The theme for Skating with the Stars Story Week was love. As in, love of injuries. There were two ambulance runs on Monday just before the live show. Brooke Castile got attacked by partner Jonny Moseley's skate, but she still showed up and helped him top the leader board. That's a pro! Brandon Mychal Smith, on the other hand, was too sick for the start of the broadcast and they hoped he would show up later to skate. Nope! Those two ambulance runs followed former frontrunner Rebecca Budig's trip to a hospital earlier in the week to treat a wrist injury. Oh and Rebecca's partner, Fred Palascak, also hurt his hand. So basically the show should move into the ER. Or onto the set of a horror movie.
Host Vernon Kay and commentator Tanith Belbin could barely contain their "I told you so's" in talking about how the contestants put their lives on the line for this show. This week they had to do dangerous jumps while trying to tell romantic love stories. It doesn't help that no one seems to be getting along, even after Johnny Weir's impassioned plea for Bethenny Frankel to believe that no one hates her. Seriously, all this show needs is locusts.
On top of all of that, the show's biggest sweetheart — Vince Neil — was eliminated, along with pro partner Jennifer Wester, based on viewer votes from last week paired with judges' scores from tonight. It doesn't really make sense. Especially since Brandon didn't even skate, Bethenny got scores just as low and the judges showered Vince with sweet comments; Dick Button even compared himself to the TSA of figure skating, saying he could see the skater inside Vince. Guess Vince's inner skater is banned by Homeland Security.
Anyway, here's how everyone fared on Week 3:
Rebecca Budig & Fred Palascak
They have to create a tumultuous relationship on the ice. She takes him to the All My Children set to show how she brings all of her emotion to every scene. She was advised to rest after her wrist injury, but she's going to power through the pain. That's our winner! Having said that, she and Fred don't have the most electric chemistry as they dance. It's not their strong suit. Her skating skills and tiny liftable body are their strong suits. Johnny Weir calls their routine "wonderful" and they chose a difficult lift. She's "the most natural skater we have." Dick Button loves how Rebecca draped him with her clothing. He says she was channeling her "inner Dorothy Hamill." Laurieann Gibson thinks she's a beautiful skater and trusted the choreography. Oh, and now we hear Fred also has a hand injury. Great.
Song: Katy Perry, "Hot 'N Cold"
Technical Merit (Laurie Ann, Johnny, Dick): 9, 8, 8
Artistic Impression: 9, 8, 8
Total: 50 out of 60
Bethenny Frankel & Ethan Burgess
Vernon is egging on Bethenny vs. The Judges. They are dancing to a song about trust. Bethenny tells off Laurieann (but only to Ethan, not to her face), who was condescending last week about how it was good that Bethenny was able to just get through the routine. She's openly telling us now that she doesn't care what the judges think. Is that a good idea? Does she want to leave the show? She can't, though, because she relocated her family to L.A. so she could practice. She jokes that she and Ethan will have to sleep together to get the right chemistry. Dick says he likes that she trusts her partner, but she doesn't trust herself. She's not being secure. She's bigger than life on the program, but not out there on the ice. She's not finishing off her moves or taking charge. Laurieann says that was one of her favorite songs; she seems to think Bethenny planned to skate to it as some kind of flattery. Laurieann called the routine "heavenly" and "angelic." She felt Bethenny's vulnerability. Johnny started by telling Bethenny when they judge her it's not on a personal level. They judge what they see. "You need to listen to us as professionals and not think we're attacking you in any way." Today she was better, he said. The lifts were good. He's starting to see more presence. We're here to help you, not hate you, he says. She gives him a stone-faced look that reads "Not buying it, buddy."
Song: Beyonce, "Halo"
Technical: 6, 6, 5
Artistic: 7, 6, 6
Total: 36 out of 60
Vince Neil & Jennifer Wester
Vince says Jen is a great couch but she gets frustrated with him. Then he gets frustrated with himself. Much bleeping ensues. She takes him to figure skating classes. The kids want to see his tattoos. Cute! Vince fell last week and he's the oldest competitor. So this is toughest on him. The thing about Vince is, he's not a great skater, but he's likable. He's sweet and humble and just the kind of underdog people want to cheer on. Laurieann says she wanted to go out there and skate with "Mr. Vince." She loves his showmanship and lets the music tell him how to move. She likes the choreography, too. Johnny was so proud and happy that he took their advice and danced with the kids. Johnny doesn't want "claw hands" or bottom rubbing as he skates. "No ugly stuff." Dick says he was honored that he acted on their advice. Dick calls himself the TSA of figure skating and he sees the skater inside Vince. What a stretch! "It is not far from heavy metal to gold medal. Go for it!" Now the judges are just trying to one-up each other for soundbites.
Song: James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"
Technical: 6, 5, 5
Artistic: 7, 6, 7
Total: 36 out of 60
Jonny Moseley & Brooke Castile
Jonny takes Brooke skiing so she can understand his world. He's an athlete, but not a performer. They're struggling with having an emotional relationship on the ice. They have had difficulties with their rehearsals this week; he keeps falling and she got hurt. Oh well! Their live performance is actually pretty good. Probably the most emotionally connected of the lot. No one falls. Johnny said that was "insane beautiful." There was a little stumble on the jump, but he improves every week and that's something none of the other skaters do. Dick said there's a much improved expressiveness in his arms. But he wants to see Jonny's posture improve. "You look like Tom Cruise, be a romantic leading man!" (He's more like Luke Wilson.) Laurieann said the routine was romantic and emotional. The best part was it felt like a forbidden love, like the story.
Technical: 8, 9, 7
Artistic: 9, 9, 9
Brandon Mychal Smith & Keauna McLaughlin
Around the 9 p.m. mark, tearful pro skater Keanua McLaughlin was still flying solo, waiting for Brandon to either show up or definitively opt out of the live show. Vernon finally let us know that Brandon would not be skating. So we just watched his rehearsal footage. It's a shame, because Brandon and Keauna have the best chemistry on SWTS. And in rehearsals they brought in Brandon's buddy, Kyle Massey, and his Dancing with the Stars pro partner, Lacey Schwimmer, to give them pointers. Love seeing them again! What a waste that Brandon didn't get to perform the routine live. Dang. According to the rules, the judges will have to score a tape of his last rehearsal, which was performed yesterday. He was too sick to even rehearse earlier today. The grainy rehearsal footage looked good, though. These two are just a watchable pair. Dick said it's hard to judge a routine without the "wow" level of performing for the audience. Laurieann disagreed with Mr. Button, saying "as an expert" she was impressed with the level of connection that they had together. Johnny said Brandon is his favorite, then corrected it to "one of my favorites." He wanted to see Brandon perform, but his scores are going to have to reflect that Brandon wasn't there. Laurieann kept mouthing "he's in the hospital" and Vernon told Johnny puke does not look good on the ice. Apparently Johnny has skated through worse.
Song: Avril Lavigne, "Keep Holding On"
Technical scores: 8, 5, 5
Artistic scores: 9, 6, 6 (Wow, guess Laurieann is a major Brandon & Keauna fan! And totally out of touch with Johnny and Dick.)
Total: 39 out of 60
Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto
Commentator Tanith Belbin proved her worth on the show by performing an ice dancing routine with her partner, Ben Agosto. They skated to Carrie Underwood's "There's a Place for Us," from the new film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But, really, it was just filler.
Who Goes Home?
What a weird way to run a show. Once again a pair was sent home, based on how people voted (last week for different performances?) and the judges' scores from tonight. It came down to Vince & Jennifer and Bethenny & Ethan. Vince was sent home, which is a shame because he's such a likable guy and probably would've gotten some love from voters tonight.