‘John was eliminated as he’s too tall – but here’s who I think will win DOI’, says Jake Quickenden

Jake Quickenden won Dancing On Ice in 2018 with professional skater Vanessa Bauer, emotionally saying at the time: "I can’t believe it honestly!"

The I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! runner-up, 34, who soared to fame on The X Factor in 2012, impressed the judges and viewers week after week with his impressive skating skills.

Since competing on Dancing On Ice, Jake has remained committed to supporting the ITV skating show and the celebrities starring on it.

From predicting finalists to dealing with pre-show nerves, skating champion Jake is on hand to offer his thoughts and advice to the new line-up.

This week, Jake discusses John Fashanu becoming the first star to leave the 2023 series, why The Vivienne could make it to the final and that viewer backlash to Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu's opening show outfit.

In his exclusive OK! column, Jake gives fans and Dancing On Ice contestants his first hand experience…

Jealously watching Dancing On Ice

Without lying, I hate watching it [Dancing On Ice]. That sounds bad but it's only because I get so jealous because I just want to do it again.

I tweeted last night when it was on, it really made me want to get my skates out and go skating because I love the show so much. The fact I've taken part in it and won it, it seems so long ago and I haven't skated in so long it just makes me want to skate. This year so far? I'm very impressed.

John Fashanu's exit

Honestly, I called it, I kind of knew that he'd go. Ekin-Su skated quite well in the skate-off. You know what, hats off to John, he's 60 and he gave it a good go. When I was watching it, I was thinking he's so tall. It's so hard because Alexandra Schauman is only little and he's so tall, it just makes everything look quite slumped over because he's having to bend over, which will make it so much harder for him.

So when I watched I thought: 'Yeah, I can see him definitely being in the bottom two for the skate-off' and then after the skate-off, I was like: 'Yeah, he's going to go, bless him.' Nobody wants to be first out but somebody always has to be first out. I'm glad Ekin-Su was saved because I think she'll bring quite a lot of entertainment throughout the season.

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu's outfit controversy and skate-off

The viewers are totally different to Love Island viewers so she'd have a lot of support from the Love Island viewers that tune in but the actual viewers of Dancing On Ice, I think it's a total different demographic. So a lot of them probably wouldn't necessarily have watched Love Island or know Ekin-Su. But you'd always expect, with having like 2 million followers on Instagram, that she'd do quite well. It just proves that it doesn't necessarily reflect that.

Last night I was really happy because she skated a lot more, I think the first week, she just went out and she wanted to do like a really high-octane performance, whereas people just want to see you skate. People want to see you skate and improve. I think maybe they realised that but I'm really happy that she got saved. I think now people will get behind her, she comes comes across really well.

I did actually predict her to be in the final when she started so I was pretty shocked that she was in the bottom two. But I think now if she keeps improving, she's going to do well.

Obviously I saw the backlash [to her week one outfit], and I don't think it was massively revealing. It's ice skating, we see those kind of outfits in gymnastics, ice skating and performing all the time. I think for week one, maybe people were put off by that.

People are always going to be quick to judge but she probably got asked to wear it, she went for it and she looked good in it. It is what it is and if people are not going to vote for somebody because they don't like what they're wearing, it's a bit shallow!

Dancing On Ice final predictions

I think there's maybe three [predicted finalists]. Carley Stenson was amazing last night and she's got Mark Hanretty, who I love to pieces – he's one of the best people in the world, he's such a nice bloke! I also know how amazing he is, routine wise, he's incredible so after watching her last night, I'm thinking: 'She's got a great chance [of winning].'

She is quite clearly one of the best technical skaters that they've got, so she could definitely win. Also, from the first week, Nile Wilson and Joey Essex, they both looked like they were ready to tear [the ice rink] up. Nile was always my favourite from the start, I thought he'd do great, so I was very impressed with him. But there's some really good skaters and I've really enjoyed it [the series] so far.

The Vivienne making history

I think it's so great that The Vivienne made history as the first drag queen to perform on the show. I thought she was absolutely brilliant and when I watched, I was thinking: 'This is week one and she's great!'. Her technical skate was probably the best and she's just a natural performer. I'm really happy [ The Vivienne is on the show], it's taken a while for a drag queen to get on the show – I think she's got a really good chance of going on in the competition and doing well.

Pre-show nerves and the power of "autopilot"

My nerves never went! I was just as nervous in the final as I was week one, they never improved! I never really knew how to deal with my nerves, I was the worst person backstage on show day. I didn't speak, I just walked around, I just practised my skate and I just got into the zone. So that's my advice, just get into the zone, ignore everything else on show days and worry about your skate as you don't want to go home.

When we were in that tunnel and they used to say: 'Jake and Vanessa!' Honestly, I can't even describe how shaky my legs were. Then to go out there and actually manage to stay on two feet… at the end of your dance, you're just like: 'Okay, I got through another one, I managed to not fall over and we go again next week, hopefully!'

I used to totally forget what I did, I used to forget my skate and then I'd watch it back, I'd be like: 'Oh, that was actually alright!' I went into autopilot every single week. For the winning formula, just go into autopilot and not think!

Ignoring nasty messages

The thing with being in the public eye, you're never going to please everyone. As long as you are happy with how you're coming across, and as long as you're happy with how you're dancing or performing, then everything else is kind of smoke and mirrors. You don't really care what anyone's saying.

I've been there before when a nasty message has really thrown me off and upset me. I've thought: 'Oh no, was it that bad?!' There's always going to be people wanting to put you down or hate on you. I would say to the contestants just concentrate on their performance.

Not trying to stay off social media, but try not to just read through the negative and the positive. Sometimes just reading positive stuff can make you think that you are untouchable, so just stay off it, ignore the background noise, work on your skating and enjoy the whole process because it's such a fun show to be a part of.

You're never going to please everyone and that's something I've learnt as I've got older. I used to be such a people pleaser, I just wanted everyone to like me but unfortunately people are going to have an opinion on you without even meeting you. As long as the people closest to you, as long as they love you, and you don't change and you just keep dancing, everything else doesn't matter.


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