‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner Lottie Ryan believes her late father played a pivotal part in helping her to win the glitterball trophy.
After a last-minute decision to skip the semi-final stage and bring the final forward by a week as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, Lottie emerged as the winner with partner Pasquale la Rocca.
The shock announcement was made just a few hours before the programme went to air as the country shuts down in the midst of the crisis.
But it couldn’t take the shine off the 2fm broadcaster’s big victory.
Speaking on The Ryan Tubridy Show this morning, Lottie said that her father, the renowned broadcaster Gerry Ryan, was with her every step of the way.
“He would have lost his mind and went absolutely bonkers,” she said.
“I would like to think he had a little bit of a hand in everything that went on yesterday like keeping my nerves under control and helping me get through the day.
“I think he would have been really happy.”
The broadcaster said it was “definitely very special” to win the show so close to her father’s 10-year anniversary on April 30.
She even wore his microphone pin as a special emblem for her final performance.
Lottie described the rest of her family as being “over the moon” for her.
“I think they saw a change in me from the beginning and noticed how happy I was and how much I was enjoying myself.
“They backed and supported me from the beginning and were in the studio the whole time. They were very understanding of me never answering my phone or turning up to Sunday lunch. They were just incredible and I'm so grateful to them for being so amazing.”
Commenting on the final four competitors, Lottie said that the glitterball trophy could have gone to anyone.
“The standards were really high so I genuinely felt anyone could have taken it last night.
“Everyone was under a particularly high amount of pressure because in such a short space of time we had to turn a semifinal into a final.
“We weren’t even thinking of the glitterball; we were just thinking of getting through the show and trying to make it as best as we could.”
The show provided some well-needed light entertainment for viewers as it came to a close after 11 weeks.
Kilkenny GAA star Aidan Fogarty had the unenviable task of opening the show with an elegant Viennese waltz to Westlife’s ‘Another Life’. He said it felt “surreal” to be performing without a studio audience and scored 26 points from judges.
Next up was Fair City actor Ryan Andrews who performed a sizzling Samba to ‘Lo-Lo Dzama’ by Sum svistu and opted to bare his chest at the very end.
Judge Darren Butler said that he “pulsated, gyrated and rotated all the way through that dance.”
“You couldn’t have got a more authentic Samba even if you tried,” he said.
Lottie smashed it with an energetic quickstep to the tune of ‘Don’t Mean a Thing’ as she blew the judges away and earned a perfect three of three tens for her efforts.
Judge Brian Redmond praised her attention to detail as “absolutely phenomenal.”
“They say the devil is often in the detail but you looked like an absolute angel,” he said.
Former Miss Universe Ireland Grainne Gallanagh danced a dreamy foxtrot to the Harry Styles track ‘Falling’ and scored 27 points from judges.
Then it was the turn of Aidan to perform his second dance, this time with two professional partners as part of the ‘trio’ dance. He delivered an up-tempo Salsa to the tune of ‘I know you Want Me’ and ended up with an overall score of 53.
Ryan got three tens for his ‘trio’ dance to an American Smooth, putting him in second place on the leaderboard with 59 points.
Then it was time for Lottie to do the “best cha-cha-cha of the season” and earn herself another perfect score of 30 from judges, topping the leaderboard with 60 points.
Following in her footsteps with another score of 30 from judges was Grainne, who gave a flawless Charleston for her second dance.
And she said that finding out that the final was being moved forward a week was unexpected for everyone.
The qualified nurse, who was based in London before winning the Miss Universe Ireland, also paid tribute to her medical colleagues in the hospital.
“I want to wish them all the best. They’re going through such a difficult time right now and we hope we gave them some joy,” she said.
She ended up with a combined score of 57, putting her in third place.