Audiences of the ITV dance show were left angry that it’s now popularity over performance.
With the current season of Dancing on Ice well underway, it was only a matter of time before true controversy arose. With injuries and surprising eliminations having already taken place, an even bigger, more divisive moment happened this weekend (18 February): a rule change.
However, with a double eviction on the cards, Holly and Phil teased audiences as they built up to the shock announcement.
‘Our seven remaining celebrities are all set to take to the ice with more incredible routines, but tonight they really have to skate like never before,’ Holly said.
Phil carried on the tease and discussed the pressure of a double eviction: ‘They’ve had to work twice as hard, no doubt they’ll be twice as nervous, because this week it’s a double elimination. Not one but two couples will leave the competition at the end of tonight’s show.’
It was only then that Holly announced the rule change: ‘They’re all feeling extremely tense. But if you want to keep your favourites in, don’t worry – because you can do that right now, because the phone lines are officially open!’
People tuning into the show were anything but happy by the news, tweeting their frustrations about how the logic-defying move meant viewers could vote for their favourites before anyone had even taken to the ice.
How can they open the vote before anyone’s even skated!?!? Surely that just makes it a popularity competition! #DancingOnIce
— sally 'bash' (@missSbash) February 18, 2018
— Colin Bowen (@ColinBowen1) February 18, 2018
Dancing On Ice has literally become a popularity contest and not a dancing contest by asking people to vote in a dancing competition before people have actually danced! #dancingonice
— Christopher Leary (@chrischrisleary) February 18, 2018
So we don't need to watch them skate before voting as performance obviously not as important as celeb popularity #DancingOnIce
— BrightonBeautiful (@BrightonBren) February 18, 2018
— Ruthie (@RuthieLC_) February 18, 2018
Admittedly it does seem a weird thing to do. It essentially means that anyone with a favourite couple can make their vote and not even have to watch the show, so the accusations of it becoming a popularity contest rather than basing it on the night’s performance is valid.
The show’s defence seems to be that opening the lines earlier gives people enough time to vote, considering it was a double eviction, but that doesn’t make total sense either, if we’re meant to be judging on the episode-specific dance.
Antony Cotton, 42, who’d already suffered a bad injury while training, and Donna Air, 38, were the latest celebs to be eliminated from the show in the double eviction.
Catch Dancing on Ice each Sunday on ITV1.