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Pop CultureFebruary 17, 2018

An actor, a reality star, a politician: Predicting the rest of the 2018 Dancing With the Stars roster

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David Seymour and Gilda Kirkpatrick are confirmed. Now the Spinoff’s Dancing With the Stars pundit attempts to predict the remainder of this year’s celebrity line-up.

Watching Australian celebrities debase themselves for cash every night on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! it’s tempting to wish for a New Zealand version. Which Kiwi celebs would be game and/or desperate enough to enter into a telly situation so rife with potential humiliation? Luckily we don’t need to go down the I’m A Celebrity NZ path to find out, because Dancing With the Stars is coming back…… baby.

It’s basically the same thing, only slightly less awful and depraved. The worst thing that can really happen to you on DWTS is dropping your partner on their head (Rodney Hide) or having your husband come on and do a weird striptease (Jay Jay Feeney). The celebs usually come out of it with their dignity intact, and in some cases they even gain the public’s respect.

Since the first series in 2005, fifty New Zealand celebrities have waltzed, tangoed and foxtrotted their way across the Dancing With the Stars dancefloor (51 if you count Hayley Holt, who appeared as a professional dancer from ‘06-’08). From Nicky Watson in ‘05 to Christine Rankin in ‘06 and Colin Mathura-Jeffree in ‘15, the show has consistently drawn some of the glitziest, most glamorous names this country has to offer. Who will it be this year?

Just like Simon Shuker’s Code-Cracker, Three have already provided us with two of the answers: Act Party leader David Seymour and Real Housewives of Auckland leader Gilda Kirkpatrick were announced earlier this week. Now it is up to us to guess the remaining eight, and all the clues we need are in the previous six seasons.

We know, for example, that there will be an even male-female split. It is likely that at least three will be aged over 40. And there is sure to be an even spread of the five main DWTS celebrity types. These are my predictions.

Sports stars

There has always been at least two sportos on any given series of DWTS. They are drawn from around the sporting multiverse, with rugby players, netballers, Olympians and more featuring in previous years. Interestingly, no cricketer has ever crossed the dancefloor. This could be the year that changes.

Prediction: Chris Harris. Currently taking part in Caltex’s Ultimate Runner promotion, where you can win the chance to use him as your personal servant at the cricket. DWTS would be a step up.

Prediction: Sarah Walker. Or one of the other Beef and Lamb ‘Iron Maidens’. Could be Ulmer, could be a née Evers-Swindell, but the best money is on the BMX legend.

Expect to see this exact ensemble


Not a season of DWTS has passed without at least one former Shortland Street actor taking the floor – and the ever-growing pool of ex-Ferndale talent to choose from makes it a lottery to predict. It’d make sense for the second acting berth to go to someone from a Three show, and of those Westside / Outrageous Fortune has got to be the safest bet.

Prediction: Robyn Malcolm. Ellen Crozier, Cheryl West – two birds, one stone. Surprising she hasn’t been on DWTS already.

Prediction: Antonia Prebble. Rita vs Cheryl is the absolute best-case scenario here. Prebble seems to be everywhere at the moment – Westside, Sisters, that ad about how beer is actually good for you – so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her take the dancefloor.

MediaWorks personalities

TVNZ pioneered the ‘network star’ category in 2007 when a staggering four of the eight dancers were sourced from inside the TVNZ building (Paul Holmes (Holmes), April Ieremia (the news), Suzanne Paul and Brendon Pongia (Good Morning)). MediaWorks has taken the cross-pollination of its TV and radio talent to whole new heights in recent years, and we can expect at least two dancers, maybe more, from within the stable.

Prediction: Duncan Garner. This is a no-brainer. A shot at redemption for a man many now see as bad and racist. He’ll talk about it non-stop on The AM Show and quite frankly needs something to do to get him out of his shed.

You know you want to see this image again

Prediction: Ben Boyce. Between 7 Days, Jono and Ben and The Project, MediaWorks employs a lot of comedians, but they all seem too chicken to go on DWTS. Ben from Jono and Ben isn’t strictly a comedian – more of a funnyman – and seems the most likely to step up.

Reality stars

This is a growing area for DWTS. While TrueBliss’ Megan Alatini (‘07) can lay claim to being the show’s first reality star contestant, the category really kicked off with the inclusion of spurned Bachelor contender Chrystal Chenery in ‘15. Since then we’ve had Real Housewives, Married at First Sight, and two more seasons of The Bachelor – the field is wide open.

Confirmed: Gilda Kirkpatrick. Before the announcement I had hoped for the Champagne Lady while expecting Louise Wallace.There was always going to be a Real Housewife, but Gilda comes as a surprise.

Prediction: Nazanin ‘Naz’ Khanjani. Chenery lit up DWTS in ‘15 and while Three seems to have cooled on The Bachelor format they’d be fools not to go back to that well of talent. ‘Naz’ is the obvious choice here.


Historically the politician has provided a surprising amount of entertainment value to DWTS, from Rodney Hide in ‘06 to Pam Corkery in ‘15. The field of departing MPs following last year’s election contained a few strong contenders, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Peter Dunne or Marama Fox join David Seymour in a rare two-politician line-up this year.

Confirmed: David Seymour. The unbackable favourite to be the first dancer eliminated.

Miscellaneous celebrity

There has always been at least one wild card who doesn’t fit into any of the above categories, be it John Rowles in ‘09 (singer), Lorraine Downes in ‘06 (Miss Universe) or Colin Mathura-Jeffree in ‘15 (general celebrity). There hasn’t been a musician in a while…

Prediction: Tiki Taane. Remember when he popped up on an episode of The Bachelor? Why not DWTS? Would look awesome in a tux.

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