Wednesday 23 May 2018

'Who says we can't dance?' - 10 stand-out moments from Dancing with the Stars

Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.
Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Tonight saw the first ever Irish iteration of Strictly Come Dancing, with ten celebrities taking to the…

I’m sorry, I’ve just been informed by the BBC’s lawyers that we’re not allowed called it that, so let me start again. Tonight saw the first ever Irish iteration of Dancing with the Stars, with ten celebrities taking to the dancefloor alongside their professional partners.

Hughie Maughan and Emily Barker performing during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.
Hughie Maughan and Emily Barker performing during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.

These were some stand-out moments:

1. The opening was kind of cool – the pros slow dancing to Putting on the Ritz, then a big Broadway type production including the celebs.

2. It’s hosted by Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne. She seems to have a slightly English accent but was her usual solid self. He – a former Strictly contestant, by the way – is never going to be mistaken for Johnny Carson as a broadcasting giant, but he is/was grand.

3. The audience tended to clap their accompaniment slightly off the beat – as is traditional and customary. See also: musical numbers on the Late Late.

4. The pro dancers: a lot of Russian and Mediterranean names – but a few Irish ones too. Who said we can’t dance because we’re too busy getting drunk and/or writing maudlin memoirs and/or trying to blow up the British?

5. Tonight only the five men danced. The women go next week. There won’t be any eliminations until the third week, but the public could vote tonight, and these votes will be carried forward to episode 3. Confused? Yes I was a little, but I’m a bit hard-of-understanding sometimes.

Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.
Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars.

6. The judges are dancers Loraine Barry and Brian Redmond, and choreographer Julian Benson. He’s the token cheerful and camp one, who it feels like is mostly talking in pre-prepared slogans rather than normal conversational English.

7. Des Bishop really rocked the “Miami scumbag” look during his tango with Giulia: white tie, black shirt, vague sense that he might pull a knife on you at any second and for any reason. They were good, too. Love a bit of tango, me.

8. Other contestants were Hughie Maughan (seems like a nice lad but has one of those stratospherically annoying personality types that are all over Reality telly); Des Cahill (whose partner Karen was amusingly and endearingly bossy, and could be one of the show’s break-out stars); Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony (who actually said he’d given it “110%”); and a boyband chap called Dayl (whose Charleston was done to a crappy modern RnB-type tune – I do not like that – it should be danced to proper Charleston music like you’d hear in a Chicago speakeasy in 1927).

9. The show is way too long at two hours. I understand why they –more ads etc. – but it’s still way too long. Citizen Kane is only an hour and 59 minutes, for God’s sake.

Hughie Maughan and Emily Barker performing during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars
Hughie Maughan and Emily Barker performing during the Live performance of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars

10. So was it any good? Yes, for one reason: dancing is great. (Watching other people dance, obviously – I’m a straight Irish man and am currently sober, therefore I can’t and won’t dance).

Which is why dancing-themed Reality shows are at least bearable, and much better than any other version.

Yes, including bloody baking.

 I hate all the voting and judges and rehearsals and post-dance interviews and scoring and all that other shitehawking – it’s as boring as the proverbial dog’s ass – but watching people dance, even when they’re not doing it very well, is lovely.

So this was pretty good. Because it’s people dancing. That’s it.

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