Battle of the Blades IV, Week 4: Wherein the save is used, and your time is wasted

Harrison Mooney

It was Canadian music week Sunday night on Battle of the Blades, which means we're going to hear the following two things: some terrible, terrible music, since, while Canada has good music, it's never the music we hear on this show. Safe to say nobody's gonna skate to the Arcade Fire or Junior Boys. Instead, it's going to be something by Bryan Adams, some really terrible pop band like Hedley, and, of course, someone will skate to Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet", because whether it's karaoke or bad figure skating, that song is impossible to resist one you know it's in the mix.

I was glad for the awful Canadian music, however, because I figured it would cure me of the slowly creeping interest I'm beginning to have in this awful program. It's a very human thing, getting into a show you hate, but it happens, especially on show's with a narrative arc. I firmly believe no one liked Lost after season 1, but by then, it was too late to walk away. You had to know. Battle of the Blades has done that to me, and I'm horrified to admit that I tuned in this week concerned about the fate of Grant Marshall and Sinead Kerr. They fell last week, and I suspected it land them in the bottom two. This mattered to me, because this show has destroyed my taste. It's the McDonald's of shows.

Sure enough, the program opened with Ron MacLean announcing that Grant and Sinead were, indeed, going to be part of the skate-off, along with Anson Carter and Shae Lynn Bourne.

On one hand, good. Anson and Shae Lynn were a special kind of terrible last week. But on the other hand, I couldn't help but notice that this show was on the verge of eliminating all three pairs that were in any way different in its first three weeks. Week 1 we lost the old pair. Week 2 we lost the Russians. And now, with Anson on the bubble, it looked like we were going to lose our only visible minority. That wouldn't have looked good. Welcome to Canada, where the other makes us uncomfortable.

Jason Strudick and Violetta Afanasieva went first, and just as I did last week, Violetta raved about Jason's ability to do lifts. The man can't dance to save his life, but if, in order to save his life, he needed to lift a tiny woman over his head and twirl her around and stuff, he'd be fine.

Sure enough, outside of the lifts, they weren't really all that good, and it was funny watching Browning try to be nice about it. Here is he on the footwork: "I'm very impressed with... the attempt and I still want more from you because I love improvement."

Yessir, Kurt Browning looooooves improvement.

This was a bad sign for this week's judging panel. Kurt and Jamie have been tough in recent weeks, but they must have lost a little blood flow, because they went suddenly soft for some reason.

It caught P.J. Stock completely off-guard. He hates having the lowest score and works diligently to make sure he lands between Kurt and Jamie, who actually know what they're doing. This week he kept inadvertently giving the lowest score. When it happened the first time, he grunted in frustration.

It gave me a new appreciate for Stock. In a way, he's the everyman, just trying to guess the judges' scores alongside of us. This week proved terrible for him.

Total score: 17.1.

Marie-France and Mathieu Dandenault were the best pair this week. Not only did they skate surprisingly well (to Blue Rodeo's "After the Rain"), but they skated so well I briefly stopped watching for instances of Dandenault being a crappy, useless hockey player on figure skates and was... ugh... moved.

"I just want to watch that over again. Oh my goodness. So beautiful." Jamie Sale.

Thankfully, Ron MacLean brought us right back to the terrible show that was.

"Week 2 you had Stormy Weather and now "After the Rain", he said, "we're looking for a high... watermark." Worst.

Total score: 17.6.

Also the worst: Brian Savage and Jessica Dube. This was horrible to look at. Cold sores on the neck horrible. Brian is the most awkward dancer in the bunch, and his creepily awkward figure skater smile is actually sort of scary. Look at this dude:

Cold, dead eyes.

It didn't help that they danced to Marianas Trench, who may be Canada's worst band.

That said, they did have a throw, and they even landed it. Unfortunately, right after they did, Jessica, of all people, fell coming around the corner.

We learned in the pre-skate mini-doc that she had an ankle injury, and it may have been that, or it may have just been her excitement at landing something she didn't expect to land.

Either way, she fell. Fortunately, it wasn't the worst thing about their segment. That went, again, to Ron MacLean, who mentioned that only four people have ever gone all the way down into the real Mariana Trench, and one was movie director James Cameron. Then this: "Unlike his Titanic, you were great after you hit the ice." Then he made this face:

No, Ron. Just no. Get off my TV.

P.J. was once again flabbergasted to have given the worst score, handing out a 5.5. while Kurt and Jamie gave 5.7's. Don't worry, P.J., it didn't make any sense to any of us.

Total score: 16.9.

Scott and Amanda went next, and just like last week, they pulled off a pretty impressive throw. Scott threw her terribly, but Amanda is super-talented and she managed to find her balance and stick it.

That was the high point of this skate. The rest of it, I kept wondering if Scott was literally made of wood. He looks more like a barn than a figure skater most of the time.

Total score: 17.3.

And then we came to the skate-off. First up: Grant and Sinead, who -- ugh -- I was rooting for.

Bad television alert: CBC was trying to underscore his frustrated Grant was with his fall last week, so they gave us a bunch of shots of him talking about it, then a shot of him wiping sweat off his face with a towel. But they slowed the towel shot down just enough that one might be fooled into thinking he was actually crying into his towel because of the fall. I hate that manipulative reality TV show garbage. Get it off my television forever.

Because someone had to, they skated to "Black Velvet", which I will now be singing all day, in that slow, southern style, so thanks for that, CBC.

This wasn't a very good skate. They book-ended it with weird screw-ups, where Grant was supposed to hold Sinead during a twirl and lost control of her, leading to awkward adjustments to avoid a fall.

Total score: 17.1.

It wasn't a good sign, but I figured it would be better than Anson and Shae Lynn, my favourite pair to watch because Anson figure skates like he played hockey, just sort of drifting around the ice looking for tap-ins while having great hair.

Sure enough, the pair struggled to look like a pair, and while Shae Lynn did her best to cover for Anson's weaknesses, you could tell.

In the end, neither skate in the skate-off was very good, although you'd be hard-pressed to say which was worse. And it was at this moment that I began to fear the judges were going to use their save. To my mind, there shouldn't be one, since it negates the entire program you just watched, but it definitely shouldn't be used to excuse you from making your first difficult elimination decision of the competition. Please god no.

Total score: 16.9.

Goodbye, Anson and Sinead. See you -- nope, they used the save. Ugh. That's stupid. Just... ugh. I'd like to thank Battle of the Blades for curing me of caring about this show just when I was beginning to fear that I did. I hate this program, I hate that the save was used, and I hate myself for briefly not hating this program. Hate, hate, hate.

On the bright side, the save is gone now, so we never have to hear about it again. Progress!

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