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TV RECAP: 24 best moments from Ireland’s Ultimate Debutante Episode 3

Starring a tomboy, a beauty pageant queen and a barista.

THE SERIES THUS far has been, naturally enough, all about the women. Tyra’s face, Courtney’s ear accessories and, of course, the contestants themselves.

There have been some shining cameos from the men in their lives – remember Conor with the braces from episode one and Kate’s horrifyingly-embarrassing-if-he’s-your-dad/hilarious-if-he’s-not-your dad father? They were smashing but their time on screen was short-lived.

Anyway, the men of the programme stole the show last night. While voiceover king Dara Quilty knocked out his one-liners, etiquette expert and judge Brendan came into his own.

There were also excellent supporting roles from the dates, Adam, Dylan and Ryan. What is the male equivalent of the tiara? The best escort at the Rose of Tralee got a canteen of cutlery. The dates should contact the union if that isn’t matched.

In case you need a reminder of the prizes, the list includes a tiara but TV3 keeps failing to mention it. It’s obviously very important but we’ll get to that later. The 18-year-old winner of the coveted title will also receive a feature in Kiss magazine and a stay in a fancy hotel after a helicopter trip. Oh and €1,000, which is really just expenses.

Before we’re introduced to the “flowing dress invasion” and tonight’s “diverse trio from across Ireland” (Dara sounds appropriately tired of these lines), we get to meet the judges again.

And yes, they are still in the same clothes. I know I dealt with this last week, but I’m still irritated. If we’re doing this for five weeks, so should you Tyra, Courtz and Brendan. But I guess three time’s a charm for this:

Whatever about Courtz herself, that thing still isn’t growing on me (get it? growing? leaves? oh, forget it).

Right, let’s get straight into it. If you’re new, feel free to have a nosy back through the last two recaps for a brief summary of what’s happening here (links at the bottom of the page). If you don’t feel like doing that, basically the premise of the show is for Ireland’s answer to Tyra Banks (Rozanna Purcell) to pick her favourite out of three randomly chosen teenagers. Simples.*

*We have already come to realise that the premise for this programme is ridiculous but we’re embracing it anyway so huddle in.

The girls

Episode three introduces us to Emily, Jessica and Chloe. Hi ordinary girls!

Besides seeming like a genuinely very nice person, Emily’s schtick is that she’s a tomboy who doesn’t wear makeup and cleans out horse poo from stables every day. The footage of her galloping through the fields of Meath go very far in proving my suspicions about Aideen’s horse fetish last week. Am I mentioning previous shows too much? I’m going for continuity here. And if I’m sitting through 47 minutes of programming, is it too much to ask that you keep up? We’re all in this together.

Fitness fanatic Jessica is from Cork and her hobbies include disco-dancing and beauty pageants. Her trophy cabinet includes a first place prize from the Kerry Kingdom Freestyle Dance Championships and a MASSIVE tiara for being named Grand Supreme Queen last year. She didn’t say of where…but this is a tiara.

Finally, we meet Monaghan girl Chloe who is one of the happiest people TV3 has ever seen in its studio – not including Vin B, obviously. Her friend sums it up by saying she’s even happy in Double Maths.

In case you think she’s trying to live off happiness alone, we are also treated with shots of Chloe working in a dog shelter, where she socialises with the animals, and her working in a coffee shop, where she is a trained barista.

As the three discuss why they want to become Ireland’s Ultimate Debutante, Dara once more gets impatient with his intros. “Emily wants to get her hands on the Ultimate Debutante crown,” he says but can’t help adding, “Obviously, since she’s on the show.”

Jessica, who like Jacinta in Dublin last week, was an integral part of the debs committee which just added to the stress of it all. But she still believes she has what it takes:

I do believe I have what it requires to be an ultimate debutante because I have a lot of friends, I get on well with my family and I have good attendance in school and I hope to go on to do accountancy after school.

The prep

“I have been stressed over the debs over the last couple of months trying to sort my dress, and bring it to the dressmakers, and book my hair, and book my makeup, and book my tan, and find my shoes” – a contestant.

As the girls hit the local boutiques in search of the perfect dress, Brendan finds his voice to dismay at diamantes, fake vintage and beauty queen dresses. It is the most words in-a-row I’ve heard come out of his mouth. He’s nice.

As Tyra and Courtz quibble over the colour of Emily’s first choice, Brendan matter-of-factly tells us that the gown is peacock blue. But before we got there, he had time to dismiss the debutante’s favourite – the diamante dress.

Eventually, Emily decides to leave all the sartorial work to her sister and she goes off to muck out. “Noooooo waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay,” says Tyra. That is the definition of trust, she says (I’m paraphrasing there).

Chloe is up next and she’s already bought a dress online. Ooooo, risky says Courtz. And she’s correct. The dress doesn’t fit so it’s back to the drawing board. Courtz is relieved. Can it be simultaneously sweet and annoying that these adults have such an interest in this teenage event?

Chloe is now thinking vintage-like, but not actual vintage. Brendan wants her to commit. “Go for the real McCoy,” he adds. Pity Chloe can’t actually hear his advice and her debs happened weeks ago.

This image has nothing to do with the shopping process – or anything else for that matter – but Chloe’s father said really lovely things about his daughter and I thought you should know.

Brendan is pretty clear he knows what Jessica is going to go for because she is “confident with a capital C”.

“This girl won beauty pageants so we’re going to have the chiffon, we’re going to have the sweetheart neckline, we’re going to have the floaty, we’re going to have the knee and leg exposure,” he guesses, covering all bases really.

Courtz follows suit and predicts backless, bling, a slit and neon-pink incorporation. Whatever she ended up with, it cost her €500 anyway. We must wait for the big reveal though.

Courtz has fancied herself as a bit of a nail art analysist of late but even she is puzzled as to why anyone would write adidas (we presume that’s the sports brand and not the name of someone’s child) across each of their nails.

Courtz is usually the nice one but she can’t hide that face when Jessica doesn’t take heed of her (unheard) advice to not go too big – just subtle big. “She went bling with the hair piece, so hopefully she went pared back with the dress,” she adds. Ahem.

Hair extensions will always creep me out when they are not actually attached to someone’s head. Look at them just lying there, waiting to sprout life and prance around the salon when everyone leaves.

Luckily for everyone involved, someone attaches them to Emily’s head. This excites Courtz and Tyra because she’s, you know, a tomboy. Tomboys don’t do makeup or hair extensions, remember? They do horses and muck and wellies.

The dates

The most important accessory of the night, the judges say for the THIRD week running. New lines, anyone?

First up is Emily’s date Adam. Look how relaxed he is. He’s not the boyfriend, just a family friend. He describes Emily as a “great bit of craic” and a “good laugh” so we believe him. He gets it together though for his solo pitch:

I think Emily looks fabulous. The dress is gorgeous and she’s stunning.

Tyra agrees: “She looks amazing. She looks completely different. I really do like it on her.”

Chloe is going with Dylan here, who she has only met once before. Essentially, this is a personality-blind date. Courtz is dying of nerves for the pair of them.

“Oh my god, poor guy,” she says. But that doesn’t save him from the one-on-one time with the camera.

Chloe is stunning tonight. Fantastic. I think she will stand out. She’s a cut above the rest.

Finally, we head back down to Cork for Jessica’s pre-debs house party and we meet her boyfriend Ryan.

Ryan and Jessica met through Facebook. Crazy kids.

Even though it is EVERYTHING that he predicted, Brendan says he kind of likes Jessica’s dress. There’s just something about it, he adds.

If I was to crash any of the family gatherings, I would choose Jessica’s. LOOK AT ALL THOSE CAKES. AND ECLAIRS.

The night

Before we get to the venues, Chloe shows us how she will be travelling for the night. And Tyra reiterates she likes things.

There is then this really confusing bit up in Monaghan. As Chloe and Dylan arrive, there are tens of people outside the hotel (behind barriers) waiting to greet them. What? Why?

Everything else though is pretty run-of-the-mill for the night. There is creamy soup, underbaked bread rolls, face masks and clubs with excessive blue lighting. The line of the night is uttered by Jessica to Ryan, “You’ve got butter on your fingers.” Thank you TV3 editors.

The extras

Hair Wars (that is Jessica’s sister by the way).


A monster car that fits 16 people (16!).


The judgement

At this week's judgement we find out that Tyra is, in fact, the head judge. She has final decision on who remains in the competition and who goes home empty-handed. The other two are just there to help her on the way, she explains. As we're onto the serious bit, there are new clothes (and some great hair from Tyra. Really. That isn't sarcasm).

She then introduces her underlings as etiquette expertise (?) Brendan and fashionista Courtz.

During the girls and judges Q&A session, Courtz gives a masterclass in how to avoid the truth, without actually lying.

"You love your bling. You are a vivacious character. The dress is out there. It is completely you. Completely your style."

Afterwards Courtz admits that she didn't think she'd warm to Jessica because of her 'blingtasticness' but in the end, she loved her. That wasn't enough though as CHLOE WINS.

Her poise, presence and immaculate style did it for them, according to the judges. She is shocked and everyone else is happy for her because she is such. a. nice. girl. So, Monaghan hopeful Chloe joins Laura and Jacinta in the final. There's just one more spot available. Who will get it? Let's have wine and pizza night next week and find out, shall we?

Did you watch the show? What did you think? Do you remember your own debs? Share your stories in the comments section.

Episode 2: 28 best moments from Ireland’s Ultimate Debutante

Episode 1: 29 best moments from Ireland’s Ultimate Debutante

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