By Danny Carrington
Last Updated: 10th January 2020
The best show on ice returned to screens across the country on Sunday, with half the 2020 cohort competing to avoid this weekend’s skate-off.
Dancing on Ice’s opening episode saw a mixture of polished performances and embarrassing mishaps, with one skater taking a tumble. The highlight was an emotional dance from Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins and partner Matt Evers, the programme’s first ever same-sex couple.
This Sunday will see the rest of the celebrities battle it out, with the lowest-scoring performers taking on the previous week’s last placed couple in a skate-off at the end of the show. We check out the odds on offer for outright winners, and the first elimination.
An early favourite, the professional dancer cemented his front-runner status on Sunday with a stunning performance alongside partner Vanessa Bauer. Fellow Diversity star Ashley Banjo warned Kiely that he would not be getting any special treatment. The 24-year-old did not seem to need it – he topped the week’s leaderboard with a total score of 27.5.
So impressive was Kiely’s display that the judges’ only criticism ran along the lines of “making it look too easy.” Other than being urged to add more glitz, Kiely delivered a near-perfect dance. The markets certainly seem to think he delivered, with Kiely the firm favourite at 8/11.
The former I’m a Celebrity champion appears more comfortable in the jungle than he does on the ice. The actor and TV presenter earned half marks with a sloppy performance last time out, awkwardly twisting his body to the sound of Olly Murs. It’s no surprise, then, that Swash’s chance of victory currently stands at a long 16/1.
A childhood skating enthusiast, the soap star had not been on the ice for four decades after a chin-splitting accident way back when. Despite her anxiety about being lifted last week, calling it overwhelming, she was in safe hands with partner ‘Doctor Tom’ and delivered an elegant, classy performance. Enjoying a renaissance of her glory days on the ice, the routine merited a score of 26.5. She narrowly missed out on the week’s top spot and the markets took notice, putting her at a short 9/1.
The former popstar may not have recorded the highest score, but Sunday’s episode is still likely to be remembered primarily for his history-making performance with a partner of the same sex. A first for the show, the landmark appears to have shortened Watkins’ odds, currently standing at 3/1, which places him behind only Kiely in the running.
Ex-footballer Kevin Kilbane likened the show’s dynamic to a good dressing-room atmosphere. That’s where the similarities to his playing career end, though, as the Lancastrian is 5/1 to be kicked out first. Trisha Goddard’s tumble on the ice landed her in Sunday’s skate-off, making her the front-runner to be eliminated first at 8/11.