Dancing On Ice judge Jason Gardiner has said the other contestants on the show will have their “time to shine” now that Gemma Collins has been eliminated.
Reality TV star Collins was booted from the ITV programme on Sunday evening after ending up in the skate-off for the first time, where she went head to head with Ryan Sidebottom.
Collins and Gardiner have butted heads throughout the series, prompted when he said Collins was channelling the late model Anna Nicole Smith instead of Marilyn Monroe during one routine, and she then accused Gardiner of selling stories about her.
The star of The Only Way Is Essex also drew headlines when she took a dramatic tumble during her time in the series.
Gardiner told ITV’s Lorraine: “I’m relieved for the other contestants that are in the show who are really brilliant that now the focus can be on their merit and how hard they’ve worked.”
Asked by host Lorraine Kelly if his recent feud with Collins was personal, Gardiner said: “I didn’t know who Gemma was until this series, I’ve never seen her show so I wasn’t familiar with who she was, so there was nothing personal until it did get personal, and she accused me of something really quite libellous.
“Actually it was disturbing because she never actually apologised either, so that to me shows real character.”
He said he does regret the focus on his rift with Collins, “because actually these other contestants have been blooming whilst all of this has been blooming going on, so it’s different.
“I’m glad that now the contestants that we have in the show now are going to have their time to shine.”
In a recent episode, the duo appeared to have put their spat behind them when Collins even agreed with some of the criticism Gardiner gave to her performance.
She joked that they had “become sort of friends now”, and Gardiner quipped back: “I wouldn’t go that far.”
Collins, who had been partnered with professional skater Matt Evers in the show, was the fifth celebrity to leave the series.
Gardiner told Kelly that he thinks James Jordan, Wes Nelson, Melody Thornton and Saara Aalto are the frontrunners to win the show.