Sunday, 26 February 2012

Defrosted/Nixon

Rock week: 26th February 2012

Last week! We had a shock! boot! in the skate-off as three celebrities were forced to perform solo for the right to stay, with only one of them set to survive. First Chemmy had a wobble and therefore thought she was doomed, but then Sébastien came out and forgot the last half of his routine, and Heidi...was Heidi, so Chemmy stayed. This week, it's rock week! This noteworthy occasion is marked with a VT in which everyone indulges in "rock" behaviour like wearing make-up, smashing televisions, and blow-drying their hair. I don't know about you, but that's pretty much what goes on in my house every week while this show is on. Especially the middle one.

After the credits, we're treated to a performance of 'Don't Stop Believing' from the cast of West End show Rock Of Ages. Anybody who has ever watched an episode of Glee never ever needs or wants to hear this song ever again, and this performance really isn't going to change anyone's mind. Also, Shayne Ward continues to resemble Shangela, and Justin Lee Collins appears to not be much of a singer. Frankly, I'm a little bit embarrassed for everyone involved in this whole thing. Especially the pro-skaters doing a "rock" routine to accompany all of this, because they deserve so much better. [I reviewed this production when it opened. I was not impressed. - Carrie]

Phil and Christine enter to 'Welcome To The Jungle', making devil horns with their hands, and promising that we're going to rock tonight. Again, I find this show has me rocking most weeks - usually backwards and forwards, in despair. It's time to welcome our remaining skating (rock)stars: Andy and Vicky, Jenny Elly and Dan, Matthew and Nina, Jorgie and Lovely Matt (as Gubba says "you can't have rock night without a Queen." I'M SAYING NOTHING), Sam and Alexandra, Chemmy and Sean, a terrifyingly-coiffed Chico and Jodeyne, and finally Jayne and Chris. Jayne has apparently come as the title character from Kiss Of The Spider Woman tonight. Sooner or later, you're certain to meet, in the bedroom, the parlour, or even the street. There's no place on earth, you're likely to miss...Jayne and Chris.

Phil reminds us how the scoring works, while Christine shills the pointless app once again. Matthew and Nina are up first tonight, and Chris reminds us how excellently Matthew did last week. Matthew admits that he raised the bar higher last week than he ever thought he would, but that he's just got to keep going. In rehearsals, Chris and Jayne are all "yes, you were top of the heap last week...and now you're starting again. Sucks, doesn't it?" There are some complicated moves this week, and Matthew says that trying to make things look effortless isn't as easy as you might hope it would be. In particular, one small lift is giving him serious trouble, and Nina scolds him for repeatedly saying he can't do it. Matthew worries about having enough time to get it all together before the live show.

They make an elaborate entrance in which they both slide onto the floor and roll over before getting back up again. Showoffs. They're dancing to 'Don't Stop Me Now', and Matthew is covered in ugly fake tattoos, as well as wearing those hideous pleather trousers again. Why do they keep putting him in those? The routine's pretty decent, and the lift goes without incident after all that VT-related hullaballoo. It ends with a plateau lift and another slide onto the ice. Scores: Dance 9.0, Robin 8.5, Katarina 8.5 for a total of 26.0. Matthew says that it wasn't as clean a performance as he gave last week, so he agrees with the scores. Chris says that they did push him this week, but clearly not too hard as he's done very well.

Christine asks Dance about the 9.0, and Dance says that this routine showed his versatility, going from the lyrical into the rock movements, and declares Matthew one of his favourites. Katarina tells him that he rocked the ice and the audience, and she's glad that Chris and Jayne keep pushing him. Robin admires his control, and says he's doing extremely well. Phil asks how long it takes him to get from "I can't do that" to "I can do that", and Matthew's predictable response is that it doesn't happen until he gets on the ice for the live show. I could've told you that. Nina makes a statement of intense pride (I assume) in Russian, as a dig at Phil for not understanding her last week. Heh.

After the ads, we're back with Phil, and Dance makes a bit of a tit of himself in the name of Rawk. Chemmy and Sean are up next. Bloody hell, she's been in two consecutive skate-offs - what does Chemmy have to do to get a slot near the end of the show? She recalls last week's tension and having to do the skate-off all by herself, but she was elated to survive and says it was one of the mentally toughest things she's ever done. Chemmy says that she loves rock music, although her track is 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)' by Kelly Clarkson, which is more pop-rock. Still a choon, though, so the point stands. To get ready for the routine, they go to the 2012 Rock Ball. It's a nice idea, but I think practising the skating would probably be more useful in the long term. "Comedy" Dave is also at the event - is Chemmy really in so much trouble that she needs advice from him? Chemmy says that she feels very rock now, and if this doesn't help her, nothing will.

They're wearing lovely purple outfits, but are ill-served by the choreography which includes some very ungainly-looking jump kicks and a lot of skating along in a step sequence while pumping one's arms in the air to indicate strength. There's a very nice spin at the end, though. Scores: Dance 7.5, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 21.5. That's 0.5 lower than last week, but Chemmy's happy with it as a score. Spider-Jayne says that she loved Chemmy's funky moves at the rock ball, and that this was a very solid performance. Chemmy tells us how she overidentifies with the lyrics, having almost killed herself in various winter sport-related accidents over the years, and having been made stronger by it. Robin tells Chemmy she's getting stronger week by week, and he thinks she shouldn't have been in the skate-off last week. He likes that she's learning restraint, even in rock week, though there are a few problems with the exits from manoeuvres. Katarina thinks Chemmy's more of a rock star than a pretty snow queen (ouch), and everything was on the rhythm, so she thinks Chemmy should carry on like this. Dance thought this was her strongest dance performance, and her leg lines were improved, but he feels like she lost a bit of her personality. Chemmy says that she's just glad she wasn't doing the blowfish face.

More adverts. I'm intrigued that the dog in the Vax advert is called Gatsby.

When we return, Phil is playing air guitar, but needs some assistance from the tech crew to get sound out of it. This is the level of humour on display tonight. Jennifer and Daniel are up next, and she thinks that Ultimate Skills Week worked in her favour, because she's ultimately skilled, or something like that. Shut up, Jennifer. She thinks it was a massive achievement to get through it, and that's built up her confidence. For now, anyway. She's skating to 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart', which is one of her favourite songs. This is because it is ONE OF THE GREATEST SONGS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Jayne says that she wants to see lots of energy in the routine, and Jennifer admits that she lacks conviction and power in her skating. Karen gives her some protective gear to try and help Jennifer get her speed up. Jennifer screams a lot, but does commit to it all, to her credit. Karen tells Jennifer she now has the power, she's just got to use it.

It begins with some fairly ugly pirouettes and lifts, before launching into an emotionally overwrough skating session, which isn't actually all that much faster than usual. This performance feels like a complete waste of an amazing song, and I'm very disappointed. They do a lift where Jennifer wraps her knee around Dan's neck, and it's quite impressive but her dismount is rather floppy. Scores: Dance 8.0, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 22.0. Jennifer is absolutely flabbergasted, and very excited.

Christine asks Robin to open for the judges, but it's Katarina's turn. Oops. This show really is getting quite sloppy nowadays. Katarina says she sees a different Jennifer this week - she always loves their chemistry and choreography, but this week she had speed and power, and it really worked in her favour. Robin was pleased to see her using her blades because she wanted to use them, not because Dan was pushing her to do so, which is a big difference. Dance thinks she has wonderful extension and the ability to emote (this will be important later), and this suited the song. He thinks it wasn't as good as "decapitation week" (going into the top of the skull seems like a remarkably inefficient way to decapitate someone, but I'm no expert) but her fluidity was lovely. Dance particularly liked the way she caressed Dan's face, and demonstrates on Robin. Christine consults Karen's opinion, but no one cares what Karen thinks, so let's just ignore her. Everyone agree? Excellent. Chris says that when you have a good performance on the Sunday, it carries through to the following week, and Jennifer really built on that with her session with Karen this week. Jennifer continues to look excessively pleased with herself.

Andy and Vicky are our next couple. He was pleased to survive last week, despite a stumble with the step sequence. He's very keen to break the 20.0 score mark this week. His song to dance to is 'Don't Look Back In Anger', and Chris explains that it's a thoughtful and reflective routine. Oh dear. Still, Andy is looking forward to show us he can be a Serious Skater. Andy tells us that he used to be in a band that played this song (like, who didn't?) and it takes him back to those days. For some reason, he and Vicky go to a bar in Camden to do a brief performance of this song, as people look on, utterly baffled. He hopes that this could be his strongest week yet.

He begins by strumming an actual guitar OH DEAR GOD (quite poorly, as well), and when the song itself kicks in, there is literal choreography aplenty. It's actually not that bad a performance - there's confidence and conviction in there, but he's concentrating so hard that it all feels a bit internalised for such a play-to-the-back-row show as this. At the end he picks up the guitar again, but doesn't play it - mercifully. Gubba tells us that Andy used to be a busker in Manchester, earning up to £100 a day. Again: who wasn't? Scores: Dance 6.0, Robin 6.5, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 19.0. Andy says he's disappointed with the scores because he thought he did a good job - he wasn't hiding behind a character and the skating was good.

Katarina says she wanted to give him all the points, but it was a difficult song for him to do, and she missed the character element, and that showed up that his skills aren't quite as good as some of the others. Andy starts back-chatting to her, rather ungraciously. Robin says that the skating is very nice and clean, but flat and emotionless. The audience boos. Dance says it wasn't emotionless, and that Andy can relate to this song because he is FROM MANCHESTER, but he would've liked to see him emote a bit more. He wanted more lyricism in the movement, but felt like he understood the emotion. Spider-Jayne says she wanted to bring out a different side of him, and she thought the song was perfect for him because it's one of his favourites. Chris thinks Andy's living it all in his head, and just needs to bring it out into his body. Phil asks Andy if the scores make more sense, having heard from the judges, and Andy snits that he doesn't think it was emotionless and that he doesn't know what they want. Ugh, I wish he would just go.

We have a quick peek at the midway leaderboard: Matthew at the top, Jennifer second, Chemmy in third, and Andy at the bottom.

Coming up: Jorgie attacks Lovely Matt's beautiful face. Does she even understand why people watch this show?

After the ads, Christine is positioned with Karen (ugh) and the contestants. Christine reminds us of the imminent danger to Lovely Matt's Lovely Face, and asks Karen to tell us what happened in rehearsals. Karen explains that there's a very dangerous move in the routine, and it did go wrong yesterday, but they're back and recovered and braving the move again. Christine opines that you "can't keep Matt down". That sounds promising. Christine turns to Jennifer: "you're looking very happy with yourself." Seriously, no kidding. Apparently Rosemary Conley and Laura Hamilton have tweeted in their support for her. Christine points out to Jennifer that she's second on the leaderboard, though Jennifer points out that this is probably not likely to be the case for very long. Christine finishes by saying that she must come back to Andy (really? Must we?) and how he was tasked with a different sort of routine, which the judges didn't warm to. Karen babbles on about how it's a reflective emotion and he was trying to be SUBTLE, damn it, but if the judges didn't agree, that's their opinion. Andy makes a slightly better fist of not sounding like a petulant child while maintaining that he disagrees with the judges and that he was very happy with the final result.

Up next are Sam and Alexandra. Sam says that getting injured just before the live show was very difficult, mentally, and he thinks it was the right move to remove the frog lift, and while things didn't go perfectly on the night, he was very happy with it. He was expecting to be in the skate-off, and was very surprised to be saved by the public. His leg's still strapped up, but he's feeling better and hoping to deliver a really good performance this week. They're going to try the frog lift again - but not before Sam pulls his trousers down to show us his bruises. Ew. He gets very frustrated because he wants to get it right. He's worried that everyone else is so good, and he needs to up his game.

They're skating to 'Human' by the Killers, and clearly they've been told to be very stoical during the performance, but Sam cracks up very quickly. They perform the frog lift, and although Sam is very wobbly on the bottom of it, it passes without incident and they continue the rest of the routine, with some decent solo work and lifts. He's developed some nice arm extensions in this routine, I have to say. Alexandra gives a little fist-pump of joy at the end. Scores: Dance 8.0, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 22.0. Sam's thrilled. Phil asks him about the frog lift. Sam: "That frog lift can go and kiss my backside." Hee! He says they've only got it right three times this week without any assistance, with tonight being the third. Spider-Jayne threatens to put it in next week as well. Chris is pleased to watch The Evolution Of Sam, and feels that his problems are frequently mental rather than physical. He thinks they've got to lock his brain away to stop Sam from over-analysing and creating problems for himself.

Dance says that he's looking for precision, and Sam has really grasped that. He thinks Sam's got the best arms in the competition, and he has a lovely way about him when he dances. He says that Sam mastered finding emotions amid the emotionless parts of a performance, which I suspect is directed at Andy. Katarina congratulates him on the frog lift, even though "it had a little thing going on". Or nearly coming off, as the case may be. She liked the step sequence, and how Sam was smiling and performing, which made him enjoyable to watch. Robin says Sam commanded their attention and really gave conviction to the moves. He thought the skating was very smooth as well, and it was lovely to see it all come together.

Competition: win a chance to go skiing in Dubai. Yeah, no thanks. I hear they're not so fond of the gays.

Post-adverts, we return to more sub-par comedy delivered rather hesitantly by Phil and Christine. You can almost sense the gun being pointed at their heads just off-camera. It's time for Jorgie and Lovely Matt. Chris thinks that Jorgie rushed herself last week, and that led to problems. He says that it was the first time that she wasn't at the top of the leaderboard, which as a statement is rather open to debate. She did lose her duel to Matthew in week four, suggesting that she wasn't top that week, but you could also make the case that there was no leaderboard that week anyway, so every week there's actually been a leaderboard, she's been on top of it. Until last week. I think I'm probably thinking about this far too much, aren't I? One of her moves for this week is the neck spin, which is very difficult to get into, and Lovely Matt's all "yeah, be careful with those big sharp blades heading right for my face please". He's right to be concerned, because, in the dress rehearsal on Saturday, Jorgie delivers him a blade straight to the nose. Under the circumstances, he handles the situation remarkably calmly: I'm sure it's an occupation hazard that wouldn't be entirely alien to him as a professional ice dancer, but when all's said and done, it's still A BLADE IN YOUR FACE. Didn't Suzanne nearly take his eye out in series three at one point as well? People really are not nearly respectful enough of Lovely Matt's face, if you ask me. Backstage, Jorgie panicks that she doesn't quite know what's happened, and sobs that she's terrified about what she might have done. We see her sobbing to Karen "what if I do it again?" as Lovely Matt goes off to get some stitches in his lovely face. Which is FILMED, because Dancing On Ice is classy like that. I do feel quite bad for her, because she must be feeling insanely guilty right now. Nonetheless, they return to rehearsals (with Matt sporting some very necessary but also very unbecoming headgear) and vow to soldier on. [I said to Steve on Sunday that I feel that Dancing on Ice is rapidly becoming like pro wrestling at the moment - they keep putting in more and more spectacular moves, even though the performer might not be ready for them, because that's what they think the audience want to see, and somebody ends up getting hurt. You never saw Gaynor Faye slice off anybody's face. - Carrie]

They're skating to 'Bring Me To Life', with a shitload of dry ice as Lovely Matt (complete with fetching bandage over the bridge of his nose) plays some sort of creature of the undead who brings Zombie Jorgie to life. I bet the producers of Hollyoaks wish they knew how to do that. It's another excellent routine from the pair of them, but there's definitely a hesitancy in Jorgie this week, presumably because she's terrified about the upcoming neck spin and the possibilty of doing further damage to Lovely Matt. Fortunately, they make it through the neck spin without any noticeable injury to anyone. Gubba opines that perhaps we should call her "Jorgie Voldemort", because she might have just given Matt a permanent scar to the face. Somehow I doubt either Jorgie or Matt will be particularly pleased by that bit of commentary. Scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 9.0, Katarina 9.0 for a total of 26.5, her highest. Jorgie tells Phil she was dreading that lift coming up, and would rather have done the headbanger 14 times in a row. Lovely Matt admits that he was dreading it a bit too, but he trusts Jorgie, and credits Jayne, Chris, the physio and the brilliant doctor who stitched up the lovely face in a manner that will hopefully not leave a scar. I think I need to buy that doctor some flowers. Chris says you can just see how much they trust each other. Spider-Jayne says that it was an amazing routine. Er, didn't you choreograph it? Humblebrag o'clock.

Robin says that because Jorgie was aware of what was coming up, everything before it was done with more caution and precision. He thinks her performances are emotive and theatrical for the right reasons, and the skating is great as well. Katarina says she's very emotional - especially to speak after Robin because he's always so polished. Heh. She liked the strength of the routine and the incredible lifts and tricks, and tells Matt that even with scars across his face, he's still beautiful. Dance points out that she only got 0.5 more than Sam from him, because sometimes simplicity can lead to perfection, and he thought it was overly hesitant rather than precise in the way that Robin saw it.

After the final ad break of the night (at least, I hope so - I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to shoehorn a few more in), it's time for our final couple of the evening - Chico and Jodeyne. Jayne thinks that Chico gave one of his best performances so far last week, and Chico says that he was very happy with his score. He was particularly pleased that Dance thought he might be able to win the competition. His song for the week is 'Mony Mony', and he's struggling a bit with the knee slide in his routine - and since it's the very end of the routine, he's hoping he won't end up messing it up. Let's find out, shall we?

He starts out by drumming (about as well as Andy played guitar), and Jodeyne does some fairly indifferent headbanging. It's another very showy routine with a lot of dynamic lifts, though the bits in between those lifts get a bit dull after a while. The knee slide isn't quite fully under control, but pretty darned close, to the point where I'd be inclined to give him a pass on it. Scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 8.0, Katarina 8.0 for a total of 24.5. Chico is very pleased with that, even though he looks like the Cowardly Lion right now. Apparently he did this routine for a little boy who's got muscular dystrophy and is being operated on tomorrow. That's...nice, I guess? Chris says that Chico is a strong and powerful skater, who does not need to smo--oh, wrong show. He's a strong and powerful skater, who needs to be reined in occasionally.

Katarina saw everything she wanted to see - energy, power and wildness. He was a little more in control last week, but rock and roll doesn't always have to be like that. Dance says that Chico is a born performer who commands everyone's attention, and he thinks people aren't even appreciating the technical ability needed for the lifts that Chico is doing. Robin concludes by saying that the lifts aren't being broadcast, we don't get lots of warning, but he would like to see Chico paying attention to the finite detail in the transitions if he wants to push his score even further up. Chico vows to deliver on that if he's back next week. It's coming to something when Chico is one of your humbler contestants, isn't it?

Leaderboard: Jorgie at the top, then Matthew, then Chico, then Sam and Jennifer tied, then Chemmy, then Andy at the bottom. The lines are open, and we get given a swift recap of the night's performances. That's it until the skate-off - who'll be joining Chemmy in the skate for survival tonight? Because let's face it, with the best will in the world, she would appear to be a dead cert for it at this point.

The Skate-Off

Phil and Christine return and run through the voting numbers for us one last time, because those lines are currently still open. From there, we go to a recap of earlier, as Matthew got great feedback from Dance on his strength and his lifts. Backstage, Matthew says that he's really happy to be getting such great feedback as it means he's obviously moving forwards. Robin told Chemmy she was getting stronger week by week, despite a few stumbles. Chemmy hopes never to be in the skate-off again, which basically means she wants to make the final without ever being there at any point in between. This seems unlikely. Dance put the moves on Robin while complimenting Jennifer's sensuality, and Jennifer was thrilled to have great comments from everyone. Andy got criticised on a flat performance by Robin and Katarina, and continues to whinge about it backstage while pulling a giant stinkface. Classy. Robin clarifies that thinking you're emoting doesn't mean you are emoting. Thanks, Robin. Sam pulled off his frog lift and got complimented by Katarina, as well as his best score so far, which came as a compliment. He gets a hug off Mark for his trouble. Jorgie managed not to mutilate Lovely Matt this time, and Robin admired her all-encompassing theatricality. Jorgie is pleased that she didn't hit Lovely Matt in the head this time. Dance liked Chico's lift-ability and Chico hopes that he's done enough to get the people at home to vote him through into next week. Chris thinks it's the most mistake-free show they've had so far. Hooray, I guess?

Phil declares the lines officially closed. Dun dun dun! Christine's with the judges, and asking if there's any chance of a Chico win. Dance thinks so, because his marks are improving, so he just needs to work on the finesse over the next few weeks. Katarina thinks that Andy still has a lot of work to do - she thinks it's about skating, and the whole package, and body language. That's a tad confusing, but she gets a bit clearer when she talks about needing to show everyone what you're feeling. Christine mumbles something about Andy having come very far, and Robin says that Jennifer and Sam both impressed with their development tonight.

Everyone's lined up behind Phil and awaiting the results, but first we must go to the ads, in which we discover that there's nothing like Australia. Although I'd wager that New Zealand is probably a little bit similar, at least in terms of the vegetation and the general ecosystem.

When we return, Phil's got the results *touches ear*. The first couple safe is Matthew and Nina. The second couple safe is Jorgie and Matt. I bet Matt's very glad they don't have to do that neck spin again in the skate-off. The third couple safe is Jennifer and Daniel, and the fourth is Andy and Vicky. UGH. So it's between Chemmy and Sean, Sam and Alexandra and Chico and Jodeyne. The couple with the last guaranteed spot is...Chemmy and Sean! Bloody hell, I really did not see that coming.

So it's Sam and Alexandra versus Chico and Jodeyne in the skate-off. I'm surprised, but at least now I know why we got that very pointed comment from Chico in the VT earlier about how they'll just have to work really hard if they're in the skate-off, as well as Christine asking Dance if there was a chance Chico could win. This show does enjoy its foreshadowing, after all. Christine asks Chico if he's upset, and he says no, because he loves the routine and this means he gets to do it again. Sam vows to go out again and try to be a bit more relaxed this time. Oh, I've just realised this means he's got to do the frog lift again. His poor, poor thighs.

Sam and Alexandra are the first to return to the ice, and the frog lift is better second time around - Sam's a lot more stable. It's a very confident performance, but he does seem to mess up the step sequence in the middle. Alexandra gives him a big, reassuring hug at the end and they make their way over to the kiss-and-cry. Phil says it looks like he really enjoyed it, and Sam says he did. Sam says that you always feel more relaxed in the skate-off, and if that's his last performance, then he's chuffed. Alexandra says that Sam's a fighter, and he can definitely deliver under pressure. Spider-Jayne says it was great to see the frog-lift again, bigger and better.

Chico and Jodeyne skate out next and reprise their number from earlier, complete with drumming, which somehow seems even more inept than it was before. It's a difficult one to call, because Chico's performance is a lot more rough around the edges than Sam was, but he's the more accomplished skater, so it's going to depend on whether the judges are basing their decisions on the overall picture or not, and that's something I'm never entirely sure of from week to week. Chico has the louder fans in the audience, if that means anything. Chico tells Phil he preferred that performance to the earlier one, and that people pay lots of money to be on TV (they do?) but he got to do that for free. Or, y'know, he got paid to do it, but apparently we don't talk about that.

Both couples head out onto the ice to get the verdict from the judges. Dance goes first, and says that it's a difficult decision with two great performances, but since Chico took their feedback from earlier on board and delivered the finesse, he's saving him. Robin says that they both stepped up from earlier, but one did just that little bit more, so he's saving Chico. And Katarina makes it a clean sweep.

Sam tells Phil that it's been a great experience, and a real privilege to be taught to skate by Torvill and Dean, adding this thanks to all the coaches and of course Alexandra. We see his best bits, including those bruised thighs again. He's lost a fair bit of weight since the series started, looking back at his earlier performances. Spider-Jayne says that he's been a joy to work with, and she's going to miss him because he used to bring her cake. Flowers are handed out, and Sam and Alexandra head back onto the ice. Phil and Christine announce that next week will be the team challenge, where everyone will be competing to have their points doubled - and we'll find out what the teams are on This Morning tomorrow, if anyone's interested. Carrie will be bringing you the full recap next week, assuming she hasn't hacked off her own arms to get out of it or anything. From the way this series is going, I wouldn't put it past her. [I can't bear it. I quit. - Carrie]

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Elementary

ULTIMATE SKILLS TEST
Tx: 19th February 2012

What did I miss last week, then? Oh - hang on - I'll just read Steve's brilliant recap.

So a lot of schmaltz and sentiment, then? And inappropriate jokes from your blogger about losing his virginity? ["Jokes"? - Steve]

You can expect no such family-unfriendly comment this week. Although perhaps you should prepare yourself for foul and abusive language. For this week sees the return of the Ultimate Skills Test, and two couples will be departing after a three-way skate-off. Yes, even the show itself feels we're getting through it rather too slowly, and is endeavouring to wrap it up sooner than we anticipated, for which I think we can all be thankful.

As an aside, did you see Dancing on Ice alumna Kerry Katona's piece in the Guardian this week? Devastating.

So last week! Jennifer kicked herself in the head. Seb jumped. The remaining SamandMark grinned. Jorgie was thrilled. Chico is hungry. Matthew is sulking after being third on the leaderboard. Behind Chico. To be fair, I'd be quite annoyed as well.

This week! They are all trying to do skating. About time, one would think. Dance talks about the need to do skills. Even though he can't judge them, because he is Dance.

Titles then?

We're in the rink, and here are Phil and Christine, who continues to look worryingly thin. It's not even muscular leanness, it's boniness. Her hair is bigger than her face. She scares me. They blah on about the skills test - steps, spins and jumps, all worth two points - and the skate-off is a solo routine, with all three contestants performing the same.

Who will leave? Could it be Chico and Jodeyne? Jorgie and Matt? Sam and Alexandra? Heidi and Andrei? Jen and Dan? Seb and Brianne? Andy and Vicky? Chemmy and Sean? Or Matthew and Nina? Who can say? Jayne and Chris are here though, so that's nice, and Jayne's dress is lovely. So it was worth tuning in after all!

In case you hadn't heard, there's a skills test this week, and it includes a step sequence, an unassisted jump, and a one-footed spin. Jayne agrees there is an element of cruelty about this, but some of these tossers need to pull their fingers out and get skating. Chris beams smugly, because he loves vaguely masochistic training techniques. Katarina says there is no hiding place for anyone tonight. Dance reminds us that there needs to be performance and entertainment and he wants TITS AND TEETH, a la Sheila Hancock. Robin pretends that he cares that the final decision is down to him.

Right, so Chico and Jodeyne are first, which means we can at least get it out of the way. Last week was his "skate of the series", leaving him second on the leaderboard. I have never ever heard the song he is skating to, because I am in my 30s and have no interest in youth culture any more [it's called 'Mama Do The Hump', which is something Chris Dean should never attempt to say. Oh, and I'd never heard of it either. - Steve]; however, Chico flits between pretending he is youthful and reminding us he is 40. Anyway, there is a lot of rhythm to this routine, which results in a hilarious section where everyone, including Chris and Karen, attempt some urban moves.

Chico gurns his way through the entire thing, as you'd expect. Also, his arms look weird, like he's always using them for balance rather than artistry. He is however a decent technical skater, so whatever, he's going to do well. Scores - straight 8.0s for a total of 24.0. He screeches about positive mental element, and Jodeyne says that he did well (although she says it in an exceptionally unenthusiastic way). Chris says Chico works in a very methodical way, always in the moment. Robin says that over half of Chico's marks were skills marks, although he didn't get 2.0 for each element. Dance then asserts some kind of dreadful urban youth accent and I wish I was watching anything else as I am embarrassed to be human. Katarina calls Chico "Chici" by accident, and tells him his landings were sloppy, but he is becoming a thoroughbred.

Phil does some "hilarious" mic work whereby he adopts the VOICE OF GOD to say THE ULTIMATE SKILLS TEST, and then announces Chemmy and Sean. Chris thought last week was one of her best skates, but she still had to skate off. She thinks that is a good thing to get under your belt, but she does not want to do it again. This week, she is skating to the amazing 'Hold On' by Wilson Phillips, meaning she has to do some softer movements and tone down her aggression. All the while she must also remember THE ULTIMATE SKILLS TEST and she is struggling with standing on one leg because she has not practised that since breaking her leg. Poor Chemmy.

She's obviously tentative on the one-footed stuff, but she does it creditably. There is significantly less speed over the ice than in their previous routines, but that may be a good thing. Gubba talks about naming the day, but she isn't getting married, she's just skiing again. Whatever. Scores - the boys 7.5, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 22.0. Chemmy thanks Dance for putting his arms out when she looked over to the judging panel, and then reveals that her muse this week has been Katherine Jenkins. I...really don't know what to do with that information. Chemmy then talks a bit about returning to skiing, and says that Katarina and the show have been a big platform to give her the confidence to do it. Katarina sits there looking wise and proud. Jayne laughs at Chemmy practising ballerina arms all week. Katarina says she likes the more feminine side of Chemmy, and she suggests work on her leg shapes, but she did well to take on the challenge of a jump combination. Dance says that she has "made a small but perfectly formed homosexual very happy", to which she replies, "That is my mission in life." Robin says that even though the softness might not feel natural, it does look good.

Last week Jen smashed her head open. Everyone talks about it a lot, and there is a lot of Dancing on Ice injury porn. She panics when she returns to the ice for rehearsal, and Jayne says that kind of injury would knock a pro skater let alone a celebrity. Jen weeps a lot into the camera. Dan says, "You're allowed to get emotional," like she needs some kind of carte blanche to do that.

They're skating to the Aguilera's Candyman, and it's all a bit stiff (not in a good way) and out of sync in places, and though Jen beams hugely at the end, there's not so much smiling during the routine itself. Scores - Dance 7.5, Robin 6.5, Katarina 6.0 for a total of 20.0. Jen does a lot of sadface about the pressure on her for not being good at skating and from the injury. Chris says they were told not to turn Jennifer upside down lest all the blood come pouring out of her head again. Nice. Katarina says that she is sorry that her scores were the lowest. Don't be sorry, Katarina, this is your actual job. She says she gave Jennifer one point for each of the skills, but she liked the rest of the routine. Dance says he is pleased she returned after nearly decapitating herself.

Andy does not think his routine last week was safe; he thought he did a lot of skating. "When I watch other people, I think I'm just as good as them," he says. So - Andy's going home this week, then? Having said all that, he then struggles with the required elements. Perhaps he's not as good at the skating as he initially thought? Just a suggestion.

They're skating to Wilson Pickett's 'Land of A Thousand Dances'. Vicky looks very dubious about this entire thing, and keeps looking over with encouraging glances to her partner, who returns her looks for reassurance as he plods through his routine. Scores - Dance 7.5, Robin 6.5, Katarina 5.5 for a total of 19.5. The audience boo, and apparently they think Andy deserved more. (A clue: he didn't.) Andy admits he got a bit tangled, and Jayne lies it was a great performance. Robin says there were problems with the steps, but Andy managed to fix it. He then says that Andy compensated for failing the Ultimate Skills Test with the rest of the routine. That's...so not the point of an Ultimate Skills Test. [Seriously. I feel like Katarina's the only one who knows what's supposed to be going on tonight, and yet somehow she keeps getting booed for it. Is this what's come of the world? Is knowledge actively despised now? - Steve] Dance talks about the routine having personality. No. Katarina gets booed for marking logically; she felt Andy was hiding his skills, and then says something about nuts and legs, which results in a bemused silence in the entire rink.

Ooh, we're over in Karen's little den. She says it's been one of the hardest weeks on Dancing on Ice, and everyone is physically and mentally exhausted. And that's just the viewers. And then we are reminded AGAIN about the Ultimate Skills Test. Really? How stupid do you think we are? Hang on, we're still watching this dire series. Don't answer that.

Seb and Brianne are next. Last week he did a big jump. Shocking. Nobody was entirely happy with it. This week he is skating to the Prodigy's 'Omen' and there is a lot to remember. Chris says that Seb has to be pushed, because otherwise he will just practise one thing until he gets it absolutely right, and there simply isn't enough time. He gets upset when it doesn't work, and apparently on the evidence of their training footage, he sits in a chair while Brianne glares at him. Happily, he does Gallicly shriek, "Ohhhhh, mon Dieu!"

Seb skates very fast in very tight trousers, catches his toe pick in places, and I just don't really get this routine, I don't think. It doesn't seem to make any sense even if you watch Brianne skating it. (She's also doing exactly what Vicky did - trying to keep a close eye on her partner who's clearly not to be trusted skating alone.) Scores - Dance 8.0, Robin 7.5 and Katarina 6.5 for a total of 22.0. Katarina is the only one who is not on crack, evidently. Brianne says that Seb did very well. She too is quite unconvincing. Chris says that Seb puts a lot of emotion in his routines. Dance says to forget about perfection, there isn't time. Katarina says that she likes Seb's speed, but thinks it was all a bit over-ambitious.

Jorgie and Matt now. She's thrilled at her own awesomeness, and is excited to dance to 'Louder' with its "dirty beats", and a choreographed headbanger. She's worried about losing brain cells. I wouldn't be too concerned about that, lovie. Chris says it's like a "really exciting merry-go-round, but with consequences". She dons the helmet and throws herself into the headbanger with gusto, which is admirable. If daft.

They begin with some gymnastics ON ICE before moving into the routine, and Jorgie really is beautiful to watch, lack of fame and ditziness nothwithstanding. The headbanger comes from a lying start [boo! - Steve], but it looks pretty good in execution (although the camerawork again is useless). Scores - straight 8.5s for 25.5. Jorgie says she's not afraid of the headbanger because she can't see it. Matt says it is not normal for someone not to be worried about doing the headbanger. Heh. Jayne says how nice it is that Jorgie and Matt work so well together and trust each other. Robin says Jorgie always delivers a performance, and he thinks that she could learn to skate well enough to enter the headbanger properly. Dance says he's not sure she'll ever skate the fast numbers better than she skates the ballads. Katarina admires Jorgie's fearlessness - "I just think you are the cutest thing on earth," she concludes. Phil tells Jorgie that a quarter of the people playing judge via the pointless app thing awarded her a 10.0. Whatever, Schofe.

The remaining SamandMark and Alexandra are up next. They have a froglift this week, and Sam is not happy about it. He is concerned about being castrated. Let us not forget Pavel's injury post-Mumba froglift. Poor Pavel.

In rehearsal, Sam sprains his knee, meaning he can't rehearse on Saturday, and he's finally given the all clear on Sunday afternoon - but he's not allowed to do the froglift. And...I don't watch a single second of the routine, glancing back at the end just to see him limp off the ice. Sorry, I'm not rewinding to watch. Steve is much more thorough and dedicated than I am, but I can't bring myself to do it. Scores - Dance 7.0, Robin 6.5 and Katarina 5.5 for a total of 19.0. There is more booing for poor Katarina. Sam says he was disappointed to take out the lift but he is glad "Little Sam" is intact. Katarina says she will take all the boos tonight but it is about the skill, and although Sam was trying to be precise, he was holding back his performance. Dance also is glad that Little Sam is intact, but thought the performance was lacking. Robin thought it was neat and precise, and the focus was on remaining safe.

Over to Karen's playpen, where she is teary (of course) with pride in her charges, and then she says this utterly ridiculous sentence: "With respect to Katarina, get the marks up, they should be higher!" Karen, there's a reason the coach is no longer on the judging panel. It's because you marked RELATIVELY like bloody NICKY all the time. She then justifies it by saying that the elements are important, but the entire routine needs credit, completely and obtusely missing the point that the elements are worth 6.0 out of the 10.0 available this week. So in conclusion, shut up, Karen. [I sort of agree with Karen in a manner of speaking - the marks SHOULD be higher, it's just not Katarina's fault that they aren't, it's the rubbish contestants. Anyway: shut up Karen. - Steve]

Heidi and my lovely Andrei now. Last week didn't go particularly well, because she fell over and was quite wobbly and basically only got 14.0 but was still saved. This week she is skating to 'Push the Button', ie one of the songs she released with the Sugababes. She says the video for the single was raunchy, and it's weird and different doing that on ice. Then Karen does a VT about the need to do the elements correctly in order to get good marks, in direct contrast to her rinkside comments a minute ago. She and Andrei push Heidi to stop being a wuss and do a big scary spinning lift despite her screams and wails.

Heidi has a lovely tummy. That is what I take from the beginning of this routine. She moves into the lifts awkwardly and she still skates quite slowly, but she doesn't fall over, and Andrei is awesome, so all in all this is pretty good. [I feel it was no accident that the camera focused entirely on her upper body at the part of the routine where she was supposed to do the jump. - Steve] Scores - Dance 7.0, Robin 5.5 and Katarina 5.0 for a total of 17.5. Heidi says she's relieved not to be launched into the audience, and she feels more confident now - even though they had to push her, she's proud of herself for managing it. Jayne agrees that she should be proud of herself, and Dance thinks it was a vast improvement on last week (when she fell over) and then joins Karen's bandwagon of lunacy by saying that the rest of the performance apart from the required elements needs to be given equal credit. Dude, it's not even mathematically possible, let alone logically possible. Katarina says she hopes Heidi doesn't take it personally, but her feet are not moving with her, and she is relying on Andrei's strength. Heidi then whines about it being scary. Shut up, Heidi, as well. Robin says the big lifts is what Andrei does, and the routine didn't go anywhere, but at least she attempted the elements. Heidi whines some more. SHUT UP. [She whined even more post-show about how Katarina never said anything like this to anyone else. This is because EVERYONE ELSE WAS BETTER THAN YOU AND DIDN'T WARRANT SUCH FEEDBACK, you goon. - Steve]

And finally in the pimp slot, it's Matthew and Nina. He thought Chico deserved to be second on the leaderboard, but he was also pleased with his own performance. Jayne thinks his elements are very good, but Matthew is unhappy with his step sequence. They're also doing a wrist-ripper and Nina is putting herself in severe danger as Matthew keeps changing his mind about what he's doing midway through the move. Nina looks very pale and miserable.

They're skating to 'Without You', and the wrist-ripper comes quite early on - as soon as they do it, Matthew grins and suddenly throws himself much more into the routine, which is fun and technically great. Scores - Dance 9.0 and 9.5 from the people who know what they're talking about, for a total of 28.0. Matthew admits that was the best they've ever skated it. Nina says...something, and not even Phil has a clue what it is. Chris admires Matthew's confidence, skills and big lifts. Katarina thanks him for the incredible performance, and mocks his pink shirt for a bit. She liked the mood and the performance, giving him 5.5 for the skills element. Dance thinks Matthew has got his spark back and then whines on Heidi's behalf about lifts being a two-way thing. Shut up, Dance, you know fuck all about skating, and you only like Heidi because she is/was a Sugababe. Robin has nothing to add. Thanks, Robin!

Right, that's it, thank goodness. Matthew and Nina are at the top of the leaderboard, Heidi and Andrei are at the bottom. Will you bother voting? I know I won't. Join us later for the results!

The skate-off

So earlier on people skated, and now three have to skate off, performing the same routine with the same content, and two of them will be eliminated. Robin looks serious and reminds us that he has the final say. Ready for some results? Let's go!

Phil and Christine are still here, and they welcome us back. The phone lines are still open, so in the meantime we get a recap of what happened in the first show. Chico is pleased that he got over half his marks for his skating skills, and thanks Jodeyne, who still looks vaguely nauseated. Chemmy hopes the public appreciate her journey (drink!). Jennifer never thought she'd be able to do a jump, so if she has to skate off she'll be fine. Andy thought he did OK with the skills even though he got a bit tangled. Seb has lots of energy left so he'll be fine if he has to skate off, and he wouldn't like to have to compete against him (Brianne looks horrified at such arrogance). Jorgie looks appalled when Matt says that headbanger was one of the highest he's bounced. Sam doesn't know if he's done enough to stay out of the skate-off; Alexandra was just pleased to have a partner. (Karen then whines about Katarina not taking his injury into account. Yeah, just like they do at the Olympics.) Heidi says the panel know what they're talking about, and she's pleased with herself, even if they're not pleased with her. Katarina and Robin are totally unbothered by her pitiful moaning, and conclude: "The truth hurts." Matthew is over the moon and has no words. Chris says Matthew was off the scale this week, and now we can truly gauge who is best and who is weak.

Right, the lines are now closed. Who will face the skate-off? Katarina says that everyone should be proud of progressing so far, but it's a competition - she's not judging effort or whether people are in pain. HA! Take that, Karen. Dance thinks their independence has been improved from working on their skills. Robin says he thought some would struggle, but they all got the elements in, although some did better than others. He doesn't want Chemmy to leave.

So who's safe? Matthew; Andy; Jorgie; Jennifer; Chico; and Sam.

What the fuck?

Chemmy, Seb and Heidi must now skate off to impress the judges with their solo routines. Seeing as Robin has already said he doesn't want Chemmy to go, she must surely be feeling happy here. Jayne advises them to focus on the next minute, and Chris says they have to believe in themselves - they have nothing to lose.

Chemmy is first up, and we get LIVE! GUBBA! COMMENTARY! She has a little stumble, but picks it up, and her balance looks OK. She says it was very nervewracking, but she was happy just to make a single mistake. The judges then give their comments - this seems a bit weird, seeing as two others have to skate afterwards. Katarina and Robin both liked the elements, Dance clearly hasn't got a clue what he's looking for.

Now it's Seb, who has lots of energy, as he's already told us. His leg-lines look rather peculiar, but that might be the weird trousers. He then totally forgets the routine, and just wobbles along for a bit with his hands over his face before trying to get back into it. He bites his lip and Chemmy comes over to hug him, and then they both cry. Brianne suddenly appears to give him a hug and they sob. Oh, this is very sad. Phil puts his arm round him, and Katarina is all choked up too. Robin says that the celeb skaters don't have anything to fall back on if their memory fails them, and Dance adds that it's just the nature of competition.

Finally, there is Heidi and her tummy. She's still a bit shaky and slow because she has no Andrei to hold on to. I think we all know how this is going to end. Heidi says her legs were like jelly, and although she's used to remembering dance steps, she has no bottle. Chris says that's the most skating she has done ever, and he applauds her for that. Dance says there were no obvious stumbles, and it was the cleaner performance out of the three. Robin says it demonstrated everything she's learnt over the series, and Katarina doesn't think her legs looked like jelly.

So decision time, then, and the three of them stand in the middle of the rink clutching hands as Robin announces that the person they are saving is Chemmy. It's an unanimous decision, and it's not a surprising one. I am sad to lose Andrei, obviously, but other than that I don't think that was unfair. Although getting rid of the other SamandMark would be something I would have liked to have seen this week.

Seb says he has to accept what happened, and thanks Chris and Jayne, the judges and the coaches; Heidi says she's had the best time and then goes all weepy as she does her thank yous (and she remembers to thank Sylvain as well). Andrei kisses her head, because he is lovely. Seb weeps on Brianne some more. Dear, dear, dear, we need to finish this show now, it's so uncomfortable to watch.

Applause for everyone, flowers for everyone, laps of honour for everyone, and Phil announces that next week is Rock Week, featuring the cast of Rock of Ages. Thankfully, Steve has to deal with that. Bye for now!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Love hurts

"Love Week" (*boak*): 12th February 2012

Hello! It's nearly Valentine's Day, and therefore we're going to get all schmoopy ON ICE tonight. We open up with a recap of last week, in which Matthew admits he didn't do his best last week, while Jorgie topped the leaderboard much to her surprise. Sam and Alexandra ended up in the skate-off with Charlene and Matt, and the latter couple went home, regrettably. Tonight! It's all about love. And lifts, and gurning, if the pre-show VT is anything to go by. Jennifer thinks she needs to go for it, while Sam vows to give his best performance ever. Let's see if that works out for them, shall we?

Titles. These really are quite dull.

'You're The First, The Last, My Everything' plays as Phil and Christine arrive, having a little boogie, and actually looking like they're enjoying themselves, for a nice change. That's the power of Barry White, folks. Phil fingers a Cupid statue and welcomes us to the show, as Christine explains that the remaining couples will be performing to some of the greatest love songs ever. Phil tells us that it's 28 years since Jayne and Chris won gold at the Olympics, so there'll be a routine to celebrate that later, but first, let's meet those skating "stars".

First up are Matthew and Nina in black and sequins, followed by Heidi and Andrei-still-not-Sylvain, Chico and Jodeyne, Chemmy and Sean (in gold lamé that does neither of them any favours), Andy and Vicky, Jorgie and Lovely Matt (whose tattoo that so upset me last week by still being present despite his actual costume not needing one has now vanished - so, was it henna or something? I'm SO CONFUSED), Rosemary and Mark, Sam and Alexandra, Sébastien and Brianne, Jenny Elly and Dan, and of course Jayne and Chris. I always feel like introducing Jayne and Chris at the same time as the contestants is a bit of a mistake. One of these days the audience is just going to get confused and try to vote them off.

Christine suggests that it's a good idea to get things underway, and I agree. First up are Matt and Nina, who got great reviews from Dance last week but left Katarina slightly disappointed and Robin somewhere in the middle. Matthew thinks he let himself down a bit and is generally a bit disappointed with himself, so he's determined to live up to Katarina's expectations this week. Chris says that Matthew needs to get all his footwork right this week, and Matthew explains that this week's routine is very dancey and skatey (on this show? Well I never!) and that Jayne and Chris are raising the bar for everyone. Even Nina is pushing him hard to think like a skater, and Matthew vows not to slip backwards.

They're skating to 'Everything' by Mickey Bubbles, and the routine is a bit static to begin with but soon progresses into a rather smooth and enjoyable routine. There's a reverse double stag lift that seems to go slightly wrong as Nina's skirt gets caught in her arm, and then a nice little knee-slide as they spin around together as if proposing to each other. Gubba declares it "very nice" but wonders out loud if they are pushing the boundaries. Scores: Dance 7.0, Robin 7.5, Katarina 7.5 for a total of 22.0. Phil asks if Matthew's happy with those scores this week, and Matthew declares himself "chuffed to bits". He says that Nina knew how upset he was with himself, so she was deliberately tough with him this week. Chris says that Matthew puts the highest expectations on himself, but he delivered a sophisticated routine, and that Matthew is now an ice dancer, judging by that display.

Christine reminds Katarina that she scored Matthew a whole point lower last week, and Katarina tells Matthew he looked like a figure skater today, and that he's back to his comfort zone and his confidence - he looked free and had smooth transitions. Dance says it "flowed lovely" and says that he likes to see beautiful arms, and would've liked a bit more extension at the beginning - he doesn't feel it was as good as last week, though it was still good. Robin understands this, but likes that it was natural movement rather than contrived movement, and was pleased to see him relax and just skate rather than push himself too hard.

Time for some ads. Featuring Disney ON ICE, appropriately enough.

When we return, Christine asks Phil how many Valentine cards he got last year, and he says he got 55 indecent ones from the Loose Women - mainly Denise Welch. Charming. There's a bizarre bit of business about the Cupid statue chasing after Chemmy, and then we go into their VT, as Chemmy reflects on her highest score to date from last week's show. We're reminded that Dance wanted to see a better quality of dance, and Chemmy says that she has her own style of dancing that the world probably doesn't appreciate. She's got 'I'm Into You' by Jennifer Lopez as her song, and is fretting a bit about trying to exude that J-Lo sex appeal. Chris encourages her to try and add some finesse to her dancing, but this proves to be a struggle - so some ladies come in to give Chemmy a crash course in the samba. These ladies must be very cold in their skimpy salsa costumes ON ICE. Chemmy gets the seal of approval from the salsa ladies, and says she's definitely feeling more sexy now. I hope you all were taking notes, people who don't feel sexy. That's how you fix it, apparently.

Chemmy begins with a few ripples and then launches herself at Sean to begin a fairly athletic routine that includes her leaping up onto his shoulder and also doing balancing one foot between his legs while extending the other behind his head - something which I imagine could be very nasty if it went wrong. They end with some upside down aeroplane moves and rolling around on the ice. Filth. Gubba: "She's got so much metal in her body from a ski accident, it's a surprise she hasn't been nicked for scrap." That's lovely, Gubba. Really. Scores: Dance 5.0, Robin 6.5, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 18.5. Chemmy tells Phil this is the sexiest she's been in her whole life, and it's a shame it was with Sean and not with her boyfriend. She adds that the whole routine was leading with her right leg, which she couldn't have done a month ago because of her injury, and thanks Jayne and Chris for helping her rehabilitation. Sean says they've been having a great time, even having a CIDER together this week. You'd never get away with that sort of debauchery on the BBC, would you? Jayne says this was the greatest performance Chemmy's done to date, and Chris says that she even improvised at the end.

Christine asks Dance what gives, and he says that while she is a sexy lady, he feels the dancing could've been sexier, and he felt she was holding back. He wants her to be softer in the movement, and needs to find light and shade. Robin also wants less aggression - he was worried she was going to be all over the place, but she came out and had finessed her routine. He thinks she's going in the right direction. Katarina thinks the elements were very well done, especially the last lift, but that the jump into Sean's arms was a little bit more aggressive, and advises Chemmy to be a bit more gentle if she has a date on Tuesday. Ha! Katarina ownage. Phil tells Chemmy that people using the pointless app scored her a 7, and shills the pointless app a bit more, despite it being pointless.

More ads. Who are these people who apparently got a good deal for their vehicles on webuyanycar.com? They offered me about £3.50 when I tried to get a quote off them.

When we return, Christine's with Karen for a bit of boring filler. Karen says that the pros are supportive and encouraging, and Christine seems not to really care. I can relate. Then she turns to Chico, who admits to feeling a bit tense, but says he's going to try to bring some old school romance "with a bit of Chico sprinkle." Ew. Christine says that she loves a bit of Chico sprinkle. Does Frank know? Matthew tells us again that he was happier with his performance this week. That was useful. Then Christine is forced to deliver an appalling joke that I won't repeat in order to introduce Andy and Vicky.

Chris says he was very impressed with Andy's performance last week. Andy will be skating to 'Let's Get It On' this week, and that he has some tongue-in-cheek choreography, playing a sleazy character. Jayne says that while the routine might be silly, the skating is now and always will be SRS BSNS. Vicky laughs at Andy trying to be a casanova, which he finds rather offputting. She hopes she will be able to keep it together on the night.

They skate on, with him holding a rose (not between his teeth, disappointingly), and he opens by lip-synching to her like this is RuPaul's Drag Race. Which, incidentally, I would far rather be watching right now. They take to the ice confidently and get a lot of whoops and applause from the audience for their trouble. Vicky manages not to laugh. Andy's skating is still a bit laboured, but he's coming along well enough. Gubba likes Andy to Pepe LePew, which I'm sure is yet another glorious boost to Andy's self-esteem. Scores: Dance 5.5, Robin 5.5, Katarina 6.5 for a total of 17.5. It's the same as last week, and Andy says he's happy with that. Phil asks him if he's in touch with his romantic side. "Maybe," says Andy. Chris apologies for being skeezy in the VT, and says that Andy takes all the humorous stuff in good spirit, but his skating is getting better and better. Andy says he feels he's "improving slightly".

Robin says that he is a character, and he is "nice", but he needs to get some power now and take it to the next level, because he's stronger than he thinks. Katarina says that one of the biggest gifts for a man is to make a woman laugh, so Andy should keep that up. She thinks it was a great performance, and really enjoyed it. Dance says that Andy is always funny, but he would've liked more romance and passion. He agrees with Robin that he wants it to be less safe. Dance and Andy sass each other a bit back and forth, and it's surprisingly not-annoying because it's genuinely good-natured on both sides.

Now it's time for Heidi and Andrei, who skated to BLOODY JESSIE J last week and achieved a personal best score. Heidi thinks there are no weak skaters left and everyone's improving, so she needs to up her game. She's got the insipid tea-shilling ballad version of 'Wherever You Will Go' (not that the original is much better, admittedly) and says that she's a total hopeless romantic. Jayne warns that you're very exposed with a slow song because every little position is noticed. She's doing a sit-lift this week and is worried about it because she's so high. She worries when Andrei can't get her up (fnar) and she wobbles. Maybe she's worried that she'll break him like she BROKE SYLVAIN. Karen says that the more Heidi tried the routine and thought about it, the less she could do it. Heidi hopes it will all come together on the night, as it generally does on this show.

The wind machine is on full blast for this routine and as usual, Heidi's being dragged around the rink by Andrei, although she's moving more gracefully in general. You can see the sit-lift tension written all over her face, though. The sit-lift happens, and she's wobbly as hell, but gets a massive cheer for it, anyway. Then, strangely, she falls over on a bit where she didn't even really have to do anything. It's such an odd little fall - just sort of onto one knee and looking all guilty, and then back up again. Scores: Dance 5.0, Robin 4.5, Katarina 4.5 for a total of 14.0. Heidi says she feels really shaken and disappointed because she loves this routine and the song, and she thought this would be her best one. Andrei tells her it's not over yet. Phil apologises to anyone who was lip-reading tonight. Heidi: "I said 'sugar'! I stopped myself halfway through!" Heh. Chris and Jayne blame the fall on the toepicks and say it happens to anyone.

Dance says that he was pleased to see that lift in because it meant she wasn't playing it safe any more - he's disappointed that she fell, but he wants to see more aggression from her. Basically he wants her and Chemmy to try and pick up a bit of each other's strengths. Robin says that there was much more content in this routine, even if it didn't all work, and she shouldn't get despondent. Katarina tells Heidi that she's beautiful and has a great partner, but she doesn't feel the chemistry between them, and she wants more storytelling in the eyes, because she doesn't believe it at the moment. "Well, that's a shame," says Phil. Apparently she got sixes from all the people using the app, as if that matters in any way.

More ads. I'm really rooting for John and Moira in Emmerdale, you guys. I just think they can make it.

When we return, it's time for the Jayne and Chris anniversary performance, which involves giant hankies being suspended from the ceiling while 'With Or Without You' has all the life sucked out of it by Scala and the Kolacny Brothers. The giant hankies start to look super awkward as Jayne supports herself in them while clinging on to Chris, and...yeah. You can kind of tell that it's not a BIG anniversary this year, can't you?

Up next are Jennifer and Daniel, still here even though no one actually seems to want to admit to liking them. Jennifer is worried that she's slipping down the leaderboard, and says that she still can't quite shed the nerves. She says that her best performances are when she's up north training when no one's watching, but when she steps into the studio, she goes to bits. So Dan has a plot up his sleeve: he's going to make her rehearse on a public rink in front of lots of people. I bet all the people who paid to skate are just thrilled about that. Jennifer says that she just needs to get rid of all those nerves, as the poor fee-paying public applaud them from the sides.

They're skating to 'Fever' and this week's performance is very sultry. She does seem to be a little bit more into it, although the sexy faces she insists on making right into the camera are a little bit unnerving. She does an assisted backflip and ends with a kiss spin, apparently. I didn't even notice this until the second watch through, but as soon as they're finished, they get up and Dan puts his hand on Jennifer's head as they skate over to the kiss-and-cry, and he's clearly beckoning Jayne and Chris over frantically. Meanwhile, Gubba perves about how great Jennifer looks in her costume. Strangely, we don't get scores, just a rather sober cut back to Phil, who tells us that Jennifer's head was injured during that last routine. Chris says that Jennifer does a move where she arches back and "she's got such a big arch" (heh) that she hit her own head with the blade. Dan arrives to explain that in the scorpion kick when she was kicking her foot back, she caught herself in the head with her blade. He runs off to check on her again, and Phil asks for the scores. Scores: Dance 7.5, Robin 5.5, Katarina 6.0 for a total of 19.0. It's all very awkward, and Christine doesn't quite know what to do. Robin says that Katarina actually pointed out in rehearsal how careful Jennifer needed to be in that move, and that people forget that your skates make your feet the heaviest part of your body. He says that she was very flexible and a fantastic performer, but very little skating skill being shown.

Adverts. When that guy in the Kinder Bueno advert whines "come on, girls!", does anyone else want to burst into the intro to Madonna's 'Express Yourself', or is it just me?

When we return, Christine is with Karen to find out what's up with Jennifer. Karen says that this just emphasises how dangerous ice skating is and how sharp the blades are, and the adrenaline just went a bit too far tonight. Dan says that Jennifer's backstage getting patched up, and the good news is she's going to be okay. He says he saw some contact, but he thought it was the leather of the skate, but when he put her down after the split he saw the top of her head was just red. Christine is amazed that she carried on, and Dan says she's a trouper because she wanted to finish, and delivered her best routine so far.

Up next are Chico and Jodeyne. Chris congratulates him on a job well done last week, and Chico is pleased that Dance wants to see more from him. This week, Jayne and Chris are determined to push him further by giving him a ballet lift, which is basically like a press in bodybuilding. He's the first celeb to have to do this in this year's competition, and they work through it slowly in rehearsals. Jodeyne says that it's important for him to stay stable, because she's, y'know, being HELD OVER HIS HEAD. Chico hopes that if he gets this right, he'll be up there with Matthew. He doesn't mention Jorgie, though I suppose she's just a wee thing who is lifted rather than lifts.

They're skating to 'L.O.V.E.' and it's smarmy as hell, but pretty well skated. The lift goes off well, and Chico barely bats an eyelid. There seems to be a bit near the end where jodeyne nearly stumbles, but they manage to work it all out and get where they have to be while remaining upright, so well done to both of them. Gubba talks about Chico and Jodeyne's secret code regarding lifts. Scores: Dance 8.5, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.5 for a total of 23.0 - the highest score of the night and a personal best for Chico. He says he's had sleepless nights about the lift, but when he lifted up Jodeyne above his head, he felt like Bobby Moore in 1966 with her as the World Cup. Another hugely flattering allusion. Phil asks Jayne if big scores depend on big stunts. Jayne's like "duh, yes" but says that all the solo skating that he did was even more impressive.

Dance tells Chico it was the best performance of the night so far, and Chico always acts out the song as well as dancing it. He says that it was a really difficult lift with a lot of strength, but Chico is just effortless to watch. Katarina thought the lift was seamless and subtle, and thought the whole performance engaged with his partner - he's been doing that from the first show on, and getting better. Robin says that they have to remember it's not just about the lifts but the whole performance, and this was spot-on and not the cheesefest it could've been. Right-o.

Next we have Rosemary and Mark. Last week she got a decent score, but divided the judges, with Dance calling her boring. Rosemary says that some of Dance's criticisms were fair, so she wants to work on them. She'll be skating to 'I'll Stand By You', but Chris warns that it will have some attack, despite being a ballad. Mark takes her off to meet some hockey players in an effort to get Rosemary moving more speedily. Rosemary gets all padded up in the hockey gear and looks ridiculous. Then they play hockey, and Rosemary scores and falls over. As you do.

Rosemary starts solo and makes her way over to Mark - still fairly slow, but I guess she's fairly restricted by the tempo of the song. Some of the skating is still a bit aesthetically unappealing, but she does seem to be coming along quite well, even if she ends a fair bit after the music does, which is one of my biggest pet peeves on this show. Gubba reminds us that Rosemary is OLD. Thanks for that, Gubba. Scores: Dance 5.0, Robin 5.0, Katarina 5.5 for a total of 15.5. Rosemary says she's happy with that. Phil asks if the skating training helped, and Rosemary says it did, because it was nice to be able to get on the ice again without all that clobber. Hmm. I'm not sure you'd have got much of a different response if you'd just not bothered to do the hockey stuff, to be honest. Phil tells her that she is the OLDEST contestant to make it this far. Chris says that they wanted her to show more steps and speed this evening, and they think she did.

Robin thinks she's moving in the right direction - though there was more speed and more steps, she's still being led by Mark. He worries that she's going to run the risk of all her routines looking the same because people won't see the "subtle changes". Dance says he wants to see her "let rip", as he said a few weeks ago, and while there was more content this week, he wants more power and pizazz out of her. He trots out the whole "I want to look that good at your age" thing again. Katarina is asked to be brief, again (poor Katarina), and says that Rosemary is crunching up her shoulders, and needs to open up and show us her love for skating. It's funny, just take out the word "skating" and you have something very similar to the words that were spoken shortly before I lost my virginity.

Ads. These Macleans bumpers continue to be annoying.

Phil tells us that Jennifer's still in recovery, but should be out later. Up next are Sam and Alexandra, and Sam recalls his near-miss in last week's skate-off. He tries to resolve that it's a good thing to have been through that. This week he's got a very technical routine, with a counter lift and a lot of steps. Phil says that Sam (and Mark's) BUSY WORK SCHEDULE has taken him to Glasgow, so Alexandra has had to fly up to join him. They start training at 6.10am one day because they're fitting in the training whenever they can. Sam thinks this could potentially be his best routine to date, although to be fair everyone could say that every week and not necessarily be wrong.

They're skating to 'Just The Way You Are' and the routine ends with miming spray painting a heart onto the ice. Why? I dunno. I suspect Dean. The counter lift looks extremely strained with Sam gritting his teeth, though the steps in the middle of the routine are cleanly executed. There's some nice partner work with Alexandra towards the end, and the lift where he kind of flings her across the ice goes well. Definitely one of his stronger performances, I think. Gubba remarks on how Sam is more slimline than when he started, which is good because that powder-blue shirt is unforgiving. Scores: Dance 6.0, Robin 6.5, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 19.5 for a personal best for Sam. Sam calls those scores "ridiculous" and reflects on how far he's come. Alexandra says it was a very technical routine, but also a big performance and Sam delivered on that score too. Jayne says that they put a lot in there because they believed in him, and it looked absolutely solid.

Christine congratulates him and goes to Katarina first this time. Katarina likes the charm of the story, and says it's HARDER FOR A MAN to have to be the leading man, but she thinks he's doing it all very well. She thinks he comes across like a real pair skater now. Dance says that Sam's insecure smile worked well for him, and his arms are beautiful now, so he thinks Sam's definitely going the right way. Robin says it's nice to be relaxed watching him, but warns Sam about the look of tension that crosses his face whenever he has to lift Alexandra up.

Jorgie and Lovely Matt are next. Ooh, Lovely Matt's in blue. That's always been a good colour on him. She couldn't believe her scores from last week, but Chris reminds her that she can't rest on her laurels. She's got some tough choreography this week to 'Fallin'' by Alicia Keys, which Jayne helpfully supplies is "about a love/hate relationship between a couple". Matt tells her that she's "reaching for the love that I can't give you." Hee hee hee. Jorgie says that she thinks about skating too much and forgets about the acting, and Karen chastises her for this in practice, telling her that the judges will be looking for the total performance. However, Karen thinks it could be very special when it all comes together.

They begin on the steps (or rather, Jorgie's on the steps and Matt's on the ice), and go straight into a lift sequence, and it's possibly just the fact that it's really fucking cold in my flat, but I did genuinely get chills watching this performance. It's just so delicate and lyrical and really well-executed. However, whoever edited the track removed the "Oh oh OOOH-AHH-AHHH-AHHHHHHHHH" yelpy bit, which displeases me. Gubba calls her "the star of the show", which is probably a fair assessment but still a bit thoughtless towards everyone else. Scores: Dance 9.0, Robin 8.5, Katarina 8.5 for a total of 26.0. Jorgie is absolutely verklempt and basically splutters into the microphone. Matt speaks on her behalf, saying that she's "an incredible actress" (LOLZ) and he doesn't think she always realises how good an actress she is. Chris says that there was angst and passion in the routine, and she genuinely deserved those marks.

Christine asks Dance about the first nine of the series, and Dance said it brought a tear to his eyes because he genuinely believed the love between the two of them. He says that you don't need experts to tell you that was a beautiful performance, because anyone could've seen the technique and the love. He says he wanted to give her a ten, but he has to hold something back for later. Katarina says that she almost forgets to look at the skating because they draw so much attention in their chemistry, and Jorgie's involved right down to every fingertip. Robin says that when the blades got caught on her first pivot, he thought it could all go wrong, but she just dismissed it and it all just got better.

Last ad break. Vincent and Flavia from Strictly are advertising their stage show, which is all well and good, but where are the ads for Katya and Pasha's tour, eh? That's what I'm interested in.

When we return, it's time for our final couple of the evening, Sébastien and Brianne. They got Dance all excited last week and got themselves a high score. "I always thought I had the potential to match with Jorgie and Matthieu," says Sébastien, adorably. Chris thinks it'll be interesting to see how Sébastien copes with romance week. "By doing a split jump" is the answer, apparently. It's a difficult move that's only been achieved by Devil Goblin Ray Quinn on the show prior to this, but Sébastien is determined to give it a go. It's Robin's signature move, of course, so Robin will be monitoring this very closely.

They're skating to 'My Cherie Amour', with Brianne posing beneath an arch of roses. The arch proves to be a bit of a distraction throughout the routine, to be honest. They do a counter balance lift that looks a bit wobbly. Sébastien does the split jump, which is a little rough around the edges and his left leg doesn't go nearly as high as his right one, but he lands it successfully. It does look a bit out of place in a so-called romantic routine. Gubba starts lusting over Sébastien's muscles. Is there something you'd like to tell us, Gubba? Scores: Dance 7.0, Robin 7.0, Katarina 7.0 for a total of 21.0. Sébastien says that the jump was tricky and he knows he can do better, but he was happy with how it went. Brianne says that he's been kind of injured this week, but he pulled it off tonight and was fantastic. Jayne says it was one of the most difficult manoeuvres of the series, and he really went for it. Chris shows us the little sketches that Sébastien does to help him learn the routine, and they are both impressive and kind of nerdily adorable.

Christine goes to Robin to ask how it went, and Robin says he made it work - he got his legs up and did it from no speed at all, but what was great was the overall quality of his skating across the ice. Katarina disagrees: she thinks his crossovers were a little scratchy, but likes that we saw a different side of him today, a more romantic side. Dance loved the romance and he thought there was a beautiful performance - he thinks it's a real achievement for him.

And that's it! Leaderboard: Jorgie at the top, Chico second, Matthew third, Sébastien fourth, Sam fifth, Jennifer sixth, Chemmy seventh, Andy eighth, Rosemary ninth, and Heidi tenth. No ties this week. Could be interesting. Phil declares the lines now open ON ICE and my boyfriend rushes to vote for Chemmy. Bless. There's a recap of the night's routines, most of which I've kind of already forgotten, but I decide to chuck Chemmy a vote as well just because I enjoy her performances in general, and she's probably the contestant I like the most as a person now Charlene's gone. I'm fairly uncomplicated like that.

Who goes? We'll find out later tonight...

The Skate-Off

Earlier tonight! People scored, judges skated. Wait, scratch that. Reverse it. Thank you. Later, two couples will face the skate-off. But which ones? Titles!

Phil and Christine arrived, desperately hoping that people haven't switched over for the Baftas. (I have to admit, I did. What was going on with Christina Hendricks' hair? I mean, she's a beautiful woman, but that was all wrong. Jon Hamm, on the other hand, looked flawless from head to toe. Mmm, Jon Hamm. Can I just write about him instead? What? I have to finish this? Oh, please yourselves.) Christine reminds us that the lines are open, and encourages us to vote if we haven't done so already, and then invites us to watch a recap, while warning us to have a cushion ready to hide behind while watching Jennifer's performance. Oh, are they going to have a slow-motion injury porn extravaganza? I mean, they did it for Chemmy against her wishes, so it seems only fair.

Matthew got good feedback from the judges, and announces that he enjoyed every second of his performance, having felt much more confident compared to last week. Chemmy was told she could've been sexier by Dance, even though this isn't Sexy Night (don't give them ideas, Steven) and Chemmy says that she gave it all that she could out there. Andy was funny-romantic, much to Katarina's delight, but Robin wanted him to show more power. Andy thinks he has a lot more to give, and hopes people will keep him in. Heidi delivered a wobbly lift and a stumble, but Dance gave her a sympathetic review. Heidi was gutted, but hopes people vote for her. Karen says that it was all due to a confidence problem. Hoo boy, here we go - Jennifer's performance is summarised thusly: *kicks self in head with blade*, *cries on Dan at the kiss-and-cry*. Then they replay the kick in slow-mo. Twice. Stay classy, Dancing On Ice. We see her being tended to by the medical team, and Dan assuring us she's okay. Chico got a personal best score from playing romantic and doing a tough lift. He feels it's an amazing achievement regardless of who he beat. Though I'm guessing he's quite chuffed at being Matthew. Rosemary was still too reliant on her partner, per Robin. She says she can't be disappointed with the scores, because the judges are the experts. Sure, whatever works for you. Sam's cuteness impressed the judges and Dance loved his arms, and Sam thinks it was his best performance overall. Jorgie got the highest score of the series so far, and dazzled Katarina into not looking at the skating at all. Jorgie's speechless, and Lovely Matt calls her "an incredible actress" again. In response, Jorgie gushes that working with someone as great as Lovely Matt certainly helps, and Lovely Matt is all "well, thank you", making the most adorable awkward-bashful face I've ever seen. Oh, Lovely Matt. No matter how bad this show gets, I can always depend on you. Sébastien just about pulled off the Russian split jump, but Robin was more impressed with the overall quality of his skating. Sébastien thinks he could do the jump better, but he must stop being hard on himself. Chris and Jayne think it's the most dramatic show so far, drawing a direct parallel between Jennifer slicing her head open and Sébastien "doing a big jump". Oh dear.

Phil declares the lines closed ON ICE. Christine's with the judges, and asks them if it's anyone's game. Robin thinks it is (I disagree), and says that it's about being able to deliver on the night, and he thinks that, Jorgie aside, "the boys" collectively "kicked butt" tonight. Oh, Robin. Christine picks up the Jorgie baton and asks Dance if he expected to give a score like that so early, and he says that's exactly what it deserved and there was no other score he could've given. Katarina's opinion is not solicited. This makes me sad.

After the ads, Phil's got the results *touches ear*. In no particular order, the couples who are safe are: Jennifer and Daniel, Jorgie and Matt, Matthew and Nina, Sam and Alexandra, Chico and Jodeyne, Sébastien and Brianne, Andy and Vicky and Heidi and Andrei. This leaves Rosemary and Mark facing off against Chemmy and Sean in the skate-off. My instinct is towards Chemmy staying, given the judges' generally cooling attitude towards Rosemary lately, but I suppose it could still go either way, depending on how INSPIRING they find Rosemary's age from one minute to the next.

Christine's in the Survival Tunnel and asks Chemmy how it feels to be here. She says the Olympics is much easier than this, and nearly swears. Christine asks if she's going to try for the softness that the judges are asking for, and Chemmy replies that the song doesn't really lend itself to that, but she can at least try to be sexier. Christine turns to Rosemary, who just says "you might as well give me the flowers now." Heh. Rosemary says that she feels everyone's really raising their game, and she doesn't feel she can do that like the others can, so she's just happy to have got this far. Christine opts to cut this display of fatalism off right there, and sends them out for their reprisal.

Rosemary gives her second performance a good go, but there's no getting away from the fact that she still can't really stand away from Mark too much, and her skating's still a tad on the clunky side. She seems happy enough with her performance, though. They skate over to the kiss-and-cry, and Phil asks Jayne if Rosemary "let it rip". Jayne says she should be proud of herself, and Chris says that Rosemary enjoyed it and lived it. Phil asked Rosemary if she thinks she's done enough. "No," replies Rosemary. Heh. She adds that Chemmy's brilliant, and deserves to stay more than she does.

Let's find out, shall we? Chemmy and Sean head back out and she's clearly trying to be sexier, but I think it's at the expense of a bit of the finesse. I mean, she clearly deserves to stay over Rosemary because she's just that much steadier and better, but it's not as good as her first performance earlier, and she mistimes the start of her aeroplane lift and ends up smashing onto the ice - though Sean manages to quickly whip her back up again. Phil asks how she feels, and she says she feels great and loves Rosemary, so whatever happens, she's made some great friends. Chris and Jayne congratulate Sean on a nice save, and Chemmy babbles that she was trying "not to do a Charlene". Oooooh.

Time for the judges to make their decisions. Robin goes first, and says that he's surprised to see either of them in the skate-off. He thinks both performances were better (really?), but votes to save Chemmy. Dance agrees that they were both better, and also opts to save Chemmy, but would like to say what an inspiration (DRINK!) it's been to work with Rosemary. Katarina says that Rosemary's always had her admiration, but she wants to save Chemmy. So Chemmy's back next week.

Phil admits that Rosemary predicted this outcome, but says how happy they've all been to have her. Rosemary says that Mark is her new BFF, and she wants to thank him for being the best coach in the history of forever. Mark says INSPIRATION a few more times. Phil trumpets on about AGE a bit more. Rosemary thanks Chris and Jayne, and inverts things by saying what an INSPIRATION they are, and adding that people at home probably don't realise how hard they work.

Rosemary's best bits: falling over a lot, being old, feeling young, being INSPIRING, etc. Rosemary and Mark get their flowers and a big round of applause, and then we're down to nine. Christine announces that the remaining contestants are about to learn the big twist in store for next week, and the lights get all moody as Phil reveals that next week sees the return of the Ultimate Skills Test, where they will now be tested on pure skating ability. Oh, but it gets worse: if they end up in the skate-off, they'll have to take to the ice solo and perform a routine consisting of 23 separate skills. I'm thinking Heidi in particular really doesn't want to end up there next week. Chris says it's going to be a real test, and they're really upping the ante, because it's time to sort out the can-dos from the can't-dos. Jayne adds that it's week seven, and if they can't do those skills, they'll be left behind. Oh, and just to make things even tenser: three stars will face the skate-off, and two will be going home. The contestants all look suitably horrified.

That's it for this week! Join Carrie next week, assuming she hasn't given up on the series entirely by then. Fingers crossed...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Ewing some, you lose some

Tx: Sunday 5th February 2012

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

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

Oh, and One Direction are on this week.

It doesn't get any better, does it?

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

Titles!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The skate-off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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