For once a reality show can say that “everyone’s a winner” and have it be actually true.
Suzanne Shaw & Uncle Matt : In honour of the start of these Russian Winter Olympic Games, Dancing On Ice this week celebrated an auspicious anniversary. 25 years since the introduction of Section 28 in the UK. LOL, NOT REALLY. We were of course celebrating 30 years since Bolero. You know Bolero. It was that thing what Torvill & Dean done what won them a Gold medal. They may have mentioned it once or twice. To celebrate, every routine this evening was done to a song originally released in 1984 (positively contemporary by this show’s standards), a time when Suzanne was in kindergarten, Kyran was just hitting puberty, and Bonnie Langford was pegging out her nylons and reminiscing about the war. But enough about Bonnie. She’s gone now. *sniff* Suzanne’s VT this week began thusly :
Suzanne : “Do you think I should have beat Ray? I think I gave him a run for his money!”
Uncle Matt : “…what’s most important is that we got through”
The rest of Suzanne’s VT this week consisted of her being relentlessly mocked by her own pre-teen son for falling over last week, and giving Matt a minor friction burn on the back of his neck that caused him to queen it off the ice in a huff. Oh the life of Suzanne Shaw. Her actual routine revolved around “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”, and the theming for said routine revolved around Suzanne being really into her boyfriend – Marilyn – but him not being so into her. I wonder why. It also featured Suzanne having to suck on a lollipop so hard that she briefly turned into Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffanys, all sucked-in cheeks and screwed up crosseyes. It was an…odd confection of a routine, and not one that went down particularly well with the judges. Judges who this week featured the RETURN OF NICKY SLATER (zomg) and less excitingly the elevation of Karen to Head Nag…I mean Head Judge, as Robin is off commentating on proper skating at the Winter Olympics. Nicky in particular thought it was boring and safe and didn’t meet his expectations of Suzanne as a past champion, to which Uncle Matt replied that it was a piece of shit routine that T & D had choreographed and so not really her fault (/”we could only skate what we were given”).
Sam Attwater & Victoria Ogden : It’s only appropriate that this, our All-Stars series of Dancing On Ice, has seen one competitor in particular go all out to claim the most important trophy in the show’s history. That’s right Zaraah. Sam Attwater is coming for your OFFICIAL DANCING ON ICE BOTTOM TWO GODDESS tiara. Only one more to tie her record and two to beat it. In his VT Karen told us that Sam is taking this public rejection very personally, as in the background he hurled himself down onto the ice, grizzling that he was tired and sore and really couldn’t be bothered any more. To cheer him up, Vicky took him back home to hold a sit-down conference with his parents where they both told him that they’d both heard so many nice comments from the public about him (mostly Jean from down the Post Office but…so MANY MANY comments) and Vicky said that she knows from skating, because she COACHES IT, so she can tell that Sam is one of the strongest skaters in the competition. All of this whilst Sam sulked in the corner and occasionally sheepishly grinned a bit. Oh Sam. And frankly, Oh Vicky. If you’re going to go down, go down swinging. Who’s worse than Sam? I WANT NAMES GODDAMNIT. Sadly Torvill & Dean weren’t quite so accommodating of Sam’s low mood, sending him out for his “Radio Gaga” themed routine looking like a cross between Stavros, a disreputable mole from The Animals Of Farthing Wood, and Geoff from Byker Grove, in lieu of Freddie Mercury. Despite Sam amply filling the leather chaps, doing the obligatory handclaps and somehow managing to keep his turdlike fake moustache on his face, Jason Gardiner was NOT HAVING IT. Somehow the minor soap actor was not fully conveying the presence of the most flamboyantly charismatic pop-rock frontman of the 20th century, and Jason whammied him with a 7.5 on the show’s fancy 80s digital font scoreboard, leaving him second from the bottom of the leaderboard, and in the skate-off. (Karen then called Jason rude and then all the other judges agreed with Jason and then Jason yelled “OH IS THAT RUDE AS WELL KAREN?” over the top of all of them and then I pondered whether the special 1984 judging panel had been specifically styled as Room 101).
In the skate-off, Sam & Vicky did Dream Catch Me Again, presumably because Brioche put a cease-and-desist order on him ever performing one of their Series 6 routines ever again after he claimed that Vicky had somehow made one better. DON’T MESS.
Gareth Gates & Brioche Delcourt: Tragically Brioche’s legal shenanigans weren’t enough to save Gareth Gates, as he was Sam’s third skate-off victim. Yes, the public looked at the line-up, realised that Gareth was in fact the only non-winner still remaining and decided enough-was-enough. Underdog appeal and “having a journey” was one thing, but OCD-like dedication to evenness and neatness dictated that he had to go. Of course the whole show helped him gently out the door, giving him a sweet but unspectacular Wham! routine to “Freedom” (with Gareth sporting Andrew Ridgeley’s barnet rather than George Michael’s, confirming his status as one of this show’s eternal second bananas) and with generous scores and comments from the judges putting him in touching distance of (but still distinctly inferior to) this year’s Golden Gods. Of course Nicky Slater could never be controlled totally, as he hauled out his old catchphrase to describe Gareth as SLOW OVER THE ICE. Those of us who remember Gareth from his original series will remember that all too well. Besides that though, it was a nice end to Gareth’s journey and I’m glad for him that he didn’t eke out another week, because at that point the knives really would have been out.
Hayley Tamaddon & Dan Whiston: Somehow, despite it being Bolero Week, the week when we remember all that Boleroing Torvill & Dean did during their Bolero routine at the Bolero Olypics, 30 Boleros ago that they won a gold Bolero for, the most mentioned phrase of the week was “wants it”. As in “Hayley Tamaddon really WANTS IT”, “you can tell that Hayley Tamaddon WANTS IT” and “do you know who WANTS IT? Hayley Tamaddon”. As though it wasn’t entirely obvious at all times that Hayley Tamaddon was born WANTING IT, will always WANT IT, and frankly WANTS IT more than anybody has ever WANTED IT before without giving themselves a seizure. WANTING IT is always a delicate quantity in a reality show context. Some people view WANTING IT as an admirable competitive edge, whilst some people view WANTING IT as a sign of frankly being a grubby little try-hard. Whatever your own personal angle, we received documented proof of Hayley Tamaddon’s Life Of WANTING IT as she hauled out video footage of her in 1984, aged 7 (and the rest…) performing on stage in Blackpool. Dan (who we all know was probably stood in the wings at the time, also WANTING IT like Stuart Widdle WANTED DI[redacted on advice of lawyers]) sighed that she hadn’t changed one bit from the painted tweeny hoofer kicking it to “The Good Ship Lollipop”. Which really, when you think about it, is half the problem. This week Hayley WANTED IT in the Eurythmics style, as she and Dan performed an emotional number to “Here Comes The Rain(/Lorraine) Again”. Personally I think Hayley missed the androgynous cracking froideur of Annie Lennox just as much as Sam met the gay flamboyance of Freddie Mercury but…of course some people are ever pulled up on these things less than others. And at least she fared better than Dan, who appeared to be channelling Jack Duckworth throughout. The judges of course loved it, and gave Hayley many points for the purity of her WANTING IT, although Nicky was there to reliably through a bit of a grit into the mill, busting her down to an 8.5 because he thought she caught her skates a little bit once *shrug*. I miss Nicky. I miss how he makes Jason even more utterly redundant than usual.
Ray Quinn & Granny Maria : The quest to make Ray’s win look like less of a bolt-on reached its nadir this week, as the show genuinely presented him as being in danger because his mother had a premonition that he might fall over or do a wobble or something. No really. This is what they were presenting as a roadblock. Ray’s mums psychic visions of maybe-failure. Next week : Ray walks under a ladder (EEEEEP). I’ve seen episodes of Death In Paradise make a better job of hiding how things are going to end. Ray’s 1984 themed routine was, of course, to “Jump” by Van Halen because as we all know that if there’s one thing that Ray can do on ice it’s bound around doing flying splits. I think he spent less time on the ice than Chris Fountain did during his infamous ill-fated flying routine from the Series 3 final. In honour of Van Halen, Ray was done up like Rock of Ages, complete with obscene leather pants, mesh top, poodle wig and ugly tatto…oh no wait, they were there anyway. Hilariously, Ray’s Rock Stylings this week gave rise to some controversy as apparently many people on twitter were convinced that the choreography involved Ray actually flipping off the people at home. I mean…I briefly thought that too, but then I realised that Dean’s choreography could never be that interesting and also I was just catching sight of my own reflection in my television screen. It was left ONCE AGAIN up to Nicky Slater to be my hero, giving Ray a 9.5 instead of a 10 just because he could and it was funny and also Ray was a bit SLOW OVER THE ICE. Much better than Jason claiming that Ray could skate right off the ice and into Sochi, LOL ok of course he could Jason. *pats head*
Kyran Bracken & Thingy : This week saw Kyran Bracken’s Comeback Wagon rolling on, as he claimed that grinding Sam Attwater into dirt in last week’s Duel between them had reawoken the SPORTSMAN within, and that he was now ready to get back to what SPORTSMEN do best on reality shows – sit around with their other SPORTSMAN mates, talking about how they have now learnt to embrace fake-tan, sequins, and rimming. Except maybe that last one. Yes, after several years of performing on Dancing On Ice and its adjunct tours, we had to run through “I magically don’t mind looking a bit poofy now” one last time for those of us in the cheap seats. As if to take the edge off Kyran’s newly rejuvenated middle-aged volcano of testosterone, Dean gave him an 80s disco slowie to perform, doing “I Want To Know What Love Is” dressed like John McEnroe. It was a little clumpy and the exits out of the lifts were a little awkward as Kyran didn’t quite know where to place Whoosits, but if the show needs to try to play up Ray having any sort of rivalry on the XY side of things, I guess Kyran’s the best bet.
(*This routine was followed by an entire ad-break made out of Lego. It was amazing. And a lot of the lego figures were better actors than Beth*)
Beth Tweddle & Lukasz Rozycki: Beth’s VT this week began with the mournfully overused strains of “Hometown Glory” as Beth remembered her Very Bad Awful Worst Week Ever. We flashed back to Hayley massacring her in their duel, her self-choreographed skate going awry, and finally the naked terror on her face as she felt a skate-off (that ultimately never came) looming towards her. The cure for this PTSD turned out to be a girly sleepover. But a SPORTSWOMAN girly sleepover, where everyone lounges around fully clothed on strictly functional single beds with not a teddy-bear in sight, talking about their gym routines and protein shakes and so on. I’m not sure whether this or Torvill & Dean’s exhortations to lighten the fuck up and tit around in a giant pink novelty shoe prop already were responsible for Beth’s return to form this week, but she was certainly much more comfortable and happy on the ice this week. Actually, I think it may have been the fact that her highly-active Cyndi Lauper wig often hid her attempts at facial acting. Splits, lifts that were nigh-on contortions and one particularly exuberant kick that hurled a giant hunk of ice directly down the camera-lens…she was having so much fun it was easy to excuse the fact that quite a large section of the routine involved Beth not actually being on the ice – just doing handstands and cartwheels in her toe-picks at the side. This may also have been easier for me to forgive due to the sight of Lukasz dancing like Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club behind her. Nicky Slater of course was miffed, because he’s nothing if not a maven for things being ON ICE, with the result being that we all got to witness Jason Gardiner lecture Nicky Slater as to what you can and cannot do ON ICE. A moment for the ages there.
Next Week : THE TEAM BATTLE SKATE-OFF DUELATHON.