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'Nerve Wracking' Battle of the Blades Live Shows Under Way

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Last night (Sunday) saw the first live show of the season for Battle of the Blades, and we were there to bring you some of the backstage gossip and let you in on who was there checking out the show. If you don't know our pairs yet - check them out here.


You'll have seen one Cale Hulse, who's married to former Baywatch star Gena Lee Nolin - she was in the crowd last night with the couple's children. Cale said the reaction of his kids was what he'd been looking forward to most about the night...


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From CBC's Dragons' Den, Jim Treliving and Bruce Croxon were in the audience, as was Natalie Lisinska from InSecurity who was delighted with her front row seat.


If you haven't seen Kurt Browning's opening routine (which he's going to be performing again tonight - on hockey skates) you missed out, but you can watch it at the bottom of the page and make sure you watch tonight (Monday). The crowd beforehand got a special treat, with Kurt out on the ice for a good half hour before the show started. If you want to go and get up close with the Battle of the Blades experience, here's how to get your hands on some tickets.


Ron MacLean headed out, the judges were introduced (including guest judge Darcy Tucker), and the show was under way - with everyone impressing. Also in the audience was former Maple Leafs winger Jeff O'Neill, and we spoke to him about how he thinks our hockey players are feeling:


jeffoneill.jpg"I know one thing, they're nervous. When you're doing something out of your comfort zone, you're nervous. Also when you're doing something you care about, which I know these guys do. They have pride and they want to do well, so they get nervous. I was nervous for the guys I know that were on the ice. They handled it well, they were awesome, I was really impressed."


And even though we're only one live show in to Season Three, Jeff's considering the possibility of taking to the Battle of the Blades ice next year himself - saying he might give it a shot because his wife thinks he couldn't do it... watch this space ladies and gentlemen. On the topic of next season, Jeff wants to see Hockey Night in Canada's Kevin Weekes on the show too: "He's a goalie! It would be nice to see a goalie, one guy who never skates, to actually see how he moves out there."


darcytucker.jpgNow even though there's no elimination this week, because you - the viewer - wanted to see more of the pairs (good work, team) there's still one person that won't be on the show next week. Our guest judge for week one was ex-Maple Leafs stalwart Mr. Darcy Tucker. He was nervous though, telling us and JR that "there must have been a pool of water under my seat from my hands sweating."


"It's quite the honour for myself to be here, I had my whole family here tonight to watch the show and they'll be back again tomorrow. I had a great time."


We asked Darcy if he'd want to be on the judging panel every week:


"It's a difficult position, especially once some of the cuts have to come. That for me would be hard, I'm not going to lie to you. I had battles with a lot of them, played with some of them, and it would be tough to see them go from week to week."


We spoke with Boyd Devereaux's partner and Olympic medalist Tanith Belbin about how she thought their routine went tonight:


tanith.jpg"We performed just the way we wanted to with a lot of fun and energy. Now we get to go back to the drawing board and work out all the kinks and take the judges' comments into consideration for next week. We really, from the get-go, thought week 2 and week 3 were stronger performances for us so we're really excited to show that off. I enjoy the aspect of showing off characters and telling a story."


We wondered if for Tanith it was better to be on during the first show or would it have been better to be on tonight?


"Oh for sure the first show! I want to be able to sit and enjoy watching everyone else without the next performance looming over my head. I think it was tough for these guys to watch us, to see where the bar was set by all the fantastic teams tonight. To think that they have to compete tomorrow..."


Someone who does have to compete tomorrow is Curtis Leschyshyn, but he feels differently:


"I'm excited about it. Today went really well, I thought all the guys skated extremely well. I wouldn't say they've added pressure to what we have to do tomorrow but, y'know, I'm excited and looking forward to having my chance to get out there and skate."


Do you think you've had a little bit of an advantage in the way that you've been able to go out on the ice and experience the crowd before having to actually do your routine?


"You know I wasn't actually sure if I wanted to skate first or second but it looks like maybe going out second on Monday night would be advantageous to a certain degree. As you said you get to experience the opening, feel the crowd and not have to worry about skating, but just be out there and experience the atmosphere. It was very electric in the build up prior to the first performance. Those kind of things are tough to come by if you've never experienced it, so having the chance today just to see how the other guys dealt with it, I think that will be something we can deal with."


Are you ready to go?


"Yes I am, I'm 100% excited, it's going to be a great experience, whatever happens on the ice I gotta make the best of it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."


The second live show of Battle of the Blades Season Three starts tonight at 8pm on CBC Television where the four remaining pairs will be vying for the highest judges' score and your vote. Don't forget - everything counts this week towards next week's final score!


If you're not yet tweeting along with us here at @CBCLive and with @CBCBattle - what are you waiting for?! The hashtag to use is #BOTB.


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And you can watch last night's (Sunday's) show right here:


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