Friday 22 February 2019

RTÉ defends putting Demi in 'Dancing With The Stars' in her Leaving Cert year

Juggling show and studies: Demi Isaac Oviawe performing with Kai Widdrington on ‘Dancing With The Stars’. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Juggling show and studies: Demi Isaac Oviawe performing with Kai Widdrington on ‘Dancing With The Stars’. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

RTÉ has defended the decision to include a Leaving Cert student in the line-up for the new series of 'Dancing with the Stars'.

The State broadcaster insisted yesterday that all the necessary permissions and arrangements for sixth-year pupil Demi Isaac Oviawe to appear on the show had been made well in advance of her dance debut on Sunday night.

Her cha-cha-cha was met with criticism from the judges, earning her 10 points from the panel made up of Julian Benson, Brian Redmond, and Loraine Barry. She was urged to develop her technique and put the work in.

This score left her at the bottom of the leader board on the night with professional partner Kai Widdrington.

The actress (18), who plays Linda in comedy 'The Young Offenders', was emotional on the night, shedding a tear after the performance. Despite putting her best foot forward while juggling her studies, Demi was left vowing to take on the negative comments given to her to ensure she improved for next week's show.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, RTÉ said that rehearsals were arranged around Demi's school schedule and had been agreed to by Demi, her guardians and her school principal when she signed up.

"Like all of the celebrity contestants on 'Dancing with the Stars', rehearsals are organised around their schedule. For Demi's schedule, appropriate arrangements were discussed and agreed with Demi, her guardians and the school principal in advance," the statement said.

"Demi, who is an actress, has learned how to balance school life while working on shows like 'The Young Offenders' and this is something [for which] she has the full support of her family and school while pursuing her career."

Meanwhile, Demi said that she had "loved" dancing on Sunday, and she said that in between her school schedule she would "practise, practise, practise" ahead of her next dance. Demi said: "It's been my dream to do 'Dancing with the Stars' and now my dream has come true. Like when I worked on 'The Young Offenders' - my school, teachers and family are very supportive, which means I can follow my dream while staying in school to complete my Leaving Cert.

"I loved performing my first solo dance on Sunday with Kai. And in between school, I'm going to practise, practise, practise to make sure I wow the judges this week."

Asked whether it was advisable a Leaving Cert student take part in a reality show, the ASTI teachers union said it does not comment on individual cases.

Irish Independent

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