Live! From Las Vegas (/not actually Las Vegas)!
Jennifer Metcalfe & Sylvain Longchambon : Oh Great British Public. Do NOT make me start in on you. For starters…Sylvain Longchambon is now gone from my screen, apart from in those rando group routines that come every 4 weeks, where we shall have to squint to make him out at the side dressed as an alien and doing a bum-wiggle whilst Torvill and Dean wander around for ten minutes occasionally doing a lift or two. And that will not do. He’s PRETTY. I’ve got a feeling that Denise Squelch might be taken out in the backlash flood, meaning I’m going to be stuck with NO acceptable eye-candy very soon (Colin’s alright, but the boy’s not got eyes, which I do like in a lover, not to give away too much about myself). Then there’s the issue that you’ve now got rid of Jennifer who was…well alright, she was only about the fourth or fifth best skater remaining in the competition, and kind of a dry stick, but there’s still so much dross left clinging to the bottom of the boat at this stage that I just can’t. But worst of all ; worse than eliminating Mercedes McQueens ; worse than castrating the show in a particularly vicious manner of its Schlongchambon ; worse than all that by FAR, is that, by eliminating Jennifer whilst she was dressed in that iconic black see-through lace Bob Mackey number whilst skating to THAT song, you kind of also eliminated Cher in effigy. And 80s Cher at that, which is TOTALLY THE BEST ONE! So what if she questionned Torvill & Dean’s authoritah mildly? So what if it’s against the rules of the show to do it? IT’S FOTHERMUCKING CHER! Grrr…
Jeff Brazier & Isabelle Gauthier : An interesting thing to witness, as the years of this era of reality go on, is people becoming more and more savvy to the conventions of the genre. Where 10 years ago people would blithely talk about simple things like the personality of contestants and how the judges were trying to make us like contestants by being nice about them, now the popular discourse is all “pimp spots” and “showmances” and fake injuries and “VT editing” and sneering at the use of words like “journey” or “rollercoaster”. So I eagerly await the groupthink of the majority to catch up with, and start to pull faces at, this whole “oooh, I have spent the whole week calling myself by a name that is not my name and this is acting apparently” business. Because it is all over Dancing On Ice and Strictly Come Dancing like a rash and it’s annoying. “Oooh, I called myself Tom all week”, “oooh, my character was called Pablo and to prepare I ate a fajita”, “when Isabelle wasn’t watching I put on her tights and called myself Frieda”. Seriously, sit your arse down – you’re not Ziggy Stardust, you’re not Sasha Fierce, you’re not even “THE BEAST” as imagined up by Alexandra Burke. Calling yourself Tom all week does not warrant a whole 7.5 point increase on anything you’ve achieved before, and let’s face it neither did this routine, and it probably wouldn’t have if last week hadn’t revealed your tragic paucity of votes (which, to be fair, he appears to share with at least 3 of the 5 people left who can actually skate). Although, speaking of “Tom”, I did like that the Vegas theming did actually reflect itself in all of the music choices this evening, which is more than it did on Strictly. Anyway, all in all, better, but still not great, although at least he’s stopped that embarrassing backtalk. Still goes on about his children all the time, but then he couldn’t be this series’ Gary Lucy if he didn’t.
Laura Hamilton & Colin Ratushniak : I did kind of love it when Laura compared Colin to A MACHINE this week (I think mostly to excuse his complete lack of personality which is hardly necessary Laura because…well LOOK at this line-up of pros. It’s like a whole sea of Artems looking for a showmance and a shoulder injury to make them exciting), because mostly the machine Colin reminds me of is this one. Small, fuzzy, cute, yippy, and able to backflip like a mother. Although after clawing up half the ice on his landing in the group routine, maybe Torvill and Dean will stop making him do it. That’s totally why Frankie! slipped and everything (yes, I know it was on the other side of the rink entirely, but…whatever, that’s logic, and logic does not apply to the glamorous magic of Frankie!). Their routine this week was total camp fun from beginning to end, which is probably the highest compliment you can pay something on this show. I mean, normally this show’s concept of camp is just an ABBA megamix or banging on about “sequins and sparkles” so it’s nice to see them embrace the earnest and melodramatic side of camp so fully as they did in this Celine Dion number, with her rolling around in mental anguish dressed all in white. Frankly it could only have been improved by the addition of wire work so one or the other of them could have been even more of an actual ghost. I don’t really care which one. Anyway, she continues to bring it, and supply the most energy to this show’s farcical insistence that anyone is anywhere near as good as Sam is, so good for her. As someone said somewhere, the second best at anything is so much more fun to watch/experience, because they try that much harder. See also : Tonya Harding. And let’s face it, a well-timed crowbar to the knee is the only way Laura Hamilton’s winning this. Especially if she keeps on tripping in the STUMBLE ZONE, which is apparently directly in front of Bunto. Anywhere else? Is fine. There? DEDUCTIONS!
Denise Welch & Matt Evers : Well it’s nice to know that she likes Shirley Bassey anyway. That’s some sort of redeeming feature at least. Although surely if you’re that big of a Shirley Bassey fan you’d pick a slightly more iconic performance from her than some knocked-off half-considered cover version of a Gershwin standard. Like, I’m not expecting this show to reach the heady heights of an actual routine to “Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me” but… at least something we would associate with the woman without having to run to wikipedia you know? Anyway, The Squelch had yet another mandated confidence collywobble this week, as I expect we shall be seeing every week until the public decide whether it’s her or Kerry they want to be the Colleen this go round. And then a bit longer if it’s her (I kind of hope it is, if that is a thing we’re doing, just because…well let’s be honest, a) Matt’s arse, and b) of the nation’s two Bipolar Sweethearts, she does appear to be the one who has found the more effective combination of meds for her needs). At least it’s for semi-sensible reasons, as Torvill & Dean seem to be a bit bored of her, and we all know what happens when Torvill & Dean get bored of someone don’t we? NO MORE SKATING FOR THEM! So you see why she’d be scared. I think it’s really Torvill & Dean’s fault in the first place for setting such unrealistic expectations for her with that stupid week 1 Report Card. Who were they kidding giving her a B+? Nobody, that’s who. Bless Matt for giving it his all though – Densie could really do with an interested and invested male presence in her corner judging from the constant shots of Tim Healey in the audience looking like he’s here under sufferance of having to accompany her to her other day job instead. You know, Loose Women, that show where they burn men alive in giant wicker penises chanting the Oven Pride advert slogan?
Comedy Dave & Frankie! : I love that Comedy Dave’s Comedy Theme this week was “it’s a bit disappointing to see you not doing a comedy routine this week”. I mean…apparently nobody informed Frankie! of this, because she was still gurning like a good-one and prat-falling all over the place (albeit unintentionally) and doing Lauren Samuels/Confident Monster style Literal Choreography. Really I think the underlying issue here is that Frankie!’s comedy stylings are just too subtle for an audience of Chris Moyles & Emma Bunton and who would have thought it was possible? You’re going to have to play it broader Frankie!. I know you can. The acting skills were already in place for pretending that you thought that trip was your fault and even then I was delighted and heartened that she took the line of “even someone as basically fucking amazing as me, Frankie!, greatest skater ever to have lived, can fall over occasionally, so don’t judge poor mere mortal Comedy Dave here for it”. Poor Comedy Dave though, this week he had to do the same job he’s had to do since the beginning of the show, but with a VT crew following him around so he could have a bit of a whinge, and then go on again afterwards about how he doesn’t work in a factory and have three kids so he’s decided he’s not going to whinge at all. Make your bloody mind up Comedy Dave, I can’t keep track of whether you’re whinging or not. Take your cues from Frankie!, she’s always whinging and her consistency in doing so is why I love her. Extra point – Minus points to Jason, as if he needed any more, for “cod mime artist with rigor-mortis”. Too many layers Jason, too many layers. And I’m not sure where fish fit at all into ANIMAL IMAGERY, let alone dead ones who work in the performing arts.
Vanilla Ice & Katie Stainsby : OK, first of all, I believe he had a concussion about as much as I believe in Harvey Dent (didn’t you hear? He became Two-Face, killed Eric Roberts and then fell off a thing). He’s just trying to justify his total drama queen performance last week about his BRAIN SWELLING, but he really doesn’t need to. And if you’re going to have a reality tv concussion, have it like Pamela from The Amazing Race Asia who, after performing a particularly clumsy high-dive in Prague, started screaming and crying in the street five minutes later about now knowing why she was in the Czech Republic or what she’d just done, and why was she wet. Anywho…Elvis. Ugh. The last thing I need is people on this show aspiring to mugging and miming Elvis. The best they can hope for is Shakey, and whilst Shakey might never have actually made it to Vegas…neither did this show, despite its repeated protestations to the contrary. Who wouldn’t want to see Vanilla Ice shake it to Green Door? I know I would. Also it might have put them off giving him that shitty wiggy hair-do they apparently felt it necessary to do. Also he might not have buggered off to Canada for half the week instead of training, because it would really have taken focus and discipline for an American such as what Vanilla is to pull it off, rather than a pretty basic Elvis impression. And really, that basic disrespect of the laws of reality tv (ALWAYS TURN UP FOR TRAINING) is probably what caused him to wind up in the Bottom Two, so my instincts are doubly right. Well, it’s either that, or literally NOBODY who can skate is getting any votes, and I like my explanation better. Onwards and upwards van Winkle. Onwards and upwards.
Johnson Beharry & Jodeyne Higgins : Thank Christ that Jason and Karen decided to have a totally unprofessional and hilarious throw-down at this exact point of the show, because otherwise his segment would have been completely pointless. Johnson is a bit wobbly on ice, Johnson does a slow and mildly respectable performance to a slow and mildly respectable hit from the 70s, Johnson has a special friend who was in hospital with him(seriously Johnson, don’t drag him into this nonsense, he’ll only get cussed out as being a sob story)… it’s all so done, and if they’re not going to send him camp then I can’t really progress with him. I guess it’s going to be hard to avoid it with Musical Theatre Week, but I’m sure they’ll manage it somehow. (DRESS HIM UP AS RUM-TUM-TUGGER OR SOMETHING PLEASE!). Jason and Karen on the other hand decided to bring their A Game. I really think the producers are worried that, having invited Katona solely to kick off, she’s instead decided to be awkward and whingy and a bit weepy, so they’re keeping this card in their back pocket just in case she doesn’t decide to haul off and bounce Laura’s face off the ice in Week Seven for mocking her continued inability to stop. Anywho, Jason said that Johnson is not very good (true), Karen objected on the grounds that Johnson’s not really here to be “good” so much as to improve and be inspirational/A HERO (also true), Jason then said that if anybody cared about Karen’s opinion she’d still be on the Judging Panel (also true), Karen then called him an idiot who says stupidly offensive things just to amuse himself (also true). Then they started ghetto-fronting one another, and I swear if this doesn’t end with Jason trying to pull out her weave I will be very disappointed. I guess I was also surprised to see so much truth in the scripting for that particular segment of the show, as compared to, well, the rest of it.
Sam Attwater & Brianne Delcourt : Sam stretched his lead over his nearest rival to a full 17 points this week. I’m just saying, for all the show’s talk of a “leading pack”, that “leading pack” appears to be…well, just Sam really. I do wonder if they’ll give someone else a meaningless one-week victory over him at any point soon, and if they do who it will be. I mean, you’d expect it to be Laura, or Chloe on an outside bet, but last year it was Danniella Westbrook who broke Tampon-Condom’s dominance (oh, and Beaver Teeth, never 4get, Beaver Teeth), so really it could be anyone. Anyway, Sam danced to Frank Sinatra this week, which really didn’t help his obvious inherent mild dullness issues, because really, what’s more done and played out at this point than the Rat Pack? At least it wasn’t “The Tender Trap” I guess (*blech*). I know this show’s attempts to best harness whatever sexiness lurks within Sam Attwater have been muddled at best, but…Frank Sinatra really isn’t the way to go. I mean, I’m immune to that whole vibe, but you need to least have a little cocky swagger to pull it off (not a lot, I mean, Westlife apparently managed it), but Sam is way too nice and staid of a boy for it. Maybe if Brianne continues to push his buttons in the way she kind of obviously is, we might see a dark side emerge, but as it is, we’re in for another ITV-nice winner I feel.
Kerry Katona & Daniel Whiston : Oh good, she’s decided that she’s the comic relief. This should be good. On the one hand at least she doesn’t have to pressurise herself into trying to be any good, or having a career renaissance or anything like that, but on the other she’s already being awfully brittle and edgy about it, which suggests to me that “having a sense of humour about herself” isn’t really something that’s going to end well for her. And I can’t see the public going along with it, because either she’s an awful Bogeywoman violent crack-addled mentally ill, publicity whore, bad mother or she’s a sympathetic woman who’s had a rough life and whose constant doomed attempts to redeem herself are high Shakespearian tragedy. Neither of which viewpoints really lend themselves to finding her “comic relief”. This week she had her mandatory Confidence Collywobble, except that it kind of got out of hand, and Daniel had to drag her kids in to talk her down from the ledge. Admittedly her children were awfully cute, even allowing for all the hours of Kerry & Child footage they must have had to rummage through to find the cutest bit. Of course then she went out and wobbled around to Barbara Streisand (again, SO Vegas) dressed in a lurid pink ensemble which combined with her unnatural tan to produce an overall visual effect somewhat akin to a Fruit Salad. So maybe she really COULD be Comic Relief, in a different Universe, where Kerry Katona doesn’t bring such a weight of baggage to the show. Because objectively that was pretty flipping funny.
Chloe Madeley & Michael Zenezini: This week Chloe was asked to assume the mantle of Torvill & Dean early, which is a high compliment indeed. Normally we have to wait for the final and Bolero (zzzz…) for the comparisons to come out, but this series is nothing if not full of awkward premature ejaculation of twists and storylines and comparisons all over its metaphorical sheets, so why not? Apparently at some point in their career Torvill & Dean done a dance to “In The Mood”, so now it’s Chloe’s turn! Except I can’t imagine Christopher Dean doing anything as gaymazing as rocking up as Richard Gere in An Officer & A Gentleman, so not only were Chloe & Michael imitating, they were tasked with taking Torvill & Dean’s routine to the NEXT LEVEL! How intimidating! I don’t know if they did it, but bizarrely it was a better representation of the rock n roll spirit than last week’s performance was, and all whilst dancing to Bette Midler, so that has to be worth something. Really I’m only here from Richard & Judy’s increasing over-investment. Man, they’re going to be PISSED when she goes out in a quarter-final skate-off with Laura. Also Jack Madeley’s repeated self-consciously goofy responses to being on camera were adorable. Really I’d much rather he rock up next year on Dancing On Ice, than I would Billy Connolly make his apparently mandatory Strictly appearance. Can Jack Madeley better his sister’s performance, even whilst being even less famous than she is? These are the questions I am left to ponder in a Schlongchambon-less world.