Olympian Nile Wilson crowned winner of Dancing On Ice 2023

The Olympic gymnast saw off competition from reality star Joey Essex and drag queen The Vivienne.
The Olympic gymnast saw off competition from reality star Joey Essex and drag queen The Vivienne.

Nile Wilson and his skating partner Olivia Smart have been crowned the champions of Dancing On Ice after a dazzling final which saw a string of perfect scores.

The Olympic gymnast, 27, saw off competition from reality star Joey Essex, who came second, and drag queen The Vivienne, who finished in third place, during Sunday’s grand finale.

After being declared the winner, Wilson said: “If Dancing On Ice has anything to say of entertainment, we’ve got 11 human beings all different shapes and sizes stood on this stage tonight with an allocated time to get good at something and we proved that we can do that.

“So what an inspirational show. If you put your mind to something and you work hard you can achieve anything you want.”

He also thanked everyone who voted for them and said he will be spending the night celebrating with the people who he “loves the most”.

TV personality Essex, 32, congratulated the couple following their win, saying: “I’m so happy for Nile and Olivia. I missed a few steps but literally, the best time of my life, thank you, everyone.”

The three finalists all skated an original routine and performed in a skate battle to whittle it down to two remaining contestants.

After The Vivienne was voted off, she said: “It’s been the most amazing experience. I’m so used to living out of a suitcase on a tour bus or somewhere and this has given me structure in my life and I’ve got fit and I’ve met the most amazing friend in colleague.”

Wilson and Essex then went head-to-head as they each performed the famous Bolero, which won Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics, to decide the winner.

After all the finalists had performed their first dance, which were choreographed by Torvill and Dean, they were neck and neck on the leaderboard – having all secured perfect 40s.

Wilson showed off his gymnastic abilities in their 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.

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 feels 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 while dressed in a vibrant red outfit.

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.

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 added: “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 well deserved 10.”

Essex donned a white toga to embody the Greek hero Hercules for his first grand finale routine, which saw him perform a walkover and a backflip with his skating partner Vanessa Bauer.

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.

Former contestants from the series also returned to skate one last time with their partners.