Dancing with the Stars: all you need to know

What time is it on, how does the format work, who is likely to win and who will go full Black Swan?

Gang warfare: the Dancing with the Stars contestants

Gang warfare: the Dancing with the Stars contestants

 

Dance me to the end of love: If you insist. Dancing with the Stars kicks off its opening number tonight, at 6.30pm on RTÉ One. The series will run for 12 weeks with a live episode each Sunday.

So, who are the dancing stars: Des Bishop, Des Cahill, Dayl Cronin, Katherine Lynch, Eva Orsmond, Teresa Mannion, Thalia Heffernan, Hughie Maughan, Denise McCormack and Aoibhin Garrihy will be looking to murder each other on the dancefloor. Wiping the blood up afterwards, we mean elegantly presenting the extravaganza will be Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne. And Bláthnaid Treacy will be going behind the scenes of the show to find out who is trying to gaslight who in an attempt to make them go full Black Swan (we’re looking at you, Mannion).

Who are the judges: Loraine Barry has more than 50 national and international titles to her name, including two world titles. She says: “I’ll be a very fair judge to the celebrities. We have to understand that the majority of celebrities have little to no dance experience so they’re being taken completely out of their comfort zones. I’ll be mainly looking for characterisation of dances in the early stages but I’ll expect technical ability to develop as the show progresses.”

Choreographer Julian Benson looks to be the soft touch. “My fellow judges would be a lot more technically-minded, I’m going to be the peoples’ judge. I’ll be looking for the three Ps; passion, performance and personality.”

Yeah whatever Benson, stop trying to be everyone’s friend. We want an enforcer. Step up Brian Redmond. He is an eight-time All-Ireland ballroom champion, with the scars to prove it. “I’ve known Lorraine for 25 years, we’re both from a ballroom background, but we have different ideas of what we like and what we don’t.”

How will it work: The format is based on the US TV format, which is based on its UK counterpart. (Apparently the BBC don’t like anyone else having the name. Well that worked well for Top Gear, eh?)

The show airs for 12 weeks from 6.30pm on Sunday for two hours. Eleven celebrities will pair up with a professional dancing partner for the duration, and each pairing will have a different dancing genre to master every week, from the cha-cha and the mambo to the haka and the hokey cokey. They perform it on the show each week and are scored by the panel of judges and the bloodlusting public at home, just like the Colosseum at the height of the Roman empire. Everyone gets to take part for the first two shows, and after that one pair is voted off each week until we are left with one dancing pair to rule them all. Losing contestants can choose between heading straight to the glue factory to be shot or doing work experience at TV3 for six months.

Who are the favourites: Boyle Sports reckon Red Rock’s Denise McCormack is the favourite at 7/2 (she’s got some previous apparently) with Des Bishop in at 4/1 along with Dayl Cronin (the latter should have plenty of focus and drive/potential for backstage meltdown seeing as his band Hometown recently split up). Fair City actress Aoibhín Garrihy is in at 9/2 alongside model Thalia Heffernan, and proving that bookies have about the same level of loyalty as an independent backbencher, Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony is leading the outside pack at 8/1.

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