'Like a dream': Carl Mullan and Emily Barker lift glitterball in Dancing with the Stars finale 

The RTÉ broadcaster exploded in to shocked laughter as his name was announced 
'Like a dream': Carl Mullan and Emily Barker lift glitterball in Dancing with the Stars finale 

Broadcaster Carl Mullan and Emily Barker with the glitterball trophy. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

Carl Mullan has won the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars.

The RTÉ 2FM broadcaster lifted the glitterball trophy alongside partner Emily Barker.

The 33-year-old exploded in shocked laughter as his name was announced as the 2023 champion.

Speaking after his win, Carl thanked his wife Ais who he said has been "incredible".

"All of my family... I am so grateful to them.

"Thank you so much for all of the love, support, we've got online and on the streets.

"To Emily Barker... I am so buzzing we've won this for you. You deserve this."

His dance partner Emily said it felt like "a dream".

"I am in total shock.. I can't tell you how long I've waited for this moment."

Carl Mullan and dance partner Emily Barker. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix
Carl Mullan and dance partner Emily Barker. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

RTÉ 2FM broadcaster Carl Mullan had kicked off the finale's proceedings with his Paso Doble to U2's Beautiful Day opening the final episode of the sixth season. 

Judge Arthur Gourounlian said his performance showed how much the Dubliner “deserved” to be in the final of the competition.

“There’s so much improvement in this...”, judge Brian Redmond said, which the Dubliner first performed in week two.

"It was like we went to watching it from standard definition to HD. Crystal clear, the whole way through."

Carl, who earlier this week told reporters he’s suffered with imposter syndrome “every single week" of the dance competition, said he felt he had "a bit of a point to prove” when he first took on the serious number – and the lyrics were particularly special to him too.

“I know I am not a hopeless case,” he said, “that’s exactly what Emily [Barker] has instilled in me the whole way through.” He scored 29 points in total, with Brian's 9 robbing him of full marks.

But, he finally got a perfect score when he got a chance to dance his showdance.

For the iconic 'freestyle' section of the final, Carl and Emily chose to dance contemporary ballroom to Celestial by Ed Sheeran in their bare feet, finishing the performance embraced in a tight hug on the dance floor.

"It's been a joy to watch you," Arthur said, tearing up. Brian also became emotional, as he admitted he wouldn't have thought the RTÉ radio host would have made the final in the early days of the competition, but he had "earned his place". 

And finally, the broadcaster earned his first perfect score - 30. 

How did the other finalists fare?

Influencer Suzanne Jackson, who has struggled with confidence throughout the competition, showed the judges just how far she’s come, scoring a perfect 30 for both performances in the final.

For the Judges Choice section of the night, she and pro partner Michael Danilczuk were asked to perform the samba – her dance from week one, and also, notoriously one of the most difficult dances to score highly on.

Suzanne Jackson and Michael Danilczuk. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix
Suzanne Jackson and Michael Danilczuk. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

“Oh boy, you have improved,” judge Arthur said, saying he would really miss Jackson’s legs strutting across the stage.

“You were like a one-woman samba band,” judge Brian added.

"Honestly Suzanne, you nailed this tonight,” head judge Loraine Barry said, saying she would “always remember” the businesswoman’s "sizzling” samba.

Scoring a perfect 30, she made history for the second time this season, with the highest-scoring samba in the history of the programme.

Suzanne and Michael chose Fire Under My Feet by Leona Lewis for their final dance, incorporating jive and even a bit of Irish Dancing in to their freestyle performance. 

"You've been our ballroom belle throughout this season," judge Brian said. "But you've absolutely finished tonight on fire!"

"You've been on a journey," Arthur added, referring to her missed steps during her jive in week three, and her history-making rumba which floored the judges in week nine. 

On this occasion, the most important of all, she "nailed" it he said - which was echoed by the judges scores, a perfect 30. 

Brooke Scullion and dance partner Robert Rowiński. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix
Brooke Scullion and dance partner Robert Rowiński. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

Meanwhile, the Bookie’s favourite Brooke Scullion and dance partner Robert Rowiński were asked to revist their Paso Doble to The Greatest Show from The Greatest Showman.

The judges could not have been more complimentary.

“With you in the final – this really is the greatest show” judge Arthur said, “I adore watching you dance.”

Judge Brian, meanwhile, said it can be difficult to “find the words” to acknowledge the merit of a performance like the one she had just given.

“Thank you,” he said, “absolutely phenomenal”.

For the cherry on top of the cake, head judge Loraine Barry said it was her “favourite performance of this season”.

Brooke scored a perfect 30 for the Paso Doble.

For their showdance, Brooke and Robert went for a mix of commercial, salsa and tango, dancing to Hallucinate by Dua Lipa.

"I am running out of words to compliment you," Arthur said following the dance, "you're a born performer." 

"Robert, no disrespect to you, but I couldn't tell who was the professional," he said. 

"Absolutely fantastic, from start to finish," Brian added. 

Head judge Loraine, however, saw some flaws in the dance - so it was a final score of 29 for Brooke, with Loraine holding back on the 10.

Like Jackson, Damian McGinty also had a night of perfect scores in the final.

He was asked to re-do his contemporary ballroom performance to Forever Young by Becky Hill alongside pro dancer Kylee Vincent for Judge's Choice. 

Arthur said he believed the Derry man was “the most improved” dancer of the season.

“It was step perfect, from start to finish,” judge Brian added, while Loraine said it was “absolute perfection”. He scored 30.

Damian McGinty and Kylee Vincent. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix
Damian McGinty and Kylee Vincent. Picture: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

And he ended the final on a high with a showdance to Take a Look at Us Now by Shawn Mendes.

All three judges gave the actor a standing ovation.

"You had all of us in the palm of your hand," head judge Loraine said. "This song is just so right for you. You started as a non dancer.. and look what you've brought us."

He ended the night with another perfect 30.

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