Can David Seymour pull a Rodney Hide in Dancing with the Stars?

by Fiona Rae / 28 April, 2018
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Dancing with the Stars was a reputational game changer for the former Act Party leader. Can "Disco Dave" repeat his success?

It was a reputational and physical game-changer for Rodney Hide even though he dropped his partner during the cha-cha; it made Candy Lane a household name, not just an address; and it nearly did for John Rowles.

What delights are about to be seared into our eyeballs in the new series of Dancing with the Stars (Three, Sunday, 7.00pm and Monday, 7.30pm)? Warning: like a horror film, once seen, they cannot be unseen.

The BBC format came to New Zealand in 2005, and was the highest-rated programme of the year; nearly one million of us tuned in for the final. It continued to be huge on TVNZ 1 during its five-year run, but also hugely expensive. A cast of thousands and a live orchestra conducted by Carl Doy were needed to get the celebs onto the dance floor. TVNZ cancelled the show in 2009.

Over the years, we had witnessed Paul Holmes doing his best Michael Jackson, Norm Hewitt incorporating haka into the paso doble, and romance spark between Shane Cortese and Nerida Lister.

In the UK, Strictly Come Dancing is still going after 14 years and has done wonders for many of the contestants. In 2016, no one expected the slightly portly Labour MP Ed Balls to get very far, but his willingness to throw himself into a tango to the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction or, most famously, a salsa with partner Katya Jones to Gangnam Style, caused a sensation. Rumour has it that the BBC is courting one of the most hated men in Britain, Piers Morgan, for this year’s series. It couldn’t hurt.

Perhaps Act Party leader David Seymour is hoping for a similar reputational boost.

Relentlessly positive, “Disco Dave” lists his claim to fame as “First person to enter Parliament alone in decades”. He also says on the Three website, “There’s nothing like overcoming a fear, so to borrow someone else’s line, let’s do this.”

The other politician in the line-up is Marama Fox, the effervescent co-leader of the Māori Party. She lists her claim to fame as “Co-leader – Māori Party”, although she might easily have put “mother of nine”.

Our money is on one-woman party zone Gilda Kirkpatrick. If there’s anyone who knows how to keep moving forward like a sequin-covered shark, it’s “Queen Gilda”.

The other dancers include actress Shavaughn Ruakere; DJs Roger Farrelly and Robert Rakete; cricketer Chris Harris; Zac Franich from The Bachelor NZ; amputee Jess Quinn; and news presenter Sam Hayes.

This article was first published in the April 28, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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