Dancing on Ice finalists Joey Essex, The Vivienne and Nile Wilson on their trophy chances



The Dancing on Ice finalists are on the rink of success – if they can learn three new routines in six days before Sunday.

The bookies’ favourite to win is gymnast Nile Wilson but he faces stiff competition from Towie’s Joey Essex and drag queen The Vivienne.

They will perform a showcase and a battle skate before the top two take on the iconic Bolero. But who will skate off with the trophy?

Joey Essex

Towie’s Joey Essex says he feels as though, for the first time in his career, he’s being taken seriously.

“I feel like I’ve always been perceived as this person who doesn’t know much and is not intelligent but on the flip side, I’ve got personality and other strengths,” he explained.

“With Dancing on Ice that’s what I wanted to show, that I am skilful. I’ve learned a lot and in the past few years I’ve turned into a man so it’s nice to show who I am.

“I’m not just silly 24/7. I’m not going to say I’m not stupid, because sometimes I can be a little bit stupid.”

Joey Essex has made it to the final with Vanessa Bauer
Joey Essex has made it to the final with Vanessa Bauer ( Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Joey, 32, said it had been emotionally hard to do last week’s routine dedicated to his mum, Tina, who took her life when he was aged 10.

He said he felt her presence, adding: “I do believe my mum is looking over me. I feel like she’d be very proud.”

He said he finds it hard to come to terms with his loss. “It still is very painful. With that skate I feel like it was Mum saying, ‘if you want something, graft for it’. It was another lesson. If you can do this, you’ve got what it takes to win.”

He feels he really could go all the way with partner Vanessa Bauer. “I know how much I’ve put into this journey, with my heart and soul, so I’ve definitely got what it takes to bring that trophy back. But there’s two other people out there who are extremely good so we’ve got to put the work in and come up with big ideas.”

The Vivienne

Drag queen The Vivienne, real name James Lee Williams, 30, is thrilled to have made it to the end with pro partner Colin Grafton.

“If you’d have told me I’d end up in the top three alongside an Olympic gymnast I’d have been mind-blown,” she laughed. “It’s a huge achievement, I think people thought me and Joey would be out first!

“They thought we wouldn’t be able to do one lift but we’ve done about nine different lifts and we might have a few extra things in our back pocket. It’s nice to prove people wrong.”

The Vivienne will be competing for the LGBT community and particularly drag queens. “Growing up I had Lily Savage, and seeing messages from parents and people in similar situations saying that it’s helping them, is a great place to be. I feel super proud to be making history with Colin,” she said.

The Vivienne is storming it with Colin Grafton
The Vivienne is storming it with Colin Grafton ( Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

The RuPaul’s Drag Race star said her fall in last week’s semi final was tough. “It’s a good reminder you’re not invincible, no matter how good you think you’re getting,” she said. “You have to not let the adrenaline take over, which I think is what happened on Sunday. The music, the lights, the fire – I really got into it, a bit too much, and then my skate went from underneath me.”

Now Viv, about to embark on a tour of the UK, Australia and the US, has vowed to keep on skating. “It’s the fittest I’ve been in my life – I’ve lost over two stone,” she said. “I can’t imagine my life without ice skating now. I’ll take my skates on tour with me as well.”

Nile Wilson

Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson says he’s going to wow the audience with a load of tricks.

“You’ll see multiple things that have never been seen or attempted on Dancing on Ice before,” he said. “We’ve got so many tricks – the choreography is really creative and exciting. I want it to blow everyone’s minds.”

The 27-year-old, who won bronze on the horizontal bars in 2016, said he will have some gymnastic equipment to help him out. He laughed: “There is apparatus on ice! Is it risky? Absolutely.”

Nile has spoken frankly about the addictions he suffered after being forced out of gymnastics through injury.

Nile Wilson and Olivia Smart take to the ice
Nile Wilson and Olivia Smart take to the ice ( Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Now he’s having lots of ice baths to help keep his muscles in top shape – but said in the past he’d overdone it with the cold treatment. One time he stayed in for 10 minutes but it took him 12 hours to warm up. “I swear I had mild hypothermia – I had to get all my team mates to wrap me up in blankets,” he said.

These days he sticks to around five minutes. “I love the physical benefits – and mental too, it shocks the brain into feeling good.”

Nile said he and partner Olivia Smart, who are the clear favourites to win, are spending five hours a day on the ice.

“I’m just focusing on the process not the results, that’s what I learned as an athlete. If we go out there and skate the best we can, the results will take care of themselves. The semi final was an incredible moment to get the four tens.

“I love skating, I’ve learned as much as I possibly can.”

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