Belfast Telegraph

Better at baking than skating? Candice Brown in first Dancing On Ice skate-off

The first six celebrities took to the ice, but there was bad news for one hopeful.

Dancing On Ice returned to screens without any major flops, as each of the celebrity skaters managed to avoid crashing to the ice.

The revamped version of the show, which has returned after a four-year break, saw Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield reprise their roles as presenters while the judging panel was comprised of former Olympic champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, choreographer Jason Gardiner and Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo.

The first episode of the series saw six of the 12 celebrities perform, with Love Island winner Kem Cetinay and reality TV star Jake Quickenden coming joint top of the leaderboard with 20.5 points each for their routines.

However, it was a less successful night for former Great British Bake Off champion Candice Brown, who received the lowest score from the judges – 13 out of a possible 40.

That score was combined with the votes from the public and she was revealed to be the contestant who will have to take a place in the first skate-off of the series next week.

Brown, who won the baking programme in 2016, was the second star to take to the ice with partner Matt Evers.

The TV cook braved a few lifts during the routine, to Etta James’ At Last, although the judges commented that she had been concentrating too hard throughout and that it showed on her face.

Gardiner, known for his scathing comments, remarked that Brown’s arms resembled “spatulas”, while Banjo said he can see her potential.

Torvill added: “I’m really impressed that you’re coming out here performing, doing something completely different.”

She and Evers will take to the ice against the competitor who receives the lowest score of the night next Sunday.

Athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton, Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton and Hollyoaks star Stephanie Waring also performed for the series debut.

Cotton kicked off the series with a fun routine to Wham! hit Club Tropicana with his partner Brandee Malto, and they scored a total of 15.5 from the judges.

Reality TV star Quickenden was the third to dance, and he and partner Vanessa Bauer took an early lead with a score of 20.5 for their upbeat performance to Wrapped Up by Olly Murs.

Shakes-Drayton and her partner Hamish Gaman, clad in futuristic black bodysuits, were the fourth couple to perform.

Their routine to Runnin’ (Lose It All) by Naughty Boy and Beyonce saw Gardiner dole out his highest individual score of the evening, 5.5, contributing to their overall total of 20.

Waring was overcome with joy after avoiding falling on the ice, after previously hitting the ground during her dress rehearsal hours before the show.

After her routine with professional skater Sylvain Longchambon, Waring – who was given 14.5 points from the judges – said: “I don’t care about those points, I am so proud of myself.

“Do you know how much I’ve rehearsed those falls?”

The pair danced to Dua Lipa hit Blow Your Mind (Mwah).

Cetinay and skater Alex Murphy, who closed the show, impressed the judges with their routine to Shut Up And Dance by Walk The Moon.

Banjo said: “You’re one of the only people tonight to look really comfortable, at home on the ice.”

Dean joked, referring to Cetinay’s hit single with his fellow Love Island star Chris Hughes: “That was definitely A Little Bit Leave It!”

The episode saw the six celebrity contestants who will perform their first routines in the second show take to the ice for a group dance.

Singer Cheryl Baker, weather forecaster Alex Beresford, Coronation Street star Brooke Vincent, singer Lemar, rugby player Max Evans and TV presenter Donna Air and their professional partners danced to Sir Elton John’s I’m Still Standing.

Following the routine, Gardiner said Baker is the contender who needs the most work on the ice before next Sunday.

Gardiner told her: “You’re frightened. It was written all over your face and in your body. Conquer the fear of the ice and the fear of falling, that is going to be your biggest problem to overcome.”

There was also a brief moment of tension when Schofield hit out at Gardiner, who slightly raised his voice at Willoughby during a discussion over Waring’s routine.

Schofield said: “Don’t you snap at my girl!”

Dancing On Ice continues on Sunday at 6pm on ITV.

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