Oh. Well. Erm… clearly that wasn’t supposed to happen.
Sam Attwater & His Victoria : Poor Sam. Has there ever been a more daunting week for a Dancing On Ice contestant? Sam was going into it knowing that, in effect, he was competing with only two really feasible end goals ahead of him. Either he goes home, or he somehow skates on into the final having been saved by the judges a record 5 times. You know…or he actually does well in the public vote, which seems erm… well I think Newton coined one his Laws of Motion about it. “A body in the skate-off tends to stay in the skate-off unless acted on by the judges putting it at the top of the leaderboard for no real reason”. Or ye olde words to that effect. And given that this week was Flying Week it was unlikely that even the increasingly loopy Dancing On Ice judges could find a feasible reason to keep Sam safe. As such, his pre-skate VTs took on the air of a doomed man sidling up to the gallows, as he wearily trudged through Week 18 of his National Theatre tour of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers with fellow prodigiously talented non public favourite Helena “Unflushable Maria” Blackman, with Vicky clinging to his side, periodically wailing that she DIDN’T LIKE FLYING AND SHE CAN’T DO IT SAM SHE’S SO SCARED OF LETTING YOU DOWN BOO HOO HOO HOO HOO. Combine this with the fact that Sam was the only remaining contestant never to have done flying before (a good job to be honest – he probably would have claimed he and Brioche had had sex mid-air in the harness) and also the fact that he was skating wearing a shirt that both displayed every bead of sweat pouring off him and made his torso look like an amorphous slab of pate and all in all, it could have made for an ignominious end for Sam – being thrown at Vicky like some sort of chubby battering-ram Superman – if he hadn’t then gone out on his own terms in the skate-off. Doing a SUPREMELY Twatwaterish performance of a Week 1 skate to a semi-forgotten Flo Rida dance track, and then rounding things off with a weird grace note – being the only performer this series to thank their original partner for getting them to the standard such that they were considered All-Stars worthy in the first place. Of course he referred to Brioche as “from my past” like she was some sort of vengeful Victorian ghost but…he just wouldn’t be Sam Attwater if he wasn’t being a little bit weird. The final will be a little bit poorer without him in it, doing Spiderman arms and pulling constipated magician faces.
Hayley Tamaddon & Dan Whiston : So if last week was designed for Hayley to look as inadequate as possible, then this go-around was the opposite. Flying Week was clearly going to benefit Hayley just as much as Actually Having To Skate Week worked to her detriment, if not more so. Seriously, Hayley’s probably played Peter Pan so many times by now that she could have done the whole routine blindfolded with a dagger between her teeth and a Lost Boy dangling from each ankle. Not that she recognised this, spending her entire VT passive-aggressively whining at Dan for daring to get injured and go off and GET TREATMENT the selfish bastard. Didn’t she know that she is a PERFORMER and she HAS NEEDS? Never mind that their flying routine required his input about as much as it needed Hayley to be wearing ice-skates, as she was periodically lowered and raised from the ice like a spangly Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, and then occasionally spun around a bit, as Ellie Goulding went nuclear-power insipid in the background. Of course, because this is Dancing On Ice, the judges went ABSOLUTELY EFFING MENTAL, with Weepy Karen in particular blowing her sinuses out with absolute torrents of tears, honking that it was the most beautiful flying routine they’ve ever seen on Dancing On Ice ever ever ever. As if this wasn’t enough Hayley’s second routine was to (*deep breath*) “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. And if you can hold that thought in your head without shuddering from the top of your spine to the bottom then well done you are officially Hayley Tamaddon’s target audience. All of these odds (the odds being “not having to skate” and “costumes left over from ‘Allo ‘Allo”) came together to gift Hayley with the coveted Top Of The Leaderboard position, only previously held this series by Ray and Suzanne (RIP). On which token, here are this year’s Dancing On Ice All-Stars ranked by how many times they’ve topped the leaderboard (I’m counting Ray as top for next week’s final already because…come ON)
Ray : 17
Hayley : 11
Sam : 8
Jorgie : 7
Bonnie, Kyran : 5
Suzanne : 4
Beth, David : 1
Gareth, Gary, Joe, Todd, Zaraah : 0
AGENDA? WHAT AGENDA?
Beth Tweddle & Lukasz Rozycki: Bless. I’m surprised they left out the part where they actually patted her on the head and gave her a dog biscuit. Must have been the edit. The transformation of Beth Tweddle from Olympic Gymnastic Superstar to Dancing On Ice’s most iconic underdog is now finally complete. I’ve never been the BIGGEST fan of Beth from the point of view of a contestant, but it was hard not to get swept up as the judges tried to damn her out the door with faint praise, especially as her first routine, to “Dog Days Are Over” after last week’s bout of bubonic plague felt genuinely triumphant and joyful despite all the truly terrifying Playaway faces Dean had got her to pull in order to Show Off Her Personality. The judges were even relatively positive, playing up how well she’d done to even try to compete at the same level of gurning as the Hayleys and the Sams of this world. Beth is just a humble gymnast, and she’s been soooo bwave to try to step to those future EGOTs. Then she got similar “thank you for playing” comments after her flying routine which, rather than the saccharine of Hayley’s routine, or the puntastic “In The Air Tonight” as given to Sam, was done to “Reach”. No, not the S Club classic, but the theme tune to the worst Olympics ever. By Gloria Estefan. Still, they gave her the Pimp Slot, and Jason sighed that she was great but not quite “the complete package” and so would sadly be going home in 4th place what a pity never mind. The public, naturally, had other ideas, wangling Beth out of her seemingly impossible position on the leaderboard and clean into the final. Most importantly though, she’s now got CHRISTOPHER DEAN on her side, as he took up the unique position of chastising the judges for undermarking her, saying that she deserved two 20 out of 20 for her two performances. (Of course this isn’t saying much – I think Dean would give everybody 10s on the grounds that they’re all skating his glorious choreography and how could that not be perfection in human form?) This sets up the…almost exciting thought of a final featuring Torvill & Dean and the judges AT WAR for total control of Dancing On Ice in its dying moments. Russia vs the EU over Ukraine ain’t got nothing on this. There’s no UN on Earth that could stop Ashley Roberts from talking utter garbage for a start.
Ray Quinn & Granny Maria : So…erm…yeah. Ray was in the skate-off. Despite clearly being the best skater and the least worst performer and the favourite of the judges and a clear public vote winner in his series and scoring 75% in a This Morning poll to determine the public’s favourite, he’s going into the final at the bottom of the pack in terms of public support to the two women. Whether this is complacency on the part of Ray’s fanbase, because the public love a journey, or an underdog or sticking it to the judges or are suffering from Scouseophobia or are maybe concerned for Granny Maria’s osteoporosis or…well…Arthur’s Theme (nuff said) suddenly the end of the series and the All-Star crown is wide open. And thank God for that, because somewhere around Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy I was pondering just not recapping what seemed like the inevitable Ray-Hayley-Sam-In-That-Order showdown. Now ANYTHING can happen. Admittedly probably what will happen is that his vote will roar back in again but it is nice for Ray to have to show some vulnerability for a change. Even Jason (5 seconds before screaming in anger at the public for voting wrongly natch) was cackling about how they’d found Ray’s Achilles Heel. That Achilles Heel being Flying, which of course has nothing to do with Dancing or Ice and which even then Ray managed to score a Perfect Score for in his original series. I repeat – Arthur’s Theme. Worst thing Burt Bacharach ever did. By the time Ray laced his boots back up for his grand finale – another impeccable but forgettable routine to an awful MOR pop song, it was too late. The damage was done. The Flying Round had claimed another victim. NOW YOU KNOW HOW CHRIS FOUNTAIN FEELS RAY! You know…outside of all the rape-rap.
Next Week : THE FINAL! CHRISTOPHER DEAN IS COMING FOR YOU, ROBIN!