It was a very emotional 'Dancing with the Stars' last night as actor Johnny Ward took to the dance floor after the death of his dad on Saturday. It was his dad's dying wish for him to continue on with the series and Johnny certainly did him proud.
He danced the samba with his partner Emily Barker to 'Shape of You' by Ed Sheeran and earned high praise from the judges who also commended his bravery in performing in the wake of his dad's death.
Brian Redmond said: "The bravery that you showed coming out to perform tonight... I know your father would have been very proud." Speaking of Johnny's performance he added: "What is very difficult for a male dancer to do is a masculine hip action which you achieved."
While Julian said: "I am in love with your dancing. You gave us a no-frills samba tonight. I know the strength and courage it took to get on the floor. You danced for your life tonight. You're a wonderful dancer Johnny and tonight you did a super job." Johnny scored 28 altogether from the judges.
Johnny dedicated the dance to his father and said: "It's been a very difficult week... I'd like to thank all the staff in Tallaght Hospital and Harold's Cross hospice. As much as I enjoy competing in this competition, it comes second and family comes first." Johnny explained that he had of course questioned whether he should dance on Sunday night but his dad asked him to stay in the competition and do it for him.
Thank you all for your supportive messages regarding my father at this very difficult time.
He is now Pain free.
Thank you Dad for being the kindest ,most supportive, incredible father anyone could ever ask for.
"They never die who live in the hearts they leave behind".
— Johnny Ward (@JohnnyWard7) March 2, 2019
Viewers were impressed with Johnny's courage at such a heartbreaking time and took to Twitter to praise his performance.
— Ciara O'Callaghan (@OCallaghanCiara) March 3, 2019
— Daithí Mac Suibhne (@Dotknee) March 3, 2019
— beck ⚔️ (@finsaiah) March 3, 2019
— Nell (@Nell496) March 3, 2019
Huge Respect for Johnny. His dad wll be one proud of him tonight. #dwtsirl 💔😭
— Suzanne (@Littlesis87) March 3, 2019
Johnny talking about his dad on #dwtsirl tonight. What a man, so emotional. Always liked him as a person but not only is he a lovely guy he's an incredible dancer. Definitely deserve to win this series @JohnnyWard7 ❤️
— Alexandra Ryan (@SweetLikeAli) March 3, 2019
Bravo to Johnny for being there tonight, so sad 😢#DWTSIrl
— Spooky Susan 🎃👻 (@susan8_oconnell) March 3, 2019
Deepest sympathy to Johnny and well done , you can be proud of your tribute to your dad RIP #DWTSIrl
— Teresa regan (@Teresaregan9) March 3, 2019
Oh Johnny another amazing dance. Deepest sympathy you and your family. Your dad would be so proud. #DWTSIrl
— AoifeRyanIrl (@irl_aoife) March 3, 2019