SOUTH Africans were swept off their feet when the seventh season of SAB3’s Strictly Come Dancing debuted on Friday.
Aside from the negligible sound issues, Rapid Blue’s Kee-Leen Irvine deserves to be saluted for a) signing Katlego Maboe and Roxy Burger as co-hosts; and, b) choosing such a vibrant mix of celebrities.
The presenters complemented each other wonderfully. Maboe brought his multilingual skills to the table, not forgetting those bouts of comic relief, and Burger added glamour and an endearing personality to the mix.
Judging by the first episode, it’s clearly a case of “game on” with that highly competitive spirit reaching explosive levels, much to the approval of judges Samantha Peo, Michael Wentink and Tebogo Kgobokoe.
Let’s just say, Top Billing’s Jonathan Boynton-Lee talked a good game and singled out actress Boity Thulo and comic Siv Ngesi as his rivals, but it was former rugby player John Mametsa, actress Leandi du Randt and biker babe Janine Davies who brought their A-game to the dance floor.
SHAKE THAT BOOTY
There was no escaping Thulo’s notorious booty. Her derrière got lots of screen time. Feeling confident with Ryan Hammond as her partner, she showed her moves – and the girl’s got moves – with a samba.
Peo praised her for being a little firecracker.
While agreeing with her co-judge, Kgobokoe said: “Such a great way to start the show. A nice energetic samba. Boity, you are known for your booty and samba is about rhythm. Darling, you better shake that booty. And if you thought you were shaking it, trust me, you weren’t shaking it enough.”
Given that Thulo was in Brazil for the World Cup, which ate into her three-week rehearsal time – she ended up with only seven days to prepare – she was damn impressive. That’s all!
GETTING THEIR GROOVE ON
If you thought comedy was Donovan Goliath and Siv Ngesi’s only forte, think again. These funnymen owned the dance floor with a cha-cha and samba, respectively. And boy, oh boy, did they display agility to make their rivals quiver.
Aside from Goliath raving about his pantsula skills, Ngesi’s cheerful (almost gaping) smile never dimmed throughout his performance.
An entertained Wentink summed up Goliath’s performance best when he told him he brought “devotion to the motion”.
“You are so charismatic and entertaining to watch. And you have a megawatt smile that just lights up the room,” Peo praised Ngesi.
He responded: “Stop it, you making a black guy blush.”
She cautioned: “Just watch your mouth isn’t open the whole way through. You are a rhythmic dancer and you brought a masculinity to it.”
Um, I dare say it, his booty could give Thulo a run for hers.
RULING THE DANCE FLOOR
Khanyi Mbau lived up to her “queen of bling” rep. Not only that, she danced her way to the top by impressing the judges with her gracefulness as her partner Quintus Jansen led her across the dance floor in a captivating waltz.
Even a toughie – especially when it comes to the technical aspects – like Wentink was enchanted: “I felt like I was in a trance. You were so subdued, yet you managed to keep the dance a waltz. I think you two are really going to be a problem in this competition. Great dancing.”
After taking the lead (and she bagged the first eight of the night), I think anyone who underestimated Mbau will be in for a few surprises. She has found her next conquest and isn’t taking her eye off the ball.
• Strictly Come Dancing airs on SABC3 on Fridays at 8pm.