The best celebrity TV contest debuts ever - Brendan Cole to Abbey Clancy

These celebrities took up new skills like old pros. (BBC/ITV/Getty)
These celebrities took up new skills like old pros. (BBC/ITV/Getty)

Dancing On Ice 2022 got off to a spectacular start with Brendan Cole putting in what Torvill and Dean called the best first skate they'd seen in 14 series.

His background as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing obviously boosted his performing skills, but Cole has still managed to master the tricky skating element.

Read more: Phillip Schofield claims Strictly is easy compared to Dancing On Ice

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Brendan Cole is already the frontrunner. (ITV)

Viewers were wowed by his routine that looked close to pro standard and it seems as though he will be a shoo in for the final after just one week of the competition.

But Cole isn't the only celebrity to have had a seriously impressive debut in a TV show - check out these five other stars who were so good they could have followed a different route to fame.

Abbey Clancy - Strictly Come Dancing

Being a model might have given Abbey Clancy a certain amount of grace in the ballroom, but not every model who's taken part in the BBC show has managed to carry that through into an elegant performance.

Clancy proved she could do much more than just strike a pose as she worked incredibly hard throughout the 2013 series which she went on to win.

Her first turn around the dancefloor with Aljaz Skorjanec was a Waltz that scored a huge 32 points out of 40, putting her top of the leaderboard.

She even reprised it for the final where she clocked up a perfect 40.

AJ Odudu - Strictly Come Dancing

TV presenter AJ Odudu suffered some terrible luck in Strictly 2021 when she injured her ankle just before the final, becoming the only celebrity ever to have had to drop out at that stage and also missing the live tour.

It had all started so well for Odudu, who stunned the judges and viewers with an incredibly fast-paced Jive that put her and Kai Widdrington at the top of the leaderboard on 34 points.

Read more: Strictly 2021's best moments

Her success in the first show was a taste of what was to come, as the judges told her she could easily have become a professional dancer if she'd started training earlier in life.

Odudu was heartbroken to miss out on the final, as were viewers who had been looking forward to what had promised to be the strongest series final ever.

James Jordan - Dancing On Ice

LONDON, -, UNITED KINGDOM - 2018/12/18: Alexandra Schauman and James Jordan at the Dancing On Ice Launch Showcase at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink, Kensington,. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
James Jordan took to the ice with ease. (Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Like his friend and former Strictly colleague Brendan Cole, James Jordan was well-placed to be a success on Dancing On Ice in 2019.

He topped the scores with 30.5 for his first confident skate, although in the public vote he actually came second to novice performer and low scorer Gemma Collins.

Of course, Jordan went on to win the series - there was some tough competition from Wes Nelson, but no contestant really had a chance of catching up with his huge scores.

Megan McKenna - The X Factor: Celebrity

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: Megan McKenna attends
Megan McKenna won 'The X Factor: Celebrity'. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Viewers knew her as one of the reality TV stars of TOWIE and Ex On the Beach, but Megan McKenna had hidden talents up her sleeve.

She wowed Simon Cowell and co in her first appearance on The X Factor: Celebrity in 2019 as she showed off her country singing voice, and then went on to win the whole show.

Read more: The biggest TV controversies of 2021

McKenna had released her own album, Story of Me, a year earlier and proved she could easily have gone into a music career if reality TV hadn't come calling.

Perri Kiely - Splash!

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Perri Kiely attends the BAFTA Children's awards at The Roundhouse on November 26, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Perri Kiely showed no nerves whatsoever in 'Splash!'. (Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)

It was just a couple of years ago that Diversity dancer Perri Kiely showcased his skating skills in Dancing On Ice, somehow being beaten by Joe Swash.

But that wasn't the first time he'd taken to a new skill with ease, as back in 2014 Kiely had triumphed in the second series of diving contest Splash!.

A lifetime of backflips has obviously given Kiely nerves of steel, having tackled the 10 metre diving board in a back fall somersault in his very first appearance - something the other contestants hadn't even considered.

Watch: Bez suffers dramatic head-banging fall in Dancing On Ice training