WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TODAY, TO MAKE YOU FEEEEEEEEEEEEL SMALL?!
Maura Higgins & Alexander Demetriou : Those who came away from last week’s show worried about Joe Swash’s prospective potential storylines as the most whitebread unremarkable member of this year’s cast were probably relieved this week, when Maura decided to start a feud with him out of absolutely nowhere. And that’s what you get when you hire someone from Love Island I guess – automatic drama! Admittedly it was a jokey matey feud rather than anything serious, but nevertheless, Joe and Maura’s scores are now going to be pitted against one another all series regardless, just because she says so. What a queen. This week Maura got the upper hand, beating out Joe by a margin of 0.5 with a performance equally bland as his (to “Juice” by Lizzo which…let’s ease the accelerator a bit with this one guys, let’s not kill it like we did with “Sax” by Fleur East, let’s slow our rolls), but with the marginal comparative blessing of BARROWMAN behind it, which counts for a lot. Maybe he really got off on the fact she referenced Love Island by…sitting in a sun lounger for a bit (THE BUDGET!). Meanwhile, Strictly dynasty member and loyal boyfriend Curtis Pritchard sat on, 23 years old, adding Dancing On Ice to Dancing With The Stars Ireland, The Greatest Dancer, Celebrity Hunted, and Love Island on the list of reality shows he’s played at least an incidental part in. This man’s AGENT, the hardest working amongst c-tier UK reality show stars, I think so. He’s definitely going to take skating lessons from Maura, Holly, so he can do The Jump when it inevitably gets rebooted in three to four years time, CHALK ANOTHER ONE UP.
Lucrezia Millarini & Brendan Hatfield : Absolutely a pairing where I would have presumed the celebrity was the pro and the pro was the celebrity, name-wise, if you didn’t tell me otherwise. Doesn’t Lucrezia Millarini sound like a “feisty Italian” who lasts two series with Ben Price and Josh from Union J before getting the axe, and Brendan sound like some sort of minor rugby league player, I’d say so. IN REALITY she is an ITV newsreader in London and at the weekends, and he looks a bit like that one Hollyoaks gay from about a decade ago. I feel like they should give the more minor names at least an established pro, fair’s fair, come on, give us something to get hold of as a guiderope for their first routine, come on. When you find yourself adding a Tom Bradby for a bit of star power, something’s gone very wrong. When you add in the fact she committed the cardinal Dancing On Ice sin of spending enough time off the ice that even the judges noticed, she was always going to find herself facing off against TRISHA in our first skate-off. And thank you Trisha for adding a little bit of tragic glamour to that foregone conclusion, skating about in a hideous neon pink turban to “Proud” by Heather Small, or as Trisha herself had it, “Small” by Heather Proud. All the funnier for how earnestly she announced it to be honest. Lucrezia meanwhile skates on, into our first Feem Week (MUSICALS WEEK!), where hopefully she wears a silly costume or something, make me remember who she is, make her do The Lion King or something.
Kevin Kilbane & Brianne Delcourt : God bless Brioche but she doesn’t mess around does she? It’s WEEK TWO and already she and her partner are shagging. I know that Dancing On Ice has a much longer pre-series training period than Strictly does, but turning up for your first proper live show practically hanging out of one another is pretty unprecedented. Even better was the fact that the VT was somewhat focused around him coming to her house and being officially introduced to her family, the acceleration here, it gave me whiplash. Is this a Dancing On Ice partnership or a modern day adaptation of Solomon Grundy? Partnered on Monday, Shagging on Tuesday, Being Introduced To Brianne’s Daughter on Wednesday, Married On Thursday, Experimenting With A Third on Friday, Divorced on Saturday, Musicals Week Sunday? I guess there’s never any danger of being bored with the old Briannetosaurus, always invite her back, she’s a keeper. Anyway, tabloidese out of the way, Kevin is a FOOTBALLER, so his routine (to “Mr Blue Sky”) was FOOTBALL focused which…of course football and a dance discipline where you have steak knives attached to your feet isn’t really a great balance, so Brianne just choreographed an American Football themed routine and substituted a Rest Of The World football in at the last minute, the CREATIVITY! It wasn’t very good, but he grinned inanely a lot, and we all know that for blokes on these shows that’s what a performance is, hooray. I’m just here for the drama, keep them in please.
Caprice & Hamish Gaman : Now, having mentioned Curtis embarking on a career bumping along the bottom rungs of UK reality, he could well take lessons here from Caprice, who has been in the game for almost 20 years, since the very beginning, and never showed signs of letting up. Celebrity Big Brother, The Surreal Life, Celebrities Disfigured, Celebrities Under Pressure, Three Celebrities & A Baby, Road Raja, Project Catwalk, Britain’s Next Top Model, Style Wars, Celebrity Come Done With Me, Splash, The Jump, Celebs On The Farm, the list stretches off to the horizon. Caprice is officially a grizzled veteran at this game, she knows what she’s here to do, she’s here to be the demanding American, and there she was, hand-picking her pro from the off and in training playing the spoiled…well probably not princess anymore, spoiled DUCHESS, there we go. Hopefully Curtis is watching, taking notes, and ready to similarly play his own niche (fusty young fogie) across every platform her can get until pensionable age. Which, of course, for a dancer outside of reality shows is about 34. Much like Lisa last week, Caprice was put in the role of female front-runner (ish) via a slow romantic routine (Lewis Capaldi doing his John Lewis cover of Dragostea Din Tei) although unlike Lisa she seemed to struggle with the lifts, by which I mean even Hamish’s collection of brawny lengthy limbs couldn’t keep her from lingering in the air like a deflating parade float. Not that it stopped the judges proclaiming her graceful, elegant, classy and regal, which of course has very much been Caprice’s brand all these years. Stick around long enough and it’ll happen I guess…
Radzi Chinyanganya & Jessica Hatfield : A lot of talk here about how Radzi feels as the Super Sub for Michael Barrymore, with the latter turning up at the rink to hover around ominously and mumble out his benediction (is Michael Barrymore’s presence something I wanted around for an entire series? Not so much), with Radzi saying that everything he does on the show is now “for Michael” (why?). Not so much about how Jessica feels about also winning in the injury lottery given that she didn’t even have a celebrity until Michael tupped himself over (oh, and if you were worried this week was going to be lacking in injury porn in comparison to last week’s heights, we were asked to sit through Vanessa Bauer ploughing face first into a wall and giving herself concussion AND shown Trisha falling on her bum last week TWICE. IN SLOW MOTION!). Anyway, as substitute stints go, we weren’t exactly in Zaraah Abraham territory here, as Radzi did some impressive jumps and twizzles, but moved between each one with the grace and confidence of someone trialling out Barbie’s First RollerBlades suitable for ages 5-8. The song choice? “Cake By The Ocean”, which as first dances go (with a rather bizarre Saved By The Bell ish 90s jazz squiggle theme) did rather invite comparisons to Danny Mac that the routine didn’t really warrant. Maybe things will improve once his nerves settle down and he doesn’t have Michael looming large in the background the whole time, who knows?
Libby Clegg & Mark Hanretty : Another week, another judge weeping at an Inspirational Pimp Slot Performance, with Christopher Dean blubbing that he wished that Libby could see herself the way the judges can see her. Which I guess was a cod-poetic attempt to address the fact that Libby is skating whilst legally registered as blind, having only peripheral vision and only in one eye, but nobody ever said that this show’s attempts at Emotional Content weren’t clumsy, we all remember Johnson Beharry, goodness me. Admittedly, skating around the ice is marginally more of a daunting feat than spending 90 seconds in the company of H From Steps without lamping him one, but hopefully we’ll be back to business as usual next week, and less wailing from the judging panel! Or at least one not featuring Karen Barber. Libby was skating here to “Reet Petite” and certainly if you’d not been told I don’t think you’d have identified her as having a significant disability based on her performance, so well done to her and the choreographer and Dancing On Ice hoorah. Hopefully her path through the competition continues through some of the more difficult challenges to come, by which of course I mean the bullshit wacky theme weeks. GET READY FOR THE ULTIMATE SKILLS PROP CHALLENGE WITH FLYING LOVE WEEK!