When Barb Underhill and Ron Duguay were eliminated last night from the Battle of the Blades I took it that the show had begun to morph from a novelty/reality TV show to real skating competition.
In last night's elimination round, Underhill/Duguay faced off against Christine Hough-Sweeney and Tie Domi. Domi definitely had crowd-pleasing choreography. Underhill/Duguay did a rendition of Sway - while Hough-Sweeny/Domi performed to a sexy Rico Suave. But there was Domi still in hockey skates and lousy stroking. Mean while. Duguay had mastered figure skates and was looking quite graceful. It was really no contest.
One can only conclude that the judges determined to keep ratings-magnet Tie Domi in the competition. So just like in the real world of figure skating the higher scores went to the more popular skaters and not the better skaters.
One thing is becoming clearer each week. The Battle of the Blades championship is clearly between two teams — Shae-Lynn Bourne and Claude Lemieux vs. Jamie Sale and Craig Simpson. Sale and Simpson had a few dance breaks, they did some great stunts (including Sale hooking her blades behind Simpson's neck and spinning "no hands!"), and Simpson continued to show improvement in his figure skating skills. Bourne and Lemieux were fantastic later in the show with their Assassins Tango routine. What was so amazing about it is Lemieux is finally strong enough to allow his partner to show what she can do. Both Sale and Bourne are the superior skaters in this competition and are giving their partners a definite edge.
As the weeks go on and more teams are sent packing, it will be interesting to see how this rivalry
plays out. Bourne and Lemieux won hands down, but Sale and Simpson have better stunts thanks to Sale's experience in a freeskate pair. It will be interesting to see.