WITH some of the best celebrity dancers already voted off the seventh season of SABC3’s Strictly Come Dancing, it is clear that popularity is surpassing skill.
Unlike the international series and our previous home-grown episodes, the best aren’t being kept in the competition. Fact. No one is probably more upset about this than judge Michael Wentink. While his sentiments are understandable, he has been coming down unjustly hard on Ashish Gangapersad; more so as the actor has, time and again, acknowledged that he is the worst dancer in the competition. Eish!
Anyway, it was a Latin theme this past week which saw everyone get their cha-cha and Charleston on.
STEPPING UP HIS GAME
His hips may have failed him initially, but our too-hot-to-handle Top Billing presenter, Jonathan Boynton-Lee, has made serious progress. He seems more relaxed and confident on the dance floor now that he has found his niche.
Boynton-Lee and partner Hayley Bennett-Freidin impressed with their Charleston. And Wentink applauded his efforts – despite the fall.
He praised: “I actually felt like I was in the bar with you two. You two bring the show element to a whole new level. You absolutely live it. And more than that, that is what a Charleston should look like (another jab at Gangapersad. Shame!).
DIVAS IN MOTION
Every week, I do so look forward to watching LeAnne Dlamini and Leandie du Randt. These two are mesmerising to watch – as is Khanyi Mbau, who has taken the top spot for most of the show.
However, it is exhausting to hear the judges argue about Dlamini – Tebogo Kgobokoe constantly challenges her to exploit her full potential, while Wentink thinks she is pretty much on point, technical shortcomings notwithstanding.
And the praise heaped on Du Randt for “delivering the best performance of the season” is unbelievably short-sighted. She is good. But the best? I don’t know about that. John Mametsa and Nombulelo Hlathi have been pretty amazing, too.
Of the many things that Mbau is famous for – her outspokenness is definitely up there.
Aside from peeving off our affable rugby player with her tactless comments about him having had a break when his mother died, she also made known her feelings about Gangapersad overstaying his welcome.
Sadly, her cattiness saw her dropped on Saturday night, leaving her Twitter fans shocked and outraged, with some even threatening to boycott the show.
Say what you want about Mbau, but you can’t take away the personality she brought with her when she danced her heart out every week.
Having been a firm favourite to take the title, Mbau explains how she felt about being prematurely eliminated.
“I knew from (last) Tuesday, as we shot our behind-the-scenes material, that they (production) were creating a villain and trying to brew a ‘war’ between John and I. I saw their strategy, but didn’t know how they were going to ‘sack’ me and how soon. But they were creating that,” she shares.
On fan support being a game-changer this season, Mbau offers: “It’s the nature of reality shows. The votes meant something in the first three weeks. Then things changed.”
Acknowledging her fans’ outrage, she answers: “The viewer is not stupid. They know what they contributed. How do I reply when I am just as disappointed?
“Ashish and John are playing the underdog card. The loser comes out a victor.”
Of the experience, she shares: “It has been the best experience of my life. It added value to my character. That’s the high. The low is that we live in a sick society with producers who must make a living.”
True to form, she didn’t pull any punches. For what it’s worth, that feistiness and those fire-in-the-belly performances will be sorely missed. But, at least, you hold on to your Queen of Bling title, right?
• Strictly Come Dancing airs on Friday at 8pm on SABC3. And the result show airs on Saturday at 7pm.