Happy Halloween, hockey fans! “Battle of the Blades” got into the spooky spirit this week with horror-themed performances and [nearly] all the hosts and judges in costume.
Check out Natalie Spooner as some kind of dark angel.
By both the judges’ scores and the fan vote, Jessica Campbell and Asher Hill held the top spot heading into this week’s episode, which meant they skated first. The pair set the tone with an entrance that was literally magic — just look at how they started off the routine. (Suspension of disbelief, y’all.)
As a magician and his assistant, they skated to Chase Holefelder’s cover of “Every Breath You Take.” What made their routine impressive wasn’t the footwork or the synchronized spins or the lift where Campbell balanced on Hill’s thighs — impressive as those all were — it was the personality both skaters brought to the story they were telling and the roles they were playing in it.
Judges Scott Moir and Spooner applauded the tightly choreographed routine and the pair’s willingness to take risks. Elladj Baldé said, “Your intensity … was really well portrayed, and I really liked that. But what I liked even more is the switch after that. When he cast a spell on you, you went soft in your face.”
Campbell and Hill earned a combined 16.4 from the judges.
Jennifer Botterill and Eric Radford’s performance, to District 78’s cover of “Toxic,” didn’t have quite as clear a story. I think she was a wind-up ballerina doll? But Botterill continued to show off graceful extension in every lift and spin — and her stride really is so smooth.
The choreography was a stylistic contrast from previous week, and the routine finished with an impressive spin that Spooner pounced on. “Getting out of something like that and to be able to stand up on your own and not be dizzy, not be nauseous — you nailed it.”
She also commented on Botterill’s spooky make-up and suggested she wear it for games against Team USA. (... Bring it.)
Botterill and Radford earned a combined 16.6 from the judges.
Viewers of the season premiere probably weren’t surprised that Meghan Agosta and Andrew Poje found themselves in one of the two bottom spots after the fans’ votes were tallied and, therefore, had to compete in the skate-off.
Dressed as gravediggers, they skated to “Bury a Friend” by Billie Eilish. Compared to last week’s performance, this routine added footwork and some creative spins and lifts, plus a high-risk trick where Agosta crouched on the ice as Poje leaped over her. The choreography seemed to align better with Agosta’s abilities.
Moir said, “Tonight you really drew us into your performance.”
Baldé praised Agosta for taking direction from the judges’ comments after their first effort. “I really saw an improvement from last week.”
Agosta and Poje earned a combined 16.7 from the judges, edging out the pair of Anthony Stewart and Violetta Afanasieva and avoiding elimination.
Based on the judges’ scores, Agosta and Poje vaulted into a tie for third place among the seven remaining pairs. Botterill and Radford, just one-tenth of a point behind, were in fifth. Campbell and Hill were tied for sixth.