Both Brian Dowling and Lottie Ryan danced in same-sex pairings.
Dancing with the Stars Ireland made history last night when it aired not one, but two separate same-sex routines. This week on the show was Switch-Up Week, where the remaining celebrities got to choose their professional partners.
TV presenter and former Big Brother contestant Brian Dowling chose to partner with Kai Widdrington and RTÉ 2fm presenter Lottie Ryan partnered with Emily Barker.
Before their history-making steps, both pairs had spoken about the importance of dancing in a same-sex pairing. Dowling said: “This is celebrating the fact that two guys can dance together on national television. I will be emotional on the night. I’m an out gay man and I’m married, and this is really important to me.”
And Ryan added: “For a prime time family show to be so progressive and inclusive is an honour to be part of. To be given the chance to dance with any of the amazing pros is an incredible opportunity.”
The first of the two couples to take to the floor were Brian and Kai, dancing a quickstep to Take That’s Out of Our Heads. The pair were praised for the routine that ultimately scored them 23/30.
“I think this is an incredibly brave thing to do – not to go out there and dance with a man that’s normal – it’s brave because you took on the pressure to be the first one to do the that,” judge Brian Redmond said.
And fellow judge Julian Benson added: “It was a loud and proud quickstep my friend. I’m actually very proud of you. You made history (…) It was fantastic, it didn’t matter that I was watching two men, I was watching great dancing.”
Dowling later confessed his nerves about dancing in a same-sex pairing, saying: “I’ve never been so nervous in all my life.
“[But it’s] so important. I didn’t really think about it until we were on the floor. I got really emotional there. It’s shame it took so long.”
Viewers had to wait until the final routine for the next same-sex routine, but Lottie and Emily brought the show to a fantastic end, scoring 26/30 for their Charleston to Woman Up by Meghan Trainor, and finishing second on the leaderboard.
Judge Lorraine Barry said of their routine: “Ladies do it best, and ladies do it in heels too. There was lots of great dancing here. Overall, I thought it was a very high-powered routine.”
There will be no eliminations for this week, and next week, the couples will return to their original dance partners. But hopefully, more same-sex pairings will make their way to Dancing with the Stars Ireland, and our own Strictly Come Dancing.