With all 12 Dancing with the Stars NZ contestants now announced, Sam Brooks already knows who is going to win based on their promo videos alone. These are his absolutely correct predictions.
They’re all out now. I’ve watched them all at least 20 times each, especially the first one, and my hard drive is stuffed full of screenshots. In the dead silence of the night, I hear Idris Elba cooing “I challenge you to a dance off!” And now I’m ready to rank all 12 contestants (a few reality stars, some radio people, a social media influencer, a newstalker, two politicians and a New Zealand cultural icon) and their likelihood of winning the competition based on these promos and what little I know about them.
12. Zach Franich
When I saw the first episode of The Bachelor, I was easy on Zach. He was handsome in a deputy head boy kind of a way. If he’d shown up with a friend of mine at a party, a friend who was maybe interested in him, I wouldn’t shun him entirely but I would gently neg him to let him know where he stood in regards to me in this social situation.
When I saw this promo, I no longer felt any need to neg him. This is a self-neg. This is one cruel edit away from being a failed audition for a Grease T-Bird. If I had to look Zach Franich in the eye after seeing this promo, I would have no issues. I’m the captain now, etc etc.
He might go far in this competition because he is quite handsome, but Jesus this is not a good showcase.
(Apropos of nothing, resident Bachelor expert Alex Casey correctly predicted this happening well over a year ago.)
11. Sam Hayes
Sam Hayes looks great (really, really great) in this promo, but she is doing the Charleston.
Nobody has survived doing the Charleston since the 1950s. RIP Sam Hayes, you had a good life.
She will also probably go far in this competition because people genuinely like Sam Hayes, and that’s what matters in a public voting competition – people liking you.
10. Roger ‘Rockin’ Rog’ Farrelly
Rockin’ Rog, you are not the babe of the day. Now, sashay away.
Even though Rockin’ Rog is bringing some Professor Moody realness in this promo, it is not a good showcase for the DJ from a radio station which hasn’t added any new music to its rotation since Avril Lavigne’s husband had a monster hit with ‘How You Remind Me’.
He will likely not go far in this competition because nobody who listens to The Rock knows how to vote through text or Facebook, and these people are usually the ones who comment on a story like this saying “this isn’t news!111!”.
9. Robert Rakete
Despite having briefly been a Wiggle, Robert Rakete brings no wiggling to this clip. What he does bring is a lot of attitude and the kind of point that your uncle gives you when he’s done sizzling the sausages on the barbie. This is not dancing.
He also does a passable spin (which I understand is a technical dance term) and balances on his toes at one point.
He will go far in this competition because he is on The Breeze and if there’s anything the mums who listen to The Breeze love, it’s voting for people they vaguely recognise on reality TV shows.
8. Naz Khanjani
Even though she was a runner-up on the second season of The Bachelor, Naz was the clear winner of that season in every way, including not having to actually be with the Bachelor. She looks great in the promo (everybody does, really! Well done, hardworking hair and makeup people hired by Dancing with the Stars) but is asked to do little more than shuffle from side to side.
I expect she will do well in this competition because she’s proven herself to be a savvy player of the reality television game, and a generally charismatic human being in general.
7. Jess Quinn
Jess Quinn brings attitude to this promo. I’ve never heard of Jess Quinn before she was announced for Dancing with the Stars, but I have since learned she is a social media influencer, and I am influenced, you guys.
She has an asset in that she also has a partner in her clip, so you can get some idea of how she will actually dance on the show, unless Dancing with the Stars has made a wild pivot to getting celebrities to dance solo, in some kind of strange Salome-type affair that I would absolutely watch but few others would.
Quinn will do well in this competition, because she has charisma. This is my hot take on the situation: humans like charisma, and will vote accordingly.
6. David Seymour
I have spent many minutes and words dissecting this particular performance, and have little desire to spend much more on it.
An asset of this promo is that Seymour actually spends some of it dancing (which Seymour himself has confirmed is absolutely one hundred percent himself) so you actually get some idea of his dancing ability. At the time I was harsh on this promo for not showing enough dancing, but this was back when I had no idea how few of these promos would show the contestants for the celebrity dancing show doing any actual dancing. How young we were.
David Seymour will either go far or be eliminated straightaway. The better he does the sooner he goes, the worse he does the more people will want to keep him around. He is the Sanjaya Malakar of this season, and I am excited to watch.
5. Gilda Kirkpatrick
A rule-based reality show will be no challenge for Gilda after the completely lawless post-apocalyptic hellscape that was Real Housewives of Auckland. She will go far, and this promo shows that she is able to be lifted, which is at least one dancing skill – one more than many of the other contestants demonstrate.
4. Shavaughn Ruakere
The Mistress of Gunge came here to slay and she is not letting anybody get away from her promo without being doused in a whole bunch of probably-not-vegan green. She does a full-on catwalk strut.
People who loved her on What Now will vote for her, people who remember C4 will vote for her, and people who mourned Roimata’s death will vote for her. Ruakere has a wide Venn diagram of popular appeal, which will serve her well in the “Wait, where do I know her face from?” conversations in front of the television/streaming device.
3. Chris Harris
A controversial choice, but I feel that Harris knows his role here. He’s not a Beatrice Faumuina sportsman contestant (I have ten thousand words ready on how Beatrice was robbed in 2006) or a Norm Hewitt darling. He’s full on Rodney Hide, and he’s here to make a joke of himself.
This clip is perfect. Black Hat fans will vote for him, if they watch, and people who remember his wild antics will vote for him. Dancing with the Stars hit a full six with this one, if that’s the correct cricket term.
2. Marama Fox
Honestly, if it were not for today’s bombshell contestant reveal, Fox would be the clear winner here.
Marama Fox has a leg up on the competition in one key way: You feel that if you went over to Marama Fox’s house after a bad day at work – you didn’t get through all the things you felt like you had to get through, someone said something that you took too personally – and she noticed you were down, she would lean over to you, Corona in hand, and excitedly suggest: “Let’s go dancing.”
She’s the only person in this competition who I believe who has ever danced for fun, and has danced regularly before being offered the opportunity to do so in front of a national audience. She will go far because Marama Fox is awesome, you guys.
1. Suzy Cato
Suzy Cato is winning this thing.
At the start of her clip she pushes through the crowd of dances, rimmed glasses firmly affixed to her face, does a little dance that I’m sure was improvised, and she doesn’t even need a name until the very end. She’s Suzy Cato. You know who she is.
Which is her main asset, honestly. The rest of the contestants you can imagine people not knowing, to an extent. Everyone knows who Suzy Cato is. Even more crucially, everyone who knows who Suzy Cato is (which is literally everyone) loves Suzy Cato.
Easy as one-two-three, Suzy Cato is killing the competition and dragging their carcasses home to roast upon the flames of her victory. Stars beware, an icon is here.
Dancing with the Stars NZ airs on Three from April 29.
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