Antony & Brandee : WOOOOOOO! Look at that. It’s me trying to sound excited about the return of Dancing On Ice and simultaneously face down the prospect of recapping Antony Cotton, and also Brandee Malto, a new female pro who was introduced via us being told repeatedly that “she and Antony are SO ALIKE, SO MAD, SO WACKY, SO CRAZY, SUCH ALL ROUND ENTERTAINERS!”. Pity me. Still, some good news came in the wake of the presence of Antony Cotton, as rather than the role I thought he was going to play (ie Hayley Tamaddon with a penis), he is instead both the male Comic Relief contestant and the contestant who Jason Gardiner gets into pissy little bitch fights with. Which is much more palatable. Because normally those contestants are around for less time, generally. Regardless Antony’s journey on Dancing On Ice began with a trainwreck of a performance to Club Tropicana, complete with him shrieking “HIT IT TOOTS!”, flirting with Jason (no), spending most of it shimmying whilst bent over with his arse in the air (…), and all ending with him fishing around in Brandee’s bra trying to find a dollar bill. This wasn’t a reference to the #timesup movement, the show’s not got that political whilst it’s been away, he was playing a waiter.
Candice & Matt : Oh Candice, what is you doing? The drop-off in fame level of Bake Off winners that was inevitably going to come with the move to Channel 4 (who even won the last series? What was her name? What did her face look like? Did she have hair?) was the perfect time to strike and make a name for yourself as the last winner anyone would have heard of, and you waste it on DANCING ON ICE? Go and get a BBC 2 cookery show about teaching teenagers how to cook or something, because just as no ITV star has ever won Strictly, so no BBC star will ever win Dancing On Ice (no Sam Attwater does not count, I said “star”), don’t hop the boundaries, not even for Lovely Matt Evers. Speaking of which Matt is one of FOUR male pros who have come back for the revival (alongside Dan Whiston, Mark Hanretty, and of course, Schlongchambon) compared to just Brioche for the women, not that Dancing On Ice’s hiring practices are just as sexy-ageist as Strictly’s. Poor Frankie Seaman. (*giggle-snorts up sleeve*). And so it was that Candice did a nice enough fairly pedestrian wobble around to “At Last” whilst clinging to Matt for dear life and ended up in the skate-off, and will probably go home next week. Yes next week. That’s when the skate-off is. Don’t look at me, this is how they’ve decided to run things, it’s their funeral.
Jake & Vanessa : Jake’s storyline on the show is that he’s done so many reality shows (he’s done two) and never won any (he’s never deserved to) so…we should all vote for him to win Dancing On Ice…so his mum can be finally proud of him? Never mind that he’s done well enough off his previous experiences in the world of competitive reality shows that he can appear on this show billed as an “X Factor star” despite finishing 12th and the fact that you can’t remember any of the songs he sang on the show, no you can’t. Still here he was, skating along to another X Factor alum (Olly Murs)’s music, a little bit shaky, but probably the first performance of the evening that could tick up towards “good” in the grand scheme of things, even if his pro did take the bold step of having him deliberately fall over in reference to the lyrics of “Wrapped Up”, always a risky move given the voting audience’s capacity for thinking these things are accidents (ie I’m talking about all those people who thought Alexandra Burke was stepping all over Gorka’s feet in that Argentine Tango by mistake). Still, it resulted in Christopher Dean winking at Jake that he was “better on his skates than he was on his kness”, which was a welcome sign that someone on the judging panel was awake and trying to do something more than talk about how nervous somebody looked, even if it was vaguely disturbing innuendo.
Perri & Hamish : From an X Factor “star” right up to the other end of the reality tv respectability scale, with an athlete, and one to whom the word “Olympian” was attached so repeatedly and with such vigour that you could almost forget that she went once and didn’t get out of the semi-finals. If you’re wondering what Perri Shakes Drayton is an Olympian IN, then look no further than the title of the song she was given to skate to – “Runnin (Lose It All)” by Naughty Boy. Yes she is a Runnin..er, at the distance of 400m. Maybe less so the “Lose It All” bit, she has won races occasionally, by the looks of it. And hopefully will soon, when she competes at the Commonwealth Games, according to the commentator, who was apparently quite keen to jinx Perri’s leg into breaking by will alone, on top of the rest of his…contributuions this evening. Mostly shouting. At any rate, despite being the only contestant all evening to be lumbered with a Strictly style overly literal song choice, Perri produced my favourite routine of the evening, and only partly because the styling reminded me of Jonnie Peacock’s tango. Admittedly it was also Jason Gardiner’s favourite routine of the evening but let’s glide over that.
Stephanie & Schlongchambon : Yes, Schlongchambon is back and yes he is still doing everything, including the actual performances, mute with a pouty scowl on his face like he’s here under sufferance for community service and yes they have stuck him with a Hollyoaks actress AGAIN in a desperate fish for scandal and rancour because he ditched Thingummy McQueen for Samia Ghadie god knows how many years ago now. Some things about this show never change no matter how much you “rest” them. Stephanie aka Cindy Cunningham-Hutchinson-Longford-Nightingale-Savage was the proud recipient of everyone’s favourite Dancing On Ice narrative this week – “SHE’S GONNA FALL OVER!”. We were shown her falling in training, we were shown her falling in the dress rehearsal, we were shown her repeatedly panicking about falling over during her VT, if you looked carefully you could apparently could even see her falling over in the rehearsal space during the live show…in short, we were OWED Stephanie Waring falling over and it did not happen, WHAT A BLOODY SWIZZ. You know Schlongchambon would have given her a little shove if he’d really felt motivated, but his heart wasn’t even in that, so she had a wobble, clung to him, and skated on on the back of public goodwill into Week 3. Where she’d better bloody fall over, or I’m calling OFCOM.
Kem & Alex : Kem is here representing Love Island, as that programme’s contestant base slowly start to spread out amongst the rest of the tv universe, just like the TOWIE lot started to do…7 years ago now? It feels like longer. Mercifully Kem, all wistful remeniscences about eating 99p burgers in the ice rink canteens of his youth and cheery book signings seems to be a more genial sort than his fellow Love Islander Jonny, who is currently competing on Big Brother : Women vs Drag Queens vs Misogynists. On those grounds I’ll try to forgive him for the inevitable showmance that’s impending between him and his blonde perky glamorous American pro and also for being indulged with choreography of the likes that he got on the launch show, where he spent half the routine glued to a prop iPhone because THESE MILLENNIALLS AND THEIR IPHONES, WHAT ARE THEY LIKE EH? Kem ended up joint-topping the leaderboard with Jake, because whilst Jayne preferred Jake, Jason preferred Kem and MY GOD can Jason Gardiner stop agreeing with me, it’s getting unnerving. Let’s be clear though, Perri was…well not robbed, but someone nabbed a fiver that was hanging out her pocker. Metaphorically speaking.
Elsewhere on tonights show : two pro routines, one of which involved someone riding a motorcycle around the rink, a SOCIAL MEDIA CORNER that consisted of one tweet, and Holly and Phil on a zamboni. Welcome back.