Brooke Scullion and her professional dance partner Robert Rowiński have secured the final place in the Dancing with the Stars semi-final after seeing off the challenge of Panti Bliss and her professional dance partner Denys Samson in Sunday's dance-off.
The successful couple will join Suzanne Jackson and her pro dance partner Michael Danilczuk, Carl Mullan and his pro dance partner Emily Barker, Kevin McGahern and his pro dance partner Laura Nolan, and Damian McGinty and his pro dance partner Kylee Vincent in next Sunday's semi-final.
To stay in the competition after the judges' scores and viewers' votes were combined, Brooke and Robert danced the Tango again, and Panti and Denys danced the American Smooth one more time.
In an agonising, "so close" decision for the judges, Arthur Gourounlian and Brian Redmond both chose to save Brooke and Robert - and head judge Loraine Barry said she would have voted the same way.
After the result was announced, the ever-classy Panti said Brooke is "like a niece to me" and "my best friend here".
"I love her with all my heart."
Paying tribute to Panti, pro dancer Denys lifted her in his arms and hailed a "beautiful, beautiful soul inside".
"She's amazing - you can't even imagine," he said.
"And Denys is everything you think he is from watching him on television," Panti added.
"I love this man so much."
Sunday night's show saw Suzanne Jackson and her professional dance partner Michael Danilczuk make history: the first maximum score of 30 for a Rumba since the series began.
Dancing with the Stars, Sundays, RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player, 6:30pm
The story of the night:
Brooke Scullion and Robert Rowiński
The first couple of the night were singer Brooke Scullion and her professional dance partner Robert Rowiński, dancing the Tango to Escala's Libertango.
Head judge Loraine Barry said the opening dance was "exciting" and "intense". The only fault she could find was Brooke's arm was "way too straight". "A very powerful start," she concluded.
Arthur Gourounlian said: "They said it takes two to Tango, and, Brooke Scullion, Tango that was!" He described Brooke's technicality as "exceptional" and added that she had opened the quarter-final in style.
Brian Redmond described it as a "very fiery Tango". He said they "covered a lot of ground" during the routine. He agreed with Loraine's comment about the arm, but he added that Brooke's legwork was excellent. Brooke and Robert scored 28 from the judges.
A tango-tastic start to the quarter finals from @Brooke_Scullion and @rowinski_robert ♥️ 28 points! #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/xqEGWUDCpW— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
Kevin McGahern and Laura Nolan
The second couple of the night were comedian Kevin McGahern and his professional dance partner Laura Nolan, dancing the Salsa to Calvin Harris featuring Justin Timberlake, Halsey and Pharrell Williams' Stay with Me.
Arthur Gourounlian said Kevin had "come a long way". He saluted Kevin's hips and lifts. "For me, that Salsa had every ingredient to be spicy," he added.
Brian Redmond said Laura had "loaded the challenges into the choreography". He said some parts were "a bit stompy", but, overall, Kevin had dealt with "most of those challenges quite well".
Loraine Barry said Kevin had "lots and lots of turn" and even when it became tricky he "kept that rhythm going" throughout. She wants Kevin to get more weight onto the balls of his feet rather than the heels. "Well done to you both," she saluted. Kevin and Laura scored 23 from the judges.
Well that salsa felt like a summer hollier! Thanks @kevinmcgahern and Laura 😍🌞 23 points! #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/9HuM4yMCQv— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
Carl Mullan and Emily Barker
The third couple of the night were RTÉ 2FM presenter Carl Mullan and his professional dance partner Emily Barker, dancing the Charleston to LunchMoney Lewis' Bills.
Brian Redmond felt that if there was ever a dance that suited someone's personality, it was the Charleston for Karl! He said the routine had all the power, speed, athleticism and energy it needed. He concluded that the swivels were a bit flat at times, but that it was Carl's best dance so far.
Loraine Barry said the swivels, kicks and Lindy Hop were "so, so good" and the energy was "right on point". "An excellent performance," she concluded.
Arthur Gourounlian said Carl had topped last week's performance. He saluted the energy Emily brought to the routine - and Carl had matched it. "You did amazingly - bravo!" Arthur enthused. Carl and Emily scored 28 points from the judges - their highest score to date.
Now THAT was one cheeky Charleston - and not a broken table in sight! 😅🙌 28 points from our judges for the fabulous @CarlMullan and Emily! #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/WYgZYJwecZ— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
Damian McGinty and Kylee Vincent
The fourth couple of the night were singer and actor Damian McGinty and his professional dance partner Kylee Vincent, dancing the Foxtrot to Panic! At the Disco's Don't Let the Light Go Out.
Loraine Barry saluted Damian's frame and his connection with Kylee. "Overall, I thought this was an unusually dark and dreamy Foxtrot. Well done," she said.
Arthur Gourounlian described it as an "absolutely beautiful" routine with a "so mysterious" opening. He said Damian had made the right decision coming home to take part in the show. Arthur concluded that he can't take his eyes off Damian when he's dancing.
Brian Redmond didn't think it was Damian's best night. He said there were "one or two sort of clumpy footwork errors". He said the topline was "immaculate" and Damian gave "great movement around the room". "Just a shame about the footwork," he concluded. Damian and Kylee scored 25 points from the judges.
We're feelin’ that Foxtrot from @damianmcginty and @KyleeVincent8 - and so were the judges! 25 points 💫 #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/alHpYhJNew— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
Panti Bliss and Denys Samson
The fifth couple of the night were Drag legend Panti Bliss and her professional dance partner Denys Samson, dancing the American Smooth to Bjork's It's Oh So Quiet.
Arthur Gourounlian said there was "nothing quiet about this performance that literally had everything". He said Panti had brought entertainment, humour, drama and fun to the floor.
Brian Redmond said it was "a really good American Smooth all the way through" that matched the changes in style with the changes in tempo. He described Panti's frame as "excellent", with some "tidying up" needed on the feet. "Some dancers when they come out here are all fur coats," he concluded, "but you have quality underneath that fur coat!"
Loraine Barry said it was "musically on point from start to finish". "For me, Madame Panti - take a bow," she said. Panti and Denys scored 27 points from the judges.
An American Smooth as FLAWLESS as @PantiBliss's hair? Yes please! 27 points for Panti and @DenysSamson ! #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/wmaXDIsr7I— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
Suzanne Jackson and Michael Danilczuk
The sixth couple of the night were presenter and entrepreneur Suzanne Jackson and her professional dance partner Michael Danilczuk, dancing the Rumba to Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful.
Brian Redmond said technically the routine was "absolutely spot on". He said the change in Suzanne's confidence is really starting to shine through. "That level of quality and technique is fabulous," he continued. "I actually don't think I've ever seen a Rumba like that on Dancing with the Stars."
Loraine Barry described it as "a masterclass". "It was absolutely beautiful," she continued. "The degree of difficulty here was extremely high - and from me to you, you passed with first-class honours."
Arthur Gourounlian said Suzanne was like "a panther". He described it as "a breath-taking performance". He concluded that it was a "stunning Rumba" and a "golden performance". Suzanne and Michael scored a maximum 30 points - the highest score for a Rumba in Dancing with the Stars history.
We're simply RAVING for @SoSueMe_ie and Michael’s rumba 🤌❤️ As were the judges! 30 points #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/mzzW6sC3bN— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
The Group Dances - added to the couples' scores
The first group dance saw the team of Brooke & Robert, Damian & Kylee and Panti & Denys joined by former DWTS champions Jake Carter and his pro dance partner Karen Byrne. The judges all saluted the teamwork and the performances of Brooke, Damian and Panti. The team scored 27 points from the judges.
How AMAZING were tonight's Team Dances?! 🌟 We officially want our Hand Clap Hustlers and Disco Dazzlers to be a permanent fixture 😅 And HUGE congrats to The Disco Dazzlers - very worthy winners! What did you think folks? Did the right team win? 🤔💃🕺 #DWTSIrl pic.twitter.com/YhpsMBMANk— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) March 5, 2023
The second group dance saw the team of Carl & Emily, Kevin & Laura and Suzanne & Michael joined by former DWTS champion Lottie Ryan and pro dancer Stephen Vincent. Again, the judges saluted the teamwork, and Suzanne, Carl and Kevin all received plaudits. The team scored 28 points from the judges.