The current season of “Battle of the Blades” began with three women’s hockey players, a first for the show. And last week, two of them — Meghan Agosta (with partner Andrew Poje) and Jennifer Botterill (with partner Eric Radford) — were sent home. So at this point, I guess we’re just here to find out how good a showing Jessica Campbell is going to make.
The theme for the evening, “A Night Out” — remember what it was like to go out for a carefree night on the town? — had pairs showing off their rhythm in dance-focused routines.
Campbell and partner Asher Hill were in second place heading into the episode, which meant they were safe from elimination and guaranteed a spot in next week’s finale. I guess, along with everything else that’s unusual about this season, it had to be a little shorter as well.
Skating to “Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer, Campbell and Hill performed a routine full of long sequences of country line dance steps, creative spirals, and a climactic lift that had Hill rolling Campbell up to his shoulder, balancing her in a cantilevered upside-down hold, and then rolling her back down.
Judge Elladj Baldé said, “There is so much going on in your performances … there’s always something happening, and that’s really hard to do. And you’re making it look so effortless.”
Judge Scott Moir added, “For me, the highlight is that jump into the rotational lift … tonight, you nailed it.”
Judge Natalie Spooner gushed, “What I love most is that you give us this character and you’re able to draw us in. And every week it’s a little bit different, but not only are you being able to act, you’re also giving us the dynamic footwork, the lifts, you’re giving us the dance moves, and I love that.” She noted that viewers might have underestimated Campbell before the season started “But I think you have a really good shot of winning this competition if you keep dancing like that.”
Asked what challenge she’s proud of facing during this season, Campbell said, “I’m never gonna overcome the toe picks; they get me every training week” — but the connection she has built with her partner has kept her going through it all.
Campbell and Hill earned a combined 17.7 from the judges, which meant they held the second spot among the four remaining teams after the pair of Bryan Bickell and Kaitlyn Weaver (she was half of last season’s winning team!) were eliminated.
One more week remains in the season, and four impressive pairs are fighting for the title. Can Campbell succeed this year where Spooner came up short last year?