Revealed: Which dancers and celebrities are paired on Dancing with the Stars
4th January 2019

Following the news that Holly Carpenter’s new dance partner is Australian dancer and choreographer Trent Whiddon, the other celebrity/dancer pairings have been revealed for Dancing with the Stars.

The new series kicks off on RTE on Sunday night at 6.30pm and, after the Dublin model’s original partner Curtis Pritchard was injured in an attack on St Stephen’s Day, Trent was drafted in to partner Holly for the first few weeks.

Tonight, presenter Bláthnaid Treacy revealed the other pairings on sister show, Can’t Stop Dancing on RTÉ One.  Here they are:

Peter Stringer and Ksenia Zsikhotska


Ksenia has been with the show since the start, and last year she was paired with GAA correspondent Marty Morrisey.  She began dancing at the world famous Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Since then she has achieved many successes with her dancing partner Ryan McShane. They were the UK and British Closed Latin Professional champions and also held the Show Dance title.

“I’m so excited to be back on Dancing with the Stars and to start the creative process for season three,” she said.  “Choreography and dance is my passion and I can’t wait to push myself and Peter to the max.”

Darren Kennedy and Karen Byrne


There is no surprise that fashion stylist Darren is paired with Karen after they were spotted out and about in Dublin together recently.

Karen won the show last year with Jake Carter so expectations are high for Darren.  The Dublin dancer began at the age of six and now runs a dance school.  She still competes worldwide representing Ireland in all the major competitions around the world.

“I love being back on season three of Dancing with the Stars and I can’t wait to take to the dance floor with my partner Darren,” she said.  “We get on so well I feel like I know him for years already. He has great potential so hopefully I can keep the glitter ball for another season! Bring on Sunday!”

Eilish O’Carroll and Ryan McShane


Ryan, who began dancing at the age of four, was partnered with Erin McGregor last year. With his dance partner Ksenia Zsikhotska he has won multiple competitions including the UK and British Latin Professional Champion and British Show Dance Champions.

“I can’t believe how lucky I am with my partner this year. I feel so delighted that take to the dance floor with her. Can she win? Though the odds may be against her I think there is a real chance she could,” he said of the Mrs Brown’s Boys star.

Johnny Ward and Emily Barker


Emily was partnered with Rob Heffernan last season. She began her dancing career at the age of seven, specialising in Latin and Ballroom. She has most recently toured with former Strictly winners Jay McGuinness and Louis Smith and another with Strictly professional Giovanni Pernice.  In 2010, Emily was crowned Ballroom and Latin Junior Champion and has represented the UK in many World and European Championships.

“I’m loving being back for season three. I love everything about the show and Ireland. Working with Johnny has been so much fun and we’ve been working hard and ready to hit the dance floor,” she said.

Cliona O’Hagan and Robert Rowiński


Country music star Cliona O’Hagan is paired with Robert, who last year worked with Maia Dunphy. He has competed in five series of the Polish equivalent of DWTS, winning the final series. Robert began dancing at the age of seven. Throughout his 25 year dance career Robert has been Polish and Estonian National finalist, placed second at the 2008 British Closed Championships, won the 2012 Polish National Championships in both Salsa and Showdance, and placed fourth at the International Championships the same year.

“I feel so much more experienced after last season of Dancing with the Stars. I won the Polish version of the show, and after one year here I think I know what Irish audiences want. With Cliona as my celebrity dance partner the dream to win is possible!” he said.

“Working with her is a pleasure and she is so happy, social and enthusiastic that our hard work together has become easy. I can’t wait for series three and having Cliona by my side will be epic!”

Denis Bastick and Valeria Milova


Valeria has won Dancing with the Stars twice.  She was born in Estonia and started dancing at the age of eight. She is a former Estonian hip-hop dancing champion and has experience in tap and jazz but specialises in Latin. She represented her country at the World and European Latin-American Championships, where she was the finalist of the IDSF Amateur European Union Latin Championship and the finalist of the WDSF World Showdance Latin Championship in 2015.  Valeria took the silver medal in the Dancing with the Stars project in Europe and was invited as a choreographer and special guest performer on the second season of the same project.

“I am very excited to be back on Dancing with the Stars. I love beng part of the show that bring high quality dance and entertainment to viewers each week. Denis is a real gentleman and is very easy to get along with. I really enjoy working with such a dedicated person and can’t wait to hit the dancefloor with him on Sunday,” she said.

Demi Isaac Oviawe and Kai Widdrington


Last year Kai danced with Anna Geary. In 2012 he appeared on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and managed to reach the final with his partner Natalia. Kai reappeared on Britain’s Got Talent two years later with the Latin American super-group, Kings & Queens, and they reached the semi-finals of the show.  In 2014, Kai moved away from the competitive world of dancing and joined the Ballroom and Latin Dance company, ‘Burn The Floor’ where he toured the world.

“I am super excited to be back for the third series of Dancing with the Stars. Demi is an amazing dance partner and I can’t wait to hit the dance floor again this season,” he said.

Fred Cooke and Giulia Dotta


Last year, Giulia partnered with Tomas O’Leary. From a very young age Giulia developed an interest for sports and art. She has appeared on So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Dancing with the Stars Australia and 2005 Blackpool edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

Giulia said: “Mark Twain once said, ‘Find a Job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ And I think I have found my one! A dream job, with a talented cast, an amazing crew and Fred is a super partner.”

Mairead Ronan and John Edward Nolan


Last year, John was paired up with Deirdre O’Kane. John has been dancing since he could walk and has represented Ireland at World and European Championships and is Irish Champion in Ballroom and Showdance.

Speaking about Mairead, John said, “I’m so thankful and excited to be back for season three of Dancing with the Stars.  Myself and Mairead are having the craic and working hard in rehearsals. I admire her so much for the hard work she is putting into the show, while juggling her family life. I can barely mind myself let alone three children! Here’s to another great season.”

Clelia Murphy and Vitali Kozmin


Vitali was partnered with Alannah Beirne last year. From Estonia, he started dancing at the age of eight. He represented Estonia in World and European Latin-American Championships and is a former National Champion and finalist of many international championships. He was the winner of ‘Dancing with the Stars Project’ in Europe in 2012 and a group-dance choreographer on the same project. He was a finalist of WDSF World Showdance Latin Championship in 2015, which took place in Vienna, Austria.

“I’m so happy to be back, it’s always a very special experience,” he said.  “I’m looking forward to the performances on Sunday night and to be creative in front of the amazing audiences. It’s a pleasure working with Clelia, she has an awesome personality and I can’t wait for viewers to see it on the show.’

Read more: ‘I always look at the bright side of things’ – Former Miss Ireland Holly Carpenter steps out with new dance partner after Curtis Pritchard attack

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