Dancing on Ice 2013 isn't a one horse race

Bookmakers could be caught cold by making Matt Lapinskas the clear favourite to win the ITV talent show, says Mark Jefferies

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Dancing on Ice 2013 isn't a one horse race
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Mark Jefferies

If the bookmakers are to be believed, Dancing On Ice is as good as over and we're only two weeks into the contest.

In between all those ITV advert breaks, the likes of Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill have already seen enough and have former EastEnders star Matt Lapinskas as an even money favourite to win.

In other words, they think he has got it in the bag and everyone else except Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, who is the female favourite, may as well quit now.

But personally, I think they're skating on thin ice and have got things seriously wrong.

The public struggle to warm to someone who skates well from day one, and Matt looked so far ahead of some of the others it is difficult to know how he can improve.

Actor Chris Fountain lost in the final in series three, having started in a similar way to Matt.

On top of that, some of the other celebs were unfairly on the wrong end of some of Jason Gardiner's rants. Judge Jason has come back on the show seeming to believe he is bigger than Simon Cowell and delivers his verbal attacks with some dramatic pauses that last almost as long as the routines.

Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell was slammed by Jason as looking like "a weak feeble boy ". But I think he showed real potential, skating a lot without his partner. Crucially he also looks cute enough to attract plenty of gay and female votes. If he can loosen up a bit, and the same could be said for Beth Tweddle, both Olympic stars have a chance.

Of the other girls, Samia Ghadie has real promise in my eyes. She has come into the show on the back of a wave of criticism over her alleged new boyfriend, who is also her skating partner Sylvain Longchambon. But if she stays in until the end the controversy might be long forgotten and she could turn things around with some big routines. And lets face it, there certainly won't be a lack of chemistry between those two.

The last of my tips for the top is Gareth Thomas who Jason moaned was not "giving enough light and shade" on the rink in his opening routine.

Former rugby star Gareth is likely to have the whole of Wales behind him when it comes to voting. On top of that, my friends who actually ice skate regularly tell me his routine was "the most complex" and showed he will be able to tackle tough dances and lifts in the future.

As a competitive sportsman, I think Gareth has the greatest chance of winning at this stage. In fact I would only rule out Anthea Turner, Joe Pasquale, Oona King and Keith Chegwin as making up the numbers.

So in short, EastEnder Matt could win, but I wouldn't put a pony on it.

Mark Jefferies is Deputy TV Editor at the Daily Mirror

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