So there was general consternation on social media, and the colour certainly drained from his face, when the Big Brother runner-up was the first to be eliminated from RTÉ’s dancing extravaganza last night, not least since his judges’ score of 17 was better than several others.
“So sad to go home but thankful for the opportunity,” he managed to say as his dance partner, Emily Barker, struggled to hold back the tears. Then they took to the floor for one last turn before leaving the show forever.
It had been quite a night. From Des Cahill’s groin confession to Des Bishop’s jacket, the shocks kept coming, not least for Aidan O’Mahony.
The Kerry footballer’s relatively average quick-step only earned him 16 points. Maybe it had something to do with him getting a choreographed kick to the rear from his dance partner early in the performance. After all, it was rare for the All-Ireland winner to get his butt kicked by someone dressed in red and white.
Speaking of colours, Des Bishop’s colourful jacket — he seemed determined to immerse himself entirely in the music of George Michael’s ‘Club Tropicana’ — may only have been matched by his language, with speculation rife on social media that at one point he let out an expletive when describing just how nervous he was. He needn’t have been worried, scoring a very admirable 21 points from the judges.
Namesake and sports expert Des Cahill, meanwhile, could have done with a cold sponge down the front of his shorts after admitted he had a “pain in the groin” after suffering a mishap in practice during the week.
While judge Julian Benson said he needed to “suck and tuck a little bit more”, that was in reference to his abdominals rather than anything lower down and he still dubbed him ‘Deserado’.
Fellow judge Brian Redmond compared Des’s swinging cape to his own granny in the kitchen “with a tea-towel trying to swat flies”. Nonetheless, the commentator still scored an acceptable 18 for his paso doble.
Perhaps the luckiest dancer was RTÉ’s Teresa Mannion as she only got 15 points for her tango but lives to dance another day. The newsreader who famously strayed into weather forecasting did add to her public appeal when she explained that the lyrics in her song from Kelly Clarkson — “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” — resonated with her as she sought to grasp every opportunity after her own cancer battle.
Red Rock actress Denise McCormack was the star of the show, getting a standing ovation for her tango, for which she got a score of 26.
Judge Lorraine Barry described it as “masterclass”, while Julian Benson said it was “box office” and described the actress as the “queen of the tango”.
Hughie’s face must have fallen a little further to no longer even be monarch to the tangoed.