Zoe Salmon has missed out on a place in the Dancing on Ice 2009 semi-finals after making a surprise exit from the show.

Although Colleen Nolan and Donal McIntyre were the bookies’ favourites to be in line for elimination, both made it through to next week, leaving the strongly fancied Zoe and singer Jessica Taylor in the bottom two.

And following the skate-off, the judges were faced with a difficult choice – but ultimately they saved Jessica by four votes to one, with only Ruthie Henshall voting for the former Blue Peter presenter.

“You should both be going through to the semi-final and it’s such a shame,” Henshall told the pair – and Karen Barber agreed. “Either of you would make worthy semi-finalists,” she said.

Nicky Slater also said that both should be in the semi-final but chose Jessica after saying that her routine was “stronger”, although Jason Gardiner didn’t mince his words.

“It’s a shame that it’s become a popularity contest,” he said, in reference to the fact that one of the favourites to win the series was about to be sent home.

Zoe kept smiling, however, saying she had had “a ball”.

“It’s been great to be involved in it for so long, and bring on the tour because I can’t bear to have this void in my life,” she said, “I love it so much.”

And her skating partner Matt Evers also had praise for her. “I’m actually a bit emotional that I’m not going to come in and work with her every day, it’s a void in my life as well,” he said. “But we do have the tour.”

Jessica, Colleen, Donal and Ray Quinn will all now compete for a place in the grand final in two weeks time.