Dancing with the Stars week 9: Twirl too far for Panti Bliss as history-making drag queen voted off

Television: It’s a long walk into the twilight for drag queen Panti Bliss who, with Samson, created history as the first same-sex couple on Dancing With The Stars

A Björk on the wild side proves a twirl too far for Panti Bliss, who becomes the latest celebrity eliminated from Dancing With the Stars (RTÉ One, 6.30pm).

Panti – aka Rory O’Neill – is made to sweat all the way to the exit as the show reaches the quarter-final. Panti and pro-partner Denys Samson must deliver two American smooths to Björk’s It’s Oh So Quiet – with an exhausting group stomp led by former DWTS winner Jake Carter squeezed in between.

“It’s all part of the game,” says Panti after the dance-off with Brooke Scullion, the other celeb to finish in the bottom two by public vote.

Panti says that there are no hard feelings toward Eurovision singer Scullion – a front-runner for much of the season. “I’m glad in a way – Brooke is like a niece to me.”


With just six hopefuls remaining at the start of the broadcast, there is a sense that the gloves are off and the real contest beginning. All of the dancers have excelled to date – resulting in a highly competitive round.

Top of the leader board– is Suzanne Jackson, who delivers an emotive rumba with pro-partner Michael Danilczuk to Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey. Jackson, a broadcaster and influencer, had been criticised at varying points for not displaying enough emotion. That isn’t an issue as she dances to her wedding song. “This means a lot to me. It really helped,” she says.

Help it does. She scores a clean streak of 10 – the highest for a rumba on Dancing With The Stars Ireland.

“You were so at ease with the moments of stillness, that’s what I really liked,” says Brian Redmond. “That level of quality and technique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rumba like that.”

The big novelty this week is the group dance involving the celebs. They are divided into teams. Damian McGinty, Brooke Scullion and Panti are joined by Jake Carter, who won series two. Meanwhile, Jackson, Kevin McGahern and Carl Mullan and their respective pros are led by season four champion Lottie Ryan – and their score of 28 places them a point ahead of their rivals.

The other novelty is presenter Jennifer Zamparelli who goes out on a limb slightly by heralding Ed Sheeran as “Irish” as payback for the UK claiming Paul Mescal as British. If we’re bargaining, could we trade in Brendan O’Carroll, too?

Next week’s semi-final will bring yet further drama and it’s still hard to look beyond Jackson, Scullion or McGinty as potential winners (even if McGinty tonight receives some of his most lukewarm feedback yet from the judges).

Alas, it’s a long walk into the twilight for drag queen Panti who, with Samson, created history as the first same-sex couple on Dancing With The Stars. But Bliss has most certainly been more hit than miss over the course of this series.