First ever same-sex couple on a dancing show globally to be an unpopular mid-series boot! MAKING HISTORY!
Joe & Alex 2.0 : Yet another Theme Week tonight, as Dancing On Ice did “Dance Week”. This meant that every performance was modelled after a very specific type of dance. Or era of dance. Or vague scent of dance. An outfit. A mood. Joe’s ball down the lottery tube of dance was “disco” which was of course an opportunity for highly flammable trousers, ugly afro wigs, and a fake ginger moustache that looked a bit like it was pulled out of Patsy Palmer’s shower drain. Joe’s get-up was in fact so naff that it caused “dad dancing” to spread out amongst the entire show like a pandemic. Joe was a dad dancer, Phillip was a dad dancer, Holly was an admitted dad dancer… everyone claimed honorary status until Ashley Banjo was declaring himself a dad dancer and the whole concept became meaningless. And then Joe scored straight 8s for his performance, which comprised of indifferently lifted moves from every 70s John Travolta film, forward rolls ON ICE, and at least three moments where he nearly fell over. So even more meaningless. (Fun Fact – of tonight’s 28 individual judges scores, 23 of them were either 7.5, 8 or 8.5. BOLD VIBRANT DISTINCT MARKING). Oh and to put the cherry on the sundae of daddery, Joe’s other son turned up this week to support him, which just shows how entrenched Joe is in this competition. He could have continued to boost the baby in the cute ear defenders but NO, he brought out the slightly awkward teenager, and kudos for that.
H & Matt : So in the week that Phillip Schofield tearily came out on This Morning – H & Matt were plonked in the death slot, hoofed down to the bottom of the leaderboard, damned with incredibly faint praise including ANOTHER round of tonal Skate Mom coaching from BARROWMAN (“be more edgy!”) (seriously, this week more than ever you could see BARROWMAN constantly thinking “now if *I* was in this partnership, I would simply (x), be incredibly popular and win”), shunted into the skate-off, and then unceremoniously out the door. It’s almost as though the show suddenly found a fresher, and more importantly, far more *ITV* Big Gay Storyline to focus on, with Ashley Banjo paying tribute to Phillip’s courage and heroism. Not that H & Matt went out without a fight, by which I mean they did an EXACT lift of Faye’s Couples Choice routine from Strictly, except without any of the weirdness that made it so thrilling, passive-aggressively complained about their scores, and then crashed through their exit speech, proclaiming themselves to be the real winners in the eyes of so many people around the world (lol) and snapping “STRICTLY, YOU’RE NEXT!”. Hopefully the Strictly Producers were watching the very warmly received same-sex couples on this week’s Dancing With The Stars Ireland, rather than…well, this mess. Y’know, inspiration wise.
Libby & Mark : Fully recovered from her bout of Uncontrollable Sickness Bug (or so they told the show’s insurers), Libby got “salsa” as her dance, which meant that she got to be the latest celebrity this year to struggle being sexy with their professional partner…for all of about 5 seconds of VT time before we went right back to saying that she has only peripheral vision again. The show seems to genuinely discover this for the first time every single week bless it, I feel like we’re on Fifty First Dates ON ICE. The angle this week was that Mark has created his own Language Of Skating for Libby, wherein he says a number and she knows what move she has to do. This was presented as being in some manner due to her impaired vision, when of course on Strictly all the pros are yelling “FISH AND CHIPS! CHEESE ON TOAST! SPAGHETTI ALLA PUTTANESCA WITH A SIDE OF BREADED MUSHROOMS AND A LIME INFUSED AIOLI!” as “instruction” constantly because they think it’s cute. Libby’s salsa? Reasonably fun, slightly undermined by a little dose of “so I hear you’ve danced salsa before?” “YEAH BUT AGES AGO” ringah-shuffle afterwards.
Lisa & Dr Tom : Lisa’s dance? Charleston. I know. Did we need another week of Lisa charging around gurning her head off, from my perspective, not really. Week 1, when they let her be elegant and romantic and…well, likable…so long ago now isn’t it? And Dr Tom is fast entering the Schlongchambon Zone of “physically present, mentally absent” as well, and it’s only his first series. To Lisa’s credit, she didn’t seem very much incredibly more enthused to dance Charleston than I did to watch her do it, as she proclaimed it to be a stupid dance, right to Jenny Thomas’ face. Yes, THE Jenny Thomas. The Queen Of Charleston and Salsa and also Gangnam Styles. Said reluctance translated directly to Lisa’s performance, as she did “Hot Honey Rag” at 1/4 speed, almost sliding out of the bottom of every single lift she attempted, with absolutely no enthusiasm. I mean we can all debate the merits of the Charleston from here til sundown, but you do NOT disrespect Hot Honey Rag with that sort of half-hearted sludging ON ICE, I’m sorry. Of course…she’s still in Coronation Street, so her vote still held up just fine.
Perri & Vanessa : SCANDAL for Perri this week, as his pre-skate VT went where VTs rarely go on this sort of programme – discussing judges BLATANT overmarking, as a bunch of tweets flashed up all talking about the moment last week that Perri fell over mid-routine, which went entirely unmentioned by the judges. To be fair, I too had mistaken Perri’s wipeout for a moment of exuberant CHOREOGRAPHICAL PASSION and DRAMA rather than what it was – falling on yer arse – so it was easily done. We all know I love a good fall over, I was sorry not to see it for the capital M moment it was at the time. And mean tweeters weren’t the only ones calling Perri out, as Maura skated in to his training room to give him a good poke and prod. How wise it is of Maura to try to start an on-ice rivalry with Perri having so comprehensively lost one with Joe Flippin’ Swash, I’ll leave you to debate. This week Perri got the jive, and if you were wondering “is it wise to attempt to do jive kicks on ice?” you can rest assured the answer was “no, no it isn’t, but they’ll give him 9.5s anyway”. To be honest, I didn’t really find any of this particularly fun to watch, for a change, maybe I was too distracted by the attempts to give him an Elvis pompadour that ended up looking more like a beehive made of shellac.
Ben & Carlotta : A dream died for me this week, as my secret hope that The Magician Who Wasn’t Even Supposed To Be On The Show And Who Nobody Has Heard Of would emerge from the rolling disaster of this show’s attempts to build compelling tv as somehow popular, withered on the vine, and he landed in the skate-off against H. It’s hard to tell whether giving him Morris Dancing as his genre was an attempt to bury him under nonsense or to give him something standout, quirky, and fun to do to help his personality shine, but it ultimately ended up being a lot of hopping up and down and waving hankies about the maypole. Would this have all gone down better done as a Midsommar themed dance in Movie Week, culminating in Ben being sewn into a bear outfit and set on fire? I think so, he could have MAGICALLY escaped or something, it would have been great. Fortunately for Ben, H’s ongoing presence is no longer required (and how!), and he gets to carry on to whatever theme they’re pulling out next week, Murder Mystery Week or whatever. Carlotta meanwhile has to decide whether she’s going to make good on her promise to bring morris dancing to Canada. I suspect not.
Maura & Alex : The last dancing type out of the machine here was FLAMENCO, by which I mean Maura certainly did wear a red outfit and skated to Santa Esmerelda. All of this frippery was clearly an attempt to get Maura to push outside of herself, connect with her inner diva, overcome her nerves, and set fire to the dancefloor with flaming latin passions. And then that wasn’t enough, so they had her do the Headbanger as well. To Maura’s credit, given that the last five weeks have seen her projecting various degrees of gibbering wreck, she grabbed the Headbanger with both hands, quite happy to hand her fate over to Alex’s wrists and a crash helmet. And indeed, the Headbanger was the most dramatic moment of the routine by far, albeit entirely for the fact that Maura entered and exited it sprawled out seductively on the floor, writhing around like an itchy mermaid, rather than the thing itself, which let’s just say it was significantly assisted visually by the fact that they’d sewn an absolutely MASSIVE ponytail into Maura’s weave. I’m not even sure her actual head moved, that motion was all hair. Not enough to get her past Joe, and CERTAINLY not Perri, but enough to push her into the top half of this year’s cast hooray.
1. Radzi Chinyanganya – I’m A Believer
2. Kevin Kilbane – Cheek To Cheek