It’s week six of Dancing with the Stars, and the cream has risen from beneath the crop! Sam Brooks power-ranks the contestants.
Week six! We’re at the stage of the competition where I can listen to a judge’s feedback and guess, with 100% accuracy, what their score is based on their comments. What a specific talent! I’m sure this will be useful in my every day life!
Also, I have to take this chance to note how genuinely great everybody (except one) is in this competition. There’s nary a dud amongst the bunch, which is laudable. Half the fun of this competition is watching people be bad at a thing that is very hard to do, but turns out it’s actually more pleasurable to watch when everybody is good! Shocking.
Anyway, here’s the power-rankings.
ELIMINATED: Walter Neilands (and Melissa McCallum) – Tango
“You’re working very hard, but I’m not sure you’re working hard at the right things.” – Rachel.
Thanks for doing my job for me, Rachel! Thanks for also being one of the few human beings to look good in many different coloured eye contacts! I did not know that was possible.
Also, yup! This does not surprise me! I’m mildly surprised he didn’t last longer out of sheer goodwill and Seymouresque inertia. Also! That is a terrible magic trick, especially if the live audience can see exactly how it is done, which they absolutely could the way that lady-in-half trick was set up!
Anyway, you were infectiously lovely, Walter. Continue backflipping, for all of us.
Judge’s score: 15.
7. K’Lee (and Scott Cole) – Paso doble
I felt for both K’Lee and the judges here – this wasn’t the best dance, and it seemed that the choreography and concept for the paso doble (a Mad Max-esque romp around some wire fences) ran contrary to what the point of the paso doble is. Despite that, K’Lee brought it, fiercely, and potentially overperformed emotionally in a way that made her technique suffer.
So, when it came to the judging, you can understand K’Lee’s frustration when she can’t make sense of the feedback she’s being given and calls it out. It makes for a tense moment of television, and for all the drama and conflict that reality television promises an audience, Dancing with the Stars is largely free of, you know, actual conflict. The drama comes from the dancers trying to succeed against somewhat trying odds, not between the dancers and the judges.
To Rachel’s credit, as she is the one who gives the feedback that K’Lee can’t make sense of, she calmly explains what she’s looking for and what might’ve gone wrong. For all the shit I give the judges, I have to give them credit for not falling into arbitrary roles. Nobody’s the villain, nobody’s the nice one – they’re critical when they need to be and they round it out.
At any rate, this isn’t one of K’Lee’s best dances sadly. Also, who is stopping her from dancing to her own songs? Let these unbroken wings fly free!
Judge’s score: 20.
6. Nadia Lim (and Aaron Gilmore) – Salsa
Firstly, I have nothing but love, admiration and mild obsession with the Lim Matriarch we were introduced to in Nadia’s package. Put her on TV more, get her on next season, or let’s get a Lim reality show: Leaping Around with The Lims. Workshop the title first, obviously.
Secondly, ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll’, as made famous by Joan Jett and then made infamous by Britney Spears in problematic hit Crossroads, is not necessairly an ideal choice for a salsa? The closest Joan Jett gets to salsa is Tex Mex, is what I’m saying. It’s more Mexicali than Mexico. It’s a song that gives you more attitude than it gives you passion, and so Nadia is at a disadvantage here.
But! The judges love it, and says it’s her best performance yet. And I’d… have to agree? She’s a lot more confident, and even though it’s a fairly basic routine, she seems at home with it in a way that she hasn’t been in the past.
Judge’s score: 22.
5. Manu Vatuvei (and Loryn Reynolds) – Argentine tango
What a delightful man, the Alexander Graham Bell Warrior Manu Vatuvei is one of the primary joys of watching this show.
The other joy? Loryn Reynolds. The judges, quite rightly, point out that this dance showcased Loryn rather than Manu. And they’re right! Loryn’s become, for me, a person who watches this show for at least three hours a week, a highlight of the week. She’s charming and dorky in the packages, and magnetic in the dances. This is her best showcase yet, as well.
They danced to a Muse song. Muse is the opposite of camp, and every guy you walk away from at a party in your first year at uni still listens to Muse religiously, and that is why you deleted them from Facebook after a socially acceptable amount of time.
Judge’s score: 24.
4. William Wairua (and Amelia McGregor) – Rumba
William danced to ‘Numb’, the Linkin Park song that is probably more famous for it’s mash-up with Jay-Z’s ‘Encore’. He said that he was dancing for all the people with disabilities. Amelia McGregor absolutely smashed it. The judges loved it.
I am absolutely not going to make fun the above, because I quite enjoy my non-cancelled status. Continue on, William. You’re a good dude.
Judge’s score: 26.
3. Glen Osborne (and Vanessa Cole) – Foxtrot
Competent! Pretty! I have nothing interesting to say about this, except for Glen calling Vanessa’s laryngitis ‘a sore throat’! It’s more than that! Congrats on Vanessa for powering through and being one of the best dancers in the competition.
I left watching the Game of Thrones finale with my fellow Spinoffers to make sure that this power-ranking came to you in a timely fashion! Thank me. Also, I have not watched the show in six seasons, but consume the spoilers rabidly like a hungry Catholic going to Communion. I am garbage!
Judge’s score: 26.
2. Laura Daniel (and Shae Mountain) – Viennese Waltz
Something personal: I have a tremendous antipathy for the Goo Goo Dolls’ song ‘Iris’. I can only ever associate it with City of Angels, a truly terrible remake of a quite good film, and the wails of the bang-infected lead vocalist of the Goo Goo Dolls make me shiver.
Anyway, Laura Daniel remains one of the best contenders in the competition. To quote Rock Profile (not Little Britain, as a wily commenter noted), she has the range. This week she extended that range to bring elegance! As ever, I have nothing funny or shady to say about her. It’s quite hard to write about the competition when people are quite good.
Judge’s score: 26.
1. Clinton Randell (and Brittany Coleman) – Paso doble
I say this about a different contender every week, buuuuut I think we’ve got a winner here. Randell gets better every week, and Coleman’s choreography is full of Moments™ without ever feeling stunty, which is a precarious tightrope to walk.
Also: God I love ‘Enter Sandman’. An ex-boyfriend used to absolutely blast the song, and while I no longer stay in touch with that man, I think of him and his bleached fringe fondly whenever this song plays. Also, props for being an actual rock song for rock week!
Judge’s score: 25.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.