They challenge you to a dance-off. No trash talk, no back walk. Dance off. These are the power rankings for the first episode of highly anticipated celebrity-moving show, Dancing with the Stars NZ.
From its first moments, it was clear Dancing with the Stars NZ came here to play. They knew they had stars, they knew they had new judges, and they knew they had something to prove.
As for judges, there is Julz Tocker (from Wellington) who is the overenthusiastically complimentary one, Rachel White (from somewhere in America) who is the critical and slightly distant one and Camilla Sacre-Dallerup (from ???, I cannot place this accent) who is the nice-ish one with equal amounts of compliments and critiques like the banter you’d get from the local barista who sees you ten minutes later than usual.
But with little ado, I challenge you to a power ranking.
7. Gilda Kirkpatrick – Tango
Pop, six, squish, Cicero, Lipschiz. If you’re doing a tango, there are worse songs to do it to than the not-at-all tango song ‘Cell Block Tango’ from Chicago (there’s also a lot better, like an actual tango song). She brought full Housewife attitude to ‘Cell Block Tango’, one of the best songs in modern-ish musical theatre, and she seemed to absolutely play into both the song and her persona with this one, hi neck snap – she’s a housewife, she’s a killer one and she’s playing to stay around.
Gilda seems fun, and she proves herself to be a likeable presence outside of the dancing. And considering how much of Dancing with the Stars is made up of dancing as opposed to behind the scenes/interviews/judging/banter, that could bode well.
Dai Henwood banter: “Speaking of which, Real Housewives?”
6. Chris Harris – The Cha cha
Former Black Hat Chris Harris is incredibly cute, and would do very well at your local RSA. As a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, he’s equally as likeable as your granddad doing a two-step on his local dancefloor-with-a-carvery and is clearly having as much of a ball. He seems like the absolute nicest person, but being the absolute nicest person does not necessarily make for a winner. It will, however, likely make the South Island vote for him. I called it here first: The South Island loves a smiler.
Dai Henwood banter: “Vanessa and the rooster!”
5. Sam Hayes – Non-Traditional Foxtrot (what the hell is that)
Sam Hayes did much better than her ill-fated promo, which is not hard to do. She looks great, despite her Fame-era arm-warmers, and she strikes a gorgeous pose doing a… foxtrot, which, now that I think of it, resembles neither a fox nor a trot. (Can you tell I have exactly zero dance training, and am thus extremely qualified to power-rank this celebrity-not-dropping competition?)
But yeah, she looks great, she seems stoked to have done well and also look great, and will likely go well based on how nice the judges are to her, and how much people seem to genuinely like Sam Hayes, which is a lot!
Dai Henwood banter: I missed this one, something about how dancing is harder than reading the news, and as someone who has no skill at either, I agree.
4. Robert Rakete – Samba
Robert Rakete came here to play and win. He has the narrative, he has the experience (via being the Brown Wiggle). He starts simple, has confidence, does well with a samba to Ed Sheeran’s ‘The Shape of You’, which is not something that should be samba’d to, but Dancing with the Stars flies in the face of sense and musicality. He nailed it though and captured our hearts, much like he captured the hearts of the mothers who likely watched him play the Wiggle.
Dai Henwood banter: “Look at the shape of you!”
SCORE: Seventeen! Which is frankly bullshit.
3. Shavaughn (Shav) Ruakere – Cha cha
My lord she looks great! I don’t mean to be shallow, because I’m not a particularly shallow person, but she looks amazing, bringing full Michelle Pfeiffer catsuit and Ariana Grande-last-era-high ponytail. And also, she’s a beautiful performer – and she brings the same charisma she brought to the TK-subduing Roimata and the gunge-subduing… Shavaughn, I guess, that she does to the cha cha. Well done, Shavaughn.
(I’m also on record on not being into this ‘Shav’ rebranding – I learned how to spell her name in the nineties and goddamn if I’m letting that work go to waste now that I’m being paid to write her name at least once a week.)
Dai Henwood banter: “You didn’t mention you were on C4 with me.”
2. Jess Quinn – Rumba
Jess goes hard for the rumba on ‘Faded’, giving us full Drag Race-drama-face, and honestly, I think she’s a stealth favourite for this competition. She gave us a charismatic as hell performance, and she looks genuinely thrilled to be performing on this show. (Especially considering she was in A&E the night before, and I can barely watch this show having slept an entire night the day before and having done nothing except vaguely wander around the CBD today.)
I have zero shade to give Jess, she’s really fun to watch and legitimately charismatic. As someone who has never been influenced by a social media influencer, consider me influenced.
Dai Henwood banter: “Can I get a Jess, Quinn?”
1. Marama Fox – Jive
Marama calls her partner out straight away as being a skinny white guy, so we’re off to a very good start. Also they’ve got her doing the jive on her first week, so we’re off to an even better start.
And honestly? She kills it. There’s a reason why she’s on this show, and it’s because she’s charismatic as hell, people love her, people want to watch her, they want to listen to her, and it turns out if people want to watch and listen to you, then people will want to watch you dance. I don’t want to see her dance on this show, I want to see her dance in person.
She’s the best. Team Marama, sorry, not at all sorry.
Dai Henwood banter: “Looks like Marama Fox is Marama Cougar now.”
SCORE: Seventeen, which is straight up bullshit.
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