Park native Ruairi McSorley has been eliminated from an Irish dancing competition after four tough weeks of competition.
Ruairi – best recognised as ‘Frostbit Boy’ – was one of seven celebrities taking part in TG4’s ‘An Ríl Deal’ in the hope of winning €5000 for charity.
The contestants, including actress Linda Bhreathnach and TG4 presenter Micheál Ó Ciaraidh were paired with a professional as in Strictly Come Dancing and put through their paces to see who was ‘the real deal’ when it came to Irish dancing.
Ruairi was paired with former world champion Aoife Ní Loinsigh and competed to raise money for UNICEF Ireland. In the first week, he revealed that he had little experience in Irish dancing.
“To tell you the truth I didn’t know anything about Irish dancing,” he said.
“I can jive and so on. I have a little bit of rhythm. But this is completely different to anything I’ve ever done.”
Ruairi managed to stay in the competition for four weeks, before losing out to Valerie Mulcahy after the elimination dance-off on Sunday night’s show.
Ruairi won over the judges, renowned dancers Breandán De Gallaí, Sibéal Davitt and Roy Galvin, with his charm and they voted for him to remain in the competition twice when he faced the dance-off for survival against Belfast language rights activist Linda Ervine in week two and musician Seamus Begley in week three.
Roy Galvin said he decided to keep Ruairi in as he felt he was a great character.
“He has great entertainment value. He always puts a smile on my face,” he said.
Ruairi also earned Sibéal Davitt’s affection in week one, when she asked him why he wasn’t wearing shoes during his dance.
“The pumps were 60 euro,” Ruairi replied.
Ruairi was nervous ahead of his final dance and did not feel at this best.
“I’m praying to every Saint I know and kissing every medal I own,” he said before the final dance
“I’ve lit all the candles and I just hope it all works out.”
Following elimination, Ruairi revealed that he had had pain in his feet during the last week of training, but had enjoyed his time on the show.
“We thought I’d have to do it on crutches!,” he said.
“It’s a miracle I made it this far. I had a great experience, it was wonderful.”
Tom Evans, series producer of An Ríl Deal, described Ruairi as a “great addition to the series and a refreshing new face on TV.”
“You get what you see with Ruairi. There is no on-stage persona. He is a loud, good-natured, well-meaning, funny guy,” Tom said.
“He is a genuinely nice guy and perhaps what you don't see from the series is the amount of training he did in the weeks leading up to the show.
“He spent a lot of time getting his blisters seen to backstage, but that just highlights the effort he put into the training when not in studio. He could have sat around and drank coffee while waiting for his turn on filming days. But he put in the extra effort in the green room, on top of his weeks of hard training.”
Tom said that although Ruairi was not a natural dancer, the judges appreciated the effort he put in.
“Where he lacked in dancing skill, he made up for in humour and the way in which he took so well the judges' assessment of his dancing ability,” Tom said.
“From TV3's episode of Gogglebox that featured An Ríl Deal, we got a real insight into the public's reaction to Ruairi. People recognised him. They all went and had a look at the Frostbit clip on YouTube to remind themselves of what put him in the spotlight. They laughed along with his dancing and it was telling that Gogglebox focused so much on him. He has that entertainment appeal.”
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