After the Marty Party ended last week, it was model Alannah Beirne’s turn to get her coat last night as her samba just wasn’t hot and spicy enough to warm up a frozen Irish public.

Her chances of making it through to next week’s quarter finals were always going to be slim as, after four other competitors were saved by the public vote, she was left to fight it out in the dance-off with Erin McGregor, who had been given a score of 29 out of 30 by the judges.

What was noticeable after the exit of crowd-pleasing but rather low-scoring Marty Morrissey last week, was that the average scoring across the competition last night was very high — the lowest mark given by the individual judges was eight.

Erin McGregor’s waltz even brought a tear to the eye of judge Julian Benson, who said it brought back memories of the dancing of his mother. Loraine Barry said it was “elegance plus” and that Conor McGregor’s sister and her partner Ryan McShane had “taken something ordinary and made it extraordinary”.

The night started with an energetic jive from Jake Carter and partner Karen Byrne which judge Brian Redmond described as “excellent” adding that they didn’t need to pad the dance out because Jake’s jiving was better than the padding. He scored 27 points. Next up was Rob Heffernan who started off by getting caught in partner Emily Barker’s dress (in the most innocent sense). He managed to recover, pointing out afterwards, “I can do the feckin’ steps blind now!” On the week of his 40th birthday, he scored 24 points for his contemporary ballroom.

Alannah Beirne’s performance also secured her 24 from the judges who, while concerned at the performance of her lower limbs — Brian said feet, Loraine said legs — were impressed with the “electricity” and “party” she brought to her samba with partner Vitali Kozmin.

It was another 24 for Anna Geary and partner Kai Waddington for their rumba which Julian described as “pure sensual”. Brian gave a backward compliment that, while not her best dance, it was still the best rumba of the competition so far.

Finally it was actress and comedian Deirdre Kane whose Charleston with John Nolan was described by Brian as her best dance so far. Loraine said it had Hollywood glamour, while Julian said it was a razzle dazzle Charleston. It scored her 26 points.

The dancers were divided into two teams, the Floor Fillers and Party Rockers. The Fillers, Jake, Deirdre and Alannah, wiped the floor with their opponents, with a perfect 30. Alannah had one victory at least, before Erin pipped her in the dance-off.


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