It shouldn’t be any surprise that the girl from Heaney country has been nothing less than poetry in motion on the dance floor over the past 10 weeks.
As she arrived back in her home town of Bellaghy this week, everyone wanted a piece of Brooke Scullion.
A finalist on Dancing with the Stars, tipped by many to twirl off with the Glitterball trophy, she has been a wonder of reinvention.
From the final of The Voice UK to singing for Ireland at Eurovision and now producing a series of stunning dance performances on the RTÉ Sunday night spectacular, she has already reinvented herself more times than Madonna in a lot less time.
But throughout it all, she has remained the same girl from Bellaghy.
She flops down on a stool in the bar of The Taphouse Bar and Restaurant, all hugged out from the hundreds of schoolchildren who have been let out of class early to cheer her homecoming ahead of the final.
In true Heaney country style, she orders a hot whiskey to sip by the fireside. She has been here before, but still finds it “madness”.
“A few years ago I was just like those kids running around excited,” she said, having hugged virtually every one of them.
Aged 23, Scullion has crammed a lot into the past few years, first making her mark in The Voice UK where she made the final of the truncated series disrupted by Covid-19, eventually finishing third.
But it nearly didn’t happen as she had to be persuaded to audition for the show while studying drama at Ulster University in Magee.
“I had no friends there and found it was a very vulnerable place for me,” she said.
“I was doing a straight drama degree with no singing involved. I hadn’t sung since school. I said to someone I’d love to try out for the choir, and I felt like that was a bit of a dream.
“When The Voice auditions came to our university, my friend put me in for the audition and forced me to go.”
But the offers didn’t roll in after her starring role on the ITV show.
Instead, there were two years of wondering what to do next. She turned to writing, and among the songs that emerged was That’s Rich.
“For two years I didn’t open my mouth to sing for a single person, but I went and wrote my own material,” she said.
Confidence needed to be rebuilt, and when it was suggested she throw her hat in the ring to represent Ireland at Eurovision, the window of opportunity was thrown wide open again.
Winning the public vote earned her that trip to Turin last May, raising her profile again. Then Dancing with the Stars came calling.
Beside her, Robert Rowin- ski, her dance partner on the hit show, looks a little taken aback by the reaction she received on her home patch.
Tomorrow night’s big finale sees Scullion, Glee actor Damian McGinty – also from Derry – TV presenter and businesswoman Suzanne Jackson and 2FM presenter Carl Mullan competing to be crowned champion.
“We have two more dances,” Scullion said. “It’s hard to believe that after 11 weeks. I love the idea that I can now sing and dance. Acting next, maybe Broadway, you never know. But Sunday comes first.”