Sorry, The Greatest Dancer won the poll but I couldn’t get through more than 20 minutes of it so you’re getting this instead, what did you want me to recap, the audience going “that was rubbish” and “I’m not voting for him he’s a forrin” no thanks.
Jane Danson & Sylvain Longchambon : For those of you who didn’t watch last series, one of the principle problems with it was that the two most annoying members of the cast were ALSO on Coronation Street, and it is an inviolate rule of Dancing On Ice that if someone is on an ITV soap you’re not getting rid of them ever ever ever ever ever. Ever. Antony Cotton stood there quite happily for a month and a half, flipping the bird at Torvill & Dean and wobbling around the ice like a Creme Brulee on a gym treadmill whilst poor Lemar was in the skate-off four weeks out of five. This series though, the show has apparently remedied that by having their Corrie representative being Jane Danson, quite possibly the most benign human being alive, whose sole story point so far has been simpering merrily around Jayne Torvill’s dress going “miss, miss, my name is like your name and I liked the Bolero that you did at the Lympics!”. Not even pairing her with Sylvain Schlongchambon could spice this one up, as she skated nicely enough round and round to “On The Street Where You Live” in front of a video-wall replica of the Coronation Street set. Of course Jason Gardiner didn’t like it because she didn’t flop a tit out or whatever, but frankly I was glad of the rest after last year’s egregiousness from the ITV soapie stable.
Didi Conn & Lukasz Rozycki : Although if you thought that Jane dined out on her dayjob then good grief. I don’t think we went more than five seconds in this segment without someone saying “Frenchie From Grease”, or genuflecting at Didi’s feet about how amazing it was to have such a Hollywood legend in the cast, or literally kissing her ring in the case of Christopher Dean, and…am I missing something? She didn’t even have a song! I know it’s not the starriest cast in the world but there’s people here who’ve played their sport for their country, won Olivier awards, had number 1 hit records around the world, and lived in the Big Brother house with NANCY DELL’OLIO, we don’t need to over-egg it this much for a woman who was in one film, mostly walking around in the background looking like she’d just been twatted on the back of a head with a soup ladle. Anyway, Didi skated around to, yes, a song from the Grease soundtrack and pulled funny faces and let Lukasz haul her about a bit (and who wouldn’t?). Can’t wait for next week when she pulls out a reference to her other hit roles like the Muskox Number 2 in an episode of The Wild Thornberries, “Nurse” in an episode of Law & Order : Special Victims Unit, and introducing old episodes of Thomas The Tank Engine on PBS by singing Camptown Ladies.
Saara Aalto & Hamish Gaman : This year’s X Factor alum, only arriving at Dancing On Ice via tanking at Eurovision rather than doing alright at I’m A Celebrity, Saara is also one of this year’s EVEL RINGAHs, on the grounds that…erm…she’s from Finland? Apparently that’s enough these days. Saara turned up to this year’s show already being able to ice-skate, probably from all those nights hunting seals across the frozen wastes of Oulunsalo or whatever they do out there in Scandinavia for a good time when the discos are closed. Not only was Saara able to skate coming in, but she was also able to skate BACKWARDS, a fact that caused James Jordan and Brain McFadden (oh I can’t wait for that alliance, I absolutely can’t, BRING ON THE BANTER) to cat-call her and call her a teacher’s pet. Sadly, contrary to the opinions of the Jordan-McFatHead Connection, Saara has a clear handicap in the eyes of the judges – being partnered with Hamish, one of the large contingent of last year’s newbies who spent his entire abbreviated run of the show getting hammered by the judges for being a crap choreographer. And guess what? They started RIGHT in again on him this week. At least Melody The Mole went off to do…whatever it is she’s doing now and didn’t keep on at a losing game, she knew when she was beaten. Can Hamish move on up from here, I hope so, he’s just got one of those faces you want at least moderately good things for. Saara was mostly notable for blatant pandering to her gays by skating to Born The Way, and also for doing the one routine all night that split Torvill & Dean, scoring wise. I guess he always has been that bit more advneturous than her. By a whole 0.5 points.
James Jordan & Alexandra Schauman : Oh how I have missed pre-dance VTs featuring James Jordan that consist of a ringah going “ooooh I can’t, oooh it’s so hard, oooh there are so many differences to my dance related dayjob that you civilians just don’t understaaaaaaaand, ooh it could definitely all go horribly wrooooong” and then oooh look it’s perfectly fine. Except this time James was the ringah! In fairness, James also paid tribute to Denise Van Outen in other ways, as he opened this week’s Old Hollywood themed routine to “I Won’t Dance” sitting on a chair. What a beautiful homage to her greatest West End dancing moment! Despite all the endless fretting, James in fact got the best week 1 score since Ray Quinn when all was said and done. Another fully trained ballroom dancer who also just happened to be really good at Dancing On Ice, what are the odds. But it just happened ok, it’s just a coincidence, and besides, all the other contestants have their own advantages as well, like what about the sportspeoples being fit and the actors…knowing how to talk and stuff? Anyway James genuinely did really well, and will be in the final and quite possibly win given that he’s not a dreaded LADY RINGAH, and currently I’m mostly sat here thinking that for someone who was quite happy to slag other contestants off as Teachers Pet he was also awfully happy giving the big Brenda Cole brown-nose speech about how great all the skating coaches and backstage staff are after the marks were in. I guess self-awareness was never James’ strong suit.
Mark Little & Brianne Delcourt : Bless Mark Little, but what can you say? His claim to fame is from 30 years ago, he’s not done much high-profile work since, and he seems incredibly laid back about being there. It’s fairly obvious he was the most superfluous piece of casting in this half of the draw, if not the entire cast, and everyone at home seemed to agree, dumping into the first slot for next week’s skate-off, after a routine that seemed to be themed around his being Australian and not so much about skating, really. He seems like a bit of a waste on Brioche who, as we have established in previous series, attacks everything with the energy of a woman who’s just been revealed as the slasher in the last 15 minutes of a 1999 teen horror film. I’m not holding out much hope, although if he could knock out Brian on his way out the door it’d be much appreciated.
Gemma Collins & Matt Evers : I know that loving Gemma Collins enough to cast her on your reality show requires a certain level of appreciation of irony, but goodness me they really felt like they were trying their damndest to troll her as much as humanly possible in a 10 minute segment. Matt Evers talking up how he wanted someone humble and genuine to partner him this year? Check. Choreography that required her to roll around on the floor in a skintight gold lame catsuit before flopping into a “splits” that featured one leg being stuck out straight and the other crumbled up like a sausage roll that someone had trod on? Check. Matt piling in again to yell out in her defence that the judges should cut her some slack because “she’s never exercised before in her life!”? Check. There was so much material there they were even able to edit out footage of the show trolling her by pretending that they were going to make her skate to The Vengabus Song, and that was tv gold right there. And yet after all that indignity, Gemma Collins still skated off down that tunnel into Week 3, letting out a truly bloodcurdling scream of triumph on the way. She’s winning guys. In her own way, she’s winning.