After commentator Tony Gubba remarked that the first four weeks of the series had only seen female celebs being voted off, it was an all male skate-off as Eastenders star Matt Lapinskas took on Shayne Ward. Matt took a tumble as the shocked judges looked on, Karen Barber and Matt both shedding tears, with even Phillip Schofield remarking, “Here’s two names I didn’t think I’d be saying at this stage of the competition, it’s Matt and Shayne in the skate-off.”
The surprise around the rink was clear. Karen dubbed it “ a skate-off which should never have been,” but with Karen, Ashley Roberts and Robin Cousins in agreement it’s Matt who is safe to skate another week… not without a little jab from Jason Gardiner who saved Shayne after remarking, “In my opinion, a skate-off needs to be perfect”.
It was a show of shocks all round as ‘The Leveller’ separated the men from the boys, or rather the skaters from their partners, as the celebs embarked on a solo 30 second self-choreographed skate. After last week’s headbanger success, Coronation Street actress Samia Ghadie found herself joint bottom on the leader board with a mark of 18. She claimed she struggled to skate by herself, and that she was nervous “every second” she was on the ice. Of course presenter Phillip Schofield couldn’t let a golden opportunity like that go by joking, “Samia and Sylvain split, but only for 30 seconds, don’t worry.”
But it was Olympic gold medalist Beth Tweddle who blew the competition wide open, scoring a whopping 30.5, landing her top spot on the scoreboard and all but reducing judge Jason to tears. Admitting he has been tough on her (a bit of an understatement), Jason congratulated Beth for marrying her technical brilliance with emotion. Phillip, all about the romance tonight, joked, “I thought you were going to snog at the beginning!”
Boxing champ Luke Campbell also impressed the judges this week. After being shown arguing with his partner Jenna for not listening, he pulled it together for the live show. Performing to One Direction’s Little Things, Karen said Luke’s smile could melt anyone’s heart, even Jason’s it seems after Jason revealed that he thought the performance was “wholesome” and that Luke’s emotion was “genuine”. For that, Luke bagged a perky 23.5.
Shayne had managed to get judge Ashley Roberts a little hot under the collar in his original performance. Skating to Tom Jones’s Mama Told Me Not To Come Ashley gushed, “I never thought I’d be turned on by a man in a pink bedazzled shirt”, with Jason confirming, “We love to see this cheeky chappy side to you”. Oo-er! Shayne himself admitted he was devastated to be in the bottom two after his best performance so far.
More surprises came as Christopher Dean took a playful turn on Jayne Torvill this evening. Following Robin’s thoughts that Shayne looked more confident when skating solo (didn’t do him much good, eh?), Chris quipped, “Have more abandon. Don’t bother about her, I don’t.” Let’s hope Jayne kicked him in a few places during their performance to Jack Johnson’s Better When We’re Together – their first solo performance of the series (about time!).
Gareth Thomas continued to impressl, taking on the judges’ previous comments to earn a 27.5 and even though he landed himself in the skate-off, Matt and partner Brianne Delcourt wowed judges with their routine to the first piece of classical music ever to be used on the show – going all Black Swan on us in feathers and dramatic eye make up, earning a score of 28.
Gareth in contrast turned into a Welsh Frank Sinatra on ice, upping the cool factor with a swanky Michael Buble track, smart suit and fedora hat. Jason described Gareth’s performance as “oozing loads of sex appeal” before all four judges criticised his left hand for looking like both a “wet fish” and a “bunch of bananas” in a weird moment of simultaneous flapping and some monkey impersonations from Jason.
Comedian Joe Pasquale clearly thought this was going to be the week for him to get away from that bottom spot, earning shed loads of praise from partner Vicky in training, going as far as to describe himself as a “skating ninja”. Karen rained on his parade though saying, “I wouldn’t go that far”. Karen was probably right to mock though after Joe almost fell during an Austin Powers style routine to Hippy Hippy Shake, which the judges agreed had “far too much shake and not enough hippy.” Karen mocked, “I’ve been working with you all week and half of that routine I didn’t even recognise”. Joe started trying to defend himself with talk of his bunion and it was at this point that we retreated behind the sofa for fear he might whip it out.
Keith Chegwin earned yet another nickname, being dubbed a “loveable little butterball” by Ashley, while Tony Gubba stuck the knife in, joking that Keith should be auditioning for Casualty after it was revealed he’d suffered breathing difficulties from a sore rib. But it was smiles all round for Cheggers after he skipped the skate-off, which he’d joked had become the Keith and Olga 9 ‘o’ clock show.
Next week will see Matt Lapinskas, Keith Chegwin, Beth Tweddle, Gareth Thomas, Joe Pasquale, Luke Campbell and Samia Ghadie battle it out for skating survival.