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Dancing On Ice judge Ashley Banjo defends Brendan Cole after he gets backlash for being a pro dancer


DANCING On Ice judge Ashley Banjo has defended Brendan Cole after viewers complained he was too good to be taking part in the series.

Brendan, who was a pro on Strictly Come Dancing for 15 years,  topped the leader board last night alongside his partner Vanessa Bauer sparking backlash amongst fans.

Ashley Banjo has defended Brendan Cole after he wowed on Dancing On Ice

Brendan and Vanessa topped the leader board after their first skate[/caption]

But Ashley has insisted his dance background wouldn’t be an advantage to him.

Speaking on today’s Good Morning Britain, Diversity star Ashley said: “He was flying over that ice and a lot of people say ‘he’s a dancer, he’s a pro’.

“Listen, I am a dancer and I am a pro and there is no way I would be able to come out and do what Brendan did that well. The way he translated his skills is amazing.”

Pro dancer Brendan was the first celebrity to take to the ice when the new series returned last night, scoring a huge 30.5 with “serial finalist” skating partner Vanessa Bauer.

The 45-year-old was close to tears after he finished the performance to Black Betty by Ram Jam adding: “There was a lot of pressure coming in opening the show, I could feel my heart.

“I thought you could hear it through my microphone.”

Head judge Christopher Dean, who scored him a 7.5, said: “That is the best first dance I have seen by a contestant in 14 series.”

New judge Oti Mabuse, who gave her fellow ex-Strictly dancer an 8, said: “You were explosive, passionate and the two of you had chemistry.”

Panellist Ashley Banjo added: “If that is where you are starting… I know you are going to be trouble.”

Unimpressed viewers took to Twitter to rant, with one person writing: One wrote: “1st Performance on #DancingOnIce…Fix Already, there should be NO professional Dancers as contestants!!”

A second said: “Bit of a fix that Oti gives Brendan the highest score considering she works with him on strictly #dancingonice”

Another added: “Shock professional dancer gets high score. FIX!”

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