Zac hit the road, and this is what we’re left with.
Zac hit the road, and this is what we’re left with.

Pop CultureMay 28, 2018

Dancing with the Stars, week five: An icon goes home

Zac hit the road, and this is what we’re left with.
Zac hit the road, and this is what we’re left with.

For some reason, there’s a prohibition theme this week on Dancing with the Stars NZ! Alcohol or no, these are the power rankings.


Marama Fox (and Brad) – Foxtrot

Get Marama in a production of Chicago playing Big Mama Morton immediately.

Calling it now: Meghan Trainor killed Marama Fox’s chances of winning this thing. Marama Fox is a charismatic, beautiful Māori woman, and it’s sad to see her brought down by a mediocre white woman.

The two best moments of this competition were Marama Fox’s Viennese Waltz and her Paso Doble. I encourage you go back and watch those – see how special this show can be, see how great it can be, and what a contestant can do and say in a fluff primetime show. See how she can nudge our cultural needle and acceptance a little bit.

I am outraged. I am incensed. That David Seymour remains in this competition, lollipop suit and charity district intact, and Marama Fox, genuine good dancer and human being, goes home is utter bullshit. That Roger Farrelly falls over and gets pity votes is the height of sympathy for white mediocrity.

I will not shut up about this. I hate that I am this invested in this show.

Marama, you did great work on this show. You had the most fun of anybody up there. In your best moments, you genuinely moved me, someone with a heart of stone hardened by the rest of this godforsaken competition. You did not deserve to go home.

Hell is empty, demons roam the earth. You were too good for this show, Marama Fox.

SCORE: 22.

Dai Henwood banter: “A little bit more booty-slapping than I was expecting.”

Rockin’ Rog (Roger) Farrelly (and Carol-Ann) – Quick Step

SCORE: 19, somehow, despite falling down. Rachel said he was born to do the quick step, and I was unaware that a key part of doing the quick step was falling on the ground, dragging your partner down, and unwittingly providing a visual and visceral metaphor of the patriarchy.


Dai Henwood banter: “You took to the floor.”

7. David Seymour (and Amelia) – Cha cha

That’s not how you dress when you go to the beach.

From the NZ Herald this week: “Act Party leader and Epsom MP David Seymour has been accused of fuelling prejudice after he sent a letter to constituents warning that tenants in a new housing development could have mental health issues.

“Seymour stands by the letter, saying that the social housing development had a history of anti-social behaviour and he was ‘telling it like is’.

Like teaching a toddler to swim.

“In a letter to residents, Seymour invited them to voice their concerns at a public meeting and said the development would put pressure on local infrastructure.

“He added: ‘There is also a chance that some of the future residents will have social and mental health issues who will need to have special support measures in place.’

“Seymour was unrepentant, saying that it was more important to solve the problem than be ‘precious’ about his language.”

Like teaching a toddler to swim, part 2.


Dai Henwood banter:  “What do you have to say about your short-sighted and dangerous comments about the mentally ill this week?”

No, I’m kidding, he mostly talked about how John Key is a fan of David Seymour on Dancing with the Stars, which tracks with his brand, honestly.

6. Chris Harris (and Vanessa) – Argentine Tango

This is… pretty indicative of the performance on the whole.

Firstly, it’s a very savvy move to lift one of the best moments from Moulin Rouge! – the highly edited and electric tangoed-up version of The Police’s ‘Roxanne’and use that track to bring the depth and passion that an ex-Black Hat might, just possibly, just maybe not be able to bring to the Argentinian tango.

Secondly, Chris Harris is… awkward here. There’s goofy and there’s awkward – goofy is likeable and fun, awkward is hard to watch. Usually he splits the difference between the two, and the power of his Happy Dad charisma covers up any awkwardness, but when he’s meant to be projecting passion, drama and heat, the Happy Dad charisma falters a bit. He’s stiff, you can feel him doing the classic Kiwi awkward smile, and you can almost see him counting the steps until the whole thing is over.

Thirdly, god. I don’t know. The lady judges seem to love it – in fact appear completely overwhelmed by it, especially when he gives them an armband at the end of the performance – so what do I know! Maybe I’m not the target audience to be seduced by an ex-cricket player doing dancing. Who can say.

SCORE: 23.

Dai Henwood banter: “Were you feeling fierce?”. I can imagine that’s the first time Chris Harris has been asked this.

5. Sam Hayes (and Aaron) – Charleston

Captured mid-Single Ladies dance.

After picking Beyonce’s worst song last week, Sam Hayes shows savviness by picking Beyonce’s best ever song, ‘Crazy in Love’. There’s a reason why she opens every concert tour she’s ever done with it – it’s because you can’t do it wrong.

… and then Hayes ruins it by giving it this sub-Postmodern Jukebox treatment, and then doing the Charleston to it. If there’s a dance you think of when you think of ‘Crazy in Love’ it’s… honestly, probably the choreography that Beyonce has done with the song for the past fifteen years.  (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.)

But it’s not the Charleston with a few Beyonce moments thrown in – like the above-pictured Single Ladies arm shuffle, which has been co-opted and appropriated by single aunts at weddings across the globe.

Once more, the judges give her high marks! So what do I know. All I know is that ‘Crazy in Love’ is better than ‘Halo’. Nobody can deny that.

SCORE: 24.

Dai Henwood banter: “Crazy in love… on a Monday!”

4. Shavaughn (Shav) and Enrique – Charleston

Knees for days!

Holy hell, what a lot of fun!

I’ve been off and on on Shav in this competition – there’s a little bit too much relying on Acting Faces™ to sell the dances and cover up for some of the disjointed elements in the past weeks. But this week I am so fully sold on her. It’s very kooky cabaret, and for the first time in the competition Shav isn’t having to sell full misery or drama or fierceness; she just has to sell fun.

It’s by far her best performance yet. This is the first time she’s seemed like a finalist in this entire thing, and the first time I’ve been legitimately excited to see whatever she does next week.

Empty calories, honestly.

Bin the wig though – this is a primetime TV show, and that look is scrambling-together-a-Halloween-costume-at-4:30-LookSharp-realness.

SCORE: 25.

Dai Henwood banter: Shavriqueshavriqueshavrique – why are we so set on this happening? Why does the show want to make this happen? It’s awkward and weird! They’re not a couple! Why am I mad about this!

3. Suzy Cato (and Matt) – Jive

The dictionary definition of ‘aw shucks’, if aw shucks were a word.

My lord. Suzy Cato doing a jive. What times we’re living in.

This felt like her most awkward performance yet –  there was definitely a bit of aw-shucks-ness that up until this point has avoided her. We’ve seen Cato dance for five weeks now, the novelty of seeing her dance is dimmed, and the self-consciousness isn’t sitting as authentically or as appealingly as it once did. It’s also not necessarily the most authentic persona to adopt for… ‘Hit the Road, Jack’.

But also, this is Suzy Cato. We get to see Suzy Cato on our screens for about five minutes every week. How dare we turn it down? This is oyster-borne pearls before filthy, filthy swine. She’s a joy to watch, regardless of what she’s doing. She could fall down five times, break Matt’s spine, spit on the audience, and I would still root for her to win.

SCORE: 22.

Dai Henwood banter: Missed it.

2. Jess Quinn (and Johnny) – Foxtrot

That fur!

Jess is one of the harder ones in the competition to write about. Firstly, she has yet to mess up even one bit, and it’s hard to make fun of consistent success. Secondly, she’s the only contestant I had no context for before coming into this competition. Thirdly, I want her to win, maybe?

Jess did a beautiful foxtrot to a truly terrible song (Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ is languid to the point of being dead on arrival, and so navel-gazey I’m surprised she didn’t break her neck while singing it) and did it all with an ungainly and potentially op-shopped fur on her shoulder.

I am waiting for Jess to do something truly exciting – but as alternatives go, you can do worse than being consistently impressive. See: Seymour, David.

SCORE: 24.

Dai Henwood banter: “Those pants just don’t stop, do they?” Has Dai Henwood been possessed by an elderly gay man? And not even one of the witty ones?

1. Robert Rakete (and Nicole) – Argentine Tango

I am sorry to inform you that heterosexuality is no longer a sin*

*Said heterosexuality must be practiced by Robert Rakete.

SCORE: 21, two points higher than the guy who fell on his ass.

Dai Henwood banter: “If there’s one thing I love, it’s a cup of tea, and especially a cup of Rakete,” or something similar.


This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

Keep going!