Panti Bliss makes Dancing with the Stars history in Ireland’s first same-sex pairing

The Queen of Ireland earned high praise from the judges, scoring a total of 23 points.

Panti Bliss and Denys Samson on Dancing with the Stars.
Image: Twitter: @pantibliss

Panti Bliss, the drag persona of Rory O’Neill, has made Dancing with the Stars history after taking to the stage as part of Ireland’s first same-sex pairing. Coupled with Ukrainian pro, Denys Samson, the Queen of Ireland closed out the first week of the show’s highly anticipated sixth series, performing the cha-cha-cha to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ on the eve of Sunday, January 8.

Boasting a reputation as a gifted performer, it is no surprise that Panti’s display impressed the judging panel of Loraine Barry, Brian Redmond, and Arthur Gourounlian. She scored a total of 23 points, placing her in joint second place, level with Suzanne Jackson.


“Wow, wow, wow! The first drag queen to dance on Dancing with the Stars. As a gay man this makes me so happy,” Arthur Gourounlian said, noting the significance of the occasion.

Similarly praising the routine was Brian Redmond, commenting: “I really enjoyed that as well, technically it was really good. If I can bring a phrase from your world… Yaaass!”

Lorraine Barry issued further complimentary feedback, saying the queen “had it in abundance, and in high heels too,” adding that “it was a fabulous cha-cha-cha”.

Panti herself issued a short and sweet statement on Twitter after the fact, writing “That was fun”.

Topping the leaderboard was another LGBTQ+ icon, Eurovision’s Brooke Scullion. The singer performed a fun salsa routine to ‘Let Them Know’ by Mabel, accompanied by her professional partner Maurizio Benenato. The pair earned a standing ovation from the judges and a high score of 25 points.

After an exciting opening week where the female contestants performed Latin numbers and the male contestants tackled ballroom routines, viewers can expect the dance styles to be reversed in the next episode. RTÉ One‘s Dancing with the Stars will resume on Sunday, January 15 from 6:30pm, with the beloved Panti Bliss continuing to compete in Ireland’s first same-sex pairing.

Although voting lines are closed for now, you can support the queen in the coming weeks either by texting PANTI to 53125, or for those in the Republic of Ireland calling 1513 71 71 07 and those in Northern Ireland calling 0901 133 1107.


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