Dancing with the Stars: One set of rules for Dancing Des Cahill, another for everyone else

Des Cahill waltzes on but better dancers are leaving the show – are the judges going too easy on him?

The people’s champion: Des Cahill scored 17 points from the judges. Photograph: RTE

The people’s champion: Des Cahill scored 17 points from the judges. Photograph: RTE

 

It’s Icons Week on Dancing with the Stars so we get to see some Beyoncé and some Bieber of a Sunday but unfortunately we lost Katherine Lynch and her partner Kai Widdrington to the cruel hand of the Dreaded Dance Off.

Going against boyband star Dayl Cronin in the DDO, it was a tough decision for the judges to make, but they had to send Lynch home.

Katherine Lynch leaves the show after the DDO – Dreaded Dance Off. Photograph: RTÉ
Katherine Lynch leaves the show after the DDO – Dreaded Dance Off. Photograph: RTÉ

As the first performer of the night, Lynch gives it her all as her icon, Miss Legs Eleven herself, Tina Turner. Moving at breakneck speeds, she’s jiving to Proud Mary and with the jive, you’re required to bring a lot of bounce, and that is exactly what Lynch did.

Judge Lorraine Barry says that she brought the flicks, the kicks, the chassés, the triple steps, the toe-heel action but, sadly, she shall flick nor kick for us anymore. Fare thee well, Katherine Lynch.

But it’s not all sad news. This evening, we see Des Cahill’s first lift, the loosening of Aidan O’Mahony and Julian Benson is back in full health and back on the judging panel.

Last week, Red Rock’s Denise McCormack was one of the first stars to take part in the DDO, so in rehearsal footage, herself and her partner Ryan McShane are trying to figure out how to up their game.

Mannequin challenge: Denise McCormack. Photograph: RTÉ
Mannequin challenge: Denise McCormack. Photograph: RTÉ

As one of the highest scoring couples, upping their game should mean going above and beyond but their quickstep, with a mix of foxtrot, to Amy Winehouse’s Valerie is underwhelming.

Barry scolds McShane for the addition of foxtrot to a quickstep, saying that it could put McCormack’s position in the competition in jeopardy. They score 22 points, leaving them in the bottom half of the judge’s leaderboard.

Since Cronin scored 30 points two weeks ago, he has raised the bar that the other couples now have to compete against; a role that McCormack used to have. This week, he is dancing the cha cha cha to Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean with his partner Ksenia Zsikhotska.

Dayl Cronin: Justin Bieber-inspired cha-cha-cha. Photograph: RTÉ
Dayl Cronin: Justin Bieber-inspired cha-cha-cha. Photograph: RTÉ

Redmond says that to win Dancing with the Stars you need great technique, showmanship and the odd trick up your sleeve and he believes that Cronin is on track to finding the perfect balance between those things.

Benson says that his performance was “cha-cha-mazing” and that it was a pure, polished and professional. They get 25 points.

Dancing the Charleston to a remix of Ray Charles’ I’ve Got a Woman, Aidan O’Mahony reclaims his confidence that was a little bit wobbly for the last few weeks and wows all of the judges.

His routine with Valeria Milova is full of lifts that take advantage of the footballer’s strength but they keep it light and fun.

Footloose and smiling: Aidan O’Mahony bagged his first 10. Photograph: RTÉ
Footloose and smiling: Aidan O’Mahony bagged his first 10. Photograph: RTÉ

Redmond says that he’s been waiting for someone to step up and challenge the top of the leaderboard and while he didn’t expect it from O’Mahony, that’s exactly what he did this evening. He scores 28 points, his highest score so far.

Stepping into the mighty shoes of Beyoncé is Aoibhín Garrihy as she does the salsa to Crazy in Love with her partner Vitali Kozmin.

In rehearsal, Kozmin says that this routine is all about the booty shake so they brought in the incredible drag queen Victoria Secret for a masterclass in shakin’ dat booty and, holy hell, did it pay off.

Almost perfect: Aoibhín Garrihy scored 29 points. Photograph: RTÉ
Almost perfect: Aoibhín Garrihy scored 29 points. Photograph: RTÉ

Not just the booty shaking, which was A1, but Kozmin lifts Garrihy above his head, with her legs high up in the air, swirling and twirling and then, in a moment of mania, Garrihy lets go of Kozmin’s body and everyone in the audience loses their breath.

Redmond says that he’s running out of superlatives to describe her performances each week and Barry agrees, saying that it was fresh and sassy, which is like a tagline for a new deodorant for women, and they give them 29 points.

Judging Des

And now, let me roll up my sleeves for some real criticism and echo the feelings of many posts on Twitter and elsewhere.

It’s week nine and Des Cahill does his first lift, something that our other dancers were managing in week two. Dancing the American Smooth to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, Cahill and his partner Karen Byrne recreate that gas station scene and it’s lovely but at week nine, we need more than lovely.

Benson says that Cahill dances from the heart and he’s the people’s champion, which is all true, but it’s costing dancers such as Lynch and Des Bishop, who we lost in week six.

With only three weeks left in the competition, our judges are getting harsher with the likes of McCormack but judging Cahill like it’s his first dance. At this stage, the standard of dancing should be level but it feels like it’s one set of rules for Cahill and another for everyone else.