Top marks for Johnny on Dancing with the Stars

By Aideen O'Flaherty

ACTOR Johnny Ward was the last man standing when he reached the final of RTÉ’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on Sunday, but radio and TV presenter Mairéad Ronan was ultimately crowned the winner of this year’s show alongside her professional dance partner John Nolan, who is a teacher in the Tallaght-based Xquisite dance school, and they were presented with the coveted glitterball trophy.

Greenhills man Johnny, whose acting credits include ‘Love/Hate’ and ‘Fair City’, was paired with professional dancer Emily Barker during the series and consistently received high scores from the competition’s judges.

DWTS Final 23th March 2019 112Johnny Ward with Emily Barker on the final show on Sunday.

Johnny was one of the final three in Sunday night’s show, alongside Mairéad and county music star Cliona Hagan, and performed three energetic dances for the judges.

The judges chose Niall Horan’s hit ‘This Town’ for Johnny’s and Emily’s foxtrot.

After his performance, Johnny said: “It is the last hurdle – people are dancing for the last time and it’s a lot of fun.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve had a lot of support. It’s great to be the last man in the final.”

Judge Brian Redmond said: “Yours was the biggest [choice] when it came to change, it was much, much better.

“The picture was a perfect picture from start to finish –

 it proved you were not a one-trick pony.”

Fellow judge Julian Benson said: “I am so proud of you tonight on the floor.

“This was a perfectly balanced foxtrot. You took on board what we asked you to do. Your frame, core and delivery . . . you were magnificent on the floor – you were like a leading man.

“If these two [other judges] don’t agree with me I’ll eat my goddamn jacket!” 

Johnny scored a total of 28 from the judges, and for his second performance of the night he decided to do a jive to ‘Johnny B Goode’ by Leif Garrett, as a throwback to his first performance on the show.

Giving feedback on the improvement in his performance compared to the first time he took on that dance, judge Loraine Barry said: “I gave you constructive criticism and you’ve taken it on board. You had a softness to it, you had a partnering to it. I loved it!”

Judge Julian was also enthused by Johnny’s performance, exclaiming: “Johnny Ward, you are the king of rock ’n’ roll jive – the power, the passion, the energy! You powered through that routine!”

Johnny then received a score of 30 from the three judges.

For their last dance, Johnny and Emily performed a show dance to ‘Bad Man’ by Pitbull featuring Robin Thicke, Joe Perry and Travis Barker, with Johnny remarking: “When I saw the dance first I said to Emily, ‘You’ve pushed this too far!’”

The judges were roundly impressed with the actor’s performance, with judge Brian saying: “That show dance was absolutely fully loaded, you absolutely smashed it out of the park. It was absolutely brilliant.

“[The song’s] called ‘Bad Man’ but you’re a great dancer.”

Similarly impressed, fellow judge Loraine Barry said: “What a great last dance you had, you showed everything. You’ve given it everything here . . . fabulous.”

The three judges gave Johnny a score of 30 for his performance.

Mairéad was ultimately crowned the winner of the third season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, with this year’s celebrities now retiring the shimmering, sequined outfits they wore as a mainstay on the show.

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