It’s week two on Dancing with the Stars and one star must combust. Sam Brooks and Alex Casey power rank the contestants with varying levels of expertise and insight.
ELIMINATED: Gilda Kirkpatrick (and Shay) – Samba
Look, if Gilda’s insta story from last Sunday night is anything to go by, her elimination is a tremendous loss to this competition. Think of the huge marble floors! Think of the endless champagne! Think of Marama Fox singing ‘Titanium’ with some guy on the ukulele! Dancing a samba tonight to what her kids call “the bum bum song,” she looked like a beautiful baby giraffe queen, but it was not enough to keep her on the show.
Julz said he wanted to see her break a sweat, but you know Gilda would walk off this show anyway before she PERSPIRED like a PEASANT on the TELEVISION. See you for RHOAKL two though please, please, please. / Alex Casey
Score: 17, simply not enough carats
Dai Henwood banter: “All that glitters is not gold, all that glitters is Gild…a”
11. Roger (Rockin’ Rog) Farrelly and Carol-Ann – Chacha
In his interview, Rockin’ Rog believes that Bruno Mars is one of the best entertainers in the world, but is he babe of the week? We do not find out, sadly. I will spend the rest of this sentence wondering.
The fact that Rockin’ Rog fares well in this dance doesn’t distract from a) how it’s slightly terrifying to watch him dance, and b) fact that they’ve got him dressed up like he’s auditioning for a Hamilton remake of The Bucket List. Points to him for trying, but not enough points you know, to be good.
He’s compelling in the same way that a wet patch on your driveway is compelling. You wonder how it got there, because you know it didn’t rain, but maybe something peed itself and ran off. It makes you think, it makes you curious and then, inevitably, your mind moves on. / Sam Brooks
Dai Henwood banter: “You sort of look like an undercover cop dressed as a drug dealer.” Nailed it, Dai.
10. Sam Hayes (and Aaron) – Samba
You know that thing you do where you know you’ve made a mistake and you laugh it off, and that is supposed to absolve you of the mistake? Like you’ve spilled red wine on yourself and you have to meet an important client, and so they don’t think you’re bleeding underneath your shirt or that you’re an alcoholic, you loudly announce, “SORRY I SPILLED RED WINE ON MY SHIRT!” and sure, it goes a little bit of the way to making that important client not think you’re an utter mess, but they’re still thinking in the back of their mind, “I didn’t think Sam even drank red wine?”
That kind of post-mistake laughter is all over Sam Hayes this week in her foxtrot performance. She looks beautiful (of course she does, they all look beautiful, hair/makeup clearly know what they’re doing and also these are pretty people, this should be a given at this point) but she’s pretty rigid and looks more than a little mortified throughout the whole thing.
Kudos to the choreographer for giving her two memorable moments, what I can only describe as a direct to camera facial ‘bend-and-snap’ (like that thing in Legally Blonde, but with your face) and a performance-ending cartwheel, which proves that the choreographer has probably seen RuPaul’s Drag Race and knows that the way you make an unmemorable performance stab at memorable is to pull out some decent athleticism. Well-played. / SB
Dai Henwood banter: “I spent my younger years in a tassel factory in Sydney and I know how hard it is to get them all to move at once.” Henwood writing his memoirs onscreen here, burning the wick at both ends, respect.
9. David Seymour (and Amelia) – Tango
Imagine a universe where David Seymour does better at Sam Hayes at anything! It’s madness! It’s backwards land! For the moody tango this week, David was under the strict instruction by Amelia to act like a total a-hole. “If you were a man who was in love with a woman,” Amelia asked him mid-embrace, “would you bend your knees and sort of creep backwards?” David nodded and chuckled and I screamed.
He made a lot of jokes about engineers being bad with women, before settling in to watch a lovely video of himself dancing. Also.. steampunk?
The dance itself this week compared to last was like Epsom compared to every other Auckland suburb: just better, you know? Say what you will about David, but he was definitely wearing a velour shirt. His nostrils and pants were flared for the gods, his arms were held wide open like an albatross, and he was doing a lot of heel leads (stole that from Julz). “You got your ACT together mate,” Julz yelled. He bloody well has. / AC
Score: 20, aka the number of engineers it takes to successfully talk to a woman AMIRITE???
Dai Henwood banter: “I’ve been to the outback and you were like a crocodile just cruising down the river there”
8. Robert Rakete (and Nicole) – Jive
The big axe hanging over Robbie’s ageless neck this week was a freaky, literal, death drop at the end of their sassy wee jive to Portugal. The Man’s ‘Feel It Still’. Would he donk Nicole on the head at the very end? Would he somehow surpass Seymour as being the Rodney Hide of this season? Alas, the dude pulled through and Nicole was left sans brain injury, which I think is a result we can all heartily get behind.
Side note: seems like dancing in Chucks is a tremendous advantage?! Ah who cares, he’s 51, let the man live. / AC
Dai Henwood banter: “Wake up mate” (lovely Wiggles allusion there imo)
7. Chris Harris (and Vanessa) – Foxtrot
Real talk: Do you think Chris Harris has ever heard of Swedish pop maven Robyn before? Did he bliss out to ‘Show Me Love’ in the 90s? Did he have a little weep to ‘With Every Heartbeat’? Was he playing all three albums of Body Talk on repeat? Do you think the Black Hats used ‘Hang with Me’ to warm up with?
Realer talk: Slowed-down covers of ‘Dancing on My Own’, which this foxtrot was danced to, are the worst things to happen to pop music. The tremendous beauty, depth and ache of this song is because it’s a club song. Once you slow it down, it just becomes another piano ballad with some really nice lyrics. It’s a depresso-dance song. Keep your hands off the bible, acoustic guitar shitheads.
Oh, I guess this was a lovely dance as well. Chris moved his feet nice, lifted up Vanessa with some spins, and this might have plucked my emotional strings were I not literally foaming at the mouth with rage from having to sit through a slowed-down cover of this song. / SB
Dai Henwood banter: “Now you’re from Christchurch, are you mobilizing the Canterbury vote?” as though Chris is running for Oligarch of the South Island.
6. Zac Franich (and Kristie) – Viennese Waltz
There is a lengthy recap of Quasimodo’s narrative arc and motivations in Zac’s interview segment. I want to call bullshit on him remembering this without having to look The Hunchback of Notre Dame up on Wikipedia because it is one of the least memorable Disney films and barely in the top five Victor Hugo novels.
Zac fares a lot better than last week (but twenty-four points, same amount of points as Naz? I don’t buy it) and he seems a lot more engaged and less stiff than last week. I still can’t help but feel he’s doing a group project, the partners were randomly assigned, and Kristie is the A-student who had to work with the guy who always hands his projects in on the last day. It’s not bad, but it’s not great.
It’s not Naz-great, not even close. He seems nice (other than a weird moment where he talks about his dance partner’s weight loss in front of the country). Nice gets you a long way. / SB
Dai Henwood banter: “Your top is just exploding with joy.” I’m sure Zac’s top is, Dai.
5. Shavaughn (Shav) Ruakere (and Enrique) – Rumba
I… have thoughts and questions.
The thoughts: I think Shavaughn came off stiff in the first parts of this song – although she was giving face, she seemed more focused about giving full drama face than connecting with the emotions of this terrible, terrible Sam Smith song. In saying that, by the end of the song, and especially with the walk-off, she nailed some kind of emotional arc. Someone who is ‘too good’ at ‘goodbyes’, but not good enough to actually walk away, until, in fact, she does walk away. Genius.
Ruakere has always been a likeable presence and a more-than-decent actress, and it’s this performance skill which should give her an advantage.
The question: Who is costuming Shavaughn and can they costume my life? Please and thank you. / SB
Dai Henwood banter: None. Step it up, Dai.
4. Jess Quinn (and Johnny) – Quickstep
Oh, Jess is just a delight. Especially with the quickstep, which is a dance that seems to require a lot of exuberance and energy, the kind of exuberance and energy that a regular Instagram story requires, so I guess she’s had a lot of practice with it. (That sounds like shade, but isn’t. I can barely make my shark eyes look alive in a selfie, let alone in a video.)
I, once more, have no snark or shade for Jess Quinn. She is delightful, has charisma to spare, and I would like some of it. Let’s arrange some kind of Ursula-Ariel-esque trade, Jess. / SB
Dai Henwood banter: “Looking very good in aquamarine, like a stylish Kelly Tarltons.” If Dai had been to Kelly Tarltons recently, he would know that it is a sadly faded teal at this point.
3. Marama Fox (and Brad) – Chacha
Honestly, I have no qualifications to comment on the technicalities of Marama Fox’s dancing, which might not be great or even good. But she’s an absolute corker to watch. She’s performing like nobody else, except Suzy Cato is, in this competition. She’s performing like somebody who actually enjoys dancing, and like somebody who might dance for recreational fun. Nobody else is, and the fact she’s not getting points for this is utter crap.
The actual dancing might not be great, but when she’s going full comedy and full character, there’s nobody else in this competition I’d rather watch. Based on the judge’s comments, she might not make it to next week, but if viewers are as impressed as I am, then she’ll stay around right until the end.
Also, as a nail aficionado, her nails look bloody great. / SB
SCORE: 14. Which is, once more, bullshit.
Dai Henwood banter: Actually some Marama banter here, “My skinny little white boy can dance.”
2. Suzy Cato (and Matt) – Viennese Waltz
The first thing I want to say about Suzy Cato is this: I met her last week and I was a proper mess and she was proper radiant. The second thing is that she told me her body wasn’t sore in the slightest from rehearsal, meanwhile my whole body was aching and creaky like a thousand wooden ships just from walking across the room to talk to her. This week she was stoked with her saucy, sultry, seductive first dance and promised the end of ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes.’
Tbh, you might as well call this week the Imax building, because it was aaallll about the lift. Suzy and Matt danced a “gooey” (trying to talk more like Rachel here, weirdly suddenly feel like eating a pottle of golden syrup?) Vienesse Waltz to Charlie Puth’s ‘Suffer’, a song which 14 people have petitioned to be the next Fifty Shades theme. Wawaweewa.
Matt lifted Suzy high above his head like the golden goddess is that she is, her hair was very sparkly and I felt as elated as when the sloth finally believes he can fly. Julz said she needed “more tone” – is that a jailable offence? This critic says: yes. / AC
Score: 21, knock back a yardie my Suze. The scores are made up and nothing really matters.
Dai Henwood banter: “People say the second album’s hard, it looked pretty easy there.”
1. Naz Khanjani (and Tim) – Tango
Despite this scandalous headline from Newhub saying that Naz was literally dead, she managed to resurrect herself and dole out a genuinely great tango and got the highest score of the season so far – deservedly so. Based on the scores, and based on her (potentially surprising) performance, she’s staying.
My only knowledge of the tango is this performance of Cheryl Cole lip-syncing while doing it, so clearly I am qualified to commentate on this, and I can say that Naz absolutely killed it here. She gives full face, she gives full spin, and she manages not to look absolutely terrified while doing a tango with someone whose specialty dance is tango, which I can imagine is like being asked to play for the Black Hats when your only experience with cricket is drinking overpriced wine at Eden Park and yelling at strangers.
But where Naz proves her worth in reality show gold is with this absolute power move: Sharyn asks her if she and Tim are dating or just dancing.
She waits. She knows we’re waiting for the answer. She knows every silence contains a thousand ambiguities. She knows this game. She knows that some scrupulous editor can’t take this away from here. And then Naz utters, completely deadpan:
See you next Sunday, Naz. You’re a player.
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Also bonus points for the beautiful shade she gives Jordy Pordy when Dai asks her what the difference in chemistry between her and Tim and her and the Bachelor was: “The chemistry here is actually real.” / SB
Dai Henwood banter: “I felt like I was in science class because there’s a lot of chemistry going on here.”
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