It was black tie night on Dancing With The Stars, but not all contestants will go to the ball.
As the orchestra packed up on the RTÉ show, they were joined by Peter Stringer on the team bus home after a dance-off.
The final seven couples were suitably dolled up for the first Orchestra Night of the series, and Mairéad Ronan and her partner John Nolan were first up with a samba to the strains of Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’, the broadcaster admitting to some serious nerves beforehand. Lorraine said the performance was “full-on” but apparently it wasn’t quite full enough — “not 100%”. Guest judge Darren Bennett also wanted “more hips”. The whole enterprise scored 21 points.
Fair City actor Clelia Murphy and her partner Vitali Kozmin were handed a paso doble, Darren describing her as “the queen of drama”. Clelia said she loved the dance routine but the mood took a dent when she revealed her rescue dog, Charlie, had been put down during the week. Scooping 25 points from the judges restored some cheer.
All-Ireland-winning footballer Denis Bastick and his partner Valeria Milova were next up with the foxtrot, with the Dubliner giving an injury list ahead of the dance so lengthy you’d think he’d met Tyrone midweek. He must have used the deep heat, springing around the floor to Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, with Darren dishing out the superlatives and Lorraine describing it as “exquisite”. Result: 23 points.
Actor Johnny Ward with partner Emily Barker had scored 27 points the previous week and had high hopes for this week’s tango. He ended up with lipstick on his nose rather than his collar, and the judges gushed about the performance. Johnny dedicated the performance to his father, who is in hospital, and Lorraine said the thesp was “a winner”, backed by a points haul of 29.
Peter Stringer and his partner Ksenia Zsikhotska had to deal with an American Smooth to the unforgettable strains of ‘New York, New York’.
The former Munster man’s nifty footwork could have come in handy against the stubborn Italians in Rome, but the judges were a little circumspect. Result: 20 points, bottom of the judges’ table, the wooden spoon beckoning.
Singer Cliona Hagan and her partner Robert Rowinski danced a waltz, with the country star in floods as she listened to the orchestra play ‘A Time For Us’ during rehearsals. The tears didn’t flow during the performance, but the garlands did, the judges claiming the pair made it look easy, and Lorraine claiming it was “a beautiful love story in motion”. Judges’ scores: A perfect 30, the first of the series.
Comedian Fred Cooke and his partner Giulia Dotta bounced back from the dance-off the previous week with a jive to ‘I’m Still Standing’ by Elton John. Lorraine loved the “kicks and flicks”, Darren said it was a great job, and Brian surprised himself by hailing Fred’s “musicality”. It all meant a very respectable 24 points.
When the public votes were totted up it meant a dance-off between Clelia and Peter, Fair City vs Rebel City. In the end Darren and Brian saved Clelia and sent Peter home.