Mike McRoberts and Kristie McWilliams on week three of Dancing with the Stars.

Dancing with the Stars, week three: Mike McRoberts’ open shirt

Only three weeks in and it feels like a thousand! Sam Brooks power-ranks the third week of celebrity sweep-the-floor-with-a-lady competition, Dancing with the Stars NZ.

The theme of this week is guilty pleasure!

Why is any music considered a guilty pleasure? Give me genuine, disturbing guilty pleasures please. I want to see someone do an interpretative dance about how they look someone up on Twitter who subtweeted them months ago, to see who liked the tweet and why! Give me a rumba about carbs! Give me a quickstep about murder. That’s an actual guilty pleasure, that you can go to jail for, you murderer!

Speaking of guilty, hi Judith Collins!

Fun fact: If you combine the time I spent watching both of these, you will get one Avengers: Endgame or three season seven Game of Thrones episodes.

Less fun fact: There are five Academy Award winning actresses in Avengers: Endgame, zero in Game of Thrones, and zero on Dancing with the Stars.

Anyway, here’s week three.

Carolyn Taylor and Jonny Williams!

ELIMINATED: Carolyn Taylor (and Jonny Williams) – Foxtrot

Jonny Williams is so charming! So is Carolyn Taylor! They danced to ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’, which I sang at karaoke with my mother once. That wouldn’t require therapy of me at all.

Anyway, this was good! Carolyn Taylor looked like she was having fun, she looked great, and there was a cheekiness to this routine that was nice to see! Despite doing the trademarked Samantha Hayes Reach To The Camera™, she went home.

I don’t think she should’ve gone home, but she’s the second 90s icon to go home. Maybe nostalgia isn’t working this season?

Goodbye, Carolyn. You’re great! Miss you.

Judge’s score: 22.

Nadia Lim and Aaron Gilmore.

10. Nadia Lim (and Aaron Gilmore) – Cha cha

Nadia Lim loves Jamiroquai! She looks like she’s having more fun here, but is still a bit stiff. I have no other thoughts. They don’t all need to be essays, friends.

Judge’s score: 20.

Walter Neilands and Melissa McCallum.

9. Walter Neilands (and Melissa McCallum) – Quick step

“I think you’ve inspired people at home who think they couldn’t dance to give it a go” is what Camilla said, and I can’t tell if that is a devastating burn or an backhanded-with-rings compliment.

Walter Neilands danced to the Friends theme song, and if you can name whoever sang that song without looking it up, please tell me what it is. I refuse to look it up, because even though I’ve heard that song more times than potentially any other song ever, I could not tell you under threat of death or torture. Why are you threatening me with that though, especially in this instance? Weird!

Anyway, Walter danced better this week. The judges seem to think so too! Well done, big child.

Judge’s score: 16.

8. Anna Wilcox (and Brad Coleman) – Paso doble

‘Mamma Mia’ is, of course, not a guilty pleasure. It is a very good song, a very bad film featuring Meryl Streep, and a nigh unwatchable stage musical. Email me hate at sam@thespinoff.co.nz please.

The judge’s comments, which I have transcribed below, are a masterclass in how to criticize someone you really don’t want to criticize:

“You know, I know, and the milkman knows that wasn’t your typical paso doble. Um, you even had a shimmy in it. Which was interesting. Um, kind of speechless for the first time. Yeah, uh, yeah. Uhm. … It was, you know, yeah. I’m not sure. But here is the thing. You had fun, that was clear! Let’s get back to the roots next week.” – Jude.

“Okay, so no doubt about it, you are very skillful, and you move effortlessly across this floor. You have great quality of movement, and I really liked the first lift that was executed really and some great pivot actions. And while I love to see all that joy and expression that you brought, if I was to turn off the music and watch any dance I should be able to tell what dance it is. And, the character that you showed today didn’t tell me it was a paso doble. I enjoy a flair of tango in the paso doble, but for me there was way too much tango in the paso doble. I want you to sort out the characterization because besides for that you have it all.” – Rachel.

“[Swedish]. I said that was great fun! I feel like this right now, on one hand, I’m like good on you for just going out and going with your gut feeling. On the other side, I’m like, ‘She’s taken a massive gamble’. I’m a traditionalist the theme of the paso doble, but it doesn’t always matter what I think or what we think, at home they might think that was the most awesome paso ever, but I truly believe in the roots of the paso and the Spanish feel of it!” – Camilla.

I have nothing to add except that I want a full account of exactly what went into every part of this dance happening. The outfits, the song choice, everything. I need it.

Judge’s score: 18, which seems way too high for the comments!

William and Amelia!

7. William Wairua (and Amelia McGregor) – Cha cha

I know three things for sure now:

  1. William Wairua can move his body in ways that are incredibly compelling!
  2. Amelia McGregor is a tremendous, charismatic dancer and I’m so glad she has a partner who can match her this time.
  3. I have no idea how to judge William Wairua as a reality show contestant. He strikes me as someone who has, to his credit, never seen a reality show and is just being himself onscreen. He could do or say anything, really.

Judge’s score: 24.

K’Lee and Scott Cole.

6. K’Lee (and Scott Cole) – Samba

‘Spice Up Your Life’ is one of those crazy songs that couldn’t happen nowadays. It doesn’t sound like anything else. It’s two minutes, fifty eight seconds of genreless, almost rhythm free madness. It’s basically K-Pop before K-Pop was a genre-swallowing monster.

I also loved this! I hope K’Lee stays around, still, and I felt a stirring in my cold, dead soul when she talked about how much she was sacrificing to be on the competition! I hate having earnest feelings while watching this show.

Judge’s score: 19.

5. Randell (and Brittany Coleman) – Jive

I had never heard ‘When You’re Looking Like That’ before today! And now I can’t get it out of my head! Zero points for you for that one, Randell.

This was fun! It had a cartwheel! Randell is fun to listen to and watch dance. Look, I’m not Dostosevsky. This isn’t War and Peace. Let’s do the rankings and get out of here.

Judge’s score: 23.

4. Mike McRoberts (and Kristie McWilliams) – Rumba

“I’ve been to many warzones but I’m no fan of war.” – Mike McRoberts, stating something that is definitely true but I could not stop laughing at. I would be very concerned if you were a fan of war, Mike.

Anyhow, here’s photos of Mike McRoberts:

Judge’s score: 19.

Glen Osborne and Vanessa Cole.

3. Glen Osborne (and Vanessa Cole) – Waltz

This was really beautiful and touching! I have little words beyond this. It felt like watching a couple dance at their second wedding, and I’m surprised for the second week in a row at how much Osborne is bringing to this competition. Also, maybe this season is secretly really good?

Judge’s score: 26.

I’m so sorry for this screenshot, it’s the only non-blurry one I took.

Laura Daniel (and Shae Mountain) – Tango

Holy shit! This was great. Also, music supervisor, where can I get that remix and mash-up of ‘Survivor’? Also, credit to the music supervisor for managing to clear a Destiny’s Child song! I have tried to clear Beyonce songs for my own artistic work (read: plays where people do not sweep the floor with ladies) and it’s basically impossible. But maybe there’s more incentive to license a song for a television show than for a non-sweeping lady play.

Laura rocked it, though. I thought she was great last week, but this was pure energy, skill and hard work paying off. I have no shade to give.

Judge’s score: 26.

Loryn Reynolds climbs Manu Vatuvei with her legs.

1. Manu Vatuvei (and Loryn Reynolds) – Tango

In two seasons of watching this show, this has to be one of my favourite dances I’ve ever seen on the show.

One reason is because Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ goes harder than it has any right to. Stop reading this right now, and click on the below video:

The drums! The synths!  The choir! Bonnie Tyler’s fifth-gear-on-gravel voice! There’s a reason why this song serves as part of the climax to cinematic masterpiece Shrek 2. I could write three thousand words about ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, which is in no way a guilty pleasure but a straight-up, squash-balls-to-the-wall Not Guilty™ pleasure!

So maybe half of the reason why I loved this dance is because I love the song. But also, Vatuvei and Reynolds did some ridiculously complex, high energy choreography that actually matched the energy of this song. It’s one of the few dances I’ve actually rewound and watched again.

Did they mess up? A little bit! Was it magnetic? Absolutely, you could stick this to your fridge! Does it mean that they’ll hang around for ages? Who knows.

Judge’s score: 22, proof that once more the three people qualified to judge this competition and I have almost no opinions in common. But, hey! I’m the guy who gets paid to write about this, so who’s the real loser here?

(You, the reader, unfortunately.)

Dancing with the Stars is on Three at 7:30 on Sunday and 7:00PM Monday for the forseeable and unforseeable future.


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