So I got five of the twelve all-stars I requested. Not bad.
Hayley Tamaddon & Daniel Whiston: So the first thing to be said about Dancing On Ice : All Stars is that they’re not even being subtle about the preferential treatment being doled out to certain celebrities. They might all be stars, but some are clearly starrier than others. It was grimly amusing to watch all of the contestants skate out at the beginning, with the parade being neatly separated into the stars (“RAY QUINN!” “SUZANNE SHAW!” “SAM ATTWATER!” “COMEDY GOD JOE PASQUALE!”) who all got to glide on individually, and had solo tricks to perform to their adoring public, and the stars (“BONNIELANGFORDANDDAVIDSEAMANANDBETHTWEDDLEANDTHATONEFROMWATERLOOROAD!”) who all clattered on together in their wake, gurned a bit, then pissed off. Needless to say I am rooting for the underdogs, and hard. With that in mind, Hayley is clearly here to perform the role of female top dog – partnered with her original pro (whilst Beth, a fellow Whistonite and winner, has been demoted to pairing with that guy who’s been first boot twice) and feted by the bookies in the run-up to the series as being the only one with the chance of dethroning King Ray. So it was somewhat pleasing, in a Schadenfreude sort of way (particularly after that VT where she and Dan sat around smugly watching Jai Ho over and over again, cackling over how awesome it was) to discover that Hayley Tamaddon, most dominant winner ever in the history of the show, has come back a bit…rubbish. Admittedly this was partly due to the fact that she had been saddled with Christopher Dean’s feather-light comedic touch for her routine, skated to “Call Me Maybe”. The routine featured Hayley IN A PHONEBOX because it was to “Call Me Maybe”, and also featured Hayley RINGING STEVE at the end, because RINGING STEVE is something she occasionally does in Coronation Street. How any of this was supposed to be funny I don’t know, but…that’s Christopher Dean’s Comedyography for you. Hayley looked wobbly and unsure of herself (for an All-Star, obviously – she’s no Aggie McKenzie) and only managed a paltry 5th on the leaderboard. Still, as an ITV soap star, she skated on, although looking more and more like the winner who may well have screwed up their legacy by returning. We shall see.
Gareth Gates & Brioche Delcourt: Poor Brioche. Three times a finalist, once a winner, always a star, but left in the dust for All-Stars by that scrump-ho Vicky Ogden shagging upwards, giving the producers yet another tantalising showmance storyline that they couldn’t pass up, and Brianne out of her series-winning partnership with Sam Attwater. With none of her other prospects (Matt LaPenis, Gay-Faced Vulcan Keiron Richardson, That French Guy Who Ran Up Walls) returning the producers calls, the Briannetosaurus has been left to be partnered with (*shudders*) a JOURNEY candidate. Albeit one who apparently still has a sizeable fanbase from Pop Idol and panto that can propel him through the first round of the show and into the Top 10. Gareth’s time on Dancing On Ice : All-Stars was prefaced by Dean saying that he wasn’t great the first time, and then Gareth saying that he hadn’t skated at all since he left so…good luck with that. It has been trusted to the Briannetosaurus to get the best out of Gareth, which Jayne has admitted that they expect her to do by her usual methods of pumped-up aggro yelling. To her credit, she did seem to get more out of him than Granny Maria (who OF COURSE gets to partner her winner, OF COURSE, because it’s GRANNY MARIA and that’s just how the universe works) ever did, with Gareth producing a much faster lick of pace even in a routine to a slowy (“Patience” by Take That *ironic eyes to Brianne*) than he managed to anything the blindfolded dart-throwing Song Choice monkeys gave him in his series. Where Gareth’s All-Star journey goes from here I don’t know. Hopefully it will involve as little of people saying “GARETH SKATES!” as possible.
Bonnie Langford & Mark Hanr…Andrei Lipanov: I’m not sure what was the most amazing :
- Bonnie (clutching a “Keep Calm & Carry On” mug, naturally) telling Mark that she loves watching him on the show before the edit crash-zooms to that infamous shot of his arm falling out
- His arm inevitably falling out again
- Bonnie dealing with this in the most grinny dead-eyed “boo hoo, oh well, the show must go on, send some flowers to his widow” way possible, blithely skating on to her new Russian hunk partner with hardly a backwards glance.
As outlined in my preview post, Bonnie is the first of this year’s cast that I actually wanted to see come back, to cement her position as Britain’s Favourite Flying Stage-School Granny with another 8 years of life experience and stagecraft behind her. And as far as I’m concerned, she delivered, fanning herself furiously throughout her West End Wendy routine to “Too Darned Hot” (on the back of about three hours practice), and then capping off her Skate-Off appearance with a truly ridiculous one-handed lift in which Andrei pretty much managed to get her up into the studio rafters. I’m a little surprised that Andrei was a reserve pro actually, given that he’s far more of a bona-fide DOI pro A-Lister than either Lucasz or particularly Andrew. (I’m entirely not surprised by the lack of Pavel “Mingebeard” Aubrecht or the failure of Grumpy Abercrombie & Fitch model Fred Haversack to come back, although I do mourn the lack of the obvious assets that he brought to the show). My favourite part of the whole Bonnie Langford experience was Robin lampshading her Series 1 reputation by marvelling that she ACTUALLY SKATED, rather than just allowing her pro to hurl her round in the air like a pretzel being born. Admittedly, we’d all rather Bonnie Langford remain the airbourne legend she always was in her…what two weeks remaining? Three? But it’s good to know we’re discovering hidden depths to our All-Stars. Some of them even involving skating.
Ray Quinn & Granny Maria : I’ll get this out of the way now – Series 4 of Dancing On Ice is my least favourite series of any major channel UK reality show ever. Even with my open mind I utterly failed to find anybody worth rooting for. So to only see two representatives from the show’s nadir represented in All-Stars, and it being the two that they pretty much couldn’t call it “All-Stars” without, brings joy to my heart. I swear, that Colleen Nolan or Jessica Taylor or Donut Macintyre didn’t sneak in under the bar is a living breathing miracle. (Although I would have stomached Donut if he’d brought along Florentine Houdiniere along with him, as she had the best name of any pro in Dancing On Ice history). Ray obviously is here as the PINNACLE OF SKATING ABILITY as literally every single other contestant whose opinion is worth hearing was lined up in his VT to say that he’s the best skater the show’s ever seen and obviously going to win (bonus points go to Suzanne Shaw for sounding really pissy as she read it off her idiot board). I’m not sure if this is the show trying to set him up to succeed or fail but I know which I’m hoping for (FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL). His routine was the same old Ray Quinn – aiming slightly further than his grasp and almost hitting it, but even in missing being transparently much better than everyone else. I’m sure I should find this admirable, but Ray Quinn is a man who refers to the crowd response to him as “adulation” with a straight face so…I would imagine I’ve got another two months of being annoyed by him to come, so lets start at a gentle trot. (FAIL!)
Jorgie Porter & Sylvain Schlongchambon: I know that Jorgie Porter was First Boot, and left the show incoherent, devastated and racking up tears. But she should comfort herself maybe a little with the fact that I went into this series kind of resentful of the fact that she wasn’t Nickelodeon Girl or Claire Buckfield, both of whom did her Dancing On Ice role better, and I came out of it in awe of one of the all-time great reality tv one-episode trainwrecks. Obviously her Dancing On Ice experience was crap for her from beginning to end (apart from the part where she beat Hayley Tamaddon on the leaderboard, which she should hug to her breast forever) but for me, I doubt anything that happens this series will be as epicmazing as the Ballad of Jorgie & Sylvain :
- Robin Cousins doing his best narrator voice from Rocky Horror, explaining that Sylvain was shagging Jorgie’s best mate Jennifer before he got man-teef’d by Samia Ghadie last series.
- “Ooooh Jorgie, who do you want your partner to be? I hope it’s Matt again!” “Yeah, me too, or HUNKY ANDY! (Editor’s Note : *WTF WHO WANTS TO BE PARTNERED WITH ANDY?*) Anybody but that TWAT Sylvain”
- “Jorgie – you will be partnered with Sylvain”
- “DOES THIS MEAN I’M HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND THEN?” *scandal face*
- “Hi Sylvain” *mimes stabbing* “bouf” “I guess this is a date (YOU TWAT)”
- “So…erm…do you think I’m a good skater Sylvain?” “bouf”
- *flashbacks showing Jorgie as a skater of great potential and promise in the arms of Matt Evers, only narrowing losing to the unstoppable juggernaut of that gut from Emmerdale*
- “GET A HAIRCUT, FROGGY, I’M NOT SKATING WITH THAT MESS!” “bouf”
- “YOU CUT YOUR HAIR FOR ME!” “I cut mah hurr for Chris”
- “LOL Karen, these two blates hate one another, what fun” “LOL Chris I know, now you kiss my neck whilst I complain about Jason Gardiner some more”
- “Sylvain BETTER try to shag me otherwise what’s the point of even being here? Imagine the shame of partnering Sylvain and him not trying to carve himself a slice? What sort of fugmo would I have to be?”
- “OMG JORGIE YOU TOTAL BURGER!”
- “OMG SAMIA GHADIE ON TWITTER, STOP CALLING MY FRIEND A BURGER!”
- *Samia Ghadie deletes her tweet calling Jorgie Porter a burger*
- *Jorgie & Sylvain do easily the most exciting routine of the evening earning Useless Pussycat Judge Ashley’s highest score of the evening, all whilst pumping out more palpable loathing than if Chris Huhne & Vicky Price were competing in a Celebrity Couples Special*
- “This is the partnership with the most potential (for physical violence) in the history of Dancing On Ice!”
- “You tried to shag her yet Sylvain?” “bouf”
- “Jorgie is competing for the MAIN PRIZE this time, and I DON’T MEAN SYLVAIN’S PENIS!” *Jorgie does vomit face*
- *the public for some reason do not invest in this partnership of people who hate one another more than I’m going to hate Gary Lucy trundling his daughter out for the 50th time and they are eliminated*
- “BOO HOO HOO HOO HOO” “bouf”
Joe Pasquale & Robin John Stone: I still don’t know why they didn’t get Cheggers. He was far more of a star than Joe Pasquale could ever hope to be. Or at least Sharron Davies or Dame Kelly Holmes, just for the potential of a rematch with Jason and to even out the gender-balance of the cast. Both would be funnier than Joe Pasquale slowly descending from the ceiling pulling silly faces to the Mission Impossible theme as all of the judges compete to who can over-react in the most flagrantly transparently phony. It’s pretty even money for me between Jason scoring this a 7.0, higher than anybody all evening other than Ray (lol whatever) and Ashley calling him “one of the greatest human beings she’s ever met”. Why is she even judging this anyway? This is supposed to be All-Stars! BRING BACK KATERINA! Anyway, Joe is gone now, and we can happily pretend this all never happened.
Kyran Bracken & Nina Ulanova: So coming out of Episode 1 and the hysterical collapse of Jorgie Porter, Kyran is currently holding the mantle of “person not named Ray who we are expected to believe might win”. The show (and Kyran) is doing its level best to hype this up as the show’s big rivalry, with both of them talking about how competitive and daring and dashing the other is, until it got to the point where I’d say it was starting to take on the quality of slashfic, if slashfic involving Kyran Bracken and Ray Quinn was something my brain could conceivably hold in it. Kyran’s major angle over Ray is his MAN-STRENGTH and also possibly body-popping, which to be honest doesn’t seem like much of a weapon in the face of Ray’s prestigious skating, but it was enough in this episode to place him top of the leaderboard. I imagine he was also helped by the show suddenly remembering that they’d invited Jason Gardiner back for a reason, and that reason was to BICKER INANELY WITH KAREN BARBER HOORAH. Jason said something about Kyran’s pit-stains and then Karen said “HOW RUDE!” 50 times whilst transparently being fed information via her ear-piece as to what to do. I can’t help but feel that Kyran deserved better than this desperate scrabbling, although not as much better as was deserved by Nina, who remains the most anonymous person ever to win a reality show ever, anywhere, not getting to speak once, wearing a hideous wig, and bossed around in training by Kyran like he was the professional and she was just a prop. Poor Nina. Poor Anonymous Nina.
Next Week : The Other Seven All-Stars skate and everyone probably talks about Ray Quinn more than any of them.