Dancing with the Stars will be returning in the new year, with some brand new professionals.
Oh and some brand new contestants.
Take a look at all your 2024 contestants so far…
Rory Cowan is an Irish actor and entertainer best known for portraying Rory Brown in Mrs Brown’s Boys from 2011 to 2017, and for starring in Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie in 2014.
Outside of Mrs Brown’s Boys, Rory was one of the narrators of Gogglebox Ireland. Since 2019 he has had a recurring role on the RTÉ’s Fair City as character John Bosco Walsh.
On joining Dancing with the Stars Rory says: “Last year I couldn’t do it because I had back surgery. But this year it’s going to be fantastic because I’m 64, I’m turning 65 in July and I just want to go out with a bang. I’m not going to be doing anything else after this. I’ll continue with Fair City for as long as they like, that’s wonderful show to have. But when I’m 65 I want to do as little as possible! I just think that dancing lifts your heart. I don’t have any expectations of winning this. I’ve plantar fasciitis. I’ve had back surgery. I’m a bit decrepit for my age! I’m in good form but I just know if I don’t do it this year, I’ll never do it.”
The one and only Katja Mia will be taking to the dancefloor as the latest DWTS competitor.
Katja was discovered by a modelling agency in the summer of 2020 after she posted pictures online. In October 2022, Katja guest hosted Virgin Media’s Ireland AM for a week. A month later, it was announced that Katja would take up full-time hosting duties of the weekend edition of the programme. In the past month, Katja has been announced as the new presenter of The Six O’Clock Show alongside Brian Dowling.
Katja says: “Brian is basically family with Dancing with the Stars at this point, isn’t he? He’s been great for calming the nerves. I’m also good friends with Erica Cody and she was there to give me advice. Suzanne Jackson gave me her number and said to call her anytime. They’ve been so supportive. So you can really see there’s like a Dancing with the Stars family – a sort of sense of community here with every class.
“I’m feeling extremely excited. I feel a bit giddy as well, and I’ve met everyone and everyone’s kind of feeling the same. We’re nervous. We’re like, why did we agree to this? But we’re also ready to just have fun. I was a stage school kid growing up but I haven’t done anything like Latin dancing, ballroom dancing, anything that’s quite technical like that. So that’s the daunting part but between that and just going out with friends and dancing in clubs – I think I’ve got a bit of rhythm, so I should be OK!”
Champion jockey Davy Russell has won the Grand National and the Cheltenham Cup. He is one of Ireland’s most successful sportsmen. He got his first professional win at Sedgefield over two decades ago in 2002. His career soared to new heights over the next two decades. He announced his retirement at the end of 2022.
On joining Dancing with the Stars Davy says: “It’s exciting. And it’s so very different to what I’m used to, it’s a new venture. It’s really hard to keep it a secret from friends and family, I have itchy fingers and I’m ready to pull the trigger. My wife always told me we need to get dancing lessons before our wedding. I said no, and now I’m regretting this decision.”
Shane Quigley Murphy
Shane Quigley Murphy is an actor best known for his role as Gareth Boyle in Fair City. Outside of Fair City, Shane has appeared in several television series. In 2017, he appeared as Patrick in the drama series, Outlander. In 2021, he starred as Thespin Pilot Obsidian, in the Apple TV+ series, Foundation. Later that year he played Dean Fearon in the first season of the RTÉ television crime drama Kin. In 2022, he starred as Aelfrun in the Netflix series, Vikings: Valhalla.
Speaking about the show, Shane says: ‘‘I am absolutely delighted to be a part of this season. It’s such an honour to be part of such an incredible production and the entire team have been so brilliant and welcoming, preparing me for what’s to come. The spray tan caught me by surprise, but hey I’ll try anything once! I’m not quite sure what to expect, but that’s why I love it. I love a challenge, and this is definitely a challenge for me. The last time I danced was at my brother’s wedding and honestly that wasn’t a pretty sight!”
Rosanna Davison is a writer, model, TV personality and beauty queen who was crowned Miss World 2003. Rosanna first came to public attention twenty years ago when she became the first Irish woman to be named Miss World. As well as being a qualified nutritionist and releasing a cookbook, Rosanna is also a mother to three young children.
Speaking about the competition Rosanna says: “My family like to say that I’m ‘awkwardly uncool’ when I’m on the dance floor, so I’m going to show them a thing or two. You forget who you used to be when you become a mum… your children take over your life, your world and your thoughts and I’m slowly starting to remember the person I used to be! I’m doing this show for my kids as well, I want them to be really proud.”
Jason Smyth is a six-time Paralympic gold medal-winning 100m and 200m sprinter. Jason is legally blind, with his central vision being affected by Stargardt’s disease.
In 2008, at the Summer Paralympics Jason won two gold medals for Ireland, setting records at the Men’s 100 metres T13 and the Men’s 200 metres T13, which led some Irish and international news sources, including CNN, to compare his feat to that of Usain Bolt, who achieved a similar feat at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He announced his retirement from competing in 2023 to take up a full-time role within Paralympics Ireland.
Jason says: “It’s quite a step away from the world on the athletics track to the dance floor. So, I think there are elements I’m excited about and elements that I’m just a little bit nervous about as well.
“I wouldn’t even say I was someone who dances loads, I have two girls, eight and five, and they both love to dance so, I’ve had to learn to bop around more and more, but it’s usually to princess songs or something slightly different!”
Eileen Dunne is a retired Irish journalist, newsreader and presenter with RTÉ. Eileen has been at the forefront of worldwide news, reporting on some of the most historic events over the last four decades. She presented her final bulletin on 18 November 2022, after forty-two years working for RTÉ.
As for DWTS, Eileen says: “I’m feeling excited, I know it will be hard in ways, it will be challenging but I think I’m going to love every minute of it. I took very few Irish dancing lessons and attempted to take dancing lessons at one point…Bar dancing in Tamangos or The Grove in Clontarf or wherever as a teenager – that’s about the height of it!”
David Whelan is the frontman of Irish indie pop rock group, Wild Youth. Since their formation in 2016, Wild Youth have enjoyed success in Ireland, becoming one of Irish radio’s most-played national acts with hits including Can’t Move On and Making Me Dance. They have gone on nationwide tours and played support act for massive artists like Westlife, Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi. In 2023, Wild Youth represented Ireland at Eurovision with the track We Are One. Performance has always been a massive part of David’s life, his father is a dance teacher and David, himself, was a Billie Barry kid.
Swapping his mic for the dancefloor, David says: “I’m feeling very excited. I’m very nervous. I’ve never danced like this before in my life so it’s a new experience, especially with a partner. Getting used to that is one thing, getting used to the fake tan is another! I don’t mind the sequins; I’ve worn some crazy stuff in my life so far! Apart from a nightclub dance floor when I was in my mid-20s, I wouldn’t say I danced a lot, but I’m loving it.”
Blu Hydrangea is a Belfast drag queen who rose to fame on the popular reality series RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and later was crowned winner of the All-Stars season, RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs. the World. Blu quickly became known for avant garde looks on the show as well as their sense of humour. Outside of Drag Race, Blu was a mentor on the ITV show, Queens for the Night and also hosted the BBC show, Stitch, Please!
When it comes to DWTS, Blu says: “This is a dream come true. It was one of my New Year’s resolutions to learn to dance this year, I didn’t think it was going to happen because I was being a bit lazy and now, I’m here and I get to do it in front of the world so that’s exciting! I danced on Drag Race if you could call it that. I’m sure some people would have some words to say about my dancing!”
Miriam Mullins is an Irish social media personality and radio presenter. She is known for her comedy videos on social media platform, TikTok. In early 2023, Miriam joined Cork’s RedFM.
Speaking about the show, Miriam says: “I am so excited to be part of the show this year. It’s such an amazing opportunity, a chance to meet loads of new people, make loads of new friends and hopefully show off my dancing skills, I don’t know if I have them or not. We’ll see! I’ve done the odd TikTok dance here and there. That mightn’t have gone down very well with the audience, but this is a different type of dancing!”
Laura Fox is a 2FM DJ and TV presenter. She reached the final stages of Miss Ireland 2014, Laura’s media journey kicked off in 2015 when she worked as a presenter on Galway Bay FM and now hosts her own weekend breakfast show on RTÉ 2FM from 9am-12pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Laura took the step into television earlier this year when she became the presenter of the eleventh season of the RTÉ One’s Ireland’s Fittest Family.
Sharing her excitement about DWTS, Laura says: “I am beyond excited; this is all I’ve ever wanted! Ireland’s Fittest Family has put me on a new trajectory, and even though it has been overwhelming – it has been overwhelming in a good way because people are supportive and there’s so many lovely messages – I’m hoping that they’ll do the same for Dancing with the Stars and get behind me.”