Here go hell come.
Jeff Brazier & Isabelle Gauthier First of all, I have to say I’m very disappointed at the complete lack of Sondheim on Musical Theatre Week. Laura Hamilton bombing round to “Losing My Mind” or Kerry Katona doing a heart-rending slow-dance to “Children Will Listen” or Comedy Dave and Frankie! doing “Send In The Clowns” dressed as actual clowns or frankly any of them doing anything from Assassins would have done me fine. Instead we get the usual sloppy fare of old classics, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. For instance, Jeff Brazier skated to a number from “Phantom Of The Opera”, which has never really been the same for me since I found out that the Phantom is called “Eric”. I also think it’s prima facia evidence of the unfairness of the Universe that on Strictly, Artem Chigvintsev did his Phantom Of The Opera themed routine entombed behind a mask, but Jeff Brazier’s squidgy little 12 year old face was left uncovered for all the world to see. Whatever, I’m sure he was being Raoul or something (*has never seen Phantom Of The Opera, or indeed any other Andrew Lloyd Webber musical for that matter*) Tragically now, after being granted generous scores last week, Jeff is now (ugh) confident and full of self belief, which I’m sure is really gratifying if you’re a fan, but if you’re not (you know, if) then I can only imagine (you know, imagine) that it’s really flipping annoying. He can at least rest a little easier knowing that someone else has taken up the mantle of embarrassing tabloid interviews (oh, we’ll get to it) and that his position in the competition is assured for a while yet.
Denise Welch & Matt Evers : I’m sorry, was Denise even there? I know that in these ever-changing times in which we live in for Dancing On Ice they have to play to their base a little bit, but good grief, putting Matt in a mesh shirt with actual sparkly sequins on his actual nipples, and having him flexing around was getting dangerously close to pandering. Not that I’m complaining. If I was going to have to sit through a routine where one of the Loose Women had to perform an interpretation of the Fosse style, at least they lifted some of the more pleasing elements to look at when performed by Matt Evers. And also it wasn’t Sherri Hewson. In that sense, let us all remember that, however impossible it might seem, the show could always be worse. Instead of Sherri Hewson, we got Denise Welch playing the oldest Roxie ever and a stripper at that, all done up like she was Roxie And The Angry Inch, gamely skating around, clearly against her better judgement, to my favourite song from Chicago (in which I am probably alone). I can’t help thinking a little bit of Mama Morton might have suited her personality a little better, although that would have required a little of genuine sleaze. Bonus points to Jason though for basically saying she didn’t come across as desperate and fame-hungry ENOUGH, on this show (*paging Katona – this bitch done stole your routine*), and negative bonus points to Gubba for somehow managing to compare Denise Welch to Ex-President Mubarak. More and more I wonder if his commentary is in fact something only a select few can hear by accident rather than something the producers of the show actively sign off on.
Sam Attwater & Brianne Delcourt : A hoo hoo hoo hoo. So this week, the Sam & Brianne showmance both catapulted into full gear and then careened directly into a wall. Firstly the round of photoshoots of he and Brianne in bed in cowboy-patterned ice-skates (so classy), and interviews about how they incorporate all the lifts from their routines into their sex-life (I am so sure, because that sounds entirely feasibly and possible under the laws of physics as understood and abided by by human beings). And now…he’s been pictured in the doorway of some pub snogging the face off Alexandra with Brianne blithely unconcerned. What have we uncovered? A whole underground world of orgiastic partner swapping amongst the Dancing On Ice pros? A showmance? A double-layered showmance? A long-term con being pulled on Sam by secret lesbian lovers Brianne and Laura to make him look as bad as possible, to propel her to the win? Suddenly Sam Attwater got interesting! Well…ish. All the stuff on the show’s still kind of dull, even if they did break out Props Week early just for him (A HAT! THE MOST DIFFICULT PROP THAT THERE IS! IT COULD BE DROPPED OR HE COULD TAKE SOMEONE’S EYE OUT WITH THE RIM OR ANYTHING) and a high speed comedy routine at the same time. But the off show soap opera? That’s almost worth his presence on the show by itself. And I don’t normally get into these things.
Kerry Katona & Daniel Whiston : I was wondering why there was no scrap between Jason & Karen this week (or even a minor disagreement to keep things tiding over – maybe he could have called her a shit-nugget or she could have called him a very naughty man), and then suddenly it all became clear. The show didn’t want any distractions from its very exciting Shock-Saving of Kerry Katona from a Skate-Off. I mean, when you look at the figures it’s not that shocking (she’s scored more points than Comedy Dave over the course of the whole competition, and was only .5 behind him this week), but the stage-management of it, with the booing and the Emma putting her head in her hands and that “required element” gubbins was done down to a T. Ah well. I can’t say I’m too happy to have to sit through another week of Komedy Katona. I preferred her when she thought she was an actual contestant, rather than constantly guffawing over how doing a routine to “There’s No Business Like Show Business” is like, totally ironic, because showbizness has left her a drug-addicted, bipolar wreck in sole charge of three children LOL. Just think, if she still thought she was an Albino Rihanna, she could have been skating next week to “S & M” with Daniel Whiston in chains and a gimp mask. I like to think Karen being drafted into her training was punishment of a sorts for her not really playing her role to its fullest last week. I think this sort of thing should be used as a deterrent more often in reality shows. Len Goodman comes up with another bizarrely sexual baby-related metaphor? Have him train the Katona for a week. That’ll learn him.
Chloe Madeley & Michael Zenezini: No, seriously, does anyone even have an on-tape record of Michael Zenezini speaking? I feel like it’s never happened. Maybe he’s noticed that the new pros are dropping like flies and that the best way to progress is to keep his head down and just get on with things? Or maybe given Chloe’s…interesting emotional reaction to having to perform to a song from Les Miserables he’s just doing what he needs to for a quiet life in general? Who would have thought Chloe Madeley was such a theatre geek? So many questions. One certainty though, is that she looked the best she’s ever looked on the show this week. Maybe it’s just that she finally gave in and embraced the orange, or maybe she truly did harness her inner Eponine and it enhanced her, but for once she didn’t just look facially like a slightly unfortunate mish-mash of her parents’ more awkward features. And the routine wasn’t bad either, although God bless Jason for being so sniffy about her performance, given how much of her SOUL she was pouring into it. Seriously, he does have his uses some times. The only way this segment could have been better is if they’d used the Danielle Hope performance complete with amazing deployment of the word “pretending”. Maybe to soundtrack a centrepiece lift or something. Then it wouldn’t only have been Chloe Madeley crying.
Johnson Beharry & Jodeyne Higgins : So they finally went there, and embraced the camp, and gave him a comedy routine and it was still kind of tasteful and dull. I mean I appreciate the effort, but “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”? For a start it’s not really a proper Musical Theatre song, and for second, it’s so very blokey that it doesn’t really count as camp in the first place. And for third, they didn’t even get to the good part (ie, the swearing). Still, this is all such minor carping, as he fully embraced looking like a bit of a tit on purpose, and that’s really all that could be asked of him this week. He wasn’t very GOOD at the comedy stuff, but undoubtedly it did exist. Maybe it was a mistake drafting Marcus Brigstocke in, as he’s currently heading up the Spamalot cast, to try and teach him how to be funny. I mean, the routine didn’t require him to deliver soft left-wing observations on global warming did it? It involved grand gesticulating, gusty vocalisation and facial over-acting. All when Jodie Prenger is also currently in the cast. Just saying. If La Prenj had been teaching Johnson how to be funny we’d all currently be getting our sides re-stitched, I’m sure of it.
Vanilla Ice & Katie Stainsby: OH MY GOD HE JUMPED OVER HER HEAD! Would seem to be the theme of this week’s footage. Maybe they felt he needed a big and exciting daredevil stunt that he could pull off following his difficulties last week, but they did go a little bit overboard in selling this business, to the extent that I already felt like I’d seen it about 15 times by the time he hit the ice. They even ended his VT with a shot of him doing it, albeit one that cut out just as he was flying over her head, as though it might have definitely gone wrong at that point, and Katie Stainsby might have been just about to skate out without a head. Which certainly could be something for that vital ULTIMATE SKILLS TEST next week – incorporating a blindfold, or at the very least a bag over the head for some of these people, if not actually decapitating them. Anyway, in the end, nobody got their head removed, because we’re saving that for the grand finale of the epic Jason vs Karen conflict, and Vanilla instead put out a fairly creditable performance to the sound of the worst song in Grease. Also well done to Katie Stainsby for making a fairly convincing Cha Cha. Her chameleonic Dancing On Ice career continues.
Comedy Dave & Frankie! : Turns out nobody wanted Comedy Dave to do comedy after all. Hardly surprising, given that the comedy in this case was being carried entirely by the costuming and styling (which was supposed to make Dave look like a hippy, but instead left him looking like the transvestite serial killer from Cherry Falls. Now THERE’S a film just waiting to be made into a hit musical), rather than by anything he or Frankie! were doing. We can at least thank heavens for the small mercies of them not doing the bit in Hair where everyone strips naked, although that might actually have been funnier, as might anything from the second act. Who amongst us would not kill to see Frankie blacked up and dressed as Abraham Lincoln, glowering terrifyingly at Emma Bunton as she spilled out her latest annodyne opinion? And now we’ll have to wait until the next series for our next Frankie! fix. For shame. Although at least Comedy’s departure will be a blessed relief on Poor Karen, and her nerves, because barely a second of a show went by without her somehow alluding to the fact that she hated Comedy Dave and that he was an awful skater who was a liability both to himself and everyone around him. Who she going to hate on now? Oh yeah, Jason…
Laura Hamilton & Colin Ratushniak: So it was Laura’s big week then? On last, with a big show-stopping number (complete with backflip) that played to her kids tv personality, costumes that weren’t too embarassing or cumbersome, and finally scores that were on a par with Sam. Hooray! But, even as a Laura fan (as much as I’m ever a fan of anybody on this show) it all felt a bit…placed? And a mite wobbly. Still, at least the show is somewhat of a competition now, and with Sam seemingly determined to pilot his little plane directly into the ground, I wouldn’t bet against her overtaking him and winning a la Suzanne Shaw. Especially if she plays to her strengths – I noticed that the twins were unleashed again this week. Good work costuming department. Now let’s talk about Holly’s increasingly bizarre maternity wear…