Friday 23 February 2018

The future is orange as dancing stars back Hughie after fake tan controversy

Aoibhin Garrihy. Photo: Barry McCall
Aoibhin Garrihy. Photo: Barry McCall
Dancing Queen: Actress Aoibhin Garrihy will dance the quickstep tonight
Katherine Lynch with her partner
Aoibhin Garrihy - Dancing with the Stars
Aoibhin Garrihy dancing with partner Vitali Kozmin during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Aoibhin Garrihy who is appearing in Dancing with the Stars rehearses in The Liffey Trust dance Studio with her dance partner Vitali Kozmin. Photo: Tony Gavin 4/1/2017
Katherine Lynch dancing with Kai Widdrington during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Hughie Maughan with his partner
Hughie Maughan and Emily Barker performing during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.
Hughie Maughan (21) has been forced to defend himself from racism claims after being accused of ‘blacking up’ on Dancing with the Stars.
Thalia Heffernan Katherine Lynch,Dr Eve Orsmond,Denise Mc Cormack Teresa Mannion and Aoibhin Garrihy during the Dancing with the Stars Live performance. Pic via kobpix
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

He's even more orange than Donald Trump, but that just makes Katherine Lynch love her Dancing with the Stars co-partner Hughie Maughan even more.

"I'm on Team Hughie," the Leitrim star says. "He is a good guy..."

And the other contestants have also rallied around Hughie.

Actress Aoibhin Garrihy, who will be dancing the quickstep on tonight's first elimination round of the show, is also a fan.

Hughie Maughan with his partner
Hughie Maughan with his partner

"Hughie is a man on a mission,'' says Aoibhin. ''He's certainly got chins wagging but he's an absolute dote. We all love him.

"We are all very nervous on this show. It's live and it's reality TV, but we are all absolutely loving it. Hughie is such a laugh and he is there to entertain." Katherine Lynch concurs, saying: "I actually feel quite motherly towards Hughie."

"I think I'll get Bernie," Katherine adds, referring to her singing Traveller character, Bernie Walsh, "to put him in a white Hiace and the two of them can drive around the country showing each other all the fabulous Travellers who live beyond the bigotry and live their lives outside of how we treat them in Ireland.

"I admire him for that. He is tanfastic," she says punning (and not for the last time) on Hughie's spectacular spray-on tan. "Tanfastic".

Thalia Heffernan and Aoibhin Garrihy during the Dancing with the Stars Live performance.
Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Thalia Heffernan and Aoibhin Garrihy during the Dancing with the Stars Live performance. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

"He knows how to get the nation's attention. He is gay. Good for him. It is difficult to be gay in the Traveller world. So I think Hughie is brave, but he is brave enough to do - and know - what he wants.

"I'll give him my 'tan out of tan' for attention-seeking because he has got all the attention and he even got reviewed in America where they announced on a chat show that the 'Irish dance star had a bit of a malfunction in the make-up room'. He is actually hilarious.

"I would put Bernie and him to do a chat-show with him," she continues, "because you wouldn't even need to write the script. It would write itself. We have great fun together in the canteen before the show. I go up to him and say in a Traveller accent, 'Don't be eating that sandwich, Hughie. You're dancing later!' He'll reply: 'Feck off, mammy! Do you think I'll look bloated?'

"I asked him was he wearing Egyptian Wonder fake tan one time and he said, 'no, I have Gypsy Wonder on!' He is great craic, he really is. He has got something. He knows what he is at."

Katherine Lynch with her partner
Katherine Lynch with her partner

Is Hughie taking the proverbial?

"He is not taking the piss. He is clever and funny because if I was a punter watching him on the television I'd want to keep Hughie in as you'd want to know what he is going to do next. So he has a tactic. Or a tantic!" she laughs.

Has Katherine seen the former Big Brother contestant without the tan?

"I have. He has these lovely piercing blue eyes."

She describes herself as "the regular girl from the country".

I ask her does she feel that maybe the Irish viewing public might like her a bit more because she comes across as a real woman.

She said: "I hope that the real women will vote for me and realise that I am out there with two left feet. I am on the dance floor, dancing to all the tunes I used to dance in the kitchen listening to the radio growing up at home.

''I never danced properly before in my entire life. I actually have two left feet. I don't know my left foot from my right foot. It is so scary that I have nightmares because the show is live. What if I go down on my arse in front of everyone?''

And if she goes down on her backside in front of more than half-a-million people who watch Dancing with the Stars, she added: "I think because I am a comedian I would get up and say something.

"If I lost a shoe, I'd say, 'you took a fine time to leave me loose heel'. So I have a few things up my sleeve already. That shows my pure paranoia, doesn't it?

"Dancing with the Stars is something I couldn't say no to," Katherine continues, "because it is like getting a part in the best musical ever.

"My life has been transformed into a Cinderella with this show. My niece Millie has a picture of me and Kai Widdrington, my dance partner, gliding around the dance floor on the wall of her bedroom at home.

"I think I'm doing OK. Paddy Power now has me down as 7-1 to win.

"I have gone from something like 21-1 to this. So vote for me...And Hughie!"

Sunday Independent

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