We’re halfway through the celebrity stepping competition that is Dancing with the Stars. Sam Brooks power-ranks week five!
It was cool to see the judges acknowledge the harshness of their criticisms against the women in this competition, and, quite correctly, give the public a call to action to vote for the women! Does it matter? This is a reality television show, so only very slightly! But it’s cool to see that, of all of our vaunted institutions, Dancing with the Stars can take a note and respond to it.
Also, holy shit! What a pivot.
Anyway, we’re halfway through! Here’s this week’s power-rankings.
ELIMINATED: Mike McRoberts (and Kirstie McWilliams) – Tango
For the last time, here’s some photos of Mike McRoberts. I thought you would win, which proves I know nothing about this and you should probably be watching Game of Thrones or something. Read a book!
Judge’s score: 19.
Walter Neilands (and Melissa McCallum) – Salsa
This may be the worst dance I’ve ever seen on this show, Act party leaders inclusive. Never has the disparity between celebrity and dancer been so clear.
But, god! This dude is charming, even if it is the kind of slightly unnerving charm that is one part Patrick Bateman and one part Steve from Blues Clues. Walter has an infectious energy and a genuine good nature that he brings to both the dancefloor and his interview segments, and I can see why people keep voting for him!
Does it make him a good dancer? No! Does it make good television? Yes, kind of!
Judge’s score: 15.
7. Manu Vatuvei (and Loryn Reynolds) – Cha cha
This was… kind of boring? Vatuvei, of the Telecom Mobile Warriors, has excelled in other weeks, but the mixture of a relatively dull song (‘Venus’ is a goddamned slog) and muddy choreography makes for a pretty bland performance.
As often do, I will blame Bananarama.
Judge’s score: 20.
6. Nadia Lim (and Aaron Gilmore) – Rumba
I have an unreasonable hatred for the song ‘Take My Breath Away’ – it’s the kind of mid-tempo ballad that lacks any sort of passion, emotion or love whatsoever. It’s generic and lazy. It relies on Terri Nunn, a generally good and fine singer, to carry the song’s limp beats along. I hate it. I hate it so much!
Anyway, Nadia! She did well this week. I think her choreography has started to play into her stiffness and remote quality as a performer (which is not inherently a bad thing!) to create some really striking images. It’s nice to see someone improve as a dancer, or at least play to their strengths. Very little shade here!
Judge’s score: 21.
5.William Wairua (and Amelia McGregor) – Foxtrot
Hm! I didn’t… love this? It felt like William was looking at Amelia a lot at the start for guidance, and it took him a while to get into it. But look, William is a charismatic performer. He’s a true chaotic energy on this show, and it’s not unpleasant to watch him dance.
Look, it’s the middle of the season. There’s only so much new stuff I’m going to be able to say about these things.
Judge’s score: 23.
4. Glen Osborne (and Vanessa Cole) – Quickstep
Glen is a good dancer! Vanessa is an amazing one. I am unsurprised that she is the professional dancer in this duo. That’s pretty much all I have to say. It’s week five, you guys. We’re all tired. Almost every dancer on this show has some kind of injury already, likely through some form of Jude Dobson-initiated voodoo doll. Let’s count our blessings nobody has dropped a lady.
Personal points off for ‘good wifey, good lifey.’ That’s the farmer version of ‘waifu’ and I will have none of it on my television screens.
3. K’Lee (and Scott Cole)
Really, really beautiful. No shade here. There’s nobody who I want to see in this competition more than K’Lee, and nobody I want to see win more!
Carry on, next week, every week, please.
Judge’s score: 18.
2. Clinton Randell (and Brittany Coleman) – Cha cha
‘It’s Raining Men’ is honestly, truly, a classic. Lots of songs contain metaphors, but so few songs take a metaphor as strange as raining men, and take it through to its illogical conclusion. “Rip off the roof and stay in bed!”
I think Randell might win this all? He’s charming as hell in his interviews, pushing himself every week, and consistently scoring high. Obviously, it’s up to the public, but if he keeps scoring high, then he’s pretty much guaranteed to make it to the end of the competition.
Judge’s score: 24.
1. Laura Daniel (and Shae Mountai) – Jive
Look, this is the best dance of the night. Close this tab, open five more Spinoff tabs, then go and watch this on ThreeNow or Facebook or wherever they upload these things. Laura’s been getting better and better every week, and this was a high-energy, complex routine that made the best use of Laura’s caps-lock charisma. Once more, no shade, because it is autumn! And the leaves have fallen, y’all.
Judge’s score: 27.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.