To be followed next week by “Ice Week”, and then the week after by “On Week” when Hayley Tamaddon plays the role of Chief Ringer, given that she is, indeed, always On.
Kyran Bracken & ???? ??????? : Yes, the theme this week was “Dance” with each celebrity getting a routine inspired by a different genre of ethnically insensitive dress-u……I mean dance. Theoretically this should have been Kyran’s week to show growth, as last week he was told by the judges that he needed to dance more with his partner, Whatserface, and really develop a partnership with chemistry and feeling with erm…Gladys?. So what genre did he get to best show this new connection off? A sensual lambada? A vibrant slice of musical theatre cameraderie? A dreamy pas de deux? No. He got “Rock N Roll”, and proceeded to spend the entire routine hurling Thingamajig around like a harassed uncle horsing around with a 7 year old who’d ODd on Sunny Delight. With added knee-slides, Elvis-aping leg-shakes, and air-guitar, naturally, to a version of “Great Balls Of Fire” that sounded like it was being sung underwater. It wasn’t a notably awful performance, but it was a total gimmick-fest rather than any sort of serious examination of the relationship between Kyran and Doodad. Maybe as a result, Kyran ended up as our second previous champion of the series to find themselves in the Skate-Off at the end of the evening. Of course, as the most senior member of the Dancing On Ice family (a fact that you easily pick up with his use of the word “synergetic” – truly a word you could only pick up from prolonged exposure to Jason Gardiner), he was never going to actually go home this early, and in fairness his Skate-Off performance was much more composed and put-together. He also said his partner’s name this week, which is more than I could probably remember.
Suzanne Shaw & Uncle Matt Evers : Suzanne’s genre this week was ballet, an area in which she is clearly somewhat of a DIRTY RINGAH, as demonstrated by a shot from the show of her dressed up in ballet togs at the age of 9. Really though this week was all about Uncle Matt, as the entirety of Suzanne’s VT was devoted to her attempts to get Uncle Matt’s parents flown over from Minnesota, having…well it wasn’t entirely sure what they hadn’t done for nine years, but it lay somewhere between “seen him” and “seen him perform on Dancing On Ice” but whatever it was, it was clearly a momentous occasion IN THEORY. A theory that was rapidly undermined by the fact that, once arrived, in reality Matt’s parents clearly found the whole Dancing On Ice Experience mortifying. THEIR BOY WAS THE 1998 US JUNIOR CHAMPION DAMNIT, AND NOW HE’S REDUCED TO BEING JUDGED BY A PUSSYCAT SKANK? AWFUL. Still, Matt Evers thanked all of “The Community Of The United Kingdom” for welcoming them, which I can only imagine is the cult he belongs to (he seems the sort). So really the whole point of the VT was really to watch Matt be dolled up in full Gloria Swanson sunglasses and imperial sourness to be dragged to the airport by Suzanne for no reason. Which I will take. Although not as much as I’ll take (if you’ll excuse the expression) the TRUE Matt Evers highlight this week, which was how wardrobe had welded him into tights so alabaster and clingy that his lower region was briefly transformed into the bottom half of Michaelangelo’s David (with all the erm…anatomical proportions matching). The other half was sadly shrouded in a pink chiffon blouse (BALLET!). Suzanne? Erm…I think she messed up a lift at some point or something, dooming her to mid-table mediocrity for the second week in a row. I can’t imagine you would have noticed unless you were a professional ice-skater or a heterosexual male or both (lol).
Gareth Gates & Brioche Delcourt : And so the Gareth Gates juggernaut rolls onwards, as the show repeatedly shoves him out in a Death Slot and fumbles around trying to remember why it was that they cast him in the first place. Looking at the skate-offs so far, you wouldn’t necessarily bet against the battle of the male half of the draw ending up being X Factor vs Pop Idol and…ending pretty much the same way as that did. Whatever the future holds, nothing is as solid as Torvill & Dean’s present indifference, as this week they gave him exactly the same routine that almost did for Zaraah last week, in different outfits, to “Hot In Herre!” rather than “We Can’t Stop”. Yes, they were asking Gareth Gates to dance “Street”. More importantly they were asking Brioche to dress up like a rinkrat/around-the-way girl which is always amazing, as she never fails to end up looking like a background minion from a Joel Schumacher era Batman film. She didn’t disappoint this time either, with a harsh platinum blonde ponytail, baseball cap, denim booty-shorts and BLUE LIPSTICK (why?). I appreciate between this and Matt’s derriere I’m coming across as far more fashion-obsessed than usual in these recaps but…sometimes it just has to be said. To be honest, Gareth was on to a bit of a loser when Dean decided to launch off this GANSTA STREET HARDCORE routine with The Worm, from which point in it devolved further, although Gareth himself didn’t help by channelling Norman Wisdom throughout. Afterwards, Jason tried being nice. It didn’t work. Gareth’s still here.
Bonnie Langford & Andrei Lipanov : If you were left saddened and confused by Bonnie Langford’s meltdown last week, fear not, because she was back on indefatigable form this week, hauling Andrei around The West End, showing off all the places that she’d danced before in her extensive career in musical theatre. Chicago, Me & My Girl, a musical version of Gone With The Wind… So how was it that Hoofer-In-Chief Bonnie Langford found herself rooted to the bottom of the leaderboard in Dance Week? Well apparently the answer lay in the fact that the producers are almost of bored of her as they are of Gareth, and as such she got gifted the waltz. And not even the Viennese Waltz. The BORING Waltz. Instead of watching Bonnie Langford burn the plantation down, instead she just whirled around a bit to Burt Bacharach. This threw Bonnie as, as she told us over and over again, in no way angling for a contestant spot on Strictly Come Dancing, Ballroom Dancing is a style of dance that Bonnie Langford has NEVER DONE BEFORE. BONNIE DOESN’T DO WALTZ DARLING. Also hampering Bonnie in the lyrical waltz (well they weren’t going to do the entire thing in hold without lifts on ice, let’s be honest) was the fact that Andrei has all the fluidity and grace of a Polynesian tiki. Of course said lack of fluidity and grace wasn’t helped in any way by the fact that Bonnie seemed determined to pull him over at every opportunity, at one point going so far as actually headbutting him in the nads. I’ve got a feeling that she and Mark might actually have worked better together after all, given the awkwardness of her and Andrei anywhere other than in lifts. Still Evil Moira Ross, she’s available for work in two weeks MAXIMUM *wink* *wink* *jazz hands* *wink*
Herein there was a brief pause whilst Torvill & Dean skated to Rebecca Ferguson whisper-honking her way through “In My Life” in a way that left me longing for the emotional resonance and soulful connection of Bette Midler.
Sam Attwater & Vicky Ogden : Personally for me, so far, being more of a fan of reality tv mayhem in general than specifically of ice skating (tried it once, never again), this All-Stars series has been mostly a success because everyone has come back and either done something hilarious and then buggered off, cartoonishly enhanced their earlier reputation, or been Gary Lucy and therefore beyond saving. And on this score, Sam Attwater continues to deliver, as his VT this week began with His Victoria moonily wondering if he’d been given Bhangra as a genre to dance to because of the fact that “he’s been in Bollywood Movies”, a statement that was followed up with Sam having to explain to her that he was an extra in the back of shot. In one flm. Also, he’s not a pilot, his did didn’t invent the Sodastream and if she hadn’t already noticed on honeymoon she can knock a couple of inches off. (On a lesser note : “LOVE YOU!” *SMOOCH* “SEE YOU ON THE FLIP-SIDE!” is also very very Attwater indeed). All this was a pleasing balance to me for the fact that the Bhangra routine he ended up doing was easily the worst thing I’ve seen all series not being done by Todd Carty, as he and Vicky skated around vaguely shrugging and doing twisty lightbulb hands whilst dressed as Wishy Washy and The Genie Of The Ring from panto in Cleethorps, to a song by noted Queen Of Bollywood Kelly Rowland (the Nina Ulanova of Destiny’s Child). The song “Work” to be specific, which captures the Bollywood spirit by being a non-stop stream of filthy sexual innuendo about deep-dicking, just like all Bollywood films are. Sam then shouted “PUNJABEEEEEEEEEEE!” at the end because…just because. The skating seemed solid enough but the whole thing seemed woefully misguided on a level that you can only get from Cultural Dress-Up night.
Zaraah Abrahams & Andy Bunchanan : Let’s all just count our blessings that she somehow made it to 9th place. That’s practically halfway! Unfortunately you could tell Zaraah was Skate-Off bound the second that she greeted her appearance in the Bottom Two for the 5th time last week, not with a hysterical meltdown like Bonnie, or wistful melancholy like Sam, but just by grumping around surlily and pouting that she didn’t think people even wanted her to be there anyway. A statement which the public greeted by saying “well…now that you mention it…”. As a result Zaraah sailed on to her 6th and last bottom 2 appearance, this time against one of the 6 people in the cast they wouldn’t let her beat, rather than the 2 that they would. I doubt her VT storyline of ostensibly going on a Girls Night Out to get away from the show…only to spend the entire evening boring her girlfriends rigid about it helped either. Zaraah’s dance genre of choice was Broadway, here operating under the name of “Jazz” for some reason, complete with tap break. If you listened very closely you could hear Bonnie breaking something in a jealous rage backstage. A mirror, a coat-stand, Andrei, who can say? The routine was nice enough, but once again the skate-off was where Zaraah truly shone, working her way through “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” with aplomb. It’s just a shame she couldn’t be there every week. Maybe she can be the elimination mechanic if they ever revive the show again. Just having her there lurking like an executioner/the giant moon from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Over The Rainbow, ready to carry the losers off.
Beth Tweddle & Lukasz Rozycki : Beth’s VT this week opened with Beth’s mother undoing all that good work she did last week laying out the soft cushiony landing for Beth’s dreams of victory by sobbing everywhere about how her routine to the John Lewis Christmas Cash-In single was SOO BOOTIFUL IT MADE HER CWY. Thanks Beth’s mum. Now there’ll be no stopping her. Although Robin saying that “Beth is back on top of the leaderboard in second place!” can’t have helped either. You could feel the show itself trying to deramp her dreams this week, as they sent her down the red carpet at the NTAs with Gareth Gates (to watch the show finish 5th in its category) and also had her be the recipient of this week’s In No Way Patronising Benediction from Fifth Judge Ray Quinn (and his sidekick Granny Maria). Given that at this point Beth has won as many series as Ray has, by a greater margin, over tougher competition, it felt a bit misplaced. Beth’s genre of choice this week was Scottish Dancing (to Avicii (?!!?), a genre which stylistically seemed to be marked by her dancing the whole thing with one arm up in the air like she was trying to find some lost keys on top of a very tall wardrobe. Apparently the Tweddle family have history with the genre, as Granny Tweddle once taught Scottish Dancing. Although Beth made sure we were all VERY VERY AWARE that she never saw her do it, lest we think she was a DIRTY MCRINGAH. Most importantly though, in terms of Scottish authenticity, Lukasz was wearing a kilt. Thank you.
Hayley Tamaddon & Dan Whiston : You can take everything I said last week about Ray Quinn dancing to Blurred Lines and apply it to Hayley Tamaddon doing the Charleston to Will.i.Am, gurning her face off. Then take 10% off because…it wasn’t AS bad, conceptually, because nothing could be. And then add that 10% off back on again for the fact that they dredged up JAI BLOODY HO A BLOODY GAIN FOR NO SODDING REASON and then acted like the spirit of it had somehow possessed her, propelling her to the highest score of the series so far, SUCH IS THE AWESOME POWER OF BLOODY JAI BLOODY HO. Whatever it adds up to you can just imagine it, thanks.
Ray Quinn & Granny Maria : Ray started off his VT by grinning merrily about being top of the leaderboard last week. You’d think the thirteenth time in a row he’d get a bit less bloody smug about it, but apparently not. Still, Ray had reason to be smug, as he managed to luck out with flamenco (with obligatory Crazy Flamenco Lady to train them), and flamenco being danced to authentic-sounding music rather than, say Macklemore feat. Ryan Lewis or Sinitta. If I were being extra churlish, which I am because it’s RAY QUINN, I would suggest that being a fully trained ballroom dancer might be a bit of an advantage for a dance that’s basically paso doble but with added wrist-wafting. So that out of the way, I have to admit, that if they’re going to have this All-Stars series be Ray Quinn squishing the rest of the cast underneath his bladed heel for two and a half months, I’d rather it look like this than anything else he’s done so far. Those leaps! Those turns! That complete lack of Robin Thicke! I’ll even suffer through Jason panting like Wendell T Wolf over his supposed sex-appeal. Almost.
Next week : THE DUEL! 90 MINUTES! FOUR ROUTINES! SO! MUCH! PADDING!