Dancing with the Stars: Erin McGregor’s fight ends in tears and inspirational words

McGregor brought an underdog spirit to the show, sometimes fighting off harsher criticisms than she deserved from the judges

Erin McGregor, with pro dancer Ryan McShane, bows out of Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien

Erin McGregor, with pro dancer Ryan McShane, bows out of Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien

 

It took 11 weeks for Erin McGregor to find her groove on Dancing with the Stars and after battling it out against popstar Jake Carter in the Dreaded Dance Off, her time on the show is up but her words of inspiration will live on.

“You know what, I really didn’t believe in meself at the start and, you know, I got a lot of slack at the start, I did, and there was moments where I thought I couldn’t keep going,” she says, fighting back tears and holding on to her dancing partner Ryan McShane, “and this competition has given me a realisation that I have a stronger strength in meself than I even believed. So anyone at home that wants to chase their dream, you go out and do it and never, ever give up. No matter what anyone says.”

The moment the judges voted off Erin McGregor and saved Jake Carter after they danced off for a place in the Dancing with the Stars final. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien/RTE
The moment the judges voted off Erin McGregor and saved Jake Carter after they danced off for a place in the Dancing with the Stars final. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien/RTE

The fitness instructor and brother of MMA fighter Conor has been building up steam for the last couple of weeks, improving as a dancer and a performer, but she loses her place in the final, with Anna Geary, Deirdre O’Kane and Carter moving on to next week’s final.

Part of the appeal of Dancing with the Stars is to mark the progress of each of the celebrities and McGregor has grown so much in such a short period of time. “You started off this competition as Erin McGregor the fitness model, today you’re Erin McGregor the dancer,” says judge Brian Redmond after McGregor and McShane’s samba to Rain by The Script but it’s her contemporary ballroom routine to Sia’s Alive that marks how far she’s come as a dancer. “I felt a very powerful, emotional story that you were telling us. Everyone in the room felt it. It was very, very touching. It was daring. It was demanding,” says a very sincere Loraine Barry.

McGregor brought an underdog spirit to the show, sometimes fighting off harsher criticisms than she deserved from the judges but as Julian Benson notes, she is a fighter and she fought her way to the semi-final.

Erin McGregor and Ryan McShane. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien/RTE
Erin McGregor and Ryan McShane. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien/RTE
Comedian Deirdre O’Kane and John Edward Nolan performed to Zombie by the Cranberries. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/RTE
Comedian Deirdre O’Kane and John Edward Nolan performed to Zombie by the Cranberries. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/RTE

Dancing what Barry refers to as an “emotional, storytelling performance”, O’Kane and John Nolan’s contemporary ballroom routine to The Cranberries’ Zombie is gritty and perfectly aggressive. In rehearsal footage, an overwhelmed O’Kane says that Dolores O’Riordan was“our rock queen” and informs us during the live show that a lot of the crew working on DWTS worked with O’Riordan on The Voice, which gives the performance extra weight. Scoring 27 points, it’s a heartfelt tribute and this rawness brings out the best in O’Kane. To shake off the seriousness of Zombie, O’Kane lets her hair down and her legs out for her cha-cha-cha to The Jacksons’ Can You Feel It, which gets her 22 points.

Pushing some 1950s Hollywood glamour, Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington’s foxtrot to Thin Lizzy’s Dancin’ in the Moonlight (It’s Caught Me in Its Spotlight) is seamless to my untrained eye but Redmond, Barry and Benson are nitpicking and point out the tension the pair of them have in their shoulders and neckline. Shoulder stress aside, this routine gets this unstoppable duo 24 points. During their salsa to Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music, Geary somehow does a handstand over Widdrington’s shoulders and that’s what it takes to get a perfect score of 30 from the judges, who are tight with the points this week.

Former Cork camogiepPlayer and broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien/RTE
Former Cork camogie player and broadcaster Anna Geary and Kai Widdrington. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien/RTE
Singer Jake Carter and Karen Byrne survived the dance off to make it to the final. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/RTE
Singer Jake Carter and Karen Byrne survived the dance off to make it to the final. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/RTE

Having Carter in the bottom two is a bit of a shock move as he has the making of a professional dancer. Even though Carter and his partner Karen Byrne score what might be considered a disappointing 26 points for the rumba and 25 points later for their American Smooth to Let’s Face the Music and Dance, Carter has his fighting face on. He’s not messing around anymore and if Paddy Power odds are anything to go by, he’s the one most likely to take home the Glitterball Trophy at next week’s final.

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