Skating With Celebrities (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Skating with Celebrities was a celebrity reality television show that began airing on the Fox network on January 18, 2006. The show also aired in Australia on Network Ten in early 2006 and in New Zealand in October 2008. The show was the U.S. version of Dancing on Ice, which also aired in the U.K. during the same time period. Skating with Celebrities was met with far less success than the UK original and lasted only one season. The show was at the center of a controversy involving allegations that one of the competing couples, Lloyd Eisler and Kristy Swanson were involved in an extramarital affair . The duo defeated the team of television personality Jillian Barberie and U.S. pairs champion John Zimmerman to win the show's first, and only, championship. On March 2, 2006 production was cancelled and it was announced that the show would not return for a second season.
The show paired six champion figure skaters with six celebrities who have various degrees of skating experience: Deborah Gibson, a novice; Dave Coulier played ice hockey in Canada; Kristy Swanson had taken lessons as a child; Jillian Barberie trained as a competitive figure skater into her teens. Each team was composed of one man and one woman and they had to perform a new routine during each episode. As part of their new routines, each celebrity had to demonstrate a specific figure skating skill.
Each pair received scores for technical merit and artistic impression from a trio of judges. The scores were added together to create a cumulative score. No teams were eliminated in the first episode.
The show was hosted by Olympic swimming Gold Medalist Summer Sanders and figure skating Olympic figure skating Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton and judged by Olympic Gold Medalist (figure skating) Dorothy Hamill, skating coach John Nicks, and journalist Mark Lund.
The six professional skaters who paired with the stars were five-time U.S. pairs champion Tai Babilonia, three-time U.S. pairs champion John Zimmerman, Olympic Silver Medalist (figure skating) Nancy Kerrigan, four-time World champion Kurt Browning, three-time U.S. pairs champion Jenni Meno, and Olympic Bronze Medalist (figure skating) Lloyd Eisler.
The teams received assistance in their practice sessions from a trio of champion skaters who had subsequently done work as choreographers: Five-time U.S. national ice dance champion and Emmy Award-winning choreographer Michael Seibert, U.S. and world figure skating champion and director/choreographer Randy Gardner (Tai Babilonia's longtime skating partner), and three-time U.S. ice dance champion Renée Roca.
The Featured Skill was Spins. In this episode, teams skated to music from the movies. During rehearsal, Dave Coulier, a hockey player, was frustrated at the fact that he kept tripping in his figure skates, so he filed off the toe picks to make them more like hockey skates.
Lloyd Eisler and Kristy Swanson ran into their first complication as a team: Swanson, as a left-hander, spun in the opposite direction from Eisler. Choreographer Renée Roca told Eisler that they would simply have to choreograph the routine to take advantage of the difference rather than have each try to adapt to the other's spinning. The awkwardness of this decision showed as their shaky routine landed them in last place.
Todd Bridges and Jenni Meno skated to music from "Wild Wild West." During their practice video, Meno had a very hard time with dancing, and video from practice sessions showed awkward and unrhythmic movements from her. However, during the performance, she pulled off the dance moves quite well and on the beat.
This was the only episode where Jillian Barberie and John Zimmerman had the highest score alone. They tied with Eisler and Swanson in episode 4.
The Featured Skill was Synchronized Footwork. The teams skated to 1970s music. Kurt Browning and Deborah Gibson skated to a version of "You're The One That I Want" from the movie Grease with Gibson singing the female vocal part. Judge John Nicks was particularly dismayed with Dave Coulier's seeming lack of grace during their disco routine"?among other things, Coulier had a hard time stopping and making quick turns because he had filed off the toe picks from his skates"?leading to a rhetorical question: "Where is your feminine side?" Coulier answered, "In my other pants."
Jillian Barberie pulled a groin muscle during rehearsal, the first of many injuries she would suffer during the competition. Todd Sand taught Todd Bridges to lift Jenni Meno above his head, which he did to open their routine. Bridges fell during the routine, however, costing them points and leading to their elimination.
Eisler and Swanson rebounded from last place in the first episode to receive the highest score in this episode.
Featured Skill: Unassisted Single-Legged Lunge. The teams skated to Motown music. Dave Coulier and Nancy Kerrigan did their routine in drag"?her in a man's suit and mustache, him in a padded suit shaped like a female figure skater's costume and a bouffant wig"?as a response to John Nicks' criticism about Coulier's lack of grace that ended in the rhetorical cry, "Where is your feminine side?" The pair's appearance in the routine was very similar to costuming for a routine Lloyd Eisler used to do with his professional partner, Isabelle Brasseur, called "Patricia The Stripper".
Randy Gardner taught Bruce Jenner how to support Tai Babilonia in a rudimentary death spiral, a move that garnered them the highest scores of the night.
This was the only episode where neither Barberie/Zimmerman nor Eisler/Swanson finished in first place. John Zimmerman fell going into the last move in his and Barberie's routine, costing them first place.
Eisler and Swanson had two major mistakes that nearly cost them the competition"?Swanson tripped during their synchronized footwork segment and fell to the ice, and Eisler smacked her chin against the ice as they went into a combination lift/spin done very close to the ice's surface. Swanson's chin was cut when it hit the ice, prompting judge Dorothy Hamill to ask, "Are you O.K.? That looked like it hurt."
Deborah Gibson had trouble doing the lunge due to an injury, and Kurt Browning had trouble trying to incorporate more traditional pairs elements (particularly lifts) into their routine due to the two of them being so close in size. The difficulties were too much for the team to overcome, and they were eliminated.
The Featured Skill was Side-by-side Jumps. The teams skated to Top 40 pop music.
Eisler and Swanson and Barberie and Zimmerman tied for first place with the highest scores in the series up to that point. This would be the last time Barberie and Zimmerman would have the high score in the competition.
Both Jillian Barberie and Bruce Jenner had to be rushed to the hospital during practice for this round; Jillian Barberie suffered a strained rib cartilage during practice when John Zimmerman hoisted her into a two-armed "detroiter" lift, and Bruce Jenner got his toe pick caught on the ice while practicing spins and fell face-first, resulting in a cut above the eye requiring 16 stitches to close.
Bruce Jenner was supporting Tai Babilonia in a pairs glide move in an otherwise uneventful routine when Babilonia realized they were about to run into the "kiss and cry" dais. She quickly stepped up onto the dais and was able to get back onto the ice smoothly, but the misstep cost them points and landed them in third place.
Dave Coulier admitted during practice that he was afraid of falling and getting injured and thus had difficulty learning the required jump. The pair eventually did a single waltz jump at the start of their routine before they went into their skating in order to fit the required element in, and it cost them the competition as their low scores led to their elimination.
The Featured Skill was the One-Footed Edge Glide. The teams skated to music selected by the judges for each individual team. The lowest two scoring teams would compete for a spot in the finals in a skate-off. Eisler and Swanson skated a slow, romantic routine that included a one-armed death spiral; the judges gave them the highest scores yet in the series and first place heading into the finals.
Barberie and Zimmerman were criticized for cribbing elements from past routines and for not adding more complex elements (such as the death spiral that both of the other teams had done), and their scores were knocked down accordingly. Meanwhile, Bruce Jenner was criticized for letting Tai Babilonia do all the artistic tricks while he merely supported her from move to move. The team's scores were knocked down accordingly as well.
Jenner and Babilonia and Barberie and Zimmerman participated in the final skate-off; the judges selected Barberie and Zimmerman to move on, and Jenner and Babilonia were eliminated.
Jenner-Babilonia (eliminated in skate-off)
Episode 6 Finals, Part 1
The Featured Skills were the Multi-jump sequence, Spin with 4 revolutions, Above-shoulder lift. The teams skated to music of their own choice. The four eliminated teams returned to skate several exhibitions as time-fillers between the two competitive routines.
Barberie and Zimmerman had a major slip-up coming out of a complex above-shoulder lift (Zimmerman lost his grip on Barberie as he was supporting her in a forward-roll dismount and she landed on her bottom rather than on her feet; they recovered just in time to avoid hitting the sideboard); though they recovered to skate the rest of the routine nearly flawlessly, their artistic scores were marked down significantly, putting them into second place at the end of the first part of the finals. Despite this, they still received the highest score they had ever received in the competition.
John Nicks made a point to praise Lloyd Eisler for "finally learning to extend your leg" during a pairs glide element in the
routine. Eisler responded good-naturedly that it had only taken "one year of retirement" for him to figure out how to do it.
Episode 7 Finals, Part 2
The episode featured Free Skates with no required technical elements. The teams skated to music of their own choice.
Before their final competitive programs, each team skated an encore of their favorite routines from the series. Lloyd Eisler managed to lift Kristy Swanson into a one-handed "detroiter" lift-spin as part of a near-flawless final routine that gave them a score of 59 out of a possible 60 points, the highest score in the competition.
Jillian Barberie attempted a single-axel jump but fell on the landing, effectively ending their chances to take the lead. The judges praised the effort and gave them high technical marks, but not enough to overtake Eisler and Swanson's lead. Barberie later said in a joint appearance with Mark Lund that she'd successfully landed 22 axels during practice, most of them in a row as they practiced their final routine, so her fall during the routine itself surprised and disappointed her.
During their victory lap, as Eisler went to lift Swanson overhead, John Zimmerman (who was still on the ice being interviewed by Scott Hamilton) had to duck out of the way to avoid being hit by Swanson's skates. Both teams laughed about the close scrape afterward.