Phil reminds us that last week we had a SURPRISING SKATE-OFF, and how that means it is of serious importance that we vote. Christine reminds us to tune back in for the skate-off later, and Phil forgets what Wild At Heart is called. Heh. Someone's getting a stern phone call from the top brass at ITV in the next hour.

The Skate-Off

Tonight's eight couples are lined-up on the ice, while Phil reminds us that one couple is about to go home, for it is indeed The Skate-Off, as you might have spotted from the bold lettering up there.

Post-titles, Phil welcomes back everyone who isn't currently one-third of the way through a gripping episode of Sherlock and airing their Jim Moriarty sex fantasies on Twitter (I definitely wasn't doing that, no sirree) [I was watching the wrestling on Challenge - Carrie], and Christine tells us that someone's adventure will end this evening. The lines are still open, Phil tells us, so we get a quick recap of everyone's vote number in case we want to chuck a bit of last-minute support their way.

Shall we have another recap of earlier? Oh, do let's: Katarina spotted Jennifer's dance background in her professional-looking movements, and backstage Jennifer is thrilled that Katarina thought she looked like a professional, adding "I must be a good actress, then, because I was terrified!" All right, love, don't get carried away. We also see her seeking the approval of her children, which is far too Gary Lucy an approach for my liking, so let's move on. Robin thought Sam looked very comfortable, if a little messy around the edges. Sam thinks it's lovely to have comments like that from an Olympic gold medallist, and then Mark turns up and kisses him on the cheek, but not in a gaywise fa--actually, that is pretty gay. Not that I'm complaining. Poor Rosemary's slip is focused on in her performance clip, so that Dance can remind us how glad he was that it happened and broke her fear. Rosemary was very encouraged by his comments, and feels there's room for improvement, but is glad they saw some strengths in her. Katarina thought Laila deserved a 10.0 for courage, but was singing more than skating. Laila says that skating when injured takes a lot of guts. Dance notes that it's been a hot night considering two OAPs were involved.

Katarina liked Sébastien's experimentation and daring, and he's very pleased about that, and promises to bring more fresh and new stuff to dazzle us with next week. Dance liked Chico's speed and precision, but wanted more excitement. Chico is thrilled to have got such a high score having originally not even been in the competition. Christine and Phil discuss how Chico is easily overlooked because of his jokey personality, but agree he's a contender. Robin liked the attention Corey paid to Brooke, and Corey says that he fully anticipates being in the skate-off unless everyone really pities him. Basically, whatever happens, Corey's dignity (or what remains of it) is not getting out of this evening alive. Katarina definitely did not think Matthew was sexy, and Matthew was pleased to top the leaderboard and loving the whole experience. Jayne thinks tonight was all about the guys, and that Matthew gave a fantastic end to the evening.

Phil declares the lines officially closed, and reminds us of what's about to happen. Christine's over with the ice panel, and asks Robin how things are shaping up now we've seen everyone skate. Robin thinks tonight is really "rocking it", and thinks the men have really challenged the ladies of last week. Dance thinks the biggest surprise of the evening was definitely Chico, who really attacked the choreography with speed and almost had the complete package. Katarina says that towards the end, things got so steamy that she could only find high numbers on her pad. However much they're paying Katarina, it's not enough. Phil sends us to the break without even declaring anyone safe yet. Blimey.

Afterwards, Phil welcomes us back, and with a touch of his ear, brings us the results. In no particular, the following couples are safe and skating next week: Rosemary and Mark, Matthew and Nina, Jennifer and Dan, Chico and Jodeyne (the audience had just been hollering his name at this point, so it's safe to say they're quite chuffed), Sébastien and Brianne, and Sam and Alexandra. This leaves Corey and Brooke and Laila and Lukasz in the skate-off, meaning that the bottom two couples with the judges are the ones facing elimination, and that we're unlikely to get another SHOCK EXIT to be discussed at length next week. Corey looks grimly accepting of the news, Laila looks PISSED OFF.

Christine is lurking backstage, and asks Corey how he's feeling. Corey says that he's "pretty relaxed" and then giggles. He says he's feeling better than the main show, so this should be fun. Brooke hopes to have a good time and give it one last go. Laila says that she will give it a go, and titters. Lukasz says he is proud of her for going so far with her injury. Christine wishes them both luck, and sends Laila and Lukasz out for the first of tonight's skate-off reprisals.

Laila's loud entourage cheers, and Laila delivers a fairly indifferent version of the routine. It's odd - we all knew she was only in it for the paycheck and probably didn't really care about the competition, and yet she still seems rather affronted by the public not voting for her. Mind you, I suppose it was always going to be hard being a BBC1 face on an ITV1 show and not even being the only Inspirational Older Woman in the cast. It ends, and they head over to the kiss and cry. Phil asks Laila if the look on her face is one of disappointment or relief, and Laila says it's both. Phil asks again if she's disappointed, and Laila, arms crossed, says "not really, no". Heh. SURLY. Chris says that he felt the singing was a lot more passionate this time, and Laila says "I never bothered!" (She did, I saw her.)

Time for Corey and Brooke to return. He's giving it even more performance energy this time, though his skating is still questionable, and he fumbles the part where she slides between his legs again. Poor Brooke. I really don't envy her in those lifts at all. It's the sort of skate-off performance that probably would've seen them eliminated against anyone else, but...Laila barely even turned up for hers, so let's see. Phil scolds Corey at the kiss and cry for not taking his bow out there, so Brooke takes an extra big bow for both of them. Heh. Corey says that he thinks his body's pretty tired by now. Jayne says it was "another consistent performance". Well, quite.

Both couples are sent back out to face the Ice Panel. Dance says he's going for the strongest overall performance in the skate-off, so he votes to save Corey. Katarina says that truthfully, for the sake of Laila's health, she's going for Corey as well. So Corey's back next week whatever happens - and he's got Robin's vote too, though Robin does say that he admires Laila's courage for having a go.

Phil asks Laila if she disagrees that her health is a concern, and Laila does. Phil thanks Lukasz for sacrificing his dignity for the second year in a row. Poor Lukasz. He seems so nice, when's he going to get a break, eh? By which I mean a lucky break, not the sort of break that Sylvain or Chesney had. Phil tells Laila to look after that shoulder as she's given her flowers, and Laila replies "I will" a tad frostily.

Next week it's Movie Night, and 13 stars will compete together for the very first time. And it's Carrie's responsibility to guide you through that one! Will it be a blockbuster, or will it be The Human Centipede 3? We'll find out soon enough. Laila and Lukasz head out for their lap of honour, and that's it. See you next week!