Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne to host RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars

Michael Flatley not a judge, say the presenters, and the Irish version is unlikely to put TDs through the wringer, like its British counterpart

Amanda Byram, Nicky Byrne and  Blathnaid Tracey, who will host Dancing with the Stars, and its spin-off show, Can’t Stop Dancing. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Amanda Byram, Nicky Byrne and Blathnaid Tracey, who will host Dancing with the Stars, and its spin-off show, Can’t Stop Dancing. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne will be the new hosts of RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, which starts broadcasting on January 8th.

The show will place Irish celebrities and their dancing abilities under the spotlight every Sunday for 12 weeks, as the public text in to vote and tally their worth each week.

While our Nicky (we’ve owned this national treasure since 1998) is already an RTÉ employee over in 2FM, Dancing with the Stars marks Byram’s first return to Irish TV since presenting TV3’s Ireland AM in 1999. She says it was a “no brainer” to sign on for the show.

The format is based on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, which has been exported to 40 different countries, along with different variations of its sister show It Takes Two. As part of the RTÉ package, Bláthnaid Tracey will be presenting Can’t Stop Dancing, a Friday night preview show on RTÉ Two. The presenters promise that it will be different from the BBC format.

“With any show that is a similar format or the same format, there’s always going to be people who want to compare but that’s when I hope our expertise comes in and the production company and the team we’re working with,” says Byram, whose favourite dance is the cha cha. “And I think we’re all passionate about making this our own and you can’t look at it and want to do what they do; you just emulate what they do but then you put your own element on it.”

While both presenters are sworn to secrecy about the identities of the celebrities, the dancers and the judges, who will be announced on Monday, they say that Michael Flatley is definitely not a judge; Bertie Ahern (Nicky’s father-in-law) will not be dancing; and that’s it’s not really about the celebrities, it’s about the journey (the show’s title would beg to differ).

“It’s about seeing the people out of their comfort zones so it doesn’t have to be Colin Farrell, do you know what I mean?” says Byrne, before vaguely hinting about who we’ll see in sequins and spandex.

“It could be someone you’re very used to seeing every day on television or in the paper, doing what they do, and now you’re seeing that person learning how to jive or rumba and going through a journey of working their ass off six days a week to compete on a Sunday evening, live in front of the nation, where the judges go ‘Actually, you know what? Your knees were too bent. You’re not a dancer because your posture is terrible’ and they have to be judged,” he says. If that sounds harsh, perhaps he is still scarred from being voted off in week 10 on the 2012 BBC Strictly Come Dancing.

“The thing I love about the line up is that they are not the usual suspects,” says Byram. “They’re not the people you go ‘oh I bet they’re gonna get so and so and so on’. It’s people that, to me, came from left field.”

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