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Dancing with the Stars judge Lance Savali kills it. (Photo: Three)
Dancing with the Stars judge Lance Savali kills it. (Photo: Three)

Pop CultureMay 9, 2022

Dancing with the Stars, week three: Return of the dance-off

Dancing with the Stars judge Lance Savali kills it. (Photo: Three)
Dancing with the Stars judge Lance Savali kills it. (Photo: Three)

Week three of Dancing with the Stars NZ brought back the dance-off – but did it help?

Genuine question: Is the show pretending that Elektra Shock and James Luck are not… the same person? Or is it a sort of Barry Humphries/Dame Edna thing where we all know but we’re not allowed to say it. Something to think about! (No shade – Elektra killed it in her pre-filmed dance performance, as did Lance Savali!)

This week’s theme is Mother’s Day, so we get a lovely look at all of the mothers in the competition! (Shoutout to standout Jill Mathewson, relishing the screen time and coining the phrase “getting smoochy”.) Also, as Sharyn Casey says, the show is really about charity – after Eli Matthewson’s elimination, his chosen charity Outline received over $16,000 in donations. Get voting, get donating.

This week also pioneered the jive-off format and… the less said about that the better. Do you know who excels at group dances? Dancers! Do you know who doesn’t? Celebrities who learn to dance for a dancing competition. It does not make for good TV! It makes for a good number in the musical Grease (1976).

I don’t want to see group dances! I want to see the couples dance! When does the double dance come back? Probably next week because this season is as short as an inhale.

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Kerre Woodham and Jarred Neame dance the samba. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

ELIMINATED: Kerre Woodham (and Jarred Neame) – samba

Is Toto’s ‘Africa’ the worst song that is also very, very easy to like? Quite possibly. This was a fun dance – Kerre seemed to really enjoy doing the samba, and her dancing it for her mother (as she put it, making up for being a “flighty young thing” in her “dotage”) was sweet. Should a samba be sweet? No idea! Moving on.

Honestly, Kerre Woodham should’ve been on this show a decade ago. She is a perennial star, and a perennial celebrity. I was, personally, so happy to see her on the show, and to even be writing about her, having last seen her onscreen in the 90s, is quite surreal. She seems happy to have done it, and that’s what matters to me. Donate to Starship, y’all.

Score: 21.

Alex Vaz and Brittany Coleman dance a jive. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

SAFE: Alex Vaz (and Brittany Coleman) – jive

Wasn’t expecting to have feelings about Alex having feelings about dancing for his mum, but here we are! Dancing with the Stars, the feelings generator. This was a fine, medium energy jive! The judges liked it more than I do, once again proof that I know very little about dance and they know a lot, but I would agree that it is definitely his best performance yet! Have to say, I’m worried his save here is setting him up to be the David Seymour of this season.

Score: 24.

Eric Murray and Loryn Reynolds dance the rumba. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

5. Eric Murray (and Loryn Reynolds) – rumba

Is Loryn Reynolds the best dancer on the show? Maybe! As established, I have no idea. But this was so super lovely – one fairly big mistake aside – and kudos to Eric for keeping up with Loryn and even doing the less-popular Dancing with the Stars move “lightly drag the lady across the floor”. Good on Eric for keeping on keeping on!

Score: 27.

Dave Letele and Kristie Williams dance the viennese waltz. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

4. Dave Letele (and Kristie Williams) – Viennese waltz

Lovely! Sweet! It has all the kooky charm of watching a couple do their favourite dance at the RSA, with maybe a lift or two more. Does that make it a great dance? No! Does it make it great, deeply watchable TV? Absolutely. Dave’s the exact kind of competitor you want to see on this show: not the best dancer, but maybe, just quietly, the best star.

Score: 22.

Brodie Kane and Enrique Johns dance a paso doble. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

3. Brodie Kane (and Enrique Johns) – paso doble

Look, some excellent cape work will get you a long way with me. Was this the best paso doble I’ve ever seen? No idea, my short term dance memory is shot. But it’s definitely the most fun and full of character paso doble I’ve seen. Loved every moment of it, loved the stomping, loved it all. Best work Brodie has done so far.

Score: 31.

Rhys Mathewson and Phoebe Robb dancing a Cinderella-themed waltz. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

2. Rhys Mathewson (and Phoebe Robb) – waltz

I love a theme, and Cinderella’s a classic one. Cinderella to ‘Three Times a Lady’? Amazing! This was up to the standard that Rhys has set so far, and my only concern is that once you set a high standard, you have to keep meeting it! If you keep meeting it, however, no problems, no issues, nothing to worry about.

Score: 30.

Jazz Thornton and Brad Coleman dance the foxtrot. (Photo: Eddison Te Reo)

1. Jazz Thornton (and Brad Coleman) – foxtrot

Jazz Thornton is an interesting presence on the show – she clearly has a huge social following, potentially more than everybody else combined, which is going to significantly boost her audience vote. But she’s also quite obviously one of if not the best dancer in the competition, so she’s an early, easy frontrunner. I’m interested to see if she falters in either the public vote or the judging record, because it will make a pretty dull season if she doesn’t. (Dull for me, I mean – I’m sure Jazz and her charity are extremely happy with being comfortably out in front).

Anyway, this was great! Very emotional. Very pretty. Having really good, moody lighting helps. The two 10s were well-deserved.

Score: 35.

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