Joey Essex: My late mother would have been proud to see me in the DOI final

TV personality Joey Essex said his mother, who died when he was a child, would have been “proud” and “loved” to have seen him in the final of Dancing On Ice.

The former The Only Way Is Essex star, 32, will face competition from Olympic gymnast Nile Wilson and drag queen The Vivienne when the ITV show draws to a close on Sunday.

When asked what his mother Tina would make of him doing well on the show, Essex said: “I feel like she would be very proud.

“She 100% would be very proud of me and she would have loved to have been there in the audience.”

Essex’s mother took her own life when he was 10 years old and he has since spoken publicly about his loss in the BBC documentary, Joey Essex: Grief and Me.

The reality star added that performing with his professional skating partner Vanessa Bauer to High by Lighthouse Family in memory of his mother last week was “extremely difficult” due to the “flooding of emotions”.

He said: “It still is very painful, It’s very raw and I don’t think I’ll ever fully properly get over that situation, I’ve definitely let go of something and released a lot of pressure after my documentary.”

Last week Essex was saved by the judges, who chose to send home Coronation Street actress Mollie Gallagher and The Wanted singer Siva Kaneswaran after the skate-off.

He continued: “So, for me, it was like another little lesson to be like, ‘we can do this, and you’ve got what it takes to win’. So in my eyes, it was a blessing.”

On getting ready for the grand final, Essex said the training has left him in “the most pain I’ve had so far throughout the journey”.

At the weekend, he will need to score higher than Wilson, 27, who has had the most points in the skating series so far after gaining a perfect score last Sunday, and has never found himself in the skate-off.

When asked how it feels to be the frontrunner, Wilson said skating well is about “the process, not the results”.

He added: “This is very new to me but I quite like it, I don’t feel pressure.

“I just think all we can do is go out there every week and skate the best we can.”

Wilson said his “body awareness” and “courage” from being an athlete might have helped him “accelerate” his progress in the skating world.

Meanwhile, the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK The Vivienne, whose real name is James Williams, said to get to the final with an Olympic gymnast is a “huge achievement”.

They added that Essex has “surprised everyone” as “probably people thought” they and reality star would be out first.

The 30-year-old Welsh drag queen also said: “So to be able to prove people wrong at every corner and people saying ‘we weren’t even (going to) be able to do one lift’.

“We’ve done about nine different lifts, and spinning lifts, rotational lifts and all this crazy stuff.”

The Dancing on Ice final will air on March 12 at 6.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.