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Irish dancer teams up with Gladys Knight for hit show

DANCER Tristan MacManus is returning for his second season on global hit show Dancing With The Stars.

The Bray native, who was voted "favourite pro" and "best newcomer" on his debut last year, will be partnering eight-time Grammy-award winner Gladys Knight.

The pairing came as a welcome surprise this week but Gladys (67) and Tristan (29) had met a week before the official announcement.

The I Heard It Through the Grapevine singer received a standing ovation when she was confirmed as the 12th -- and last -- celebrity to take part in the programme that is watched by around 20 million fans in America alone.

Competing against Tristan and Gladys will be Welsh classic singer Katherine Jenkins (31), Melissa Gilbert (47), of Little House On The Prairie fame, tennis champion Martina Navratilova (55), Melrose Place actor Jack Wagner (52), Extra presenter Maria Menounos (33) and Family Matters star Jaleel White (35) among others.

Tristan said he was delighted to be dancing with soul legend Gladys. "I couldn't be happier," he enthused. "I am really buzzing about it, it is not every day you get to meet icons."

Their first dance will either be a cha-cha or a foxtrot.

The show starts on March 19.