Entertainment Television

Tuesday 19 November 2019

What did we learn from the shiny-floor Ireland's Got Talent Dancing With the Stars marathon?

Kirsty at large...

War of the poses: Ireland's Got Talent had better dancers than Dancing with the Stars
War of the poses: Ireland's Got Talent had better dancers than Dancing with the Stars
Fishy: Farage's haddock dump
Yurt it Up
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Putting the clocks forward once heralded the start of spring. Not any more. Now we mark the end of dark winter days with the grand finale of a marathon Irish entertainment television season.

Yes, after three months of bedazzled latex outfits and heavily Botoxed brows, this weekend shiny-floor juggernauts Dancing with the Stars and Ireland's Got Talent will finally draw to a close.

IGT will hand out a €50,000 cash prize, while DWTS will invite all the sub-par celebrity participants back for one big dance-off before the winner is revealed.

I've spent several weeks backstage at DWTS, and I've seen things a woman never should have to. I glimpsed men in girdles, watched women weep after getting the boot, and heard strange tales of Marty Morrissey's exploding pants.

This week, to sample the competition, I made my way to the Helix for the semi-finals of Ireland's Got Talent. Michelle Visage explained what the phrase "wig" means, Louis gave out about shoddy RTÉ shows, and lots of pizza was handed out.

But who cares who wins either show? The real question is what we, as viewers, have learnt from three solid months of blow-all-your-budget reality shows? And what will the media landscape look like minus Nicky Byrne's biscuit pompadour? Here are the main takeaways:

* To win IGT, it helps if you are a 50-strong dance troupe with aunties, uncles and cousins all over the country willing to devote their evening to voting;

* That DWTS is a weight-loss vehicle for 90pc of the celebrities involved;

* Nothing is more compulsive to Irish audiences than Dermot Bannon arguing about shelving units and budgets. Despite the thousands of euro ploughed into IGT and DWTS, both were trounced in the ratings war by Dermot;

* Louis Walsh thinks 90pc of the contestants on IGT are the "real deal" or "the next Red Hurley". (Whatever happened to the last one?);

* We really do not need the spin-off shows. Granted, one of the founding tenets of shiny-floor TV is 'Milk It For Every Last Cent', but these shows were nowt but filler - which is a shame because the hosts were very likeable;

* Nothing, not even the Six Nations, will boost TV ratings like The Beast From the East;

* There are much better dancers on IGT than DWTS;

* The use of soft-focus must be contractually tied into the Got Talent format:

* Amazingly, DWTS isn't the longest reality entertainment TV show RTÉ have ever commissioned. Oh no, the awful, awful Voice of Ireland ran for 17 weeks. Who on earth signed off on that?

* Calling out the judges is a high-risk strategy, but can pay off - as Deirdre O'Kane proved when she called the DWTS crew sexist;

* Calling out the backstage production crew is a high-risk strategy that never pays off - as Tamara discovered on IGT.

* The casting of the IGT judges was the most innovative thing about either series. There is no way RTÉ would ever have had the foresight to let Michelle Visage or Denise Van Outen on their biggest entertainment show. They couldn't have resisted roping in Franc or someone similar;

* Viewers grow tired of rich celebrities attempting to showcase their relatability. Erin McGregor's shtick about being a regular old mam in a housecoat wore thin fast;

* That Ireland is the 'New Jersey of the EU' and that is why Michelle Visage feels at home here. Her words not mine;

* DWTS is strangely devoid of any humour or self-awareness;

* Puppets are rarely as entertaining the second time round;

* Marty Morrissey is a gentleman. A gentleman who was robbed of the glory he so richly deserved;

* Amanda and Nicky will never have on-screen chemistry;

* Having a comedian on the judging line up is always a good thing;

* The words 'journey', 'amazing' and 'experience' can never be used enough;

* TV3 are capable of producing higher quality TV shows than RTÉ, even without the licence fee.

Is Nigel the Brexiteers' answer to Jack Sparrow?

Britain Br (2).jpg
Fishy: Farage's haddock dump

I think Nigel Farage fancies himself as the Brexiteers' very own Jack Sparrow. At least that would explain his unyielding love of boat-based PR stunts.

This week, the former UKIP leader spent an idle Tuesday tossing dead haddock off the side of a boat in the middle of the Thames outside the Houses of Parliament.

It's the third time he's ventured into murky waters to garner press attention about the impact EU fishing laws are having on UK fishermen.

In 2015, he and 'reem' reality TV star Joey Essex boarded a boat in Grimsby to champion the cause. Things got off to an awkward start when Joey admitted he had never heard of Farage, and asked if he knew what a vajazzle was. Nigel introduced himself and clarified that he was unfamiliar with vajazzling.

Soon, though, the pair had bonded over their appreciation of good, decent, British fish. Not those nasty European fish who probably can't even speak English.

The next time Nigel boarded a boat it was a flotilla from Wapping. It sailed up the Thames chased by Sir Bob Geldof in a tugboat.

Geldof informed onlookers that Farage was "no fisherman's friend" before blasting Dobie Gray's 1979 hit single 'The In Crowd'. A song that apparently embodies all that the European Union is about.

This week, Farage boarded the good ship 'Holladays R8' armed with two crates of four-day-old haddock, and a fleet of fishermen. He was meant to be joined by several MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, but the transport authorities wouldn't let them dock because they didn't have a licence.

The 'Holladays R8' was then chased along Tower Bridge by a police boat because you're not actually allowed to dump dead fish into the Thames. Funny that. Apparently, that's in breach of British - and not European - laws.

The whole stunt predictably ended in farce, but it does make me wish our own politicians would up their game in terms of creativity. A low-speed boat chase along the Liffey could really shake things up.


Royal Wedding Mini-Moon and Pope's visit

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Needle thin corduroy

Very 1970s, very cool.


Yurt it Up

That Diet Coke ad

For making the phrase 'Yurt It Up' a thing.

Beer yoga

Bad idea.


I don’t have my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs

Sex and The City star turned New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon responds to claims she is an “unqualified lesbian” by former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

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