Film and TV

Westlife star wants to be in Strictly’s first-ever same-sex dance pairing

PinkNews reporter November 26, 2019
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Mark Feehily performs on stage during BBC2 Radio Live 2019 at Hyde Park on September 15, 2019 (Dave J Hogan/Getty)

Westlife star Mark Feehily has revealed that he has reached out to BBC bosses about performing on Strictly Come Dancing – but he’s insisting on having a male dance partner.

The former boyband star, who recently became a first-time dad with his partner Cailean O’Neill, reportedly told BBC One talent executive Stefania Aleksander that he is interested in reality TV.

He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Westlife bandmates Brian McFadden, who starred on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, Nicky Byrne, who appeared on Strictly, and Kian Egan, who was crowned King of the Jungle in 2013’s I’m A Celebrity.

“We were talking about Kian in the jungle. I just couldn’t do it. I know I couldn’t. I’m particularly squeamish,” he told the Daily Mirror.

Strictly is the only one with an ability attached to it. There is ability with the jungle with the challenges and working stuff out but not in the same way.

“Big Brother you are just sitting around and I don’t think I would like that. Strictly would be fun to do as I love a freestyle dance.”

Brian McFadden, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan, circa 2000. (Tim Roney/Getty)

The Westlife star added that he would have to have a same-sex dance partner for the show.

“It would have to be with a guy as it would feel strange for me to go with a girl. Well, it wouldn’t feel strange but why wouldn’t I do it with a guy?” he said.

It would be a first for Strictly but Feehily could be in luck: BBC bosses recently said that they would be “completely open” to changing the show’s format to allow competitive same-sex dance pairings in future.

The popular ballroom dancing show made history on November 3 when professional dancers and best friends Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima danced to Emeli Sande’s ‘Shine’.

Their beautiful performance moved judges and fans to tears, but almost 200 people found the time to complain to the BBC, deeming it “offensive to feature two men dancing as a pair”.

Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli, who is openly gay, was devastated to hear of the complaints. “I know I shouldn’t let this upset me however it’s just really sad to read this,” he tweeted.

“It’s hard to believe after such progress in society and many other topics going on that over 200 people felt so upset they complained when two men danced with each other… I just don’t know what to say… Very sad.”

Related topics: BBC, Big Brother, dancing on ice, I'm a Celebrity, Mark Feehily, Reality TV, same-sex dance couples, Strictly Come Dancing, Westlife

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