In pictures: Glitzy, glamorous and pretty darn fabulous - Dancing with the Stars returns
THEY didn’t call it a Nollaig na mBan extravaganza but that’s exactly what it was as Dancing with the Stars returned to our screens – with the women hitting the dance floor in a show of girl power.
While all the pressure was on the boys – with the celebrity male dancers first to be put through their paces - the women stole the show with a glittering jewel heist.
It was glitzy, it was glamorous, and it was pretty darn fabulous.
“I’m going to do it again because I know I can do it right next time,” said Mrs Brown’s Boys star Eilish O’Carroll afterwards, who admitted she was “terrified.”
“The only reason I’m doing Dancing with the Stars is to lose a stone and a half,” said Fair City actress Clelia Murphy, who revealed she’s now in training with Peter Stringer.
New to the spotlight of the RTÉ One show, Jennifer Zamparelli took to role seamlessly – and to the the dance floor like a duck to water, in black sequins with legs up to her armpits. It was hard to tell her apart from the professional dancers, in the energetic show-stopping opener of ‘Murder On the Dance Floor’ as all 11 stars and their dancing partners kicked off the show in true style.
With no eliminations for the first two weeks and all 11 celebrities performing, this first episode saw the five male celebrities showcase their dancing skills as each one took to the dance floor with their pro-dance partners.
First to brave the dance floor was TV fashion stylist Darren Kennedy with a lively Tango with his partner Karen Byrne to ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp dressed Man’.
“I'm not going to lie I felt the pressure, but my thing at life is feel the fear,” he said after.
“I tried to get into character, it was the total opposite of what I am naturally.”
He impressed the judges.
“It was a fierce fiery Tango, you took on a masculine role, the face the action, that top line....for your first dance....you are fabulous,” Julian Benson told him.
“My advice is close the closet door...you'll go a long way.”
Lorraine Barry and Brian Redmond agreed it had been a good start and he stored a solid 16 from the judges.
Next up was All Ireland winning Dublin footballer Denis Bastick, sometimes dubbed Elastic Bastick by Dubs fans - and his partner Valeria Milova.
Denis showcased his winning dance moves on the floor performing a American Smooth to ’It’s a beautiful Day”.
“The butterflies are the same as on the pitch,” he said afterwards.
“At last we have a GAA star that I as a Dub can get behind,” quipped Judge Brian Redmond.
“Football players are light on their feet and you showed it...even when you slipped...that energy needs to go from the feet through the front and back and power it through.....well done,” Lorraine said.
Julian called him “one smooth operator” - and Denis scored a 15 from the judges.
Everyone was laughing as comedian Fred Cooke and his partner Giulia Dotta took to the spotlight – but it was with him and not at him because it turns out that Fred – in a hilarious sequined tracksuit – really can dance.
The pair Cha Cha Cha-ed their way around the floor to ‘Sexy and I Know it’.
The audience loved it – but the judges were tougher to please.
“It was sexy and you know it but it was stompy and you know it too,” said Brian, going on to describe him blisteringly as reminding him of a ‘crazy French farmer at harvest time.”
They scored him a 12.
“I'm here to learn, so thanks ( to the judges) for your honesty,” Fred huffed comically afterwards.
But of all the boys, it was actor Johnny Ward that had it. The judges raved about his……and scored him a dazzling 22.
He got the ultimate praise from pro dancer, Emily Barker when she described dancing with him as dancing with someone on her level.’
Peter Stringer raised giggles when he made another appearance in the green number nine jersey – but not as we remember it last time round. This time it was skin tight and sequinned to suit the salsa he was performing on the stage ‘pitch.’
“I don’t mind hugging Peter because he never breaks a sweat,” committed Jennifer afterwards.
Peter had been a bit stiff so Julian gave him a lesson in how to soften his hips and get it going, adding: “Because I think you’re a dark horse.”
“Let’s see your wibbly-wobbly,” Jennifer asked him.
Lorraine seemed to appreciate Peter’s ripped physique – thank to his rugby training regime. “I think we need to ask the ladies what do we think of Peter’s body?” she asked.
“It’s nostalgic to have the green on again,” Peter said afterwards, before admitting he didn’t think he’d be a threat to Ricky Martin.
The judges scored him a total of 16.
But there was plenty of room for nostalgia as last year’s champion Jake Carter made a triumphant return to the stage with partner Karen Byrne.
It was emotional, he admitted afterwards – before saying he should have trained more because he was “wrecked.”
Jake and Karen put on a beautiful display with a reprisal of their winning turn last season - reminding us just how great DWTS 2018 was – and how much more there is to come this season.
In the audience enjoying the show was cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan and her daughter Amelia (12), as well as RTE radio host Keith Walsh from Breakfast Republic.