'I'd bet on Mairead to win glitterball', says Dancing with the Stars finalist Johnny Ward
Johnny Ward's money is on TV presenter Mairead Ronan to waltz away with the Glitterball Trophy.
Former Love/Hate actor Johnny found himself in the bottom two on Sunday night but said he wasn't shocked as both Mairead and Cliona were popular with the viewers at home.
He reckoned that it would be Getaways presenter Mairead who will reign supreme next Sunday in the final at Ardmore Film Factory.
"I think Mairead might just edge it. If I had to put money on it, I'd say Mairead. She is just a really likeable, lovely person, same as Cliona as well," he told the Herald.
"They have huge followings and they're brilliant dancers - and they have all the tools to win the competition."
However, if he was casting a vote himself it would be for Cliona, who has won over the nation with her bubbly personality as well as her impressive dance moves.
"Mairead is very genuine, so is Cliona, and I am delighted to be in the final with them," he added.
He also described comedian Fred Cooke, who was voted off on Sunday night, as "a lovely, genuine person".
"People love them. If I was watching I'd vote for Cliona myself. She is just a lovely person. Not only can she sing but she is an incredible dancer as well.
"One thing I like about the two of them, and Fred as well, is that they're genuine, and they're like that all the time. There is no act."
Meanwhile, the star revealed that getting to the final felt like a win after his late father had asked him to follow that dream. "This is winning it for me, getting into the final. It's not easy when your father says to you, when he has a day to live, and I am not going to dwell upon it too much, 'I want you to get to the final'."
Johnny said he has watched all his performances back and can't believe how far he has come with dance partner Emily Barker.
"I think myself and Emily have worked harder than some couples.
"I am being myself, Emily is being herself. I have given it my all," he said. "I went over to my mum's house and looked back and watched every single dance.
"To watch myself as an actor, you sometimes look at yourself as a character and you think 'how did I do that?' It's not me, and that is how I feel with this," he added.
"The character that has been portrayed, the dance that has just been an impossible task, it's all down to Emily. She has made it excellent."
Despite ending up in the dance-off on Sunday night, Johnny had very positive feedback from the judges, including Julian Benson who said he was on the edge of his seat for the actor's paso doble.
Meanwhile, as the end of season three approaches, producer Larry Bass revealed he has yet to get the green light for another season. "We don't know yet but we are talking as we always do," he said.
"It's this perennial problem - no increase in the licence fee. How do you expect to keep making TV shows if there has been no increase?
"You couldn't get a bus for the same money 10 years ago but you're expected to make telly for the same money or less. It doesn't work like that."