AFTER working twice as hard last week – after all, there are three weeks and five couples left – the Sokkie Bokkie team of Leandie du Randt and Brandon Eilers Le Riche is looking like the team to beat.
And, I have to say, after struggling initially, Jonathan Boynton-Lee (and his hips aren’t lying anymore) and a more confident Ashish Gangapersad have been most impressive with their progress. Even better, they have certainly found their rhythm.
That’s a great thing, too, as judge Michael Wentink pointed out that he was “looking for the full package” at this stage of the competition; while Tebogo Kgobokoe reiterated her mantra about contestants “leaving their hearts on the floor”.
FINDING HER GROOVE
Du Randt has been the surprise package in the past few episodes. Aside from always hijacking all the attention when she is on the dance floor, she is also always on point with her steps.
And her prowess hasn’t gone unnoticed by the judges.
On Friday, she did the Viennese Waltz to Kinders van die Wind, followed by a scintillating samba to Gasonlina.
Kgobokoe noted: “There were a lot of things that you did really well. Really nice posture. Really good partnering. There were a few things that were a problem. But overall, it was a very good performance.”
Samantha Peo responded with: “I thought that that was an inspired song choice (on the Viennese Waltz) based on your fan base. Well done.”
However, she didn’t feel the full brunt of their heat – like the crowd did – for their samba.
She said: “I always talk about your beautiful legs. And I really think that’s an advantage for you because you really do have gorgeous, prancing legs. I feel like there could have been more bouncing action there…”
Right now these two are on fire on that dance floor – criticism be damned, it seems!
TURNING UP THE HEAT
You can’t ignore the strides the uber-sexy Boynton-Lee has made. And he has also found his strong suit when it comes to dance styles.
Despite hurting his neck last week, his waltz with Hayley Bennett-Freidin to Pink’s Misery was mesmerising. In fact, Bennett-Freidin was so immersed in the performance that she had to fight back the tears while making her way to the judges’ table.
Peo praised: “For me, that was the best performance of the evening so far. I can’t imagine anything topping it. There is a case of completely beautiful acting, where you got totally lost in it. Gorgeous technical waltz. Beautiful movement across the floor… performance quality was sheer perfection.”
Feeding off Bennett-Freidin’s comments about the Top Billing presenter being a slow learner at rehearsal, Wentink noted: “The fact that you learn slowly doesn’t mean your quality doesn’t improve. You are improving.”
He cautioned: “I think when you do a number that is soft and very angelic, don’t become too submissive. Own that floor because you have all the assets you need.”
However, they didn’t curry any favour with their jive to Happy. Shame. It was catchy and fun to watch nonetheless!
BITS AND BOPS
Despite LeAnne Dlamini’s injury, she was a real trooper. And I love how her choreography always boasts a home-grown feel – and she pulled out all the stops with her samba to Nwa Baby.
Mametsa, who has always been one of my favourites, had a bit of a hit-and-miss with his performances. Even though his Viennese Waltz failed to give the judges goose-bumps, his foxtrot was a hit.
In fact, Kgobokoe couldn’t contain herself. She praised Nombulelo Hlathi: “This woman flies. She can dance.”
I know everyone can’t get enough of Mametsa’s lifts, but his partner doesn’t get enough credit. Her choreography is always matchless and she plays to his strengths. They say dynamite comes in small packages – this one is damn explosive.
Everyone was saved from elimination, but there might be a twist tomorrow night, who knows?
• Strictly Come Dancing, Friday, 8pm, SABC3. Result show, Saturday, 7pm.