Hopefully that was the Ultimate Ultimate Skills Test.
Chloe Madeley & Michael Zenezini : HE SPEAKS! MICHAEL ZENEZINI SPEAKS! And all it takes is Chloe Madeley being awful and passive-aggressive. If she’d known that this was all it took, I’m sure she would have started off earlier. Anyway the true cause of the complex relationship between the two this week was clearly Chloe Madeley’s terrible problem with her nerves, which have been rumbling on for weeks and week now, and which have clearly pushed Michael Zenezini to breaking point (ie saying things and making gestures). THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PUSH MICHAEL ZENEZINI TO THE EDGE. HE DOES A HUFF! And the result of these nerves? That along with Jeff, Chloe became one of the two most high-profile casualties of the ULTIMATE SKILLS TEST, with her scores taking a notable tumble. Well apart than with Emma Bunton, who marked Chloe two points higher than everyone else and gave no real explanation for it other than looking a bit panicked and flustered. You go Bunton! I mean, normally it’s ridiculous having both her and Jason marking on technicalities anyway, but to anchor them to specific technical elements in this way, and then have give specific scores for them? Madness. In a way I do feel for her having to intelligently mark the awkward bobbles off ice that were passing for “jumps”, never mind discerning what were spins on purpose and what were spins just because Kerry’d been on the lambrini before she skated out. But maybe she should have considered this before becoming a judge. Maybe she should have done what I would have done, which was score out of 6 based on the music choices. I mean, she IS a musician after all. (Early 90’s Annie Lennox before she got TOTALLY unbearable : 3.5)
Johnson Beharry & Jodeyne Higgins: Hey kids, remember Sean Rice? No? He was with Angela Rippon. The great big bald one? Wuzz robbed of doing a “The Addams Family” routine during Movies Week dressed as Lurch? Him. Well, he’s married to Jodeyne Higgins, who is also new, but popular, mostly because she’s partnered with the war hero, so, in an effort to get you to remember ANY of these new people beyond the Schlongchambon, we’re going to bring him back to kind of glower at Johnson a bit and tell him not to powerbomb Jodeyne through the ice. Because not only did Sean Rice turn up for this week, but they decided to add an ugly lift onto the ULTIMATE SKILLS TEST for Johnson. Did they also take this opportunity to give him a music choice that wasn’t done to death and boring? No, no they did not (Maroon 5 are dead, why are you digging up the corpse – 0.5) Well done for him carrying on through the indignity of performing to more MOR pap though. Truly overcoming this obstacle is more inspirational than any brain injury or Victoria Cross or stuff like that. His Ultimate Skills weren’t great but again, as I may have mentioned, Johnson’s kind of off in a competition of his own at this point. Who knows if he’ll rejoin the rest of them before the end? I did love that Christopher Dean took this opportunity to wring his hands and implore us all to remember that the scores were going to be lower this week because the skaters were being marked on how good they were at doing things, as opposed to what they’re normally marked on, whatever that is. Isn’t about 14/15 what Johnson normally gets? Maybe he was just pre-empting and averting this week’s fight between Jason and Karen as, given what Karen was wearing, Jason would have had a lot to pick on. He’s a stylist you know. No, really.
Laura Hamilton & Colin Ratushniak:Oh Christ, are we doing Pineapple Dance Studios again? Didn’t we do that already? Didn’t Comedy Dave and Frankie! go there for some reason? Wasn’t it Andrew Stone last time as well? Why are we continuing to dignify this thing with a response? He’s on Sky, so ITV don’t even have to. I saw some of Pineapple Dance Studio on Sky the other day actually, some strippers were dancing around a church dressed as sexy nuns to “Can’t Touch This”. Just saying Torville & Dean. If you’re stuck for routines. Instead of all this “Musical Theatre/World Tour” bupkiss you could have “World Religions” week. Have Jeff skate around as a suicide bomber, have Sam & Brianne do an erotic routine with him as a Hassidic Jew and her as a Palestinian, stick Vanilla Ice in a turban and have him dance to Kula Shakur, Denise Welch as Mother Mary and Matt as the sexy Baby Jesus? You’re going to need some controversy to keep the ratings up now that Kerry’s gone, Karen and Jason have made up, and all the showmances have substantial subsidence. Anyway, erm, Laura, yes, she was on this week, losing more points from me by actually taking Andrew Stone seriously as an authority on anything (FFS) but then making up for it by being quite good at the skating, and quite good at the skating to “Stop” as well (6.0, if only because it’s my boyfriend’s favourite song and he’ll hurt me otherwise). Also, can anybody settle for me if Colin Ratushniak does a wink at me every week when he skates out? His whole eye area is kind of a mystery to me, so I don’t know if it’s a wink, or his eyes trying to make themselves seen through his pin-hole eye-holes. Maybe that’s why Laura’s hooters are always so on display – not for shameless vote pandering (THE VERY THOUGHT!) but because he needs distinct and obvious landmarks to work around.
Jeff Brazier & Isabelle Gauthier: Isabelle Gauthier is so bored of this Jeff Brazier person. Her glazed over expression as she and he both stood there doing “jokey” bunny-ears behind one another’s heads was my first clue, and her distant body language as they got their scores only compounded the issue. Also, have we ever heard her speak? I feel with Zenezini’s sudden verbosity this week, we have a new holder of the Fred Palasack Mantle Of Utter Indifference. I feel a bit sorry for Jeff, because he’s so clearly hovering of the cusp of competence, and maybe needs someone who’s truly invested to push him over the edge (I’LL DO IT!) but on the other hand, who can blame her really? He, along with the already mentioned Chloe were the clear victims of Ultimate Skills as…he clearly was not in total command of them. Everything was a little bit imperfect, but again, tantalisingly close to being non-repellent. Although maybe that was the music choice (Upbeat, contemporary, and fun to sing along with, particularly in this instance : 5.0) confusing my poor non-skaters brain. Not as much as that amazing impromptu roundtable discussion on Torville & Dean’s choreographing skills though. Truly I believe they wrestle long and hard with perfecting the exact balance needed to push the celebs to their limit, but not over-exert them into making mistakes. They definitely don’t just throw out any old bollocks so Dean can get back to necking Karen behind the bike-sheds. No sir.
Denise Welch & Matt Evers: Ugh. I think this show has made me like Denise Welch. I’m not used to this. Normally this show makes me hate people I already hate harder, introduces me to new people I didn’t even know existed to hate, or even better, makes me hate people I previously had ambivalent/positive feelings towards (OH HAI COLEEN). So rare is it that this show takes someone I disliked, and then turned me around 180 degrees into finding them tolerable. Before I thought Denise was just the sloppy oversharing drunk off Loose Women, but now she seems…like she has a sense of both humour and perspective? BAH. BAH I SAY. Anyway, this week Denise was probably the biggest beneficiary of ULTIMATE SKILLS WEEK, as her ULTIMATE SKILLS propelled her up to Legal Age scores for the very first time, and also above Jeff Brazier (tee hee hee hee). This was so exciting a development that TIM HEALY ACTUALLY STOOD UP, YES HE DID. Fortunately the audience were not paying attention to him, as he was sat next to Simon Weston, and you just know that someone would have yelled “YOU, SIMON WESTON, ARE A HERO, BUT NOT AS MUCH OF A HERO AS JOHNSON BEHARRY, BECAUSE WHERE’S YOUR VICTORIA CROSS EH, SLACKER?” if they’d been paying attention. And that would just have been embarrassing. Although not as embarrassing as when Jason told Densie that he was so very proud of her, like he’d done anything. Whatever Jason, don’t try to be heartwarming, it doesn’t suit you. Oh yeah, music choice (points deducted for not actually projecting a rainbow on the ice for the “beautiful, like a rainbow” part, just in case we’d forgotten what a rainbow was. In these small detail,s Strictly will always be ahead : 2.5)
Sam Attwater & Brianne Delcourt: OK, this is where I jump off my horse mid-stream and state definitively that Sam Attwater will in fact not win. I don’t know who will instead, but this was a super-editing hatchet job all over him. On the casual fans level by calling him desperate and saying that he didn’t really care about the smelly old Ultimate Skills Test, that’s PEASY, he’s going for the HEADBANGER. And on the slightly scary over-invested fans of the show level by having someone or other say he was the first male ever to do the HEADBANGER in Dancing On Ice history, when we all know that David Seaman did it, and Pam’s face bounced off the ice, all as part of David Seaman’s ongoing weekly attempt to actually kill her, and this is why Pam never came back. Admittedly, David Seaman was crap at it, and as far as I remember never actually completed it, but he did at least try. Anyway, all this, along with his music choice (Plan B? So very already done – 2.0) and the fact that Brianne had to slap the ice as she went around to steady herself (/make it go faster, like playing swivel in an office-chair) means that I now think someone else will win. Not that I know who, but definitely somebody else. Oh and also Brianne spoiled the magic by telling us all that Sam needed a safe word to know when to stop doing the HEADBANGER, and also it was the lameness of Brianne screaming “OUT!” when she’d had enough instead of something cute and adorable like “KIPPERS!” or “WILLOW-BOOBIES”. Don’t tell me that wouldn’t have won votes. Instead I’m just left wondering if they also incorporated that particular routine to their sex life, which as we all know, definitely happened, and then stopped happening, but definitely happened in the first place yes it did.
Kerry Katona & Daniel Whiston : Bye Kerry. I had thought the whole Komedy Kerry persona couldn’t get more frayed and terrifying than it already was last week, but then you started screaming “I’VE BEEN HAVING LAUGHS! I’VE HAD FUN JASON, THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN HAVING!” and crying and giggling like she was making a last ditch plea to Christopher Nolan to ditch Catwoman from the new Batman film and replace her with a particularly dark and disturbing vision of her as Harley Quinn. Let’s face it, an aborted acting career is the next step on her shame spiral before she gives herself in to Obscurity Gravity in and lets herself collapse into the Entertainment Black Hole of appearing on “Let’s Watch C List Comedians Do Mediocre Drag For Comic Relief”. As per usual, the raw materials for comedy were there this week (“let’s stick Kerry Katona in a giant baby bouncer and call it training!”, “let’s have Kerry Katona participate in something called the Ultimate Skills Test”, “let’s have Kerry Katona skate to a song both telling her to shut her face and also that she will survive” (a combination so crashingly obvious that even HOLLY PICKED ON IT AND MADE FUN OF HER FOR IT)) but she’s just too unbalanced and fractured and depressing to make it anything other than one of those EDGY BBC2 comedies that don’t actually have any jokes in, but let’s face it Tamsin Greig and Alan Davies looking miserable and tragically masturbating whilst eating Cadbury’s Mousse is compelling enough to justify a commission in its own right yes? Definitely the right time to cut her loose. Oh and (Hands off Gloria Gaynor, Shitsinger : 1.0).
Vanilla Ice & Katie Stainsby : The other notable beneficiary of Ultimate Skills Week besides Denise, and who would have thought he had it in him? Of course, he had the benefit of being inspired by his own material (duh – 6.0) to greatness. Or at least Katie Stainsby was, as she seemed even more into it than he was. Like, scarily so. Not that “Ice Ice Baby” isn’t amazing, but dang girl, calm down, it’s getting a little bit embarrassing. Although I can’t see it continuing, because what other material of Vanilla’s is there to skate to? His version of “Play That Funky Music” and then what? I guess he can always do the Jedward remix. Anyway, erm…bless him? Bunton messed up her scores a bit? What else can you say about this segment? I feel “Vanilla Ice skated to Ice Ice Baby on ice on Dancing On Ice. Katie was a ment at all times” is pretty much all there is to say.