CONSIDER YOURSELVES LEVELLED!
Samia Ghadie & Sylvain Schlongchambon: So The Leveller turned out sadly not to be an edict to skate around to “Dog Train”, but instead a twist wherein the skaters were given the terrifying task of skating. I know! On Dancing On Ice! Sadly, this was beyond Samia Ghadie, notionally the second best female contestant this year, who spent her entire segment this week snivelling “I can’t skate”, “I don’t wanna do it” and “I can’t do anything without SYLVAAAAAAAAIN!”. It was at this point that someone should have inserted a talking head interview with Sylvain saying that he wasn’t definitely or definitely not shagging Samia, but if he was definitely shagging Samia (not that he definitely is) then he definitely might be considering asking for some space (if they were shagging which, of course, they might not be). The ensuing performance was bad. Little Mix brand braces bad. Feeble power-punch more like pulling a drawstring light-switch bad. Bottom of the leaderboard bad. Gubba inventing comedy names for SKATING IN A STRAIGHT LINE bad. The only thing keeping you level-pegging with Joe Pasquale being the virtue of Jason Gardiner’s gender bias bad. And yet she skates on with the support of the viewers. Coronation Street is a powerful thing you know.
Keith Chwegwin & Olga Sharutenko : Speaking of ITV voters being an odd bunch, this week we discovered what it would take to get them to vote for Keith Chegwin. Injury Porn. Keith Chegwin Injury Porn. Wheezing coughing choking guttering hacking spluttering croaking hee-hawing Injury Porn. And an Argentinian Cowboy outfit. This was the heady brew that propelled Keith to safety for the first time. The Injury Porn took the form of his lungs collapsing or something, meaning his training footage mostly consisted of him wheezing around the ice whinnying about how he was going to die whilst Olga acted mildly concerned. MILDLY concerned. Then came his transformation into a DIRTY GAUCHO FRESH FROM THE SWEATY PAMPERS for a latin love-god performance to…Hernando’s Hideaway. Len Goodman would have been so proud he would have given it a 10, but instead Keith just had to make do with a 6 from Karen Barber and Robin Cousins hollering at us not to DARE putting him in the Bottom Two EVAH AGAIN. And then we didn’t. So what now? Where can Keith Chegwin really go from here?
Shayne Ward & Maria Filipov : Who would have thought when this series line-up announced that Shayne Ward would be the first man booted off? Maybe those who had identified Maria Filipov as the Jonah she undoubtedly now is (third series in a row now as first female pro booted) but the rest of us will just have to mourn the fact that we will never see Shayne skate triumphantly to “That’s My Goal”. Or…indeed anybody skate to “That’s My Goal” because really, who else would? Still at least he went out on a high, partially because he did his best routine so far, partly because he managed to NOT DONE A MISTAYKE IN THE SKATE-OFF which is apparently what half the Internet thinks it should be judged on, and partially because…well, those trousers. Even with my long-standing aversion to this show’s obsession with pleather, I still have my weaknesses. And considering I already had the routine on mute due to the fact it was being performed to “Mama Told Me Not To Come”, Lord knows I needed some stimulation.
Matt LaPenis & Brioche Delcourt: Poor Matt. This was supposed to be the week he showed a different side to himself. Forget all that hyper-modern funky breakdancing to hip fresh modern young-person songs (/5ive). Here he was going to show his classy side by dancing a balletic routine dressed as the Black Swan to “Night On Bald Mountain”. Unfortunately you could tell it was all going a bit wrong when Matt turned up looking not so much like Rudolf Nureyev as Robbie Williams during his bloated period, all bulging waistline and sloppily applied Kiss Make-Up. This, coupled with Brioche as a chocolate-box ballerina was all rather confusing, and it probably didn’t help that it all came immediately after Torville & Dean’s frankly bizarre “Erotic Crayon Mirror” routine, during which I’m guessing most of the audience went to have a cup of tea and smoke a fag, safe in the knowledge it would be followed by 5 minutes of adverts anyway. What a shame for them they missed one of the most misguided attempts I’ve seen to staple-gun a “moment” onto a contestant I’ve seen in quite some time. This all ended of course with Matt PLUNGING into the Bottom Two, where he danced mostly very well, except for a little stumble, provoking AMAZING SCENES of jabbing, tough love, and general fury from Brioche. “DON’T GIVE ON YOURSELF” she screamed, jabbing an acrylic nail directly at his nose, presumably because she was quite looking forward to forcing him to submit herself.
Luke Campbell & Jenna Smith : And so Jenna Smith’s journey into gangster’s mollhood continued apace as she decided to pick constant whiny fights with an Olympic Gold Medal boxer. Jenna Smith who doesn’t even have her own wikipedia page. And you can’t get much lower than that. Emboldened by Jenna’s sub-vocal whining, Luke came out and charmed the judge who had hitherto been his nemesis. Jason Gardiner. And how did he do this? Via the web of negging that is the musical output of One Direction. Then again, after Jason’s miniature meltdown last week over how he’d had no friends at school, I guess he was ripe for the sort of emotional plucking that only Harry Styles can provide. Never mind that…not an awful lot was going on in the routine, Luke told Jason VIA SONG that his fat arse wasn’t TOTALLY hideous and someone would probably still do him if he turned the lights out and put a paper bag over his head, via the medium of SONG. And that was enough.
Gareth Thomas & Robin John Stone : What an invigorating shake-up THE LEVELLER proved to be. Gareth, Matt and Beth all at the top of the leaderboard, Joe and Keith at the bottom, and Shayne and Luke hovering somewhere around the middle. Even by the usual reality tv standards of pretending that the status quo has been disrupted when in fact its just shifted slightly because someone tickled it under the chin, this week’s twist took the cake. Gareth’s routine probably exemplified this most clearly, given that frankly Gareth could have produced this routine twist or not and it would have provoked more or less the same sort of reaction, as it’s always been fairly obvious that Gareth could skate reasonably well unassisted. And really, more of interest could be done with it than just skating around leisurely to a generic Frank Sinatra track. Yes, yes it was all very classy and we’re on the very edge of the vomitorium festival of “Love Week” but I can’t help think this was a bit of a missed opportunity for Gareth’s continued comeback.
Beth Tweddle & Daniel Whiston : Oh good, more Emily Sunday. What an unexpected surprise and treat. Especially as, given as how this was apparently the defining performance of the series so far and may well have single-handedly catapulted Beth to the overall win, we’ll probably be seeing it again in the final just before Daniel Whiston hoovers up yet another trophy into his gaping ginger maw. At any rate if this is the performance of the series, then I guess it’ll do, as Beth finally delivered on the potential that her gymnastic background gives her as a skater. Now if only she could produce this sort of performance to a more upbeat song, rather than getting utterly overwhelmed by the OTT mugging emanating from her partner, we could be on for one of the few champions of this show I’ve ever actually enjoyed watching.
Joe Pasquale & Vicky Ogden : Yeah, enough now, we get it. No, really, you can stop voting for him any day now.