In which, you will be surprised to hear, another professional dancer turns up, says that she DEFINITELY won’t automatically be good because it’s SO DIFFERENT on ice, then gets high scores right off the bat.
Brian & Alex Now you might say that it’s really not at all necessary to split the cast over two nights for the first elimination, that ITV should be able to fit 12 performances and a skate-off into 2 hours of tv time, and that it’s just a way to pad the series out to milk it for precious precious ratings, but personally I’m glad, because James and Brian being kept apart meant that I am allowing myself to slowly lowering myself into their DOUBLE-HEADED BANTERSAURUS of a relationship like I would lower myself into a very hot bath (except in this case my balls would be sharply retracting into my body, rather than the obverse). Needless to say Brian was capital-o On from the second the show started, dry-humping a boom mic, pegging it towards Torvill & Dean at full pelt during their first meeting, and constantly yap-yap-yapping over the judges, the hosts, and his own professional partner. Fortunately, just when it seemed like nothing could slow Brian down, he dislocated his shoulder in training, forcing him to jack himself up on painkillers and skate around like Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester but without the facial expressions, all stiff limbs and hunched shoulders. The fact that he was lurching around like a puffy pigeon to Mandy by Barry Manilow just gave it all an extra layer of camp. If he could dislocate something else between now and next week to take the edge off even further, I’d be all for it. Nothing major, just a toe or something. (Also, I’d forgotten how brutal Dancing On Ice are about people’s sexual histories. On Strictly there’s just Tess giving the ol’ nudge wink kiss kiss, here? Sam Matterface basically yelling “YOU’VE HAD A LOT OF WIVES HAVEN’T YOU BRIAN, YOU SLAG, TRY NOT TO FINGER ALEX BEFORE WEEK 6” over the tannoy. Ah, ITV)
Ryan & Brandee : Where cricket and Strictly have an auspicious history, with the sport providing two of the show’s winners and many of its more memorable contestants, Dancing On Ice had Dominic Cork (who went out very quickly leaving barely a mark), Monty Panesar quitting Series 10 at the last minute, and now Ryan Sidebottom, who seems to be there chiefly to make “moar like Ryan SLIDEBOTTOM!!!” jokes and repeatedly fall down. You can tell the show’s worried about not getting their full mileage worth out of Ryan from the fact that he was done up in full Bacofoil for his first performance, with added go-faster stripes, and feathers hot-glued on to his shoulders. Get out of this show before it’s fully humiliated you? Not likely. Still, despite Ryan debasing himself to “Crazy Crazy Nights” (a song featuring the flat out worst key change in the history of recorded music) the ITV audience weren’t prompted to take any greater interest in cricket than they normally would (has it even ever aired on ITV?) and he found himself in the skate-off against Mark. Fortunately for Ryan, Mark skated with all the commitment of someone who needed their pay-cheque for the series to clearly as quickly as possible to pay off some gambling debts, so he skated on to Musicals Week. Yes, Dancing On Ice is doing Musicals Week. I wonder if anyone will do a number from Grease…
Melody & Alexander : Yes, a full three of this year’s Dancing On Ice pros are called Alex. Just in case you’d almost started to get the hang of which one was which. Alex 3.0 is presumably Dancing On Ice’s attempts to fill the void left by Daniel Whiston, being also Relateable Brand Northern (from Blackpool), charmingly smiley and, to be honest, possibly slightly better looking with his top off, yes the pictures are out there. And fortunately having Demetriou as a surname prevents them from going to the full KEVIN FROM GRIMSBY!!! with him, which is good for the sake of my sanity. Still, whilst Alexander seems like a good bet, I wouldn’t count on his celeb bringing any more votes to the party than you could count without troubling your toes. The “I’m not a dancer…well I can shimmy a bit…well I’m not an ice skater!” backsliding was real with Melody, and we already have the trail she left behind in the Popstar To Operastar vote to go by for clues (she got 2%. Out of a field of four contestants). For what it’s worth she can certainly skate (assisted, mostly) but you can already feel the weight of Ashley Roberts style pressure on her shoulders, as the judges were on her from the second her reasonable enough performance (to Rise Up by Andra Day, Pussycat Dolls rights presumably being more expensive than Westlife ones) to do MORE LIFTS, MORE, GO THE FULL BONNIE LANGFORD, DO THE HEADBANGER, DO IT NOW, DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT. Can this end well, probably not. I feel like Kimberly Wyatt has another series of being a shoulder to cry on ahead of her.
Richard & Carlotta : Those days when people talked about Richard Blackwood as the “British Eddie Murphy”, or even the “British Will Smith” feel so long ago don’t they? Admittedly, those people were mostly Richard Blackwood, Richard Blackwood’s agent, and people who were clearly taking the piss, but it did happen. Richard has since passed through the “British Nick Cannon” and the “British Black Guy In A Soap Opera” stages of his career, all the way to the basemeny and so has landed here, as the “British Richard Blackwood”, and crowbarred into a MR LOVER MAN role which…how many people even think of Richard Blackwood like that, it’s not 1997. At any rate, Richard’s LOVER MAN credentials were burgeoned ironically enough by him turning out to be, during his hideously outfitted poot around to “Sir Duke”, a fast but wobbly and imprecise skater. You see, RB was presented as a semi-ringah based on his teenage years on the rink in Streatham, but then it turned out in fact he was only there to PULL BIRDS rather than to learn how to skate with any finesse. Such a LOVER MAN. Sadly, the only thing distracting Richard from ice-skating these days is panto, which apparently interfered mightily with his rehearsals, a fact that prompted Jason Gardiner to hilariously bore on about how he knows how tiring panto is from his years and years of doing it himself, investing it with all the gravitas and importance of the beach landings at Dunkirk. All this of course rather begging the question as to why someone who can get a regular panto gig is even here in the first place. Clearly he’s FAR too successful to do Dancing On Ice, panto is UP from here, it’s what these people aspire to! Saara Aalto would kill to play The Genie Of The Ring, stop taking up slots for people who need the work BLACKWOOD.
Saira & Mark : Not to harp on Jason’s complete unsuitability to be a Dancing On Ice judge, but on the basis of the score he gave Saira Khan here, he thinks she deserves to make the semi-finals on base level talent. Saira Khan in fact spent the routine being shoved around by Mark like a shopping trolley with a very wonky wheel, so God only knows what Jason was huffing backstage to get him through the show, maybe it was PTSD medication from his harrowing time in the trenches playing Abanazer opposite Kerry Katona in Doncaster. Saira is here as this year’s relatable Loose Woman contestant, a niche that she seems ill-suited to fill, given that I guarantee you not a single human being alive has ever related to Saira Khan ever. At BEST maybe some people admire her as a terrifying force of nature, but relatable? No. How many weeks ahead of me have I got feeling sorry for Mark Hanretty, that’s what I’m asking myself. Again. Saira was skating here to “Express Yourself” and kudos I guess for the show springing the fees to get three Loose Women (admittedly, three of the worst ones, nobody’s checking for Jane Moore when they turn this show on, let’s face it) to count her in at the beginning, whilst she lip-sync’d Madonna’s own opening to the track. Thankfully Colleen Nolan was not micc’ed up when Saira asked her if she believed in love, we could have been there all night.
Wes & Vanessa : If Mark is in for a second series in a row of misery, then Vanessa here is in clover again, having pulled the celeb who looks to be the most obviously talented non-ringah for the second year in a row. Admittedly, Wes was never a particular public favourite on Love Island, so he doesn’t quite have the obvious route to victory that Jake did last year, but on the basis of this routine, they should at least make the semis. If they don’t find themselves in a skate-off against ICE LEGEND SAIRA KHAN obviously. The modern music (sung by, yes, Ella Eyre), by far the best staging and outfits of the night (a sultry tropical island) and only the slightly bum note of the producers trying to recreate the atmosphere of the Love Island mansion campfire by setting a bin on fire in the middle of the rink marring things, the skies at the moment appear to be the limit for these two. As long as they keep Megan somewhat away from the camera, I’m just saying, I’ve nothing against her myself, I’m just saying, they finished fourth for a reason and it wasn’t him, again, I’m just saying.
Yes, I’m doing these polls for this as well, don’t look at me like that, just go with it.