Dancing with the Stars week 4: Cruella de Vil and her pirouetting pooch axed after a spotty 101 Dalmatians foxtrot

Television: ‘There was a section where you really lost control,’ Brian Redmond tells the second celebrity to be eliminated

It’s movie week on Dancing with the Stars (RTÉ One, Sunday, 6.30pm), but there’s no Hollywood ending for Dr Marie Cassidy, who becomes the second celebrity eliminated from the contest.

Cassidy, the former State pathologist, puts in a spotty performance inspired by 101 Dalmatians. She plays Cruella de Vil; her pro partner, Stephen Vincent, is landed with the role of, er, pirouetting pooch during their foxtrot to the theme from the movie.

It’s a fast and furry-ious performance – yet one that lacks nuance. Or so feel the judges, who nonetheless try to be kind. “There was a section where you really lost control,” Brian Redmond says. “But you did absolutely capture the elegance of a Foxtrot.”

“The Foxtrot came up a little short,” agrees Loraine Barry. “But it was beautiful.”


Cassidy receives an ominously low score of 15.

She is philosophical about her exit, which comes a week after the elimination of the Derry Girls actor Leah O’Rourke. “I had the best partner,” she says. “I’m sorry he has to go with me.”

Cassidy has been making up the numbers from the outset, and her departure is not a surprise. There is, however, a shock at the top of the scoreboard, where the former Dublin footballer Paul Brogan floors the judges with his charleston to A Star Is Born by Hercules. It’s all about the brawn, with Brogan lifting his pro partner, Salome Chachua, in the air – and sending the judges to their feet.

“This was joyous – such a happy number, entertaining, and the lifts were incredible,” Barry says. “Herculean!” Redmond thunders.

Brogan is the dark horse, scoring a season high of 27. Just behind is Damian McGinty, the Glee star from Derry, who, with Kylee Vincent, dances a jive to Burning Love by Elvis Presley. “Tremendous!” Barry says. “Burning hot!” Arthur Gourounlian agrees. McGinty scores 25.

But the favourites for the competition remain Brooke Scullion and Suzanne Jackson.

Scullion, the Eurovision singer, is accompanied by Robert Rowinski in a paso doble to The Greatest Show, from the film of the same name.

“Flawless ... You made it look so effortless,” Gourounlian says.

Scullion scores a solid 24.

Jackson recovers from her stutter last week, when she appeared to forget her routine mid-dance. She and Michael Danilczuk dance a stormy paso doble to America, from West Side Story. “I am delighted to see you back – it takes guts,” Barry says. Jackson scores 23 and is still a front-runner alongside Scullion.

Sports stars have a strong record on Dancing with the Stars. So it’s a surprise that this year the stragglers have included the former rugby player Shane Byrne and the soccer pro Stephanie Roche. Both continued to struggle this week. Byrne’s tango to Wreck-It, Wreck-It Ralph is yet another triumph of enthusiasm over technique. It earns him 18 points.

That places him one in advance of Roche, whose salsa to Rhythm of the Night, from Moulin Rogue, contains, according to Barry, “hits and misses”.

“You got lost in places, but you kept the courage and the energy going,” Gourounlian says. “Keep pushing!”

But will pushing be enough? One by one the stragglers have been eliminated. Byrne and Roche are surely now at the outer limits of their dancing ability. They may be about to reach the point in the competition where doing their best is no longer enough. Barring a shocking improvement, it’s hard to imagine either having much of a future on the show.