If he sang, Hughie would have made a passable 21st century Al Jolson, or produced a politically incorrect showstopper from the Black and White Minstrel Show.
Instead, the dark horse of RTÉ’s Dancing With The Stars stole the limelight on Sunday night with nothing more than a chocful of chutzpah and a giant bottle of bronzer.
There aren’t too many people who could divert attention from Donald Trump’s hair, but Hughie, a runner-up last summer on the TV reality show Big Brother, has done so in style, attracting attention on social media from here to America.
His mantra? If you tan your hide, why bother to hide your tan?
“You can never have enough tan,” Mahogany Man told the TV crew, who eventually managed to wrestle the spray of St Tropez from his death grip, but only after he had applied enough to coat the decking on host Nicky Byrne’s former Malahide mansion.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio yesterday, Hughie explained why he ended up with such a teakish, freakish tan.
“I sprayed on tan I normally use myself, but when I got to the studio yesterday, I started sweating under the lights and, when I wiped my face, I ended up looking like a dalmatian.
“It was all patchy, so we had to get this foundation that is normally used for African skin. It was actually the same make-up artist and the same foundation that Jamelia used on The Voice.
“When we put it on, we realised how dark it was and then it was two minutes to air and there was nothing we could do. The other stuff they had wasn’t dark enough, because of the tan that was on my face.”
He should have realised that, just like Ronseal stain, St Tropez does exactly what it says on the bottle.
“The entire place was staring at me and the whole studio was looking at me, laughing, and were gobsmacked.”
However, Hughie has no regrets about looking like he had just been dunked in a bathful of cocoa after sweeping a very dusty chimney. “I just find it funny; to me, it’s a laugh.”
Neither does it bother him that his facial faux pas has drawn some hysterical reaction on Twitter.
“OMG your fake tan tonight makes you look like you just came out of a burning house,” wrote one, while another suggested: “Hughie has to have been dared to have that amount of tan on.”
Even fiancé Ryan Ruckledge couldn’t resist slagging him off. “When your boyfriend robs all your tan,” he wrote, alongside a line of laughing emojis and a love heart.
While Hughie wasn’t even performing on Sunday’s episode, as it was girls’ week, he stood out while standing behind presenters Amanda Byram and Byrne.
Ruckledge tweeted later: “When your boyfriend steals the show by a mile and he isn’t even dancing.”
Hughie isn’t just thick-skinned, he is smart as well, realising, like Trump, that there is no such thing as bad publicity. “It has made people speak about me which is probably a good thing,” he told Tubridy. “It is a TV show, after all.”