Dancing with the Stars: Jennifer Zamparelli gets one over on Doireann Garrihy as Katja Mia bows out

‘I kind of feel numb right now. It’s a memory I won’t forget’, says Mia on exit from show

It’s the quarter final of Dancing With The Stars (RTÉ, Sunday, 6.30pm) and just six celebrities remain in with the chance of nabbing that glitterball trophy.

But first it’s the turn of cohosts Jennifer Zamparelli and Doireann Garrihy to take to the dance floor as team captains in the annual team dance.

On this front, it’s original series presenter Zamparelli who comes out ahead of Garrihy, as she and her team of “Party Animals” – including Wild Youth singer David Whelan, paralympic athlete Jason Smyth and Ireland’s Fittest Family presenter Laura Fox – are deemed the team dance winners.

Zamparelli’s own dancing looks a little rocky during the group number to A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) by Fergie, Q-Tip and GoonRock, but her confidence and calm self-assuredness is nonetheless unshakeable as she struts her stuff.


“Any team is only as strong as its weakest link, and Jen we’ll get back to you in a moment,” jokes judge Brian Redmond. They score 29, with points added to this week’s scores for each contestant.

Former Billie Barry kid Garrihy meanwhile heads up the “Dancing Divas” – including ex-jockey Davy Russell, TV host Katja Mia and drag star Blu Hydrangea.

“I know your mother is so proud, because she said, ‘I gave her the best legs in the business’ and you used them to perfection tonight,” says Barry.

But despite a strong performance from Garrihy, the divas still lose out with a total of 28.

However, it’s Virgin Media presenter Katja Mia who ultimately gets the chop tonight, despite a fluid salsa to Dua Lipa’s Levitating with dance pro Ervinas Merfeldas.

“It’s been the most incredible journey,” she says as she bows out graciously. “I kind of feel numb right now. It’s a memory I won’t forget – thank you.”

Judge Loraine Barry is at pains to point out that there was just “a hair’s breadth” between her dance-off performance and that of RuPaul’s Drag Race star, Blu Hydrangea, who also winds up in the bottom two after a quickstep to Beyoncé's current country track Texas Hold ‘Em.

TV host Katja Mia performing with her  with her partner Ervin’s Merfeldas during Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

The Belfast drag queen and pro dancer Simone Arena had scored a second perfect 30 of the competition for the dance, while television host and model Mia had earned a very respectable 28.

“I think this one is going to go down in history. It was so close,” Barry laments.

This week also sees former jockey Davy Russell and pro dancer Kylee Vincent arrive on the dance floor for a hip-shaking salsa to Michael Bublé and Jason DeRulo’s Spicy Margarita. Although it’s mainly Vincent’s hips that are shaking rather than those of the former two-time Grand National winner.

There’s also Wild Youth’s David Whelan and Georgian dancer Salome Chachua who produce a dramatic, rock-edged paso doble to Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.

David Whelan of Wild Youth with his partner Salome Chachua during Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix
Jockey Davy Russell and partner Kyle Vincent during Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix
Radio and TV presenter Laura Fox with her partner Denys Samson during Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Kyran O’Brien/kobpix

There is a moving moment when Paralympian Jason Smyth and series fave Karen Byrne receive recognition for changing perceptions of people with visual impairments. However they end up second-last on the leader board for their jive to Runaway by OneRepublic, with two-time Grand National winner Russell bottom of the pack tonight.

Tonight’s highlight comes from RTÉ presenter Laura Fox and former dance champion Denys Samson, dancing a quick-fire Charleston to Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx with some very impressive lifts. “Foxy, you really did your thing!” says judge Arthur Gourounlian. “And I speak on behalf of everybody here.” “You were kicking, you were jumping, you were twirling. I mean, seriously, you are the Charleston queen,” he says.

The couple score top marks and a 10 from every judge, meaning they’re sure to be on fire going into next week’s crucial semi-final.