Dancing with the Stars: Erin McGregor’s ‘man-eating tango’

Deirdre O’Kane is ‘not smooth enough’ and Rob Heffernan’s footwork let him down

Rob Heffernan and his partner Emily Barker. After receiving high praise from the judges last week for this contemporary number, Rob was eliminated. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien

Rob Heffernan and his partner Emily Barker. After receiving high praise from the judges last week for this contemporary number, Rob was eliminated. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien

 

“It’s in the hands of the gods,” says Olympic race walker Robert Heffernan in rehearsal footage, forgetting that Dancing with the Stars is actually in the hands of the judges. And when it comes down to the Dreaded Dance Off between him and fitness instructor Erin McGregor, the godly hands of judges Loraine Barry, Julian Benson and Brian Redmond couldn’t save him on this blessed week of Broadway celebration.

Dancing the foxtrot to Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a firm favourite from the school theatre production circuit of the 1990s, the Cork man’s footwork just can’t compare to the other dancers’.

Even though this is McGregor’s second week in a row to feature in the DDO, she nails her routine. Twice. Along with her partner Ryan McShane, her tango to Cell Block Tango from Chicago is full of sass, and it feels like she’s finally believing all of the inspirational speeches she whips out every week.

“Girl! That was one man-eating, fierce tango,” says Benson. “I felt I was at the musical on Broadway!”

Erin McGregor and Ryan McShane, during the Live show of RTE’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien
Erin McGregor and Ryan McShane, during the Live show of RTE’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien

With some assistance from prima ballerina Monica Loughman in rehearsals, Deirdre O’Kane and John Nolan work some ballet into their foxtrot to One from A Chorus Line. However, with 22 points, she is left disappointed.

“From a lady’s point of view, it’s not smooth enough through the feet and legs,” says Barry, whose critique of O’Kane is slammed on Twitter as unfair. “The show must go on! You went on,” says Benson, defending her, “You delivered the Broadway number.” Benson plays a blinder with his Broadway-oriented compliments this week, by the by.

Scoring 29 points, all-star camogie player Anna Geary is proving to be an all-star on the dance floor. Together with her partner Kai Widdrington, they livened up the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show – the Glee version, for some reason – by jiving it up as Brad and Janet.

Jake Carter and his dance partner Karen Byrne, who danced the Charleston to 'Friend like Me' from 'Aladdin'. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien
Jake Carter and his dance partner Karen Byrne, who danced the Charleston to 'Friend like Me' from 'Aladdin'. Photograph: Kyran O'Brien

“Last week you said your feet were sore, this week they were on fire,” says Barry. “That’s what Broadway is about!” adds Benson, always bringing it back to Broadway, because it is Broadway Week, lest we forget.

This week’s show-stopping performance goes to pop star Jake Carter, who danced the Charleston with his partner Karen Byrne to Friend Like Me from Aladdin. “We all know that one of the main characters in the show Aladdin is a genie and, for me, this was close to genius. It was packed with everything that we want from a Charleston,” says Redmond. Scoring a perfect 30 and winning the swing-a-thon, there’s no doubt that he will make it to the final.

What is the swing-a-thon you ask? The swing-a-thon is three minutes of dancing, where all couples battle it out at the same time, working in rock and roll, jitterbug and Lindy hop moves to You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray, as the judges mercilessly knock out couples one by one.

O’Kane and Nolan are the first to go, followed by Heffernan and Barker, and then McGregor and McShane. And as a potential sign of things to come, it comes down to Geary and Widdrington versus Carter and Byrne. The Liverpudlian star wins the swing-a-thon, adding an extra five points to his score. 

With just two more Sundays left in Dancing with the Stars, it’s easy to picture either Geary or Carter taking home the coveted Glitterball Trophy but O’Kane and McGregor still stand a chance. Sometimes, just one harsh comment from a judge can change the course of the competition.

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