Showmance is dead.
Beth Tweddle & Lukasz Rozycki : What was I saying last time about the favouritism being obvious? The reigning champion, and one of the very very few female contestants to have got far on this show without having attended stage-school first, gets a pro who is notable (apart from for being BLAZING HOTT) entirely for being first boot both of the previous times he’s done the show, and being one of the (no doubt many) men cuckolded by Sam Twatwater : Confessions Of An Ice Skater. What sort of path to victory is that? Admittedly, the show did touch on Beth’s status as one of the black sheep of the family by playing up her auld rivalry with Jason Gardiner, as she showed clips of him telling her she was a boring Nelly No-Mates who BORED HIM TO…wait for it…wait for it…BETH(!!!!!!!!) to her secret army of tiny gymnasts in training at her Beth Tweddle Academy. Obviously this was a sanitisation of what happened last series, editing out the fact that none of the other judges liked Beth either, spending the entire series bigging up a man who was topping out at about 10% of the public vote in a good week, all culminating in that moment live in the final when Robin Cousins threatened to shoot himself in the head if Matt LaPenis didn’t win and then he didn’t and Robin Cousins went all “ok…erm…FINE I’M STILL REALLY PISSED OFF THOUGH”. Still, Beth returning, rather than rightly telling the show to stick it up their arse, was enlivened by the sight of Karen Barber trying to tell a 3-time World Champion about defending her title *laughs into hankie*. Beth aimed to do this by proving Jason wrong by showing her fun lively performance side. Or more accurately, Christopher Dean’s idea of fun and lively, which is pretending to be a bungee-jumping tiger to Katy Perry. Beth skated it all pretty well, with only a couple of missteps, but what I’ll really remember is the sight of her sprinting towards the camera, scrunching up her face and waving her arms like she was (sexily) swatting away mayflies. Whatever it was, it pleased Jason anyway. This week.
David Seaman & Frankie! : I’m so glad that the show isn’t pretending she has a surname. KEEP UP WIKIPEDIA! SHE’S JUST FRANKIE! LIKE KYLIE, OR MADONNA, OR EVITA, OR DEIRDRE! (Although I am a little sad that the show isn’t going on long enough for her to become Frankie Seaman). The story here obviously was, as relayed to us by a very awkward Christopher Dean, staring at his shoelaces, as much of an Englishman as he has ever been, that Frankie! and David were paired up on tour and then started shagging soon afterwards. The show neglected of course to mention that both of them had other partners(/wives) at the time, because that sort of thing is obviously only funny when the French do it. This naturally means that they HAD to be paired up for All-Stars, edging out his old partner Poor Pam. Although I can’t imagine she was too bothered, as David merrily sat Frankie! down and showed her a montage of all the ways he’d nearly killed Poor Pam during Series 1. Dropping her on her back during a lift, sitting down on her spine as she dangled between his legs upside down, and most memorably, almost snapping her in half like a human wishbone during a headbanger. I half expected a shot of Poor Pam in the front row, in a wheelchair, and a neckbrace, eyes rolled back into her head, with one arm still in cast, stuck forever in a grisly thumbs up. Anywho, Frankie! and David skated their routine to The Kinks with all the zest and zeal of a middle-aged couple doing “their routine” at a provincial wedding, before sneaking you off to one side and asking if you’d brought your car-keys because they were about to get the hat out. You know. If you’re interested. The public took one look at this burgeoning love story and said “no thanks”, voting them out in dead last. And yet…there was more to come.
Gary Lucy & Katie Stainsby: Gary was another celebrity whose primary storyline in his first episode was his antagonism with one Jason Gardiner, as we were reminded of the full extent of Jason’s critical faculties (ie calling being boring) with a montage of him calling Gary boring. I’m sure this happened, but to be honest my abiding memory of Gary’s time on the show was of seeing more of his children than I did of him. And so it was again that within a minute of his VT starting up we’d already seen both of them, telling him to go to the gym and booing that mean old Jason Gardiner and being called “Elvis” and so on. Because Granny Maria’s too busy off partnering Golden Boy, Gary was stuck with another member of Dancing On Ice’s second-tier pros, in this case Katie Stainsby, mostly known for partnering two-time Monkie Winner Vanilla Ice in Series 6. How the show resisted a Seaman-Stainsby partnership I’ll never know. It would have been a more sophisticated gag than Todd Carty’s turned out to be at any rate. Unfortunately for Gary, his quest to not bore Jason wasn’t aided as it was in Beth’s case by raiding of the props box, as he was just left to skate around to a modern indie-pop song dressed in deep blue. It was, unfortunately, legitimately boring, a fact reflected more by Robin and Karen anxiously wringing their hands and saying they were going to recognise his Proper Technical Skills in the scoring, than anything Jason farted out about it being dull. It seemed the public agreed, as they dumped him into the Skate-Off, after which he went home, promptly deflating the whole MASSIVE RIVALRY between him and Jason by winking at him and making the “let’s go for a drink” motion at him as soon as he thought he was off camera. Personally I’m glad he’s gone just in case his fans decided to bust out the air-horns again. And still they made a less obnoxious noise than Donal MacIntyre’s fans used to make.
Zaraah Abrahams & Andy Buchanan : If Ray Quinn is the assumed All-Stars victor, then Zaraah Abrahams went into this series as the presumed first boot. Finishing third in her series, after coming in as an alternate a month in, in four skate-offs in a row and (let’s face it) only cast here to provide a less grating shade of Series 3 racial diversity than Samantha Mumba would have offered, you would have got long odds on Zaraah surviving even before it was revealed that these first two weeks were public vote only and she was to be partnered with the most anonymous male pro in the history of the show, David Gest’s long-lost lumberjack son Andy Buchanan. The judges, Torville & Dean and even Zaraah’s mum (hovering perpetually at the edge of shot, acknowledged by nobody but Zaraah, a bit like her Guardian Angel Ghost-Mum) all popped up every 5 seconds to tell us that no, really, she DID deserve to be cast, honest. Just you wait and see! And then…she proved that she did, and somehow managed to not only survive the public vote, but to finish in the top half of it over a previous winner and a soap hunk with a Trendy Bisexual storyline! Even with the disappointment of her routine (in which she played Lady Marmalade ie a prostitute) being trailed as featuring HOTT MEN who turned out to be Daniel Whiston and Andrei (no offence) she managed it. There’s only two possible explanations – either the quality of her skating, performance, and abject refusal to jump, ever, sorry, she just DOESN’T DO JUMPING finally clicked with the British Public, or my powervoting for someone actually worked for once. Either way I’m kind of terrified. My favourite moment of course was Robin Cousins running at full-tilt towards saying that Zaraah should have won Series 3, then realising that that was ABSURD given the competition, so it mutated mid-sprint into “you were a powerhouse in the series you almost and should have been the…you know…finalist in”. Your HEAD JUDGE ladies and gentlemen.
Sam Attwater & Vicky Ogden : Part of me was worried that Sam Attwater couldn’t come back as gloriously absurd and awful as he was last time. That part of me was wrong. Just like David Seaman, Sam Attwater found love on the Dancing On Ice tour, in his case with Vicky Ogden (mostly known for her previous work with Comedy Contestants of a different kind). Or as he called her, in a VT of increasingly ratty and peevish low-level lovers tiffs “Victoria”. Unlike David, whose routine with his Frankie! was relatively free of references to their shagging status, Sam’s routine with his Victoria was done in full bridalwear, with the wedding arch and the bouquet to toss, to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars, complete with adorable children at the end to hold the wedding train. This would have been absurd (and pukesome) enough, but Sam Attwater never saw an opportunity for ridiculousness that he didn’t double down on, so he promptly MESSED UP THE PROPOSAL (yes there was a proposal element to the routine) and idn’t fare too much better at the rest. A fact that didn’t affect his scores at all and which, I would imagine therefore by extension, dropped him into the skate-off, the first winner to find his halo slipping this series. A snub which of course he responded to in classic Sam Attwater fashion – huffily, dressed as a leprechaun. All of this of course raises the delicious prospect of Brioche doing better with Gareth Gates than her ex-fake boyfriend did with the woman he fake-dumped her for. I’d be all for it if it didn’t involve much less of Sam Attwater being a MAGNIFICENT DOUCHEBAG. Now…who is he going to shag/pretend-to-shag next?
Todd Carty & Alexandra Schauman : Hey remember when Todd Carty FELL DOWN DAH TUNNEL? Well, get ready to see a lot of it.
Suzanne Shaw & Matt Evers : It does seem a bit unfair, in the midst of all the pro-pair swapping and switching that Suzanne Shaw gets not only her old pro, but also the old pro who she’s apparently never really stopped skating with, to the extent that her child (yes, another one) actually calls him “Uncle Matt”. As in “no Corey, we don’t know why Uncle Matt told us all he was dating Pamela Anderson, but we still love him and he’s alright now”. But on the other hand, she is the ONLY person capable of derailing The Ray Quim Express and as such, even though she was my least favourite contestant in the Series 3 final I DON’T CARE. CRUSH THEM SUZANNE! CRUSH THEM ALL! LET’S HAVE AN ALL-SERIES 3 FINAL WITH A GUEST APPEARANCE BY CHRIS FOUNTAIN AS THE PHANTOM! (he’s got the mask). Certainly she got off to a good start for it, absolutely walloping every other Week 1 performance by at least 5 points, with each judge giving her at least one whole point higher than they gave anybody else. The performance definitely warranted it, being melodramatic, overwrought and beautifully skated as everyone else was left skating their Junior Jamboree skates in her wake. Where to from here though? Wherever it is, I hope it involves more of her pretending to be Miss Piggy. Or Matt pretending to be Miss Piggy. Whichever.