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Jennifer Zamparelli says Doireann Garrihy got DWTS gig as she’s ‘the best person for the job’

Lottie Ryan was reportedly in tears after losing out to Doireann in the race to become Jennifer’s sidekick on the RTE show

Jennifer and Doireann are teaming up

Jennifer with Doireann

Jen and Doireann are toasting the next series of Dancing with the Stars as new co-hosts of the hit RTE show

Jen and Doireann are toasting the next series of Dancing with the Stars as new co-hosts of the hit RTE show

Winners Lottie and Pasquale

Old partners Jen and Nicky

Eugene MastersonSunday World

Jennifer Zamparelli has admitted her heart went out to close pal Lottie Ryan after her fellow 2FM presenter failed to get Nicky Byrne’s job on Dancing With The Stars.

Lottie was reportedly in tears after losing out to Doireann Garrihy in the race to become Jennifer’s sidekick on the RTE show, which returns to our screens early next month.

Lottie had stepped in to replace Jennifer earlier this year when the popular presenter was struck down with Covid.

But Jennifer (42) says she’s also fired up to be working alongside Doireann, who she believes will be a breath of fresh air on our TV screens.

“It’s great to have another female there,” says Jennifer.

Jen and Doireann are toasting the next series of Dancing with the Stars as new co-hosts of the hit RTE show

“Doireann is great, she’s amazing, phenomenal. I just think she’s going to bring something different to the show and I’m really excited to see what she brings to that role.”

Jennifer says she is delighted that Strictly Come Dancing now has two female presenters, but believes Nicky being replaced by a woman was not a done deal.

“I don’t think Doireann got it because she was female, I think she got it because she was the best person on the day really,” she tells the Sunday World.

“That was my thing. ‘Don’t give it to someone just because she’s a woman, give it to the person who’s best for the job’. I think that’s what happened.

“I know people say you have to just stand up there and talk, but live telly can be tricky because the nerves can be shot. There’s a lot of people talking in your ear. There’s a lot of people to keep happy on the floor, and it’s a very responsible gig, especially her gig when she’s up in that box.”

Jennifer says she was disappointed for Lottie, but “these things happen”.

“I’m so happy that Lottie is going to be doing the podcast, she did a great job last time, so she’s still very much part of the Dancing With The Stars family,” she adds.

“It’s going to be great from all aspects. We don’t know if it’s going to be the last one, there’s rumours it might be. I think everybody has the idea that they just want to go in and give it socks.”

Doireann has worked with upcoming contestant Carl Mullen, who she co-presents the Breakfast Show with on 2FM, while Jennifer has also previously teamed up with another of this season’s contenders, Kevin McGahern.

“Sure, everybody knows everybody in this business,” Jennifer giggles. “Panti is a friend, has been on my show a lot.

“Marie Cassidy I’ve interviewed a few times as well. We all kind of know each other in some shape or form.

“I haven’t met Suzanne Jackson, so I’m very excited about that one. She has always been rumoured to do it.

“I think there’s a little bit of ‘you might not get a chance next year, as there might not be one next year – so if you’re going to do it, this is your chance to do it’.

Winners Lottie and Pasquale

“Maybe after Covid people are being a little bit braver with their decisions and decide to go for it.”

Jennifer reveals she keeps her figure by keeping active.

“I also eat a balanced diet and there’s no tricks,” the mum-of-two maintains. “I’ve also got better the older I’ve got.

“Lau [her husband] has always been very fit, so he’s a positive influence and keeps me on the straight and narrow.”

Jennifer became a breakout star with her comedic roles and says she would like to return to the genre.

“I would love to do another Bridget and Eamon,” she admits. “I would love for Bridget to fall asleep in 1989 and wake up in the 1990s and have a completely different wig and hair, and do that era. We have been threatening to do that, so you never know.”

She is also full of support for her fellow 2FM DJs the Two Johnnies, who had a baptism of fire before they even joined the station over alleged sexist remarks.

Jennifer and Doireann are teaming up

“I love the guys,” she raves. “They were first introduced on 2FM when they were guests on my show, when we did a Paddy’s Day show together. I think they’re very talented and great craic.”

As for their controversial start when they got into trouble over commenting on bumper stickers such as ‘tyres are like women, they’re no good unless they’re screeching’, she replies: “I think we are all learning in this industry and I think it was a lesson we all needed to learn.

“It shouldn’t have been done, but they admitted they made a mistake and when stuff like that happens it’s good for everybody in the industry as we all question a bit more.”

Asked if there’s too much political correctness and people being overly ‘woke’, she points out: “I don’t mind the wokeness. I just mind people getting enraged on behalf of others.

“People getting enraged on behalf of something that doesn’t affect them.

“But we’re all learning. There’s stuff we did 10 years ago we probably wouldn’t do now, and that’s OK too. It’s a case by case, it really is.”

Jennifer is partners with Heineken 0.0 on its ‘Zero Explanations Needed’ campaign this Christmas to encourage beer fans to normalise opting for 0.0 over the holidays.

“I’ve been a long-standing fan of Heineken 0.0 so I was delighted to come on board to support their Zero Explanations campaign. The festive period is a manic time workwise but you still have to do the socialising bit. It’s a game changer. I’ll be out as late as anyone and up and on it the next day.”


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