Perri Kiely is a hit on Splash!

Diversity dancer Perri Kiely proved he had all the right moves when he plunged straight into the semi-finals of TV diving contest Splash!

Kiely, 18, won the audience vote after the judges also deemed him best diver of the night, as the second series of the celebrity show kicked off.

Perri Kiely is a hit on Splash!

Olympian Tom Daley, who is mentoring the contestants, had nothing but praise for Kiely’s falling-back somersault from the 10-metre board – the highest that any of the celebrities dared to jump.

The teenager earned 25 points out of a possible 30 from judges Andy Banks, Team GB’s diving coach, comic Jo Brand and Olympic medal-winning diver Leon Taylor.

Daley hailed Kiely as having “so much potential” and said of the dive: “To be honest, he can do it better than me.”

Joining Kiely in the next round was Autumnwatch presenter Michaela Strachan, who gained her place by battling it out against The Only Way is Essex’s Gemma Collins in the splash-off, the pair having ended up as runners-up to Kiely in the audience vote.

The 47-year-old TV host had been first to dive on the programme, performing a backwards dive with tuck from the five-metre board. Brand told her: “I thought you were like a lovely little leprechaun, leaping into a lake of loveliness.”

A repeat performance in the splash-off proved enough to take her through to the semi-finals, with Banks saying she had improved from her first dive.

TV critic Mark Boardman said ” erri did a fanatstic job though the public know he has alot more to offer”.

Collins and Hollyoaks actress Gemma Merna both overcame their fears to take part in the contest, each admitting they were terrified before attempting dives from the three-metre board. They had failed to impress the judges but their bravery was praised.

When she was later told she had lost out to Strachan on a place in the semi-final, Collins, whose “chutzpah” was applauded by Brand, said: “It’s the best news I’ve had all day.”

The final contestant in last night’s show was former EastEnders actor Ricky Groves, whose forward dive was “pretty good”, according to Taylor, but he failed to make it through to the next round.

Another five celebrities will be making leaps of faith in next weekend’s show, all hoping to emulate the success of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards who won the first series of the ITV contest last year.

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