Well, that was unexpected.
I said last week that I expected the final three teams to be Jessica and Asher, Kaitlyn and Bryan, and Meagan and Wojtek. Apparently I was wrong!
This season of Battle of the Blades has been very strange, and this may have been the strangest episode yet. Two of the best pairs ending up in the skate-off? The early favourite being eliminated? Kris Versteeg actually achieving his dream of beating Bryan Bickell? The reveal that next week’s episode will be the last one? Clearly, I haven’t done enough research into the structure of this season, because I continue to be completely blindsided by these reveals.
One of my favourite things about this episode was the constant pleas for viewers to vote. You can see it in Kurt Browning’s eyes at the end of the episode. “What the fuck, Canada?” his expression says. “What on earth possessed you to put these two pairs in the bottom two?”
Anyways, we’re nearing the end of the season, and it shows. These pairs are good. Let’s discuss this week’s episode.
Pair #1: Vanessa James and Akim Aliu
Watching Akim Aliu slowly become more comfortable on figure skates has been one of the best parts of this season. He really does look like a figure skater now. The tricks were amazing. The dance was smooth and just really nice to watch.
That said, I’m not sure it was on the same level as the other ones. I liked Scott’s comment about them needing to blend the tricks and the dance together a little bit. Still, I’m glad they made it through to the next round, and I’m very excited to see what they come up with for their final skate!
Pair #2: Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill
Week after week, they bring so much energy to this show. I love watching them. They’re so fast. Their routines are so technically sound. Their footwork is amazing. They flossed! And the airport theme was extremely cool. They’re just such good entertainers.
I do kind of agree with what Elaj said, though. They can’t just do high-energy routines. We need a bit of diversity here! I want to see them slow it down and do something a bit different. I’m sure they’d be good at it.
I feel like there’s always one pair like this. Last year, it was Natalie and Andrew. Before that, it was Violetta Afanasieva and Jason Strudwick. They always come in second, and I suspect it’s because they don’t show quite as much versatility as the others do.
Pair #3: Carlotta Edwards and Kris Versteeg
He did it. The mad lad really did it. He beat Bryan Bickell!
I’ll admit I was scared when Jessica mentioned that these two would be doing a “hoedown.” What did that mean? What did they have in store?
Thankfully, they pulled it off. This was by far their best skate of the season. They have improved in leaps and bounds. Who the hell could have predicted that they’d get the first 6.0 of the season, and the highest score of the night?
Are they good enough to win it all, though? I’m not sure. Personally, I find it kind of hard to picture them as the season 6 champions, just because they’ve started to fill a specific Battle of the Blades archetype: the team that isn’t very popular with the judges but keeps avoiding elimination just because they’re popular among fans. Like, you know what Kris is doing with those Instagram stories. These two know that fan voting is the only reason they’re still in. And, like, that’s not bad, but it does kind of feel like they should have been eliminated by now, based on their performance? I don’t know. I’m happy to see them improving. I’m glad they get to stick around until the end. I just have a hard time rooting for them.
Pair #4: Kaitlyn Weaver and Bryan Bickell
Man, I am so sad to see these two leave.
I’ll admit they’ve never been my favourite pair, and I think that’s partly because I can’t help comparing Bickell to Sheldon Kennedy, which is very unfair, I know. They’re not my favourite, but I still love watching them skate. As soon as I saw those jumps – and then the footwork and the headbanger and everything – I was so sure they’d made it through to the next round. They’re just so good.
They had tough competition, though.
Pair #5: Meagan Duhamel and Wojtek Wolski
Guys… I think these two might actually win it all.
In true Duhamel and Wolski fashion, this routine was absolutely heart-stopping. Those tricks! They’re so dynamic, so powerful, so full of energy. I think they remind me a bit of Amanda and Scott from season 4? That’s a compliment, by the way.
Honestly, I’m so curious to see what happens in the finale. This season has been pretty condensed, so I don’t feel like any of these pairs are quite on the same level as they usually are at this point in the season, but I also agree with the hosts that this might be the strongest cast of competitors the show has ever had. I really would love at least one more episode to really get a sense of where these teams are at, because I just don’t know who’s supposed to win at this point.
Battle of the Blades airs Thursdays at 8pm ET on CBC.