The second week of Dancing On Ice 2012 has seen the remaining eight celebrities make their skating debut – and it was a particularly good night for Emmerdale’s Matthew Wolfenden.
Matthew and skating partner Nina Ulanova were the last couple to take to the ice on Sunday night’s show – and the actor quickly marked himself as one to watch in the competition, soaring to the top of the judges’ scoreboard with 20.5 out of 30 – the highest score of any celebrity so far this series.
While Louie Spence joked that he was giving points solely for Matthew’s leather outfit, he went on to describe the routine as “almost perfect,” while Robin Cousins was similarly enthusiastic.
“It was a fantastic end to the night,” he said. “This is going to be a fantastic series and I can’t wait!”
Matthew was one of a number of strong contenders who skated for the first time on Sunday.
Singer Chico Slimani – who replaced Chesney Hawkes after the latter broke his leg during training – also made a promising start, scoring 18.5 for his routine to the track Wild Thing with partner Jodeyne Higgins.
“Not only are you easy on the eye physically but you knocked out a great routine there,” Louie said, while Katarina Witt added, “Chico you have the potential to be a thoroughbred.”
Free-runner Sebastien Foucan also did well with partner Brianne Delcourt, scoring 17.5 for a routine which was full of acrobatic moves.
Katarina praised the bold choreography, saying “I hope you get experimenting because I feel if you fall you will always fall on your feet,” but the other judges expressed a note of caution.
“As fantastic as it is to see you do all that work on your own, at some point you need to acknowledge that your partner is there and work together,” Robin said.
Meanwhile both Jennifer Ellison and CBBC presenter Sam Nixon impressed on their debut showing, each scoring 15.5 from the judges.
Robin praised the “lovely naturalness” of Jennifer’s performance with partner Dan Whiston, which opened the show, while Sam fared far better than his presenting partner Mark Rhodes did the previous week.
“You have a good relationship with your partner,” Louie said of his routine with Alexandra Schauman. “You could really progress and go somewhere.” Katarina added, “You say Mark is more competitive than you but I tell you something, you are much faster.”
Meanwhile slimming guru Rosemary Conley, Hollywood actor Corey Feldman and EastEnders star Laila Morse found themselves at the lower end of the scoreboard.
Rosemary was hampered by a slip early on in her routine with Mark Hanretty but recovered to score a 12.5 from the judges, with Robin calling the performance “very genteel and beautifully put together”. And Katarina told the 64-year-old, “I hope ar your age I will have the same poise you have.”
Corey, meanwhile, picked up 11 points for his skating debut with partner Brooke Castile, while Laila Morse – battling the pain of a shoulder injury – finished last with just 9.5.
“You are working and trying so hard that it’s hard to criticise you,” Katarina told Corey, “but when I watch you it’s like you’re walking on eggs. I’m so happy you both finished in one piece,” she added.
Robin, meanwhile, called Laila’s routine “extremely basic” but the judges acknowledged she had done well in spite of her injury.
“For the courage you showed to go out there you deserve a 10,” Katarina said.