Dancing On Ice returned for another year on Sunday evening with an ultra-glamorous launch – as Joey Essex kicked off the show with his dance partner Vanessa Bauer.

The former TOWIE star, 32, certainly started things off with a bang as he took to the ice in a suave two-piece suit and even swung his partner in an airplane lift as they bagged 27 points out of a possible 40.

After months of romance rumours between the pair, they took the chemistry to the ice as Joey could be seen dubbing his partner ‘Easy on the eye’ and admitting that there would be ‘some flirting’.

Dancing On Ice 2023: The only way is... up! Joey Essex and Vanessa Bauer brought their off-screen chemistry to the rink as former TOWIE star opened the new series with an impressive 27 points

Dancing On Ice 2023: The only way is… up! Joey Essex and Vanessa Bauer brought their off-screen chemistry to the rink as former TOWIE star opened the new series with an impressive 27 points

It came after the show began with an show-stopped opening performance from the professional skaters as they stormed the ice in neon ensembles while dancing to Whitney Houston‘s I Wanna Dance With Somebody – before being joined by the 11 new celebrities for a grand finish. 

Hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby returned to the rink too as the show’s hosts, as the latter looked sensational in a black diamanté embellished gown.

Joey’s opening performance impressed the judges as he stepped out with glamorous partner Vanessa – who looked gorgeous in a glimmering green mini dress.

Judges Jayne Torvil and Chris Dean both scored him 6.5 points, with the latter saying: ‘Tonight I think you stole some hearts, that was a great performance. A few things to be careful of, be careful that you have got to skate up to Vanessa, don’t let her pull you around.’

While he scored a 7 from both Oti Mabuse and Ashley Banjo, with Oti dubbing the reality star: ‘Charming’. 

Suave: The former TOWIE star, 32, certainly started things off with a bang as he took to the ice in a suave two-piece suit

Suave: The former TOWIE star, 32, certainly started things off with a bang as he took to the ice in a suave two-piece suit

Show-stopper: Joey's opening performance impressed the judges as he stepped out with glamorous partner Vanessa - who looked gorgeous in a glimmering green mini dress

Beaming: The pair were all smiles as they gave an enthusiastic open to the show

Show-stopper: Joey’s opening performance impressed the judges as he stepped out with glamorous partner Vanessa – who looked gorgeous in a glimmering green mini dress

Before the performance, the show gave viewers a glimpse into Joey and Vanessa’s prep towards the first week and showed the moment they began training.

But the reality star didn’t just have his eye on the prize, as he also liked the look of his partner.

Upon meeting, he said of Vanessa: ‘She’s easy on the eye, ain’t she? Vanessa is single, I’m single. There’s gonna be a bit of flirting going on.’

Next to the ice was EastEnders legend Patsy Palmer and her partner Matt Evers, who successfully managed a collection of well-executed lifts, but struggled to remember all of her moves.

The soap star scored 21 points out of 40 as Ashley and Oti both gave her a score of 5, While Jayne and Chris both went for 5.5.

Not a bad start! Joey bagged a total of 27 points out of 40 from the judges

Not a bad start! Joey bagged a total of 27 points out of 40 from the judges

‘It’s week one and I love you. You have something you can’t teach, the vibe, the energy. You did look terrified at points but that will come with time so just keep going,’ said Ashley. 

While Chris noted that she did forget some steps, but was guided by partner Matt to help out. 

The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran was next up with his partner Klabera Komini, as the pop star heartbreakingly revealed that his former bandmate Tom Parker inspired him to do the show.

Tom passed away in 2022 from a brain tumour, with Siva sharing on the show that he was ‘still grieving’, but wanted to use some of the ‘fight’ that he saw from his late friend to try something new.

He and Klabera came out with a vibrant performance in bright suits as they pulled off a vibrant performance to Duran Duran’s Her Name Is Rio.

Described as a ‘solid performance’ from all four judges, Siva received scores of 6 across the board – totalling to 24 out of 40.

A happy Jayne told the singer: ‘I think you have a lot to bring to the competition’.

The show features Love Island’s Ekin-Su Culculoglu, 28, and Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton, 43, who all hope to be crowned champion. 

Other celebs competing in this year’s series include football legend John Fashanu, olympic gymnast Nile Wilson, Coronation Street’s Mollie Gallagher, Drag Queen and TV personality The Vivienne, comedian Darren Harriott, actress and West End star Carley Stenson.

DANCING ON ICE 2023: MEET THE CONTESTANTS

PATSY PALMER 

AGE: 50

PROFESSION: Actress and DJ

WHAT DID THEY SAY?:  ‘I’ve turned it down before because I was terrified, but when I turned 50 I made a pact to get out of my confront zone. ‘

EKIN-SU CULCULOGLU

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Love Island star 

WHAT DID THEY SAY?:  ‘I’ve got some amazing news to tell you. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to get myself on the ice and skate. Stay tuned and see you on the ice.’

 MOLLIE GALLAGHER 

AGE: 24

PROFESSION: Actress

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I’ve not got the best coordination so when people find out they will laugh, but I don’t want to spend my life saying “I can’t do this, I can’t do that.”

JOEY ESSEX

AGE: 32 

PROFESSION: Ex TOWIE star

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I’m so excited. I wanted something in my life with structure and it’s more serious than what I usually do.’

 CARLEY STENSON

AGE: 36

PROFESSION: Actress and West End star

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I’m so excited that I get to learn how to dance…on ice! I’m terrified but can’t wait – I just want to make the most of this whole experience.’

SIVA KANESWARAN

AGE: 33

PROFESSION: Singer

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I want to learn how to skate and make my family proud of me and put on a show for everyone to see.’

 JOHN FASHANU 

AGE: 60

PROFESSION: Former footballer and pundit 

WHAT DID THEY SAY?:  ‘I am definitely in it to win it.And this may be one of the scariest things I’ve ever signed up for but I couldn’t be more ready for the challenge!’

NILE WILSON

AGE: 26

PROFESSION: Olympic gymnast 

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I’ve not done much ice-skating but I am so excited for the opportunity. I’m so excited to get into that routine and to feel like an athlete again.’

 JAMES LEE WILLIAM AKA THE VIVIENNE 

AGE: 29

PROFESSION: Drag queen

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘To be the first drag artist to take part in one of the big UK reality competition shows is an honour and a big step forward for queer representation on TV.’

  DARREN HARRIOT 

PROFESSION: Comedian 

AGE: 34 

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I’ve got giant feet, I don’t skate and I can’t danceMy family has already made bets – they’re making bets that I’ll fall on the first episode!’ 

 MICHELLE HEATON

AGE: 43

PROFESSION: Singer

WHAT DID THEY SAY?: ‘I’ve always wanted to do it but I know I would never have been able to complete anything because of the way I was 18 months ago, so I’m really truly grateful that I’ve got it this year when I’m a lot stronger.’

 



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