British TV favourite Dancing on Ice has delighted viewers on Sunday night when it became the first TV dance reality show in the UK to feature a same-sex couple in the competition.
Former pop star Ian ‘H’ Watkins and professional partner Matt Evers brought the audience and the show’s judges to tears as they skated together to the song High Hopes by Panic at the Disco.
The duo’s energetic but rusty performance managed to achieve a second place for the night and has reignited the debate as to whether dancing competition shows should include same-sex couples.
BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing UK has previously featured same-sex routines but has yet to include a competing same-sex couple.
Last year, the BBC, confirmed that it is now finally willing to allow a celebrity to be partnered with a same-sex professional dancer in a future season of that show.
America’s hit dance show So You Think You Can Dance has regularly shown routines of same-sex dancers but the head judge and Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe has always been lukewarm on it from the view of two competing couples.
Watkins, who is best known for being a member of the pop group Steps, said ahead of the dance. “I am a gay guy. I always wanted a same-sex partner.”
His professional partner, Evers, suggested that this year’s season is going to be special.
“After 11 years of Dancing On Ice, I will have a same-sex partner,” he said.
“I’m really excited and there’s no line drawn for us. We’re going to set the rules.”
Their performance was met with wild applause from the audience and saw actor and judge John Barrowman overwhelmed with emotion.
Gareth Thomas, the gay former rugby star who recently came out as HIV positive, was among those in the crowd who cheered on the couple.
Barrowman – who is himself gay – commented that the routine him happy on a multitude of levels.
“Seeing two men who represent someone like me. We’ve shown you can do it. I’m overwhelmed. I’m almost speechless. It was wonderful.”
“I feel that I’ve wanted this for so long. It means so much to so many people. The world is ready for this,” Watkins added.
Evers thanked viewers and added: “This is normal.”
— Dancing On Ice (@DOI_UK_) January 5, 2020
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I felt nothing but love in the room. So proud of @Ianhwatkins and thank you all for the unending support. Now “it” doesn’t need to be a “thing”. @dancingonice pic.twitter.com/XkTHXHjZJy
— Matt Evers (@TheMattEvers) January 5, 2020
— Ian H Watkins (@Ianhwatkins) January 6, 2020