Dancing with the Stars final: who’s got the edge for the last tango?

As the hit show heads for its grand finale on Sunday evening, we take a look at the contestants lacing up their shoes for the last spins around the dancefloor

Aoibhín Garrihy is the favourite heading into the Dancing with the Stars final

Aoibhín Garrihy is the favourite heading into the Dancing with the Stars final

 

After 12 weeks, Dancing with the Stars concludes tonight on RTE 1 at 6.30pm. The three finalists will start the show by performing a dance chosen by the judges, followed by their own favourite from the season. Then there will be a show dance before their fate is placed in the hands of the voting public, who will pick a winner. Tonight’s show will also see all the eliminated couples return for one last group dance.

So who’s going to win? Aoibhín Garrihy looks to be in pole position, with Denise McCormack providing tough competition. But could Aidan O’Mahony pull out all the stops and ride a popularity wave to steal it at the last?

Aoibhín Garrihy

Aoibhín Garrihy is the favourite heading into the Dancing with the Stars final
Aoibhín Garrihy is the favourite heading into the Dancing with the Stars final

Occupation: Actor (Fair City)
Age: 29
Odds to win: 4/5 (Paddy Power)
Signature Move: Shapeshifting
Aoibhín Garrihy did what no other contestants on Dancing with the Stars could do and that was delve deep into the character of… The Dance. In week nine, not only did she salsa to Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love for Icons Week but she actually became Beyoncé. For one minute and a half, we had two Beyoncés in the world. Remarkable. Like Denise McCormack, Garrihy’s acting skills play a huge role in how she delivers her routine every week but she has a natural flair that makes it all look so easy: see week four’s rumba to Falling Slowly for reference. She is in a class of her own and even in the weeks when the judges didn’t cut her any slack (they’re cruel to the most talented, you see), she was still one of the best. The competition really lies between Garrihy and McCormack so Sunday night’s final will be a Battle of the Blondes featuring Yer Man. If she doesn’t win, at least she’s created a fine portfolio for herself to launch her acting career even further. And, sure, isn’t it all about the experience?

Denise McCormack

Denise McCormack could well take the top prize
Denise McCormack could well take the top prize

Occupation: Actor (Love/Hate, Red Rock)
Age: 41
Odds to win: 7/2 (Paddy Power)
Signature move: Tears on the Dance Floor
Denise McCormack has been a contender to win since her first tango. It’s been neck and neck with McCormack and Garrihy all along but for McCormack to win, she’ll have to dig into the mindset of Love/Hate’s Linda and unleash the samba within to conquer all. Even though she is second overall on the scoreboard, her first perfect score came along in week 10 when she danced the Charleston like she was entertaining the Great Gatsby himself - one of her finest moments on DWTS. At times, it felt like the judges Lorraine Barry, Brian Redmond, Julian Benson and Darren Bennett were harsher on her than the other contestants but it’s really because McCormack is a sensitive soul and any criticisms that were thrown her way, we felt the sting. We felt it from the comfort of our couches at home. McCormack has been consistently brilliant and no one deserves a place in the final more than she does.

Aidan O’Mahony

Will experience of previous high-stakes finals pay off for Aidan O’Mahony?
Will experience of previous high-stakes finals pay off for Aidan O’Mahony?

Occupation: Garda Síochána, former Gaelic footballer
Age: 36
Odds to win: 13/8
Signature move: Coasting Along
For the most part, former Kerry footballer Aidan O’Mahony has blended into the background on Dancing with the Stars, winging it by occasionally flashing his glossy abs through the ruffles of a silk shirt while retaining the posture of a drinks cabinet. For the last 12 weeks, it has been easy to mistake him as part of the impressive Ardmore Studios set. However, since the birth of his daughter at the start of the month, the GAA star has loosened up his hips and has had an extra spring in his step, shocking the judges to their very core on the realisation that the marionette has cut his strings and can dance. While he may not be of the same standard as Garrihy or McCormack, he’s got the voters behind him. His swan song will be to Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero and if he pulls this off, well, there won’t be a cow milked in Kerry until the May bank holiday.

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