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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Amanda Brunker

First celebs on RTE Dancing With The Stars 2022 line-up include Panti Bliss and Suzanne Jackson

Panti Bliss leads the celebrity line-up for the new series of RTE's Dancing With The Stars.

Panti - aka Rory O’Neill - will be one half of the first same-sex couple ever to take part in the show, which starts in January. Ireland’s most famous drag queen will join Eurovision star Brooke Scullion, footballer Paul Brogan and influencer Suzanne Jackson for this year’s hit RTE One show.

The first four celebrity contestants lined up to take part were revealed today by the national broadcaster. They will be among 11 to take to the floor for a chance at the glitterball trophy.

Read more: Cancelled live animal Christmas Crib to be resurrected in Stephen's Green

Panti - aka Rory O’Neill - said: “It’s happening! I cannot wait to take to the dance floor with my partner – and it’ll help me get back into shape after the lockdowns.

“I feel really privileged to be part of the first same-sex couple competing on Dancing with the Stars from the very start of a series. It’s a really exciting time!”

Mayo-born O’Neill has been performing as Panti since 1998. In 2007, he opened Panti Bar on Capel Street in Dublin which has become one of Ireland’s best-known gay bars.

In 2015, Panti became a household name in Ireland as she spoke out and campaigned for equality in the marriage referendum. Panti’s now infamous ‘Noble Call’ on The Abbey Stage is regarded as a moment that sparked debate and altered opinions.

The youngest of yesterday’s foursome is Derry girl Brooke Scullion, who represented Ireland at Eurovision in 2022 with her song That’s Rich. She said: “I’m so excited to be joining the Dancing with the Stars family and to be part of an iconic Irish series.

Brooke Scullion (Barry McCall Photography)

“What girl doesn’t want to get on her dancing shoes every Sunday night? It’s a dream come true - bring on the sequins!”

Former Dublin player Paul Brogan says he doesn’t have much dance experience but is looking forward to the challenge. He said joining Dancing With The Stars is “way out of my comfort zone” but reckons it will be fun.

Said Paul, 36: “I’’m a competitive person, but this is way out of my comfort zone and from what training I have done so far, I know it is not going to be easy. It will take a lot of hard work, but it’ll also be a lot of fun.

Paul Brogan (Barry McCall Photography)

"Rehearsals have been great so far and I’m looking forward to the live shows. It will be a great experience and a new test. This will just be a different game in a different stadium – from Croke Park to RTÉ!”

The younger brother of legendary Dublin players Bernard and former senior football captain Alan, Paul was on Dublin’s winning team for the 2008 O’Byrne Cup and was part of the Dublin panel that won three Leinster titles and the 2011 All-Ireland senior football championship. He left the Dublin senior football panel in October 2012.

Suzanne Jackson - beauty businesswoman and social media star - said: “I’ve watched DWTS for years and I love the show and everything about it - from the dancing, the glam and the costumes to all the incredible people involved.

Suzanne Jackson will take part in this year's Dancing with the Stars (Barry McCall Photography)

"It’s such a fantastic production and to be part of it this year is a dream for me. I was an Irish dancer when I was younger, but ballroom is a completely different challenge! The timing is right for me and I’m going to give it my absolute everything with my dance partner.”

Suzanne - who has her own beauty range and hosts RTE’s The Style Counsellors - is worth an estimated €2.2million. A further contestant will be confirmed on next Sunday - after the four talk to Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show about their decision to join Dancing With the Stars.

Previous winners of Dancing With the Stars include Nina Carberry and Lottie Ryan.

Are you excited for the return of Dancing With The Stars? Have your say by commenting below.

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