IT’S THE RETURN OF THE DUEL!!! (woo)
Matt LaPenis & Brioche Delcourt vs Gareth Thomas & Robin John Stone: Yes, it took me FAR too long to call him Matt LaPenis, let’s just pretend I always did it. Anyway, this week on Dancing On Ice was DUEL WEEK. If you don’t remember how DUEL WEEK works, it’s the week when you give the best, third-best, fifth-best, seventh-best and ninth-best skaters immunity from the public vote, then just kind of shrug when the results that follow wind up making no sense. For their bit of time-wasting, Matt and Gareth were given a cowboy themed face-off to “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”. Naturally the only reason for this whole face-off was the opportunity for “Brokeback Mountain” references, not helped by the fact that Gareth skated out looking more like a Soho Leatherboy than a cattle rancher, complete with gigantic tit tassels. Fortunately Brioche and Robin John Stone were there to preserve heteronormativity, with Brioche in particularly wearing a pair of shorts wedged so far up her hoo-hoo that if she’d been pregnant, the baby could have ridden her around from her inside using the crotch of them as a pair of reins. I guess the overall effect was supposed to be of some cowboy bar drunken brawl between two gunslingers but…I think maybe these people should be more than two skates in before they try doing convincing stage fighting on ice? Because I swear Gareth spent most of the routine punching Brioche in the face whilst Matt hid behind her vagina. Which confused me, and apparently the audience as well, as Gareth found himself both losing the duel and finding himself in a SHOCK BOTTOM TWO. That’s what you get for hitting a girl Gareth. Even if it IS Brioche.
Samia Ghadie & Sylvain Schlongchambon vs Luke Campbell & Some Blonde: Honestly, Some Blonde takes “Some Blonde”ness to whole new levels. Her squeaking at the side like some gangster’s moll that Luke should HIT JASON IN THE FACE just made it concrete for me. That and her slight resemblance to the UK’s foremost Britney Spears’ Mum Impersonator and all round derp Lorna Bliss. Luke was OF COURSE threatening Jason with physical violence because he found himself holding the shitty end of this show’s gender bias stick, having spent most of his “duel” with Samia doing solid (if slightly…dull) skating, only to be superceded by fifteen seconds or so of Sylvain holding Samia aloft like some of soft-porno version of the opening of The Lion King. And really, that’s right within Jason’s ballpark. Samia did at least have her own double-barrelled sob-story this week to bring to bear on the voters should Sylvain swinging her around like a novelty “I Dream Of Jeannie” baseball bat. Firstly there was one of her ribs falling out (whatever. Prince paid good money for that, and she got it for free!) and the ensuing injury porn. Almost literally so, as the cameraman made sure to get a nice shot of her weeping directly into Sylvain’s penis. And then secondly there was Gubba’s stirring, as he told everyone that Samia was meeting Sylvain’s family this week NOT THAT THEY’RE SHAGGING OR ANYTHING. It’s the one time I would welcome Gubba being an on-camera presence. I bet the smirk was SPECTACULAR.
Beth Tweddle & Daniel Whiston vs Oona King & Mark Hanretty: Poor Oona. Charming self-deprecation might go some distance to making you more likable and relatable as a human being, but really you need a little more than that when you’re faced with an Olympic gymnast, a whole raft of likable hunks in the Danger Zone, and your partner’s arm falling off. Don’t get me wrong, I liked her well enough as well, but she got enough (unwarranted) hype from the judges last week that she should have wilted less spectacularly under pressure. It makes me glad that she’s in the House of Lords rather than anywhere where she might be in a position to exert power or authority over the nation to be honest. Even with half her guts hanging out Beth tidily put Oona away in their feminist face-off to Girl Power Anthem “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves (But Don’t Worry We’re Not Going To Go Lezz Or Nuffin)” showing more flexibility, rhythm, skating ability, and even performance skills than Oona could muster. Of course the real drama came in the skate-off, where Oona promised us that she would redeem herself with some PROPER choreography rather than whatever shit Dean came up with (no really, she said that, more or less. My hero), and then promptly skated about 5 metres before Mark fell over and dislocated his shoulder. Oona than masterfully completely ignored Phillip’s instructions to come stand by him, preferring instead to stick by Mark, leaving Schofe to yell “COME HERE! COME HERE!” at her like a 21st Century Version of One Man And His Oona. Then it turned out that Mark is a T-1000 and can just pop his arm back in, so they skated anyway. And lost. But still, it’s enough to make Mark Hanretty my new favourite male pro in this…vaguely indifferent field this series. I hope all goes well for the birth of his no-doubt terrifying ice-dance prodigy child.
Anthea Turner & Tommy Wiseau vs Shayne Ward & Grandma Maria Filippov: So the whole thing with the duels being decided by the judges alone is that they kind of not have to make decisions where the audience openly laugh at them for how nonsensical they are. Describing Anthea wobbling around all over the place, hauling herself into lifts with all the grace of the marketing for “Up Your Bingo” as “bringing grace to the ice” was the moment where the audience officially cracked, and burst into peals of laughter at the absurdity of it all. In this they were a full 10 minutes behind Anthea, who burst onto the show waffling about her nylons then collapsing into hysterics and then yelling “I’VE GOT THE OCD YOU KNOW!”. Or something like that. Sadly not joining in on the hilarity was Shayne, who seemed really deeply personally put out to have just lost to a 51 year old nutjob. Not that he was any great shakes either, but it’s got to sting when you think you’ve carved out a career for yourself as West-End Leading Man and then you get the “you really need to learn how to act” critiques. He needn’t have worried, as his X Factor voters carried over from his thundering victory over Andy Binman, The Conway Sisters and Nicholas Dorsett (?!). Now he’s got to justify those voters by demonstrating the x factor that we ALL KNOW he possesses. Including Ashley Roberts. Because, you know, she watched.
Keith Chegwin & Olga Sharutenko vs Joe Pasquale & Vicky Ogden: I know the Duel Twist was even more pointless than last year, when all it did was see off Corey Feldman’s Strand (and even that was softened by the formation of the amazing Corey & Shemmy foemance that week), but if nothing else it clearly displayed the difference between a proper comedy contestant (eg Keith Chegwin stumbling around the ice at 100mph trying to do soulman moves whilst grinning like a 9 year old girl struck dumb by meeting Justin Beiber) and some tit titting around (Joe Pasquale & “Barry The Bunion”). Not that it’ll make much difference to the audience, but there we are.