Ireland: Could Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s performance influence Dancing With The Stars?

by Roy Knoops 1,544 views

RTÉ’s Dancing With The Stars-judge Brian Redmond proposes same-sex dancing couples in the style of Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Eurovision performance.

At Eurovision 2018, Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy featured two male dancers on stage to capture the essence of his song Together, the same dancers that also appear in the song’s music video.

Two boys or men dancing together may not seem that big of a deal nowadays, yet a lot of TV-shows shy away from same-sex couples, including the popular show Dancing With The Stars.

Irish DWTS-judge Brian Redmond has recently stated that he would applaud the introduction of same-sex couples to the show, seeing it as a welcome change to the format. He uses Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Eurovision performance as an example:

I think it would be something that society as a whole would enjoy. Having a same-sex couple on the show at some point is something that could happen. We saw at Eurovision, for example, the type of performances that male dancers can put in together.

However, it may take a while before same-sex couples will actually appear in the show. Broadcaster RTÉ is a licencee of the Dancing With The Stars-format from BBC Worldwide, and must abide to the guidelines and rules set by the BBC. The broadcaster has, at the moment, no plans to introduce same-sex dancing partners.

Mango controversy

However this may play out, Ryan O’Shaughnessy has certainly shed light on a subject that still proves to be somewhat controversial.

For instance, China’s Mango TV, who broadcast semi-final 1 in which Ryan performed, actually censored his performance by editing it out of the show, as any depiction of same-sex relationships is prohibited on Chinese television. The performance was also skipped in the recaps of the songs.

Other participants were also censored and edited out of the broadcast, although for different reasons: Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa suffered the same fate and other performers were blurred because of their tattoos, as they are also not allowed to be shown on Chinese television.

Following the incident, the EBU immediately took action and terminated its partnership with Mango TV. Semi-final 2 and the Grand Final were thus not broadcast in China.

Together at Eurovision

The dancers that accompany Ryan in the video and on stage are Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwyer from Dublin. Although the music video was initially set to feature a straight couple, the two dancers were chosen to form a same-sex couple because of their dancing skills.

The video clip and subsequent performance on the Lisbon stage received acclaim and support on social media, as it was perceived as a powerful message for the LGBTQ-community, especially for those who have not yet come out.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy placed 6th in semi-final 1 and eventually solidly placed 16th in the Grand Final, receiving 136 points with Together.