The stakes were high on Sunday night’s Dancing with the Stars as the remaining nine contestants tried to avoid the first elimination dance-off of the season.
Missy Keating returned this week having recovered from Covid-19. The model celebrated her 21st birthday on air by dancing a lively charleston which judge Loraine Barry called funky and fun.
“It was a beautiful approach,” Barry told her. “I really think you smashed this tonight.” Keating was delighted with her score of 24 points.
Former Olympian Nicolas Roche was more than ready to perform his Viennese waltz twice if needed but managed to dodge the bottom two this week.
However, his partner Karen Roche was not impressed with their score of 17, with judge Brian Redmond awarding them just five out of ten.
Arthur Gourounlian noted that the performance was a “little rigid” but was more forgiving.
“I have to say I love the beautiful relationship between you two and I so look forward to you every week,” he said.
Following an underwhelming performance last week, Erica Cody wowed the judges with a colourful salsa.
“You get to show yourself in a salsa and that’s something I really want to do,” the singer said before the performance.
Her efforts worked, with Gourounlian even telling Cody that he would hire her for a tour in a heartbeat.
“This is the Erica we know and all adore. Your body language was exquisite,” he said. Cody was awarded a total score of 27.
Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane equally impressed the judges with a foxtrot, which Barry described as “graceful, elegant, and beautiful”.
Gourounlian agreed: “The way you were moving your feet, it was like you were dancing on air.” Keane was awarded 23 points.
Aslan’s Billy McGuinness kept his promise and brought back ‘Fun Billy’.
“I’m enjoying the dance and having a bit of fun with it. I feel different this week,” he said before going on stage.
His joy seemed to translate across the judges’ table.
“All the steps were there, the musicality was great, all the movement was in place, just need to improve the technicality a little bit more,” said Redmond. McGuinness received 17 points.
Love Island star Matthew Mac Nabb had the easiest week of the group, having received immunity from the dance-off after topping the leaderboard last week.
However, he wasn’t immune to the judges’ comments.
Gourounlian said that the Co Down native’s cha cha was “awkward to watch”, while Redmond asked for more commitment.
Mac Nabb received the lowest score of the night, with just 12 points from the judges.
Jockey Nina Carberry also performed a Viennese waltz this week, which earned her the first perfect score this season.
“You are pure talent. Each week you come here with such determination, but most of all sensational dancing,” Gourounlian told her.
Redmond was equally impressed. “Viennese waltz: you’ve got to have power, swing, and movement and you’ve got to combine it with grace and elegance,” he said.
“It takes the very best dancers to be able to blend those together and with you dancing like that, you could go on to prove to be one of the very best.”
Gráinne Seoige was also awarded her highest score so far after her enthralling tango earned a 22 from the judges.
“I knew you had it in you,” said Gourounlian. Redmond added: “The only thing that we need a little bit more of is just a touch more power but technically, a very good tango.”
Jordan Conway “knocked it out of the park”, according to Barry.
The rugby star jived his way to a score of 29 and guaranteed himself a place in n