Meet our 2023 Dancing with the Stars contestants

We can’t believe it’s that time of year again.

Dancing with the Stars is just around the corner and RTÉ has been slowly revealing the contestants for 2023.

Yes, the show will return in the new year with a whole slew of new celebrities taking to the dancefloor.

So let’s meet those stars who will be showing off their moves in January.

Kevin McGahern

The 11th Dancing with the Stars contestant comes in the form of comedian Kevin McGahern.

He is best known for his work on Republic of Telly, Brigid and Eamonn and Clear History. He also had a recurring role as Michael Foley in the RTÉ drama series Smother.

Speaking about the show he said: “I’m delighted to be a part of this year’s Dancing with the Stars. It’s a very different world to what I’m used to. I’m a little scared but looking forward to giving it my best.”

Leah O’Rourke

Swapping the school uniform for glitzy costumes Derry Girls star Leah O’Rourke has joined the cast of this season’s Dancing with the Stars.

You may recognise her as  Jenny Joyce, the goody-two-shoes prefect in Derry Girls who never strays from the rules. But now Leah is ready to take on a new challenge, one with more sequins!

Speaking about the show she said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the show. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. If I’m brave enough to showcase terrible singing on Derry Girls, I’m hoping I’ll be brave enough to showcase my attempts at dancing. I’m looking forward to taking on a new challenge, shaking off the school plait and showing a more glam side to me.”

Carl Mullan

Pic: Barry McCall

Carl Mullan will be swapping his early mornings for late nights on Dancing with the Stars. He has been waking up the country alongside Doireann Garrihy and Donncha O’Callaghan on 2FM for the last year.

“The only thing doing somersaults right now is my stomach – I’m a combination of a bag of nerves but also absolutely buzzing!,” he confessed.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can’t wait to get going. It’s completely outside my comfort zone, I’ve never done any form of dancing before, but I’m determined to get my head down and do everything possible to make sure my partner and I get all the way to the final!”

Stephanie Roche

Pic: Barry McCall

Footballer and commentator Stephanie Roche will be bringing the fire on the dancefloor.

Stephanie is one of Ireland’s best-known female footballers, shooting to fame in 2013 when her goal for Peamount against a Wexford side was runner-up for the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year.

Stephanie said: “I’m excited and nervous to get started on Dancing with the Stars. This is a whole new experience for me and one that will definitely take me out of my comfort zone but I’m excited to learn to dance and to enjoy the whole experience.”

Damian McGinty

Pic: Barry McCall

Damian McGinty has been confirmed to join the series. He’s best known for his role on Glee, he joined the show in 2011 as Rory Flanagan.

He’s no stranger to the stage but does that mean he’ll be able to foxtrot his way to the top?

Damian shared: “Dancing with the Stars is a major challenge for me, one I am really excited and also very nervous about. Dancing has never been a strong point of mine, quite the opposite, but I’m eager to get to work. It feels like a great time to simply go out there and enjoy the experience, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Shane Byrne

Shane Byrne Pic: Barry McCall

Shane Byrne is the sixth celebrity announced for series six of Dancing with the Stars!

Shane is a retired international rugby player. He got his first cap for Ireland in 2001 and went on to win a further forty caps for his country before retiring in 2009.

Speaking of joining the Dancing with the Stars line-up he revealed: “I’m really looking forward to hitting the dance floor on Dancing with the Stars in January! It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before – it’s a long way from the rugby pitch – but I’ll give it my all and I know I’ll have a lot of fun along the way.”

Dr Marie Cassidy

Pic: Barry McCall

Dr Marie Cassidy is the fifth celebrity who will take to the Dancing with the Stars dancefloor on RTÉ One in January.

Marie was the first woman to be the state pathologist in Ireland. She held this role for fourteen years from 2004 to 2018.

Speaking of her chance to show off her dance moves, Marie says: “I haven’t stopped smiling since I was asked to be part of Dancing with the Stars. Who would have thought? It’s going to be a challenge as I’m not used to just having fun. But bring it on, the more sequins the better. Just got to learn to dance! Over to you, partner.”

Suzanne Jackson

Suzanne Jackson Pic: RTÉ

Rumours had been swirling that the makeup mogul would be taking to the dancefloor in January and now it has been confirmed.

The influencer-turned-businesswoman teased VIP Magazine earlier this year hinting that she would be pursuing more television work.

Speaking about the competition, Suzanne said: “I’ve watched DWTS for years and I love the show and everything about it – from the dancing, the glam and the costumes to all the incredible people involved. It’s such a fantastic production and to be part of it this year is a dream for me.

“I was an Irish dancer when I was younger, but ballroom is a completely different challenge! The timing is right for me and I’m going to give it my absolute everything with my dance partner.”

Panti Bliss AKA Rory O’Neill

Panti Bliss Pic: RTÉ

Rory O’Neill aka Panti Bliss is Ireland’s best known drag artist. The Mayo native has been performing as Panti since 1998.

And we just know that he’ll be well able to shimmy on the dancefloor. Sure didn’t he open Panti Bar in 2007 which has become one of Ireland’s most well-known gay bars? Of course, in 2015 Panti became a household name in Ireland as she spoke out and campaigned for equality in the marriage referendum.

Panti is only delighted to be on Dancing with the Stars, saying: “It’s happening! I cannot wait to take to the dance floor with my partner – and it’ll help me get back into shape after the lockdowns! I feel really privileged to be part of the first same-sex couple competing on Dancing with the Stars from the very start of a series. It’s a really exciting time!”

Brooke Scullion

Brooke Scullion Pic: RTÉ

She may not have been able to bring Eurovision home, but Derry native Brooke is determined to lift the Glitterball trophy in the new year.

And she’s no stranger to reality shows as she appeared on The Voice UK in 2020 with all four coaches turning… and she made it all the way to the final. In September 2020 Brooke wrote and released her debut single Attention and followed on with her EP, Chaotic Heart. 

As for Dancing with the Stars, Brooke says: “I’m so excited to be joining the Dancing with the Stars family and to be part of an iconic Irish series! What girl doesn’t want to get on her dancing shoes every Sunday night?! It’s a dream come true – bring on the sequins!”

Paul Brogan

Paul Brogan Pic: RTÉ

Swapping football boots for dance shoes, All-Ireland-winning former Dublin GAA footballer Paul will show us his moves in the new year.

He is part of the Brogan GAA dynasty as the younger brother of legendary Dublin players Bernard and former senior football captain Alan. Paul was on Dublin’s winning team for the 2008 O’Byrne Cup and was part of the Dublin panel that won three Leinster titles and the 2011 All-Ireland senior football championship.

Paul is absolutely buzzing, saying: “I’m so excited to be part of this show. I am a competitive person, but this is way out of my comfort zone and from what training I have done so far, I know it is not going to be easy. It will take a lot of hard work, but it’ll also be a lot of fun.

“Rehearsals have been great so far and I’m looking forward to the live shows. It will be a great experience and a new test. This will just be a different game in a different stadium – Croke Park to RTÉ!”

Dancing with the Stars returns to our screens in the new year

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