Dancing with the Stars - Michael steps out and Mary steps in again

By William O'Connor

It was the end of the road for Olympic gold medalist Michael Carruth when he became the third celebrity dancer to leave Dancing with the Stars on Sunday night.

Walkinstown man Michael and his dance partner Karen Byrne from Ballyfermot danced a tango to ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet, scoring 13 from the judges, who had praised him for improving this week, with Julian Benson earlier telling him: “You are on the right road, so keep going. We have the glimmer of a dancer in you.”

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Michael Carruth with professional dancer Karen Byrne during the live show before being voted out (Image: Kyran O’Brien Photography) 

Karen also praised Michael for his time on the show, stating: “We went out on a high”.

This week on Dancing with the Stars, the celebrities danced to a song which reminded them of a memorable year in their lives, and they each recalled the personal and often poignant stories behind their choice.

The year 1992 was memorable for Irish people, not just for Michael Carruth, as the country watched him win Ireland’s first-ever Olympic Gold medal in boxing in Barcelona.

He was also the first Olympic gold medalist for Ireland in nearly forty years making his choice of song, ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet, very fitting.

After his dance, he said: “Listen, I won an Olympic gold medal, but I didn’t win it on my own, I won it with my family, the boxing club and the people of Ireland.”

Julian said: “The good news is Karen definitely brought out the inner dancer in you tonight, There were moments of Carry On Dancing in there.

You are on the right road so keep going. We have the glimmer of a dancer in you.”

Brian: “You are getting better. For the first few weeks, you were little bit lost. It’s still a bit dancing by numbers, but it’s getting better. Not gold just yet.”

Loraine: “It wasn’t quite the gold . . . in those positions. I do see improvement. I think that’s good for you.”

Michael and Karen scored 13 from the judges.

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Nationwide presenter Mary Kennedy during the live show (Image: Kyran O’Brien Photography)

In 1995, television presenter Mary Kennedy from Clondalkin had a career highlight when she presented the 40th Eurovision live from the Point Theatre in Dublin.

Norway won Eurovision that year, and Mary and John danced a beautiful waltz to winning entry ‘Nocturne’ by Secret Garden. Fionnuala Sherry, who performed it for Eurovision in 1995, was in the audience to support her. Mary scored 16 from the judges.

Following the dance, Mary said of Eurovision: “At least then, I knew what I was doing. It’s about being prepared, and I think we are doing that here as well.”

Judge Loraine said: “Waltz in itself is a difficult dance, but when you take on Nocturne, it becomes a very slow waltz, so it needed to be filled out with more syncopations for light and shade. It was elegant and very stylish.”

Julian: “It was a beautiful haunting waltz. First of all, you looked elegant and stunning. From a technical perceptive, I’d like to see a little bit more power through the routine on the floor, but Mary, you are just going one way and that’s up.”

For fellow television presenter Brian Dowling and his dance partner Laura Nolan from Lucan, the dance was all about family.

Their upbeat cha-cha-cha to ‘We are Family’ by Sister Sledge showcased Brian’s strong bond with his six younger sisters, as they popped up in a booth on the dance floor.

They supported their ‘Big Brother’ Brian as he honoured their mother, Rosie, who passed away in 2018.

After they finished the emotional performance, Brian said of his mother: “It will be two years very soon and it’s just so tough because she’s not here and she’s my best friend. If she was here, she would be in her element.”

The final dancer of the night was Kilkenny’s Aidan Fogarty and his dance partner Emily Barker. 2006 was a celebratory year for the hurler, winning his first All-Ireland medal on the field.

He scored Kilkenny’s only goal of the All-Ireland final, preventing Cork from winning three in a row. To top the day off, Aidan was awarded Man of the Match.

The couple danced the Charleston to ‘Bingo Bango’ by Basement Jaxx. Afterwards, Aidan said: “I just struggled with the Charleston, I couldn’t get the swivel.”

Loraine said: “We are in the 2020s but this dance came from the roaring 1920s. The Charleston is full of fun and sassiness and swivels, Yes, it was there, but there was just this element of stomping and bumping and it was just not my cup of tea.”

Brian said: “This certainly had the energy and the speed that we are looking for from a Charleston. It probably could have done with a little more swivel in the feet.

Maybe a bit too cool for school for a Charleston.”

Julian said: “I completely disagree with both judges. This was a cool, funky Charleston and what you did was use artistic licence. We want to see innovation, new dance steps.

I am a non-traditionalist, Aidan, you have never danced in your life before and that was one powerful Charleston. I love people who bring us forward.”

Aidan scored 21 from the judges.

After a break, Nicky chatted to the celebrity dancers about their evening.

The final dance of the night was another highlight of the show as the professional dancers performed a magnificent Paso Doble to ‘Volare’ by Gypsy Kings.

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