As I was getting ready to watch this week’s episode of Skating With Celebrities, I found myself wondering how on earth Fox planned on filling an entire hour with three routines. I also began wondering what sorts of horrifyingly lame filler I was going to have to
fast-forwardsit through. There’s only so much of Scott Hamilton’s witty banter (fiction) that I can take. Summer Sanders = not witty, even while delivering so-called “witty” remarks off of the teleprompter.
Last week, the viewers all breathed a sigh of relief after Nancy and Dave were eliminated. Honestly, after that drag incident, I was starting to worry about what might be coming down the road as far as costume choices. It’s not a huge leap from a bouffant and a dress to assless chaps and a muzzle. Not that I would know anything about that. Also last week: Bruce did a header into the ice and ended up with stitches and a bitchin’ shiner, Jillian wore very little clothing and Kristy and Lloyd posted a high score and avoided any more moves where Kristy’s head smacks the ice.
This week, Scott and Summer tell us, the rules change! This is only the fifth episode, so I wasn’t really attached to the rules anyway. Each team will still skate their routine and the judges will score them, as usual. Then, in order to fill the remaining 30 minutes of the show, the two lowest scoring teams will have a skate off. I jump up and down, clapping, as I hear this! I have no idea what a skate off will entail, but it sounds very dramatic, although it would probably be more butch if it didn’t involve sequins and fringe. In the skate off, one team will skate to the first half of a song and then the other team will take over and skate the last half. Sadly, there are no knives or chains involved. My hopes for a girl fight are quickly going down the drain. The judges will then choose the team they want to stay – no scores, just the name of the winner. Also new this week: there is no theme and the judges are making the music selections.
Since this is the fifth week of the show, the celebs are pretty banged up. Bruce’s entire body looks like one big bruise. They’re all working hard to add new skills and stay in the competition. As always, there is a new skill that must be added to the routines. This week, the skill is a one- footed glide with a change of direction. They also still have to perform the skills from the previous weeks, including side-by-side jumps and a three-revolution spin. It’s a veritable Pu Pu Platter of skating skills, people. Summer and Scott explain that the judges are picking the music this week to force the teams outside of their comfort zones.
John and Jillian
Based on the judges’ comments last week, John and Jillian doubled their ice time. This is no simple feat and they’re having trouble working around Jill’s hectic schedule. She’s already getting up at 4:00 a.m. to do her morning show during the week and she works Sundays doing the NFL show. Not only is she working nonstop, her injuries are piling up. Jillian’s schedule and her physical problems are making practice tough. Has the pace of the show taken its toll? Let’s watch and find out, shall we?
Both clad in black, John and Jillian skate to Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.” Although her top looks pretty secure, Jill’s costume bottom is so low that I spent the entire routine waiting for it to hit the ice. They really should put some suspenders on her. This is a family show, people. John is wearing black from head to toe and he looks good. Well, if nothing else, this show has helped reaffirm my own heterosexuality. Seriously, John is completely covered and I still think he’s the sexist thing on the ice. He could wear a cassock and I’d still be drooling. You know he’d work that cassock. *nods knowingly*
Where was I? Oh yeah, so they’re still skating. They do a lift or two and some dancing while standing still, which I, as a rule, hate. Once John and Jill get moving again, they do side-by-side split jumps, leading into another jump. They’re still good and Jill is so solid on her skates. It’s a pretty good routine, although I recognize a lot of the moves from their previous routines. I don’t know how much of this is actually new stuff. Still, it’s a good routine. They end with Jill on John’s hip with her legs wrapped around him and, once again, I realize that I, myself, have made a serious vocational error. She probably got paid for this too.
The judges say:
Mark Lund : I’m not sure everyone in the audience is going to be clapping after this. You were still hot this time, but I was only semi-charmed instead of fully-charmed. The purpose of skating a program of a different tempo is to show variety. Your spins and jump combo and other skills were the same as in your last performance. It’s not bad, it’s just not variety. Score: 9.2 / 9.2
Dorothy Hamill : I thought it was very ambitious. You’ve really picked up the technical aspect. You’ve improved so much. I can’t find anything bad to say. Score: 9.3 / 9.3
John Nicks: So musical. So smooth. A choreographic gem. I couldn’t find a mistake….however, very there was little difficulty. Your competitors have tried throw jumps, one armed lifts and death spirals – you did none of these things. You have wonderful potential and perhaps one of these days you’ll get to it. Score: 9.1 / 9.3
Total score: 55.4
Bruce and Tai
Scott’s lucky that Bruce likes him because the “old man” jokes continue this week. Seriously, he’d better hope Bruce is still feeling all warm and fuzzy: Bruce could jackhammer Scott into the ice with one hand. Last week, Bruce and Tai came close to being eliminated after Bruce guided Tai right off the ice. This was unfamiliar territory for them, since they’d previously been at the head, or at least the middle of the pack. They know they need to kick things up a notch to stay in the competition. Because Bruce and Tai have to skate to a faster tempo of music, they’ll have to work on their speed and power and add some new moves. Tai is feeling overwhelmed by the pace of the show, but she doesn’t want to let type-A Bruce down.
The tempo has definitely sped up this week. Bruce and Tai skate to Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69” and yet, if I mute it, they could still be skating to some cheesy ballad. Everything seems very slooooow. Maybe it’s just in comparison to the other two teams. They do a good lift – not above the head, it’s certainly good for an amateur. Even though it seems a bit slow, it’s a lot faster than previous weeks. Bruce even gets his groove on a little bit with some dance moves – which they do while moving thankyouverymuch. Once again, they try that move where Tai glides around the ice and Bruce guides her. This time, she stays on the ice (vs. wandering off into the audience or something). They do some spins to finish and high five each other. Cue Scott with a pithy “fine wine” comment.
The judges say:
John Nicks : Bruce I thought you looked a little more secure tonight. The number interpreted the music better. You look as though you enjoyed it. Tai, you’re moving, you’re smiling, you’re beautiful and all we do is watch you – that’s not what pairs skating is about and my mark will reflect that. Score: 8.9 / 9.0
Mark Lund: Improved tempo and speed this week. BUT, there seemed to be a lack of choreography. A pair team should have a nice signature item. The death spiral you did a few weeks ago was really good. Score: 9.0 / 9.1
Dorothy Hamill: You do those of us in middle age America proud. Bruce, you just look so solid lifting Tai. I love that you kicked it up a notch. Tai, you’re perfect. Score: 9.2 / 9.2
Total score: 54.4 – their personal best for the season
Kristy and Lloyd
Kristy and Lloyd have been spending lots of time together and it’s been paying off. Last week, their routine was one of their best. They just keep getting closer. Kristy says they have a brother-sister relationship and similar senses of humor. Lloyd says that compatibility is key for pairs teams and they’ve been drawing on that to make their programs better and more difficult. Kristy admits that there is an element of danger in skating but says that she completely trusts Lloyd….which means that like whack on the noggin’ the other week ago is forgotten. If it had been me, I’d have started performing in a crash helmet.
Black seems to be the order of the night as Kristy and Lloyd slow things down and skate to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.” They’ve skated to faster-paced music in every other show, but they seem well-suited to this slower pace. I’m totally amazed at Kristy’s improvement. They do a spiral sequence with a position very similar to the one in the first week where Kristy looked very unstable. This week, it looks great. They do the usual lifts and jumps and move really well together. It definitely seems like that chemistry has kicked in too. They end in an embrace and I half expect them to kiss. Is it hot in here?
The judges say:
Dorothy Hamill: The connection was there. It was hot. It was sexy. It was seamless. I loved it! I loved it! I loved it! Score: 9.5 / 9.6
Mark Lund: I’ve covered skating for so many years. There are so few programs that inspire me and make me think “Wow, figure skating is really a truly great sport” You two are a prime example of that tonight. Wonderful job. Score: 9.8 / 9.8
John Nicks: Kristy, I was really impressed with those spirals. The goal with a spiral is to have your leg above 90 degrees and you did that and more. I think it was rather a pity that Lloyd couldn’t do the same thing. You’re a very strong man Lloyd and you have a good, athletic approach. She’s following your lead much better than she used to and I hope you continue to lead her in the right direction.
Score: 9.5 / 9.8
Total score: 58.0
This is by far the highest score of the night. Kristy quickly begins taking her skates off – they’re moving on to the finals and will get to kick back and watch the skate-off
It’s a Skate-Off! (*cue cheesy rumble-style music!*)
John and Jillian will skate against Bruce and Tai for a spot in next week’s final. Scott talks to both teams backstage. They all say they plan to bring it and show what they can do. Oddly, it looks like Scott, Bruce and Tai are standing on a riser, so they tower over John and Jillian, who look like they’ve been shrunk. Weird. Scott probably loved it.
In the skate off, each team will get the chance to show their stuff. Although there won’t be any actual scores, the judges will take both of tonight’s performances into account when deciding who will stay. Jill and John will skate first. The song is Smashmouth’s “Walking on the Sun.” They skate well and look great together. They do a few lifts and spins and, soon enough, it’s time for Bruce and Tai to skate. Looks like they took Mark’s advice because they do a death spiral. They skate much better here than they did earlier and the skills are a little more difficult. Bruce told us earlier that they knew they would be in the skate off, so it looks like they saved a little something for this routine. John and Jillian skate back on the ice and they all finish the routine together. Everyone hugs and congratulates each other. Seriously, could we please get some fighting? These people are annoyingly nice. You just know it’s not all flowers and hearts when the cameras are off.
The judges say:
Mark Lund: You don’t make this easy!
John and Jillian: Wonderful opening footwork. I’d like to see you connect more
Bruce and Tai: Wonderful. Great death spiral
John and Jillian: In my opinion, you’re the best skaters the competition, but here you are here fighting to stay in. I don’t understand
Bruce and Tai: Wonderful death spiral. I understand why you’re the sentimental favorites in this competition. However, as you know, sentimentality doesn’t affect my judgment.
Dorothy Hamill: Both couples were the best I’ve seen you in the competition.
John and Jillian: You’re so hot together and you’ve come so far. The first piece tonight was missing the connection and the sexiness but it was definitely there in the skate off.
Bruce and Tai: I love you both. You’re classic and timeless, like fine wine. It’s hard to find anything critical to say. Bruce, it’d be nice to see you smile a little once in a while and look like you’re enjoying yourself.
After a quick commercial break, Scott stands with the results in hand. To no ones surprise, Jill and John move on (whew!) and will take on Kristy and Lloyd in the finals.
Summer tells Bruce and Tai what a privilege it was to have them be a part of it. Bruce thanks Randy, their choreographer (and Tai’s long-time partner), and Tai. Scott thanks Tai for all her hard work. Cue the American Idol-style clip of their “journey” on the show. Lots of falling and ice packs. The audience gives Bruce and Tai a standing ovation and chant “Bruce!” as they say goodbye. Tai wipes her teary eyes….and so do I <-----proof of my soft, gushy center
And then there were two….well, four really. Whatever. You know what I mean.
The finale is in two weeks (mark your calendars and program your Tivo!). The entire cast will return and the winner is decided!
Studying for my Zamboni driving license…..Critical@fansofrealitytv.com