IT’S THE YEAR OF THE GYMNAS…oh, no, wait, Louis Smith won Strictly last year didn’t her? Erm… IT’S THE TWO HALF-YEARS OF THE GYMNAST!
Beth Tweddle & Daniel Whiston: Well done to Dancing On Ice for successfully obfuscating a fairly obvious result. As per usual with these shows, the finalists finished more or less in the reverse order of the number of Bottom 2 they’d found themselves in before. And yet Matt vs Beth in those final throes had a certain tension (even if Beth herself didn’t think so, all but rolling her eyes as Phillip produced one of those nigh-on eternal pauses that always get hauled out for occasions such as these). They did this mostly via the medium of hurling OTT praise at Matt LaPenis despite his basically just being a chubbier, clumsier, puglier Sam Twatwater without the common decency to produce tabloid churn at anywhere near the same rate (no, breaking up with an Eastenders actress and firing off passive-aggressive gnomic tweets at one another isn’t going to cut it, sorry). And certainly it seems to have distressed some people, and by “some people” I mostly mean Digital Spy Ments, as per usual. Anyway, BETH! SHE WON! Despite being given choreography for her showdance that Dean found only by digging around the bins at the back of Wembley Arena somewhere around November 17th 2012. In a bin marked “LISA’S FINGS!”. Despite not even being given ONE sacred 10.0 all series (except for, like, flying and that, which doesn’t even count). Despite Daniel Whiston seeming more engaged in showing off his nipple then really COMMITTING to believably saying that Beth would be a friend for life and a true skating star before lobbing his third trophy in the back of his camper van somewhere near the detached table legs and stacks of magazines. In the end, I quite liked Beth, because she was decently elegant and lyrical and could do some really graceful moves on ice but Lord a-mercy was I bored of her by the end of the series. I know she was the only girl left, but she appeared to be doing the lifts for all 6 of this year’s female cast in that showdance. I think it was the part where she seemed to spend about 30 seconds just being passed from one male skater to another, like the choreography for Annabel Chong On Ice that I really gave up. Sadly…this is still enough to make her my favourite female winner in the show’s history. Oh “Dancing On Ice”.
Luke Campbell & Jenna Smith : So…he finished third then. In fairness to the show, they didn’t even really bother to try to shore up that whole “dark horse/underdog” storyline any more than the bare minimum they were contractually obliged to. They were determined to get Luke Campbell in and out of the final with the minimum of fuss, with a rote Cowboy themed Showdance (which looked a bit like a 10 year old doing a very special Toy Story themed school assembly), then reprising his One Direction approved favourite routine, then getting into one last fight with Jason, then sodding off. I have to admit, part of me would have liked to have seen his Bolero, just to see if he and Jenna could somehow have produced a Bolero that incorporated their absolute lack of personal chemistry. They could have started there, on the ice, on their knees, gazing into one another’s eyes, then done a bit of vomiting in their mouths then just twirled around on the spot for 90 seconds before falling over to finish. Of course now, in the series aftermath, it will turn out that they were shagging the whole time.
Matt LaPenis & Brioche Delcourt: Poor Matt. Losing so heavily despite the judges constant laurels (I mean…the voting results haven’t been released at the time of writing but COME ON) appears to have broken his brain somewhat, given the rather public tantrums from the entire LaPenis camp. They’ve even embraced my very favourite tactic of runners-up ; declaring themselves the “TRUE WINNER”. Because the judges scored them higher, because of course that’s how these things are really judged by HISTORY. Who doesn’t remember Claire Buckfield as the TRUE WINNER of Series 2? That is, if you remember Claire Buckfield. Or Series 2. I’m somewhat hazy on both. At least Matt can hug to himself the idea that he got the only showdance that Dean put any effort into, and got to skate it with Big DOI Names, Matt Evers’ Arse and Granny Maria. Truly he got to live out the role of BAD-ASS GANGSTAH FROM THE 1930S that he spent the whole series gearing up to, one way or another. Then he teased me a little by throwing in ONE arm-wave into Bolero and then nothing more. I was so disappointed. I wanted a full on hip-hop Bolero, complete with such MATT LAPENIS FLAVAH HITS as “doing the robot”, “rolling around on your arse” and “going “WERD!””. I think really the whole stasis that Dancing On Ice finds it in is best exemplified by the show’s NEED to perform Bolero twice every series. Does anybody care about Bolero? To the extent that Phillip’s all but begging “BUT IT’S THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF BOLERO NEXT YEAR OR SOMETHING SO PLEASE DON’T CANCEL US BECAUSE WE CAN DO BOLERO AGAIN! 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF BOLERO BOLERO” would come across as anything other than tragic and desperate? Ah well…see you all next year, if those words didn’t fall on deaf ears. Here’s hoping.
Tony Gubba : Just a quick word to close about Tony Gubba, who sadly died just as this series was wrapping up. I have no idea about his contribution to the wider world of sports commentary (ah-duh) but I feel all of us who watched Dancing On Ice went on the same Gubba Journey. First wondering who this guy was, and what he was for. Then wondering if he was making up all those names for the moves up himself on the spot. Then realising he was. Then realising it was kind of hilarious. Then realising he was kind of stealth-bitchily hilarious and over it in so many other little ways. Rest well Gubba, the show will be poorer without you.