Dancing on Ice has caused controversy yet again this weekend after many viewers have claimed that a race row is now taking place due to the way in which the public have been voting for their favourite stars.
For the third week on the trot, popstar Lemar and his professional skating partner Melody Le Moal found themselves in the skate-off. During the first live show, Lemar faced former British Bake Off winner Candice Brown; last week, he challenged Hollyoaks actress Stephanie Waring and last night, he was forced to face athlete Perri Shakes-Drayton and her skating partner Hamish Gaman in the dreaded bottom two.
Last week, Stephanie admitted that she was ‘shocked’ by the result after Lemar had slipped and fell during his skate-off performance, in which the judge’s vote was supposed to be based on that skate alone.
Talking to Lorraine after her departure, the Hollyoaks actress said: “I’m saddened that we have to leave so soon.”
“I’ve had an incredible reaction from the fans and on Twitter. There has been a bit of outrage as well. I love Lemar, I really do he’s one of my closest friends on Dancing on Ice. So to be in the skate-off with him was actually quite difficult.
“The way I always thought Dancing on Ice was was that the skate-off is just based on that skate and everyone has the chance to improve. You go on to improve. I wanted the opportunity to improve on my last skate and grow in the competition just as Lemar, as he does as well.”
Luckily for Lemar, he was saved for a third time by the judges last night, which meant that firm-favourite Perri had to be axed from the show.
Many were quick to point out that Lemar has failed to improve over the three weeks, in comparison to other celebrities he has been forced to compete with in the bottom two.
Over the past two weeks, viewers have been left furious by the voting strategy, in which head judge Christopher Dean is entitled the casting vote in the event of a tie. During last night’s episode though, all four judges which consisted of Jason Gardiner, Ashley Banjo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher decided to send Perri home.
After performing her routine, Perri hoped she had “shown her stronger side”, but was left with the bad news that she was not up to the standard of fellow competitor, Lemar.
Giving his verdict, Jason said: “One was not stronger than the other. Therefore I save Lemar.” while Ashley added: “It’s hard to explain how tough this decision is and we have to vote on what we see in front of us. I’m voting for who had a better skate-off so I’m choosing to save Lemar.”
Christopher also agreed: “Lemar has had three goes at this and he just got better. It’s going to get harder for him each week now.”
With Lemar being saved again to perform next week, viewers were furious that another celebrity has had to leave the competition who showed great ‘potential to progress.
“Is this show now a fix? Last week they judged on the first performance for Lemar not his skate off, and now he’s been saved again when Perri is the stronger skater! Not impressed” one viewer asked.
“I swear Lemar’s got some dirt on Jane & Chris, they *ALWAYS* save him” another fan said.
“Is this show now a fix? Last week they judged on the first performance for Lemar not his skate off, and now he’s been saved again when Perri is the stronger skater! Not impressed…” another added.
Another also agreed: “How has Lemar got through AGAIN! it’s a fix, Perri was way better #DancingOnIce.”
“What a fix, last week Lemar was saved even though he slipped because he’s the “stronger skater overall”, but this week he is saved because they can “only go on the skate-off dance”. #DancingOnIce.”
Perri expressed her devastation to Holly and Phil about her feelings of leaving the competition so prematurely: “I was enjoying it, I wasn’t ready to go home.” she said.”Unfortunately, Lemar was the better skater today and my journey ends.”
Professional skating partner Hamish also added: “It’s disappointing to go because it’s such a fun experience. It’s great every week with the Perri building the routine.”
Although the results may be purely down to preference, many who tuned into the show were convinced there were underlying reasons for the contestants who had found themselves in the bottom two; some even suggesting that it could even be down to race.
“Seems racism is alive and well amongst those watching #DancingOnIce. Two black performers in the skate-off really?” one viewer wrote.
“The only 2 blacks stars in the competition in the final two. Shows complete racism by the voting public” another said.
“Are the British public racist? Two brown skinned people voted off Was it only me who noticed Anthony Cotton was rubbish Cheryl Baker was rubbish This show is a big joke.” another commented.
This isn’t the first time Lemar has faced comments about his race, as the same concerns arose during his time in Fame Academy in 2002.
Talking to The Mirror about whether he believes the colour of his skin may have had an impact on the results, he said: “No, I gave the same answer then, too. I have been in the bottom two, but Perri (Shakes-Drayton) is doing exceptionally well and Alex (Beresford). You’ve just got to crack on and skate better.”
He also admitted that he had to battle similar issues during his childhood while living in Tottenham, North London.
“Growing up, it’s part of what you have to deal with sometimes.” he said before adding that he also faced abuse on one particular occasion due to the colour of his skin.
“It was a racially motivated attack, nothing to do with fame, when I was much younger.” he said. “I was in a club, one guy came over and started shouting racial slurs at me and hit me over the head with a bottle.We got into a fight and that got broken up and, yes, that was it.
“I was hurt enough – but I didn’t end up the worst off. It is not a nice thing to happen to anyone, but unfortunately that is the reality of the world sometimes.”