Tue Nov 16 11:40am EST
(Ed. Note: Yahoo! Sports Canada has extended coverage of CBC Sports' "Battle of the Blades" Season 2, including exclusive reactions from judge Jeremy Roenick(notes). Each Monday, Puck Daddy will offer a companion piece with our whimsical take on the BOTB competition episodes. For those who watched it, and those in the U.S. that can't yet, here is Erin Nicks of The Universal Cynic, who watches so you don't have to.)
There's been a ton of surprises, spills and too many sequins to count, but the Battle of the Blades is down to the final three.
After Sunday's "It's a Man's World" theme night, where each male skater had to perform a solo, prairie favourites Kelly Chase and Kyoko Ina found themselves in the bottom two, along with the dominant Russian duo of Katia Gordeeva and Valeri Bure.
Both pairs completed clean performances in Monday night's skate-off, but it was obvious that the technical ability of Kat and Val was too strong. Head judge Sandra Bezic voted for Katia and Val. Guest judge Don Cherry chose to keep "Kelly and Kayoaf" -- I think he meant "Kelly and Kyoko," but his dentures must've slipped. It was up to an emotional Jeremy Roenick to break the tie.
He chose Katia and Val.
Bezic offered up her rationale behind the decision. "The reason," Sandra said, "was the due to the detail of the program, and detail of the difficulty....I felt that Katia and Val went beyond their comfort zone to do things that were difficult for Val, specifically the footwork."
That means your final three pairs are Katia and Val, along with Shae-Lynn Bourne and Patrice Brisebois(notes), and Isabelle Brasseur with Todd Warriner. Up for grabs: $100,000 for their chosen charities, and a funky crystal trophy that will undoubtedly require a lot of dusting.
But how did we get to this point? For that, Bladeheads, we'll have to rewind to Sunday night.
The "It's a Man's World" evening begins with Ron MacLean insisting that he needed to experience figure skating for himself. And what better way, but to perform his own solo routine to the theme from Hockey Night in Canada? Watch Ron glide! Watch Ron give the thumbs-up! Watch Ron puff out his chest, making him look more top-heavy than J.S. Giguere! Hopefully he got it all out of his system.
But wait, we're not done with classic Ron moments just yet. The program is now airing vintage footage of Ron and guest-judge Don Cherry from inside the Roenick household "rumpus room" -- MacLean's words, not mine. One priceless shot features Ron casually stroking the family cat.
Aaaand...I just bit through my tongue. I've hit my inappropriate joke threshold - it's probably best if we get on with the show.
Isabelle Brasseur and Todd Warriner: Izzy and Todd are skating to "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz, a song that features the lyric," I'm wearing all my favourite brands." Someone needs to ask Todd which brand cornered the market on skintight sparkly shirts with diamond patterns, because he's wearing the hell out of that thing. I and T pull off "double shoot the ducks", and Todd breaks out one his own in his solo. The number had great synchronicity and speed -- overall it's their best performance to date. "This is going to be a really tough program to beat," judge Sandra Bezic says. Total score: 17.7
Shae-Lynn Bourne and Patrice Brisebois: Bourne and Brisebois are skating to "Boogie Shoes" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Luckily we're reverted to relatively normal costumes this week, which means that it's Shae-Lynn sporting the John Stockton-length shorts as opposed to Patrice. (Aside: The number of signs at BOTB shows has grown so much that it's bordering on WWE-esque. I wouldn't put it past someone to write "I [heart] nuthuggers" on a piece of bristol board, if given the opportunity. These fans are totally into it.) Hopes are high going into Patrice's solo, but he's unable to maintain control during his stag jumps, and the rest of the program goes a bit off the rails after that. Judge Sandra says, "I know you can do that so much better...it was so much better in rehearsal." Jeremy Roenick adds, "I think I should call you Dirk Diggler and Rollergirl." Um, ack? Thankfully no prosthetics were revealed after this comment. Total score: 17.1
Kyoko Ina and Kelly Chase: K-Squared are skating to "I Love Your Smile" by Charlie Winston. One of the biggest critiques on the pair has been their lack of speed, but they appear to pick it up this week, which pleases both fans and judges. Kelly's solo is simpler compared to his competitors -- it consists of a lot of finger-pointing and touchdown signals. Don Cherry's less concerned with the routine, and more with Kelly's newly-svelte figure. "How'd you lose those 50 pounds? You didn't give up the suds, didja?" Meanwhile, J.R. is impressed. "Holy happy feet - way to take it to another level. That's what I wanted to see." Total score: 17.3
Here's JR on Kelly's performance:
Katia Gordeeva and Valeri Bure The Russian pair is skating to "You're My Best Friend" by Queen. It's a charming and sweet number, but it suffers somewhat because Katia and Val didn't have as much time to practice due to travel conflicts -- they weren't as polished, and it shows. Val manages a three jump sequence, including one with a full rotation in his solo. Unfortunately, there is a fall coming out of a minor lift that's difficult to ignore. That said, Don Cherry seems to have enjoyed it. "You're the smoothies -- I didn't know Russians were that good in the corners!" J.R. points out the mistake, but doesn't go too hard on the pair. "I have to say Val, you're human, and you've been absolutely flawless since Day 1. It was the first time I've seen any kind of chink in your armour, but you had a lot of footwork and it was amazing." Total score: 16.9
Here's Ken Daneyko on the physical toll on the performers:
And here's Roenick on the difficult decisions for the judges. Meaning himself:
That's it for now, Bladeheads - see you back here next week, where three pairs will skate for all the sparkles. Will Ron break out Todd's dress for a final hurrah? Will Roenick part his hair on the opposite side? Who receives final custody of Theo Fleury's(notes) vinyl pants and makeup kit? All the answers and much more, coming next Tuesday. Stay tuned.