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Dancing On Ice final heats up as finalists secure perfect 40s in first routines

The Dancing On Ice final has kicked off in dramatic fashion as all three finalists secured perfect 40s for their first performances.

Olympian Nile Wilson, drag queen The Vivienne and reality star Joey Essex all impressed the judges as they went head-to-head in Sunday’s grand final as they battle to be crowned the winner.

The first routines for the final of the ITV skating competition were choreographed by judges and former Olympic champion skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Wilson showed off his gymnastic abilities in a pirate-inspired routine as he performed a handstand on parallel bars suspended in the air as well as the infamously difficult headbanger, the first time a male celebrity has attempted the move.

After the performance, he said it was an “honour” to have the routine choreographed by Torvill and Dean.

Reflecting on the routine, Dean said: “I’m speechless almost. We wanted to capitalise on his gymnastic skills and his athleticism and I think he did that.”

Torvill added that she thought Wilson definitely deserved a 10 as she felt it was the best she had seen him perform the routine.

The Vivienne delivered a seductive performance for her first routine, landing another full 40 points.

The drag queen dressed in a vibrant red outfit as she skated to Dark Horse by Katy Perry with her partner Colin Grafton and a number of other dancers who dipped and lifted the 30-year-old entertainer.

After the routine, The Vivienne said: “This whole experience has been amazing and being on the ice with Jayne and Chris is an experience money cannot buy.

“It is just phenomenal and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”

Torvill said: “What I like about this routine is there’s so many difficult steps and edges but you make it look easy.”

Diversity star and judge Ashley Banjo said: “Your skating is incredible. You’ve come so, so far, but for me you are literally such an incredible performer and there is not one person in the competition that could perform that routine like you and that’s why I absolutely loved that.

“It showcased you and I think you deserve to be here and this is a well deserved 10.”

Essex embodied the Greek hero Hercules for his first grand finale routine and landed the third perfect score of the night.

The reality star performed a walkover and a backflip with his skating partner Vanessa Bauer while dressed in a white toga.

Essex described the show as “the best experience I’ve ever had in my life” after he received the top mark.

Banjo said: “I’m actually so proud of you bro because from where you started to where you ended up, you are skating with Vanessa and all the other incredible pros.

“And it would have been really easy to underestimate you at the start of the series but look, you are here in the final and you absolutely smashed it.”

Dean joked Essex had taught him patience during the competition, adding: “Tonight, I think it was an amazing performance but also it was a Herculean performance and it was from zero to hero tonight.”

The three finalists and their skating partners then performed a dance battle to Destiny’s Child’s Survivor.

All the remaining competitors will skate twice tonight before the final two couples will perform the famous Bolero, which won Torvill and Dean the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics, to decide the winner.

The show kicked off with a dazzling routine by the professional dancers to Ed Sheeran’s Celestial which introduced the finalists.

Dancing On Ice continues on ITV.