Dancing queen | 

Panti Bliss lined up to take part in new series of Dancing with the Stars

We can exclusively reveal that the gay rights activist, whose real name is Rory O’Neill, will dance with a male professional

Panti will be part of Ireland’s first all male duo

Singer Brooke Scullion

Rory O’Neill aka Panti Bliss

Daragh Keany and Eugene MastersonSunday World

Ireland’s most famous drag queen is being lined up to take part in the new series of Dancing with the Stars.

The Sunday World can exclusively reveal that the gay rights activist, whose real name is Rory O’Neill, has agreed to take part in the entertainment show and will appear as his alter-ego Panti Bliss.

He will dance with a male professional, making them the first all-male partnership on the Irish version of the show.

Former Big Brother star Brian Dowling took part with pro dancer Kai Widdrington during the ‘Swap Week’ in 2020, but Panti Bliss teaming up with a male pro for the duration of the series is a first for the biggest show on Irish TV.

Rory O’Neill aka Panti Bliss

We can also reveal that Panti will be joined by Ireland’s Eurovision entrant Brooke Scullion.

The 23-year-old Co Derry woman performed at the song contest in Italy earlier this year with her song That’s Rich.

Brooke, who hails from Bellaghy, also took part in The Voice UK series in 2020 where she finished in third place.

During the pandemic, Brooke had to get a job with an estate agent as there was no work on the music scene.

Brooke was also in the second series of Derry Girls and had one speaking role during the famous scene where pupils were challenged to come up with similarities and differences between Catholics and Protestants.

Singer Brooke Scullion

Other names being mentioned for the new series are Fair City’s Seamus Power, weather woman Nuala Carey, former GAA stars Philly McMahon and Kieran Donaghy, and 2fm DJs Tracy Clifford and Laura Fox.

Former GAA pundit Pat Spillane was also linked to the show after retiring from the Sunday Game, but chatting to the Sunday Worldlast month he told us: “I did turn down an offer to appear on last year’s show and I haven’t been asked to do the upcoming series.

“But even if they did ask me I’d still say no because (a) I’m 66, (b) I can’t f**king dance and (c) my knee is f**ked.

“I’d want to be paid gazillions to make a f**king eejit of myself,” he laughed. “I’m a big enough eejit as it is, but to make an even bigger eejit of myself doing a dance show? Jaysus, no!”

Host Nicky Byrne has stepped down to make time for Westlife’s tour and he has been replaced by Doireann Garrihy, who will co-host with Jennifer Zamparelli.

Top jockey Nina Carberry won last year’s competition with the help of Pasquale La Rocca, who won the show in back-to-back years as his partner Lottie Ryan won the Covid-hit show back in 2020. There was no series in 2021.

Dancing with the Stars will start in the New Year.

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