Dancing with the Stars judges Brian Redmond and Lorraine Barry picked the couples they believed to be strong contenders on last night's edition of the Ray D'Arcy Show. The much-anticipated series kicks off tonight.

"One of the most interesting pairings was Ryan McShane and Erin McGregor, " noted judge Brian Redmond on last night's show. "Ryan is a very strong personality but Erin is used to being around strong personalities at home. I think they'll be an interesting partnership for sure."

Judge Lorraine Barry fancied Jake and Karen in this year's dance contest. " Last year Karen had Des. . . .so very mature men dancing . . and I think this year it is a great challenge for her. I mean, he's young, he is 21, a thoroughbred."

Last year's winner Aidan O'Mahony noted that Marty was the favourite at present, but he told Ray that it was too soon to call.  "It's very early days until we watch the first two weeks and then obviously, week 3, it all changes because you have your first elimination and then all bets are off."

Victory beckons: Aidan O'Mahony and partner Valeria Milova dancing on last year's show 

Dancing with the Stars begins tonight on RTÉ One at 6.30pm