Durban - South Africa’s version of Strictly Come Dancing should be renamed “Strictly Come Drama” after the show was rocked by a series of public spats and shocking exits.
The format for SABC 3’s reality dance competition follows 10 couples who battle it out each week in the hope of winning the title and prize money.
Each couple, comprising a celebrity paired with a professional ballroom or Latin American dancer, compete against each other for the highest scores.
With some of the best dancers already out of the show, fans were left shocked again last week after Khanyi Mbau, who had been tipped to win, was eliminated when she failed to win enough votes.
Fifty percent of the votes come from viewers while the other 50 percent depends on the judges’ votes.
While some contestants like Mbau enjoy tremendous support on social media, this does not always translate into votes. She was initially at the top of the leader board with some of the highest scores seen during this season.
When Mbau was eliminated fans from across the country took to social media to express their disappointment in judge Michael Wentink, who did not save Mbau when she had to “dance for her life” against fellow celebrity contestant John Mametsa.
When the executive producer of the show, Kee-Leen Irvine, sent a heartfelt message to “The Queen of Bling”, she did not get the response she was expecting.
“Missing @MbauReloaded. But she’ll be back in #StrictlySA finale showcasing her best dance. What was ur fave?” texted Irvine while Mbau replied with “I refuse to be part of a damage control episode. You know the truth.”
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, Mbau said she was shocked at her elimination, but understands it is a competition.
“My experience here has taught me discipline, and proved to South Africa that I can stick to something and finish it. They’ve been asking what I’m famous for, so this leaves a mark for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
She said that being on the show brought out a new person in her and she refused to comment on the Twitter posts.
Mbau also said she hoped singer LeAnne Dlamini would win.
Another contestant who had his own drama was Durban-born Ashish Gangerpersad. The Isidingo star has had a public spat with Wentink, who has made his feeling about Gangerpersad public week after week.
His comments ranged from accusing Gangerpersad of having two left feet to suggesting he is only still on the show because of “sympathy votes”.
Gangerpersad said: “I understand that he might be upset about other contestants being eliminated before me but as long as people continue voting for me I will give it my best.”
He also admitted to being “the worst dancer ever. I simply can’t dance, but for this competition I am trying and I am enjoying the challenge.”
Speaking about the hate mail he received from fans on social media, Gangerpersad said that he respected everyone’s opinion.
“Everyone is entitled to say what they want to, it’s what you do with what they say that matters. I get criticism from the judges and fans but what is unique about Lindsey and I is that we always have the lowest scores but keep moving,” he said.
Four contestants remain.