Dancing with the Stars judge Loraine Barry has told RTÉ Entertainment that the panel had to get tougher on contestants as the final nears and admits with high scores come high expectations.

Barry, who is one of the most successful Irish ballroom dancers ever, judges the competition alongside choreographer and talent agent Julian Benson; and ballroom dancer and coach Brian Redmond. 

"For me, very much in the beginning, you want them to get that little bit of confidence and to get encouragement, and to get two or three dances down. Then, the expectation grows! 

"You then start becoming a little like - 'well, I need this and I need that' - so we do get tougher as we go along."

"But then of course, as we get to the semi-final and now the final, we get to the point where it's high scoring and they are ready for it," she added.

Benson (right), Barry (centre) and judge Brian Redmond (left) make up the panel

Barry gave some tips on what the audience and viewers should be looking for ahead of Sunday's grand finale and says at this stage in the competition people should be looking for more than just entertainment value.

"Well, I think the public are seeing a lot anyway because I'm sure they've been watching from week one. In the grand finale they are going to see two dances that they've already seen plus a new dance," Barry said.

"It's going to be tough for them to really get the energy level on all three dances."

"I'm a dancer, so I look a lot for the technicality of everything - the characterisation of it; the musicality; the emotion of it. The entertainment value for me is very important but not as high as all the other elements of dancing," she added.

"I think a lot of the audience sitting at home they're like 'Oh he/she's so wonderful and entertaining' but I'd say the guide to go by for Sunday's final is to actually look for everything. All the things I said - plus the entertainment value."

Dancing with the Stars, Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm.