In which everyone gets the best score they’ve ever got ever ever ever even if they fall flat on their face, skid across half the rink on their face and then don’t get up for about 5 seconds and then when they do get up they just do a wave.
James & Alexandra : So what I apparently missed last weekend, whilst I was busy amusing myself on Youtube by watching Melody smash her way out of an AMA dressing room with a hatchet to yell melisma in Nicole Scherzinger’s dumb face, is that they’re running a “me nerves/stage fright/low confidence” storyline with James Jordan, which ok? 13 years of evidence in the public eye would suggest otherwise, but whatever works for you, Dancing On Ice producers. Anyway, the idea here was that James now finally, via his own experiences, understands what all of his celebrities went through on Strictly, and decided to discuss this with…his wife. Ola did a mock cry and recommended he drink a can of “Tuffenuff” (which the Jordans say a lot and which always just sounds like they’re telling people to get drunk for Dutch Courage which, to be honest, I would not be opposed to), which I’m sure fans of the Jordan Domestic Dynamic found very amusing, but how much more fun would this have been if they’ve actually got a former contestant in to get REVENGE? It’d probably end up being Denise because she’s an ITV property these days but how much would you pay to have Alex Jones cackle at James’ weaknesses, or for Georgina Thingy to lob a Mars Bar at the back of his head through his kitchen window? HECK HAVE DR HAMELA STEVENSON GIVE HIM THERAPY SESSIONS! THIS SHIT WRITES ITSELF! Anyway, James went out and skated a perfectly competent and quite dull routine to “Land Of 1000 Dances” doing the mashed potato during the mashed potato bit, the watusi during the watusi bit, and the Connecticut Banana during I don’t know when because I just made it up. Do you know what I think it needed to push it over the edge into pure dance magic? Some stage hand awkwardly shuffling a prop wall about in the background. ART! (The judges then told James they couldn’t tell the difference between him and his pro in the routine, before reeling off a long list of technical faults. I’m sure Alexandra would have been fuming if the pros were ever allowed to speak/show personality/have independent thoughts on this show any more)
Saara & Hamish : Speaking of Strictly, remember when Pixie Lott pulled the whole “oh I’m so busy busy busy, I’m such a star, aren’t I great, deftly balancing my rehearsal schedule for this little old reality show with my exceptionally busy busy busy showbiz life of turning up for award shows and product launches and other beanos where you just sit around accumulating glasses of champagne!” and nobody liked her for the next month? Well this week Saara pulled the same thing, with Hamish gushing over Saara’s frantic schedule of…going to the NTAs? Please God don’t try to persuade me that Saara Aalto is particularly busy in the year of our lord 2019, she just isn’t. It was no surprise therefore to see her, off the back of a duff VT, and the death slot, and a fairly bland Tampax advert of a routine where she emerged from a big old pink flower and hoof-doof’ed around glued to Hamish to Clean Bandit, suffer the ignominy of being the first of our supposed frontrunners to stack it into the skate-off, from 4th on the leaderboard. Kudos to Ashley Banjo as a judge (and that’s the first and last time I’ll be saying that) for low scoring her, and very subtly implying that there was just something missing this week compared to last week but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Hopefully Saara takes the hint and loudly sings through all of her performances from now on, backwards. Nobody will care about her wonky brackets then. (Also congratulations to Hamish on being cast in Saara’s music video for “Let It Go”, where he will be playing her skating coach. As much of a stretch for him as trying to fit into the trousers they’d hot glue’d him into this week I’m sure)
Ryan & Brandee : INJURY PORRRRRRRRRN! And even better, it was an injury to the groin, so his entire VT featured him lying there wearing a towel over his lower portions whilst a woman kept on poking her fingers up there. Then Karen came and sat on him. At any rate, Ryan got a bye to next week, which is probably what put Saara into the skate-off, I hope she wrecks his groin even worse.
Didi & Lukasz : Well, after Grease and Mary Poppins, who knew that the next and last iconic movie Didi would be assaying the lead of would be Rocky III? Yes, apparently Didi’s LA lifestyle encompasses boxing lessons to fill the parts of her day not packed with sipping cocktails by the pool and counting the residuals from the one film she was in once, so we got an entire routine based around her training in the gym to fight Mr T, which I don’t know about you, but that’s a fight that I would for sure watch, maybe for Sports Relief. This meant two things – firstly that Lukasz was in a mesh vest and looking like an absolute snack, and secondly Didi’s routine was mostly her doing press-ups and flinging air punches around rather than actually skating. Whether this was the reason she found herself in the skate-off, or if it was people clocked that she was wearing a Pink Ladies outfit ready for her Save Me Skate and were salivating at the prospect of Beauty School Dropout (which, we were denied of, because she instead performed to Isn’t She Lovely? or My Girl or Why Do Fools Fall In Love? or any one of the songs they make older ladies perform to inappropriately on these shows, I forget which one it was), she is now sat at home, and to be honest, sounded glad to be out of it. With the continuing (relative) (to The Greatest Dancer) success of this series, I wonder which Hollywood A-Lister they’ll get next year? The guy that Bill Murray calls dickless in Ghostbusters? The Sherminator? The “I’ll Have What She’s Having” lady from When Harry Met Sally? An ewok?
Gemma & Matt : A contrite Gemma this week, as the producers neatly edited out both her accusing Jason of selling stories on her last week and the fact that he threatened to sue over it (don’t try it mate, you’re no Nancy Dell’Olio), and instead showed Gemma meakly blaming everything bad she ever did on her “GC” alter-ego and apologising at her mother’s feet for embarrassing the family by not really trying. Her mother being VERY MUCH Gemma Collins’ mother, pulling focus by appearing on camera with her entire body subsumed under a giant pink cape, looking a bit like Sally Morgan Star Psychic heading up the council of elders in a bad episode of Star Trek. And so, absolved, we were free to move on to Gemma providing a much more wholesome variation on the wacky antics she was cast to provide – her falling flat on her face to Celine Dion doing Jim Steinman. And let’s be clear, this wasn’t a trip, this wasn’t a stumble, this wasn’t your usual tasteful Dancing On Ice dink on your bum then back up again with an awkward grin. This was a full on 90 degree “headbutting the ice” smashdown. I actually yelled “OH MY GOD SHE’S DEAD!” and I don’t do that lightly. I’ve seen people speculate as to whether it was on purpose or not but, frankly, who cares? All physical comedians should commit to pratfalls with the gusto of Gemma Collins, I remember when she was on Celebrity Splash and she smashed into the water so hard she was left with a bruise the size of a tea saucer on her titty. That’s entertainment, watch and learn Lee Evans.
Melody & Alex : Remember last week when I said that Melody probably shouldn’t be trying the headbanger given the all-purpose mess she made of her entire West Side Story routine. Well forget that, because out of the care of Dr Kimberly Wyatt : Licensed Girlband Psychotherapist, and instead relying on her thoroughly disinterested sister Skyping in and saying “yeah, sure, headbanger, do whatever, have you asked mum what she wants for her birthday yet?”, Melody full on skated out there to Fleur East’s one song and did not only a non-mussed up Detroiter AND the Headbanger, she threw in a whirlybird for free (I don’t know if that’s what it’s called, I don’t trust any commentator not named Gubba to give me the proper name for things any more, she grabbed one of her skates and then Alex 3.0 flung her around his head like an Olympic hammer thrower). She also cried at least twice that I noticed in her VT, possibly more. Does Melody From The Pussycat Dolls in fact have a death wish, I can’t wait to find out, what’s one higher than a headbanger? Is her showdance skate just going to be her going around blindfolded whilst juggling knives and crying? To “Don’t Stop Me Now”? I hope so.
Wes & Vanessa : First of all, let us all recognise the great sacrifice both Wes and Megan made this week, as they broke up their relationship very much in public, in order to allow Wes a fighting chance of getting through the series with at least SOME of his narrative in the press being about his skating. That they did so by repurposing Chris & Gwynnie’s infamous “conscious uncoupling” statement, but with the word “children” replaced with the word “hamster”? All the better. Free of the shackles of Megan’s wanton sexuality and sharp temper, Wes was free to skate a romantic routine with Vanessa to Harry Styles’ one song whilst wearing a frilly ruffled blouson. Do they have much chemistry? No, not really. Is he still incredibly sloppy doppy, stumbling over his feet repeatedly and at one point forgetting his steps, biffing the technical skating to such a degree that his lowest score actually came from the Torvill & Dean hivemind? Yes, he is. But it’s a start in terms of really carving his way to a potential run at finishing second maybe, and that’s the best really I think he can feasibly hope for at this point. Although good for him getting a showbiz “passing the torch” benediction from James Jordan in his VT this week, presumably hoping to curse him out of existence like he did Richard Blackwood during Musicals Week via irrelevance. Any tactic is worth a go and let’s face it, Love Island celebs are the future, out of the way TALENTED PEOPLE.
Brian & Alex : Also struggling a little bit with his romantic softer side this week was Brian, although at least with Wes he has the excuse of not being a seasoned performer in any way, and of course the fact that his claim to fame is Love Island, where absolutely nothing legitimately romantic has ever happened, ever. Brian meanwhile is trying to push on us that he has a hard time performing sappy ballads when he SPENT OVER HALF A DECADE IN FLIPPING WESTLIFE. Play “With Or Without You” for three solid hours and you barely get the same volume of sap that’s condensed into three seconds of “Fool Again”. Everyone standing around laughing at the very idea of Brian gazing romantically into somebody’s eyes when it took Westlife fourteen single releases before they even got close to an original uptempo number, and even then it was BOP BOP BABY. I guess he was marginally less constipated looking this week than he was in Week 1, so it’s all progress, every week is an improvement.
Saira & Mark : I read a press interview with Saira this week where she managed to crowbar in the fact that she has kids into four of her first five answers, and not one of the questions was about having kids. Saira’s kids appeared about 8 seconds into her VT this week. I’ve got nothing against these people grasping hold of whatever gimmick it takes to keep themselves in the show, but we’re a long way from the unstoppable, undivertable, unshuttupable business shark of The Apprentice. Anyway, as a role model to her kids, Saira spent most of her VT this week clinging to Mark and crying and wailing about having to do things on her own, a month into the show, so there we are. Credit to her though, of everyone who the judges and hosts spent bigging up this week as having done their BEST! SKATE! YET!, Saira most obviously actually did, showing great improvement via the medium of doing literal choreography to Total Eclipse Of The Heart. When Bonnie said TURN AROUND, she TURNED AROUND. When Bonnie said HOLD ME TIGHT she HELD ON TIGHT to Mark. When Bonnie sang about SHADOWS she SHADOWED her partner. I don’t remember the lyrics in Total Eclipse where Bonnie yelled “DO A HALF-HEARTED SPLITS!” but the album version is seven minutes long, I’m sure it’s in there somewhere.
Jane & Sylvain : Bless Jane, I’m sure she’s a lovely person and a talented actress, but she’s not exactly reality tv gold. Week upon week you can feel her personality dwindling away, and it’s not as though she was starting from off the 10m board. It’s not as though the show didn’t do her best this week – having WACKY FUNSTER Brian in her VT to try to poke some life out of her, giving her her second routine in a row to a track also utilised by QUEEN OF PERSONALITY Stacey Dooley, accompanied by Sylvain dressed as Bang Bang Bart, in the pimp slot, with a full cowboy set, all topped off with Jason needling away at her dayjob talent for the second week in a row. And what did Jane do? Totter around gamely but awkwardly like she was on Star For A Night, losing her balance and singularly failing to get up to ride Sylvain bareback around the floor ([PUNCHLINE REDACTED]) and then brush Jason’s criticism off with an “yeah alright fair comment I guess”. They even left her til last to be called safe, for the second week in a row, and barely a flicker. Hopefully there are better things to come in Fairytale Week, but at this rate it feels like Jane is going to be the first reality tv contestant to beige themselves out of existence.