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'Dad would say screw them!' - Lottie Ryan on her DWTS critics

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Star Lottie Ryan has hit back at trolls claiming she’s a trained dancer. Picture: Mark Condren

Star Lottie Ryan has hit back at trolls claiming she’s a trained dancer. Picture: Mark Condren

Star Lottie Ryan has hit back at trolls claiming she’s a trained dancer. Picture: Mark Condren

In a sense you could argue that Lottie Ryan's Dancing with the Stars controversy is flattering to her.

The idea - put about on Twitter last week - that the 2FM presenter has an unfair advantage due to being what one user called ''a trained dancer'' would be to her credit: people simply think she's too good to be true.

And yet the glory of competition - even one that unfolds in sequins under disco lights - is that the playing field, to mix metaphors, is level. And so Ryan, who is currently topping the leaderboard each week, has decided to speak out on it.

"It's simply not true and it's genuinely starting to upset me," she told the Sunday Independent. "I did stage school and drama classes and dance classes but that doesn't make me a trained dancer.

"I'm really good at not looking at stuff online but this is different because this is something that I've wanted to be part of for a long time and I want to be able to enjoy this moment. I'm into my fifth week of the show and it seems to be growing legs. So although I don't like to give things airplay, by commenting, I felt I had to say something."

What about the notion, also put about this week, that she at one point taught dance in New York?

"I don't know how what actually happened turned into that. I was on a family holiday in New York when I was 16 - I'm 33 now - and I did a drop-in dance class in New York. Any level could go along. I was taking the class, not giving it. Somehow this has all turned into me teaching in New York - it's very upsetting."

She says she's not sure where the rumours started. "Someone says to me it's on your Wikipedia page, but who writes that s**t? I've never seen it. I feel it's time to put a pin in it."

Lottie says that the accusations have been disrespectful to her partner, Pasquale la Rocca, a professional ballroom and Latin dancer, who has danced on Broadway and in the West End.

"He's a champion dancer with so many accomplishments. We work tirelessly on the choreography and the concept and the moves to make it all look so good on a Sunday, that kind of result doesn't just happen. He's getting that negativity as well, I feel really bad for him."

Lottie's sister Bonnie, who is engaged to be married, jumped to her sister's defence on Instagram this week, writing that Lottie had done ''no partner work, no ballroom dance. Never.'' Lottie will be Bonnie's maid of honour and says it's an exaggeration to say that wedding plans have been put on hold while Lottie is still in the hunt on DWTS: "The wedding plans are still in full swing."

Lottie is taking care of herself while the show is ongoing and has taken so much Vitamin C that her pee is "nuclear orange". ''Even if it's just a placebo effect, it seems to work for me," she explains.

Lottie's late dad Gerry was himself no stranger to controversy. What would he say about the accusations that she has an unfair advantage?

"I think he'd say 'screw them!' and that's something I try to live by. Criticism would get to Dad too, there would be times when it would really piss him off and times when he could tune it out. I'm like that too; we're all only human. It's been tough hearing all this stuff but I'm trying to move past it and continue to enjoy myself."

'Dancing With The Stars', RTE One, today, 6.30pm.

Sunday Independent