The stakes were high at Dancing with the Stars on Sunday night as the remaining nine contestants attempted to avoid the first elimination dance-off of the season.
Missy Keating returned this week after recovering 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 nice approach,” Barry told her. “I really think you smashed that tonight.” Keating delighted in her 24-point score.
Former Olympian Nicolas Roche was more than willing to perform his Viennese waltz twice if needed, but managed to dodge the bottom two this week.
However, his partner Karen Roche was unimpressed by her score of 17 as Judge Brian Redmond gave them only five points out of ten.
Arthur Gourounlian noted that the performance was “a bit rigid” but more forgiving.
“I have to say I love the beautiful relationship you two have and I look forward to seeing you guys every week,” he said.
After a stunning performance last week, Erica Cody wowed the judges with a colorful salsa.
“You can show yourself in a salsa and I really want to do that,” the singer said before the performance.
Her efforts worked, and Gourounlian even told Cody that he would hire her for a tour immediately.
“This is the Erica we know and all love. Her body language was exquisite,” he said. Cody received an overall score of 27.
Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane also impressed the judges with a fox trot that Barry described as “graceful, elegant and beautiful”.
Gourounlian agreed, “The way you moved your feet was like dancing in mid-air.” Keane received 23 points.
Aslan’s Billy McGuinness kept his promise and brought “Fun Billy” back.
“I enjoy the dance and have a little fun doing it. I feel different this week,” he said before taking the stage.
His joy seemed to carry over to the judges’ table.
“All the steps were there, the musicianship was great, all the movements were there, just the technique needs a little bit of improvement,” said Redmond. McGuinness received 17 points.
Love Island star Matthew Mac Nabb had the easiest week of the group after earning dance-off immunity last week after topping the leaderboard.
He wasn’t immune to the judges’ comments, however.
Gourounlian said the Co Down native’s cha cha was “awkward to look at,” while Redmond asked for more engagement.
Mac Nabb received the lowest score of the evening with only 12 points from the jury.
Jockey Nina Carberry also performed a Viennese waltz this week, earning her her first perfect score of the season.
“You are pure talent. You come here every week with so much determination but most of all sensational dancing,” Gourounlian told her.
Redmond was equally impressed. “Viennese waltz: you have to have power, swing and movement and combine that with grace and elegance,” he said.
“It takes the very best dancers to tie those together, and if you dance like that, you could prove to be one of the best.”
Gráinne Seoige also received her highest score to date after her captivating tango received a 22 from the jury.
“I knew you had it in you,” Gourounlian said. Redmond added, “The only thing we need a little more of is just a little more power, but technically a very good tango.”
Jordan Conway “knocked it out of the park,” according to Barry.
The rugby star scored 29 points to earn a spot at next week’s big band theme night.
Although both had impressed the judges, in the end it was Cody and Keating who faced each other, with the latter bowing out after missing a step in her second performance.