Aiobhan Garrihy & Vitali Kozmin : OK, first of all, four of these women look more or less the same, and I’m not sure it’s entirely down to the quality of resolution I’m getting on these downloads. Aiobhan, Katherine, Dr Eva, and Denise, despite ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s all seem to have been poured out of the same Lovely Blonde Lady mould. Aiobhan is a soap actress, and to be fair I shouldn’t get her mixed up with the others too many times, as I anticipate having to look up how to spell her name every time I need to use it between now and Week 7. Her soap’s official website lists her character as follows :
“Neasa loves to be loved, and is fond of life’s comforts. She has no qualms about using her femininity and charm to get what she wants”.
*wink*. Based on a quick google her character seems to get a load of interchangeable glamorous romance plots with married men whilst her sister has micarriages and gets set on fire. I find a lot of sibling relationships end up shaking out that way, luck and glamour wise. At any rate, Aiobhan is blonde and lovely and is partnered with Vitali, who seems to be a cross between Pasha and all those burly pros of Dancing On Ice who had one word of English between them. He just about managed to gurn sufficiently to hide her week 1 stiffness in a week 1 cha cha to some Jason Derulo song I’m not very familiar with. She got decent enough judges comments although I think everyone on the judging panel was more focused on how a
chandelier had just fallen on The Bruno One five seconds before the show started. And yet he carried on. What a trouper.
Katherine Lynch & Kai Waddington : Katherine is a comedienne (I know right? On Strictly we can just about muster up two or three funny people over fourteen years and Dancing With The Stars Ireland has crammed two into its first series, I guess that’s the craic for you) although compared to the broad, relatable, tv dinners and immersion heaters observational comedy of Des Bishop, Katherine
does much more subtle character work. LOL not really she has characters called Busty Lycra and Dalkey Dunphy Davenport, tells jokes about foot fetish porn and bellydancing and is loved by the gays. In response to her reputation as an out-there controversial wacky character, Katherine of course got the waltz to do in week 1, in order to show off her feminine refined and elegant side, and actually did it quite well, as far as I could tell over kii’ing that it was being done to If You Go Away by Dusty Springfield. Even if her Komedy Kharacters seem a bit too…broad for my tastes, at least she’s capable of pleasing in the gays in a less cartoony way than skintight pleather, tits out and squeaky voices. Her partner is from Southampton and according to Katherine is either a “lash” or a “lush”, I couldn’t quite tell from the accent. I hope it’s the latter. If there’s one thing I’ve always said about the UK version is that we have too many drunk celebrities and not enough drunk pros.
Thalia Heffernan & Curtis Pritchard : Yes that’s right “Pritchard”. As in “Brother Of AJ” Pritchard, from the Strictly. Having sat through three whole months of AJ’s…acting skills, I am relieved to report that Curtis is 20 times more comfortable on camera. He’s also apparently
the younger brother. I know right? His partner is a model and I know Hughie’s brush with a whole treacle vat of fake tan was the highlight of everyone’s viewing week, but I’m almost equally amazed that a woman so
seductive and sultry went through this show’s make-up department and came out looking like
Busto The Clown. In contrast to AJ’s journey on Strictly, she has apparently been given Curtis because she is so very very tall. This tallness theoretically should have been an asset for her first dance, a quickstep to “Counting Stars”, complete with a light up glowing star prop that looked a bit like it had come direct from being used as a nightlight in a young child’s bedroom (no AJ jokes, no AJ jokes, no AJ jokes) but instead she looked a little bit like she didn’t really know what to do with all her limbs, and n particular her neck, so the dance came across as a little bit coltish. Then again who wants their first dance to be a quickstep? Having a quickstep for her first dance did in Stephanie Beacham, it’s a killer! Who knows whether Thalia will survive, and I mean that “who” literally, because two episodes in I still don’t know what the elimination mechanic for this show is. Is there a dance off? Are we using the Strictly ordinal system or the DWTS proportional system to find our bottom 2? Will Amanda Byram somehow manage to be more insincere with her exit interviews than Tess? QUESTIONS!
Dr Eva Orsmond & Sean Smullen : Dr Eva is another International contestant, hailing originally from Finland. Yes, if you’re missing Saara Alto, this show has another wacky comedy Finn for you, except instead of singing torch songs and throwing gift wrapped Christmas boxes right in Simon Cowell’s face, this one apparently yells at people that they’re fat, as part of “Operation Transformation”, which is something like the Irish version of The Biggest Loser. But Dr Eva has come on Dancing With The Stars to show that she’s not just a health Nazi – she has a FUN side, and demonstrated this by being aggressively FUN all over her poor partner, who looks a bit like one of the kids who didn’t get a Golden Ticket in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, speaking in a squeaky high voice and constantly hugging him. As well as a FUN FUN FUN PERSON, Dr Eva is also a transparent Dr Hamela expy, both because her routine (a salsa to Dr Beat) was almost a direct lift of ol’ Hammy’s salsa from her series (albeit without that comedy stumble we all remember so well) and also because the first thing she did on being presented with her pro partner was get the tape measure out. TO MEASURE HIS WAIST! Ahem. Dr Eva somehow ended up bottom of the overall leaderboard after all the first dances were said and done, which…I’ve given up on the scoring on this show already to be honest.
Teresa Mannion & John Nolan : You have to give Dancing With The Stars Ireland this – on Strictly, we’ve had pop stars with many iconic hits go month after month after month refusing to dance to their own songs. No Rachel Stevens salsa to Reach, no Alesha Dixon paso doble to Scandalous, no Mica Paris foxtrot to…whatever her songs were. On this show though, no messing about, as Teresa Mannion came right out waving a giant cardboard stop sign, swishing about in a fetching raincoat, lip-syncing FOR HER LIFE to her own meme, backed with a video wall depicting a tornado WITH FLYING COWS, doing a tango to “Here Comes The Rain Again” with
possibly the most handsome pro on the show? I think so. It was a load of fun to see that the woman caught up in being a viral sensation wasn’t just a massive ham in the context of an accidentally hilarious weather report, but was quite happy to charge around the dance-floor with a duck pout on being melodramatic as all get out. Sometimes fame truly does happen to those who want and deserve it most. Now get Chewbacca Mom on Strictly 2017!
Denise McCormack & Ryan McShane : The difference in approach to previous experience between Dancing With The Stars Ireland and the mothership was shown almost immediately with Denise (another actress, this time in Red Rock, which is a gritty crime drama in which Denise plays Bridget, a “brassy, malevolent force of nature”. Which sounds a lot more like it frankly) as she announced straight up that she had two years training in ballroom and latin dancing. Which for a start is a lot more honest than many of our celebs who clearly had lessons in the relevant genres at drama school and won’t cop to it, and for seconds is more than some of our pros over the years have probably had. Unfortunately it didn’t quite show in her jive, which was good in parts but in which she couldn’t quite get total control of her legs. More pertinent than her dance or her experience though was the fact that Denise is partnered with our official (*KLAXON*) BAD BOY PRO, as Ryan bigged himself up, bragged about how he’d given his partner the toughest bestest routine of them all, and bristled visibly as the Harsh Judge teased him over almost face-planting in his routine. Whether he is a Charming Bad Boy, or a Ridiculous Bad Boy, or a Bloody Annoying Bad Boy remains to be seen, but it’s a personality at least.