RTE's much-anticipated version of Dancing with the Stars got underway last night as a nation collectively held our breath that we wouldn't butcher one of the world's most popular TV formats. After all, we hardly have the budget of the BBC and do we even have enough celebrities in Ireland to find eleven of them that don't have much on for the first three months of the year?
Fair to say though, RTE pulled it out of the bag. Sure, at times it felt a little rusty, and the judges were a little bit too like carbon copies of the Strictly guys at times, but the overall production looked good, presenters Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne complimented each other well, and the dancing wasn't half bad either.
The whole thing was a spectacle of the highest order and one that will go down a treat with an Irish audience of a Sunday evening. You may not have been impressed with Des Cahill's dad dancing, but there would have a been a hell of a lot of GAA fans around the country that would have wanted to see the sports broadcaster strut his stuff. You may not have had a breeze who Dayl from Hometown was but the boyband had two number ones here in recent years so somebody certainly does.
Getting a two-hour show out of just five male dancers was a bit of stretch, but the padding wasn't all that bad. The professional dancers proved they were worthy of their pay cheque when they showed off their skills with their little number, while the ladies also had their chance in the spotlight when they performed their piece together near the end of the show.
To be honest, we're convinced that RTE were meant to have twelve contestants, and not eleven and that they panicked when they realised they would have an extra week to fill, so decided to divide up the stars for the first fortnight. But lookit, that's just a theory between myself and yourself.
Overall though, we didn't shame the parish here. We only cringed when we were supposed to and while an Irish studio audience will forever be cursed with the compulsion to clap along to every bit of a tune, it didn't end up looking like a Ceili in the town hall. Is that considered praise? For now, yes.
If you ask us, the glitz and the glamour of the whole thing will lure in many a viewer around the country in these grim post-Christmas months. Let's be honest, we were all fed up to our eyeballs with The Voice of Ireland anyways, so in this case, a cha-cha-change is as good as a rest.