Dancing On Ice viewers call for gay Olympian Johnny Weir to become permanent judge

Johnny Weir, professional ice skater, at an ice rink

Fans of Dancing on Ice are calling for out gay figure skater Johnny Weir to become a permanent judge on the ITV show.

Olympian Weir made his debut as a guest judge during musicals week on Sunday (11 February), also performing a routine to Elaine Paige’s Cats song “Memory”. He replaced regular judge Ashley Banjo, who announced that he would be taking a break from the show to tour with his dance group Diversity.

Weir will stay on the show until Banjo returns for the semi-final, alongside dancer Oti Mabuse and skating heroes Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

Viewers were immediately taken by Weir, and asked that he be kept as a permanent replacement for Banjo, particularly because of his background as a professional figure skater.

“Can we have Johnny Weir as a judge every week? He’s so much better than Ashley. He knows what he’s talking about with the skating and he’s actually giving harsh and real criticism,” one wrote.

Another said: “Can we keep Johnny over Ashley, please?”

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Others said Weir was good at giving constructive feedback and practical advice on contestants’ performances, claiming that Banjo and Mabuse do not normally “have a clue” about the technical aspects of the skating routines.

Weir is a two-time Olympian, competing in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, but never finished in one of the medal positions. He is a singles skater, unlike former world champions Torvill and Dean, who famously won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics as a duo.

Weir is known for being “a very lyrical skater” and “an entertaining artisan” who often designed his own colourful, outlandish costumes. Weir is also considered to be quite outspoken, previously causing conflict with the governing body of figure skating in the US.

Some may also recognise him from his turn as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2011, when he was kissed on the lips by contestant Carmen Carrera during her lip-sync battle against Yara Sofia.

Weir came out publicly as gay in 2011, writing in his autobiography, Welcome to My World, that he isn’t “ashamed” to be himself.

“More than anyone else I know, I love my life and accept myself. What’s wrong with being unique? I am proud of everything that I am and will become,” he said.

Dancing on Ice continues on ITV on Sunday at 6.25pm.

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