Halloween or no Halloween, somebody was getting the bag of rocks on Battle of the Blades Monday night.
Violetta Afanasieva and Cale Hulse were the unlucky pair.
After three previous trips to the bottom and with only five teams left in the competition, the only way they could have avoided the skateoff was if support had faltered for one of the fan favourites, Bryan Berard or Tessa Bonhomme. That didn't happen. There's nothing dead about the zombies (Bryan and Marie-France Dubreuil) and mummies (Tessa and David Pelletier) in the competition.
Alas, it seemed Cale and Violetta's fate was sealed because of who they were skating against. Tanith Belbin and Boyd Devereaux earned the season's first perfect 6.0 on Sunday night and judge Jeremy Roenick declared Boyd the best skater in the competition (anybody else notice he changed that to "one" of the best skaters on Monday night?).
Only a catastrophic screwup, along the lines of Theo Fleury's fall last season, would have sent Tanith and Boyd packing.
But that raises another question: what were they doing in the bottom two to begin with? Just goes to show you that judges' scores aren't the be-all and end-all in this contest.
Both teams matched their Sunday night performances in the skateoff. Violetta told me Sunday that she planned to enjoy every minute of it if she did skate Monday and that seemed to be the case for both her and Cale. Cale seemed even more animated the second time through the naughty nurse-nerdy doctor routine.
It was, as head judge Sandra Bezic pointed out, comedy vs. drama and drama won as the judges unanimously voted to send Cale and Violetta home.
Guest judge Katarina Witt said Cale and Violetta's program put a smile on everyone's face, but Tanith and Boyd's had her "on the edge of the chair. You just kept my attention the whole time." And Jeremy Roenick said the "strength of the choreography and how it was portrayed" explained his vote.
Sandra said Tanith and Boyd had more fight in them, though she called Cale "one of the most beautiful skaters we ever had in the competition" and told Violetta, "We love you, we simply love you."
But she also speculated that "nice people sometimes aren't so competitive. You're such a nice man."
Violetta reinforced that impression, saying that Cale had been "a gentleman on and off the ice."
Cale thanked everyone involved with the show, especially Violetta for being "awesome" and added, "We never lost sight of the fact we're here to rasie money for charity."
The Canadian Cancer Society gets $25,000 thanks to their efforts.
With only four pairs now left in the competition, we're only a couple of weeks away from the season finale. What did you think of Monday's results? Did the right pair go home? Were you as surprised as Sandra by the bottom two? You can share comments here, tweet me @realityeo or comment on my Facebook page.
The competition continues Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC. You can look for the recap here. I'll also be chatting with Cale and Violetta this week and posting the interview when I get some spare time.
(The photo of Cale and Violetta is courtesy of Insight Productions.)