“For a prime time family show to be so progressive and inclusive is an honour to be part of."
For the first time in RTÉ history, Dancing with the Stars Ireland will see two same-sex couples take to the dance floor to perform this weekend.
As requested by the star himself, Brian Dowling will team up Kai Widdrington in the show’s first-ever all-male dance duo on switch-up week, while Lottie Ryan and Emily Barker will also join forces as the show's first all-female pairing.
Switch-Up Week sees the celebrity contestants changing professional dance partners for one week only, with the show also moving to Saturday evening at 6:35pm on RTÉ One because of General Election coverage on Sunday.
The partnerships will be a first for the dance series, both in Ireland and in the UK, something contestant Dowling hails as "phenomenal".
"This is about visibility and starting a conversation," he said. "Myself and Kai can now dance on the biggest entertainment show on Irish television; I think that is phenomenal. Someone always needs to be the first."
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It’s nearly show time people. My weave is set & ready to give you a Charleston to rememberActually the best part of the show is the dressing up & all the different looks. Thanks so much @carolannmcguirk & @gracealicec for always looking after me. See you all at 18:30pm with @la_nolan @dwtsirl on @rteone #dwts #charleston #ballroomdance #bugsymalone #movieweek
Meanwhile, ahead of her upcoming dance with Emily Barker, RTE radio presenter Lottie Ryan said she was honoured to be included in the move towards inclusivity.
She said: “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.
“Emily is someone who I’ve watched on my telly for years admiring, so I can’t wait to share the floor with her.”
The full line-up for Saturday night's show is as follows:
Aidan Fogarty and Kylee Vincent dancing the Cha-Cha-Cha to Sigala's Feels Like Home
Ryan Andrews and Laura Nolan dancing the Waltz to Journey's Open Arms
Fr Ray Kelly and Giulia Dotta dancing the Charleston to The Divine Comedy's National Express
Mary Kennedy and Ryan McShane dancing the Jive to Twistin' the Night Away
Gráinne Gallanagh and Pasquale La Rocca dancing the Rumba to Ed Sheeran ft Khalid's Beautiful People
Sinéad O'Carroll and John Nolan dancing the Viennese Waltz to Paloma Faith's Guilty
Lottie Ryan and Emily Barker dancing the Charleston to Meghan Trainor's Woman Up
Brian Dowling and Kai Widdrington dancing the Quickstep to Take That's Out of Our Heads
Dancing with the Stars, Saturday, RTÉ One, 6:35pm.
Main image by @ggallanagh
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