January is set to be the hottest month of 2022 with the return of Dancing with the Stars! Check out who will be competing to be crowned king or queen of the dancefloor and take home the glitterball trophy.
Presenters Jennifer Zamparelli and Nickey Byrne will be back to host the sparkliest show in town the New Year, alongside judges Loraine Barry and Brian Redmond.
Joining the judging panel this year is dancer and acclaimed choreographer Arthur Gourounlian, who is also the husband of Dancing with the Stars alum, Brian Dowling.
Social reporter James Patrice is also back for the new season with his access-all-areas backstage pass to bring fans all the latest news and updates from the training room and the dancefloor on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
And now lets meet the stars who are limbering up to take a twirl around the dancefloor:
Star status: Dubliner, Billy McGuinness has been the lead guitarist and backing vocalist for Irish rock band, Aslan, for the last forty years. In fact, 2022 will see the group celebrate their fortieth year in the business with an anniversary tour. Throughout the course of their career, Aslan have had six number one albums including their 1999 offering Made in Dublin which is certified as three-times platinum in Ireland. The group is also known for their singles, Crazy World, This Is, She’s So Beautiful and Shine a Light.
Billy says: "For the last 40 years, my head has been in the world of music. Now I’m dipping my toe into the world of dance and I’m so excited. It’s a whole new challenge and I’m loving it."
Star status: Widely regarded as one of the greatest amateur riders of all time, Nina Carberry enjoyed a terrific near 17-year career in the saddle. A daughter of the legendary Tommy Carberry, Nina emulated her father and brothers Paul and Philip when riding the winner of the 2011 Irish Grand National on Organisedconfusion. It was arguably her finest moment in a career, which also featured seven winners at the Cheltenham Festival. Nina announced her retirement from the saddle in April 2018. In all, she rode 398 winners in Ireland along with 23 in Britain and 2 in Germany. Nina has two children with her husband, Ted Walsh, brother of jockeys, Ruby and Katie – in 2020 they appeared on, and won a charity special of Ireland’s Fittest Family.
Nina says: "I'm looking forward to being on Dancing with the Stars, Series 5. Although this is something new to me, I'm relishing the challenge. I wish all my fellow contestants good luck!"
Star status: Beginning her career as a journalist, Cathy Kelly wrote for the Sunday World where she worked as an agony aunt and film critic. However, writing fiction was always her passion and in 1997, her debut novel, Woman to Woman was published. Since then, Cathy has been delighting readers across the world with her female-centric fiction with a new book nearly every year. She has written 20 best-selling novels over the last 25 years and at one point was outselling J.K Rowling and Dan Brown in the UK. She describes herself as an exhibitionist and loves the idea of putting herself out there and learning a new challenge. Cathy is mother to twin sons who will sit their Leaving Cert next year and she resides in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.
Cathy says: "I’m very proud to take part in Dancing with the Stars. It’s the fun and the joy of it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance so this is my big chance to do it."
Star status: Recently retired pro-cyclist Nicolas Roche has twice been national champion, has finished in the top ten of the Vuelta a España on two occasions, and won stages in 2013 and 2015. He represented Ireland for the first time at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the road race. He made three more appearances at the three Olympics that followed, his best position coming this year in Tokyo. Nicolas has competed for Ireland 7 times at the road world championships. Nicolas is the son of Tour de France winner, Stephen Roche.
Nicolas says: "I'm very excited to take part in Dancing with the Stars. It’s a massive challenge for me, and something completely new. It scares me and thrills me at the same time. It has been great being back in Ireland and I’m really enjoying my time at home. The rehearsals so far are going good, it’s hard work, it’s pushing me both in terms of being something completely new, and also in terms of performing and learning to let go."
Star status: Erica Cody is one of the brightest new stars to breakthrough into the Irish music industry in recent years. In 2020, Erica was one of the most prominent voices in Ireland amid the Black Lives Matter protests. She was named one of Irish Country Magazine's Women to Watch in 2020. Erica was part of the Irish collective of female singers and musicians, Irish Women in Harmony, who recorded a version of Dreams by The Cranberries. Proceeds went to a charity which deals with domestic abuse which rose significantly during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Erica says: "I’m so excited to be part of Dancing with the Stars – it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn amazing skills like Latin and Ballroom dancing and be pushed completely out of my comfort zone! Being in the music industry, it’s a constantly evolving and fast-moving pace, so to be given the opportunity to do something brand new and to learn and grow within the dance world...I’m just taking it all in. It’s hard work but tonnes of fun. I’m so excited to be a part of it and see where it takes me."
Star status: Missy Keating is a model and influencer from Malahide, Dublin. In 2013, Missy began acting and has appeared in two films. She also has a love for music, and in 2019 she auditioned for The Voice UK with her friend Georgia. Missy says you can always find her on social media, posting TikTok videos or interacting with her Instagram followers. She is the daughter of Boyzone singer, Ronan Keating, and former model, Yvonne Connolly.
Missy says: "I'm so happy to be a part of this show and ready to give it my all and throw myself into this journey. Things have been going great so far, and it’s definitely a challenge, but hard work pays off and I can’t wait to get out there and show everyone what we are working on. What I’m really most excited about is the glitz and the glam that comes with the show – I've seen some of the costumes and they are just insane! To be honest, I’m still pinching myself, it’s going to be brilliant."
Star status: Ellen Keane is a Paralympic swimmer who has competed in the last two Summer Games, winning gold at Tokyo 2020. In 2016, Ellen achieved a Bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro. Not content with that success, she spent the following five years focusing on reaching her goal, and this summer she did it, taking home the Gold. Ellen is now in training for Paris 2024 but wants to squeeze in a Glitterball trophy along the way.
Ellen says: "I am so excited for the show to begin. I am such a competitor, so I'm in it to win it, but I’m really looking forward to having a good time, learning new skills and making new friends! I’m loving this because I get to be dry and have my hair and make-up done and experience all the glamour that comes with Dancing with the Stars. I can’t wait to show people what I can do."
Star status: Offaly-born Neil Delamere is one of the most well-known comedians in the country. Starting out his career at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, Neil has had a lengthy career on Irish television appearing on RTÉ comedy shows like, The Panel, Just for Laughs and Republic of Telly as well as the BBC panel show, The Blame Game. He has also dipped his toe into factual entertainment shows, fronting documentaries like, The Only Viking in the Village and There’s Something About Patrick.
Neil says: "I'm very excited to be on the show. I'm hoping to discover a hitherto entirely absent talent for dancing. So far, I've only gotten as far as saying "Flatley, Flatley Flatley" and the great man appears to give you a lesson. I currently dance like a full back shepherding the ball out of play, but hopefully that changes over the next few weeks. Some of my friends from the comedy scene have been on the show and raved about how much craic it was, so I can't wait."
Star status: As an RTÉ News reporter for over 30 years, Aengus Mac Grianna was one of the most popular newsreaders in the country. Aengus called it a day in 2018, signing off the Six One News on St. Patrick's Day for the final time. Aside from working in the news room, in 2013 Aengus appeared on Celebrity MasterChef finishing as runner-up. He currently resides in North county Dublin with his husband, Terry.
Aengus says: "I love a challenge that pushes me way out of my comfort zone. Dancing with the Stars is high energy showbusiness and is definitely the most physically demanding challenge I have ever undertaken. Given that I don’t dance I am both excited and terrified about the weeks ahead."
Star status: As one of the most recognisable faces on Irish television over the last twenty-five years, Gráinne Seoige began her broadcasting career on TG4 in 1996 hosting news bulletins. After two years there, she left to anchor TV3's flagship news programme during the station’s launch in 1998. After a stint with Sky News Ireland in 2004, Gráinne left news and became a mainstay on RTÉ hosting numerous programmes including The All Ireland Talent Show, Seoige and O’Shea, Crimecall, Up for the Match and Put 'Em Under Pressure. More recently, Gráinne moved to South Africa to focus on her diamond business venture. She has since moved back to Ireland and is living in her home county of Galway.
Grainne says: "I am excited and petrified in equal measure to be joining Dancing with the Stars. I’ve always wanted to learn to dance, and now, I’m getting the chance to learn from the very best in the country. Let’s see how it goes!"
Star status: Jordan Conroy is an Irish rugby union player who plays for the Ireland national rugby sevens team. Jordan took up rugby relatively late, at the age of 18, having dabbled in athletics and soccer. He made his Irish rugby sevens debut in 2016 at the Amsterdam sevens and Newcastle sevens tournaments. Jordan's most successful season came in 2019 when at the 2019 Hong Kong sevens qualifier for the 2019–20 season, Conroy led all try scorers with 10 tries in the tournament, earning the Player of the Tournament award. He was part of the team that represented Ireland at the 2020 Olympics this year.
Jordan says: "I'm really excited to put my dancing skills to the test and looking forward to swapping out rugby boots for the shiny dancing shoes! It will definitely be a change of scenery, I can't wait to have fun with it and learn different dances - I do love a good boogie. I have to say there's a winning mentality and I'm in to win!"
Star status: Co. Down-native, Matthew MacNabb set the screens alight earlier this summer when he appeared on Love Island. A late entry to the villa, Matthew entered as part of the 'Casa Amor' twist which saw original islander Kaz dump her partner for him. Matthew became known for his dry sense of humour. He went viral when he ended his relationship with Kaz, in what was deemed the quickest dumping in Love Island history with two words, "we’re done." Matthew lasted three weeks in the villa before being eliminated. He is an avid GAA player, playing for his local club, Russell Gaelic Union Downpatrick.
Matthew says: "I'm really excited to join the show, I love an adventure and when the opportunity to learn to dance came along it seemed like a great challenge to start off the New Year. I've always wanted to learn to dance, so why not do it on live television?"
Dancing with the Stars returns in January on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player