Dancing on Ice 2023: Ashley Banjo forced to defend ‘harsh’ score after being booed by fans

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Ashley Banjo was forced to defend his scores during the semi-final of Dancing on Ice after being booed by fans

Dancing on Ice judge Ashley Banjo was forced to defend his ‘harsh’ scores during Sunday night’s semi-final.

The Diversity dance group founder, 34, from Leytonstone, battled through the show while suffering with an illness that was making it hard for him to talk.

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He was made to explain one of his scores during the figure skating competition by host Holly Willoughby after the studio audience booed him.

The Britain’s Got Talent winner sat next to fellow judge Oti Mabuse, who joined the show from Strictly last year, as well as Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean as they watched the semi-finalists compete in the programme.

Ashley Banjo has been forced to defend his score of The Vivienne during Sunday’s Dancing on IceAshley Banjo has been forced to defend his score of The Vivienne during Sunday’s Dancing on Ice
Ashley Banjo has been forced to defend his score of The Vivienne during Sunday’s Dancing on Ice

The final five celebrities including Nile Wilson, The Vivienne and Joey Essex had to perform a skate on their own before performing a ‘personal’ skate with their partners.

During the solo performances, The Vivienne took a nasty fall and was hoping to win back the judges with her performance to Somewhere Over The Rainbow with skating partner Colin Grafton.

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The pair were nearly the second couple to be awarded a perfect score, alongside Nile Wilson and skating partner Olivia Smart, but Ashley Banjo ruined the run by awarding the couple a 9.5, instead of a perfect 10.

Ashley’s score for The Vivienne and Colin was received by boos from the Dancing on Ice audience.

Holly Willoughby was quick to react to the audience’s visible unhappiness at the score as she said: “Someone’s got some explaining to do Ashley.”

Ashley defiantly told the host: “I promise you 9.5 is a good score.”, sounding croaky, he addressed his illness adding: “You can probably hear my throat, I’ve got a bit of a cold.

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“I’m so, so proud of you for getting up after that solo skate fall and delivering that performance. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

Fans were quick to react to the scoring, with one viewer taking to Twitter to say: “9.5 Ashley Banjo spoiling a near perfect score!”

Another person said: “So beautiful, so emotional. Gorgeous skate from VIVIENNE & Colin. What was Ashley thinking, it was a 10. Well said about drag Queens they & you are fabulous.”

However, others argued that the pair were over marked, with a user writing: “Favouritism. Nowhere near 10s. 8s at best. Nothing risky, nothing special, no tricks, no jumps.”

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Another shared: “Disagree with the judges  - I expected more this week but was disappointed. I thought it  was just a mediocre performance with nothing thrilling in the  routine. Definitely overmarked and doesn’t deserve a place in the final - judges favourite?. Siva was much better.”

The finalists, including drag queen The Vivienne, former Team GB gymnast Nile and reality television star Joey Essex will face the Dancing on Ice final on Sunday night.

The final of ITV’s hit figure skating contest will take place on Sunday 12 March at 6:30pm.

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