Dancing On Ice: couples face off in duel night

The 12 remaining couples in Dancing On Ice 2012 faced their biggest challenge yet on Sunday night, as they skated in pairs in a bid to win immunity from the public vote.

In the first major twist of the series, each couple performed a joint routine with the one who had finished closest to them on the judges’ scoreboard last Sunday – a move which saw favourites Matthew Wolfenden and Jorgie Porter going head to head.

The panel then chose their favourite couple from each routine, thus sending them automatically through to next week’s show – but leaving their opponents to face the public vote, and possibly the skate-off.

Among those who made it through to next week were Chico, Sebastien Foucan and Chemmy Allcott, after they fought off competition from rivals San Nixon, Jennifer Ellison and Corey Feldman.

Heidi Range and Rosemary Conley were also voted through after skating against Charlene Tilton and Andy Whyment – while the battle of the favourites saw Matthew Wolfenden make it through over Jorgie Porter.

One of the six losing couples will be eliminated from the contest later on Sunday evening.

Chico and Sam Nixon kicked off the show with their partners Jodeyne Higgins and Alexandra Schauman, and while Sam won praise from the judges it was ultimately Chico who was victorious.

“Chico you are so enthusiastic,” Robin Cousins said, “the lifts were great and the speed was still there.” Louie Spence added, “You came out a little stronger this time, but watch the steps in between the connecting steps.”

The second battle saw Sebastien Foucan and Brianne Delcourt triumph over Jennifer Ellison and Daniel Whiston. “It was fun, free and exciting and the spin was fantastic,” Robin said of Sebastien’s routine.

Chemmy Allcott was next to be voted unanimously through to next week by the judges after she competed against Corey Feldman – although the judges were kinder about the Hollywood actor’s performance this week.

“I know it’s tough to come back so congratulations, this was your best performance,” Katarina Witt told him. Meanwhile Robin Cousins described Chemmy’s performance as “sassy”.

Next Heidi Range took on Dallas star Charlene Tilton in what was described as the “battle of the blondes”. Once again the judges’ vote was unanimous, sending the Sugababes singer through to next weekend’s show.

“It’s a difficult one,” Robin admitted. “Heidi you really pushed yourself, Charlene you ingratiate yourself every time you step on the ice but I would like to see you push as much as Matt Gonzalez is pushing you around the ice.”

The most anticipated showdown of the night, however, came as the two favourites Jorgie Porter and Matthew Wolfenden skated together, in a routine which saw the Hollyoaks star in a black sparkly bra top and skintight black trousers.

And in one of the few split votes of the night, Katarina voted to save Jorgie, while Louie and Robin opted for Matthew – sending him and partner Nina Ulanova through to next week.

“Matt you skate like a skater,” Robin said, “You act and lift your partner like a skater.”

Katarina, meanwhile, praised Matthew and Nina for their “complicated choreography” but in saving Jorgie said, “You have been magical and cute but now so sexy and that was so cool.”

Finally Rosemary Conley and Coronation Street‘s Andy Whyment took to the ice together – resulting in the second split vote of the evening. Ultimately however it was Rosemary who won favour with the judges as both Katarina and Robin’s votes sent her through to the next round.

“Andy you challenged yourself,” Louie said. “The person I think challenged themselves more is the person I am giving immunity to and that is Andy.”

Katarina also praised Andy but added, “Rosemary, with you the two of you really told the story tonight.”