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Sunday 4 December 2016

Kirsty at large: Complexities of playing endearing goofball

Published 06/11/2016 | 02:30

Routine: The Happy Pear twins take to the stage on the Ray D'Arcy Show
Routine: The Happy Pear twins take to the stage on the Ray D'Arcy Show
Mirror tiles: Thalia Heffernan strikes a pose
Long delay: Robbie Williams was an hour late
January Jones

There is a fine art to winning people over through spine-shuddering levels of embarrassment.

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Some people, like Ed Balls, have mastered this.

The gusto with which the former shadow chancellor conducts himself on Strictly Come Dancing has been compulsive and commendable. The Daily Mail has labelled him 2016's "unlikely sex symbol" and Marian Keyes fancies him - ipso facto, he's a big deal.

Ed's schtick may seem easy to mimic (just do everything very, very badly with a broad smile) but there is a hidden complexity to playing the part of endearing goofball. It's a role most of us are incapable of pulling off. This was thrown into relief last Saturday when I was flicking between BBC and RTÉ.

On one channel we had Ed dressed as a mad scientist in some very unfortunate trousers, on the other we had Ray D'Arcy introducing Lip Sync battle - a segment of his show based on the hit US format and which is also reminiscent of The Word's infamous 'I'll do Anything to get on TV' segment. Presenter, and part-time Kimono maker Lorraine Keane was going head-to-head with health nuts The Happy Pear twins. I really like the Happy Pear twins but their performance on the show was just pants. Yes, they cantered around the studio and ripped off their clothing, but they didn't bother to learn the words to the song. It was a lip-syncing contest to 'It's My Life' by Bon Jovi. Who, I ask you, doesn't know the words to that?

To top it all off, they completed their routine by sliding on their knees across the studio floor. The knee-slide - the preferred dance move of drunk male wedding guests the world over. You know the set-up; it's 5am, they've done 'Rock the Boat' and burst the inflatable guitar. Then, they deploy the knee slide.

Now, Ed Balls - he could have pulled this move off, but not the Happy Pear brothers. And here's why. The secret to being a beloved embarrassment is two-fold.

Firstly, the level of self consciousness is key. Ed Balls has no idea how bad a dancer he is, he thinks he does, but he doesn't.

But what really makes his appearance compulsive is his commitment; he's trying his damned best. As any TV producer will tell you, watching people give it their all and fail is the founding stone of light entertainment TV. That's why Ed is a star pupil and the Happy Pear twins should stick to their day job - making exceptionally good pesto.

I love to love the world's largest ever disco ball

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If you love Donna Summer and Tina Charles as much as I do, then you'll know this truth. You never, ever turn down an offer to come face to face with the world's largest disco ball.

And so, I dashed along to the preview of Metropolis in the RDS where the giant, glimmering globe was being hoisted into place.

The massive mirrored ball was built in 2012 by UK festival organiser Rob Da Bank (me neither) to convince Chic frontman Nile Rodgers to play at a party - which, thankfully, he did. Models Thalia Heffernan, above, and January Winters posed for selfies in some of the 3,000 mirror tiles. "I was blown away when I saw it," Thalia said. "The only thing that can top it is Grace Jones."

Ana Cosgrave of the Repeal Project talked about her installation art piece with Labyrinth. "It's a virtual petition," she said.

In homage to Prince's purple reign, his biographer Matt Thorne will be talking about life inside Paisley Park.

As we headed off site, we were all handed our own mirror-ball cup. The perfect memento.

Give that man a medal - king of waffle triumphs at Robbie's gig

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I don't think anyone has praised Today FM's Ian Dempsey enough for the killing time 'masterclass' he gave at the Robbie Williams' press conference.

Nineties heart-throb Robbie took his sweet time arriving to the gig - an hour, to be precise.

Ian was the bearer of bad news - nipping up to the podium every few minutes and informing the assembled media that Robbie would be another 10/ 15/30 minutes.

"I don't think there could be a more cynical crowd," Ian said.

"But he will be down shortly."

Eventually, the time came and with a flourish Ian introduced Williams as "the man who has sold as many albums as Elvis - the one, the only... Mr Robbie Williams".

'Let Me Entertain You' swelled and Ian gestured dramatically towards the door.

But nothing happened.

After what seemed like an eternity, a meek PR person poked their head out and mouthed "five more minutes". Dejected, Ian turned around and started discussing his weekend plans, and the general depravity of the PPI radio awards.

He also "exclusively revealed" he had turned down RTÉ's request to appear on Dancing with the Stars, chatted about a restaurant he was thinking of visiting with his wife and discussed the imminent arrival of Panto season.

Finally, Robbie arrived.

All was forgiven as he regaled us with tales of being on magic mushrooms at Bono's gaff, watching UFOs fly overhead, how much he loved fatherhood and his plans to visit Waterford and eat heaps and heaps of blaas.

"I hope it's worth the wait," he said.

The crowd nodded, but I don't think Ian was so sure.

"I suppose that's the good side of radio," he said after the whole thing.

"You learn to waffle a lot."

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The Mad Men star is doling out instructions on how to take a bath properly. Highlights include not dropping your iPad in the tub and not letting the water get too hot. She also advises eating pastries while soaking (madness).

SAY WHAT?

‘It’s not every day a normal Irish person sees their idol in a sunbed shop and then they treat them with that attitude’

Hold up. Never mind about the fan snub, the real question here is why Bieber decided to get his tan topped up in a sunbed shop on Grafton Street that doubles up as an internet cafe and paper-laminating business?

I need answers.

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