TV

Win Dancing With The Stars, tick - now it's back to the day job for Sam Hayes

After an intense 14 weeks of sequins, sweat and tears Sam Hayes is looking forward to getting back to the news.

By: Karyn Henger

Last night Sam Hayes took out New Zealand's Dancing With The Stars 2018 title and after the fake gold rain had fallen she asked presenter Sharyn Casey if they were sure they'd added up the votes right.

The Newshub presenter seemed as surprised as some of the audience members that she'd won. It had been Chris Harris' paso doble that had wowed the judges and scored three perfect 10s. And there were a lot of Jess Quinn supporters in the audience.

The glitter ball could have gone to anyone. But maybe once you get to this point it no longer matters who takes it home anyway. Sam, Chris and Jess were all great dancers who had worked their butts off with their professional dance partners to get through to the final.

In a press conference afterwards judge Rachel White said she felt New Zealand had kept the best three professional dancers in the final. Jonny Williams, Aaron Gilmore and Vanessa Cole were "a step ahead" she said.

Head judge Camilla Sacre-Dallerup said she hoped the dancers and celebrities had understood that the judges' job had been to give them constructive criticism each week so they could bring something more to each performance.

Some of the feedback throughout the series had been difficult to agree with, Sam's partner Aaron Gilmore admitted. But sometimes it had also helped him realise they were being too harsh on themselves, he added.

He paid Sam the ultimate compliment by saying that by the end he felt like he was dancing with his equal.

DWTS rival Jess Quinn gives Sam a congratulatory hug.

Apart from this morning's flurry of media interviews, it's back to the day job for Sam today. She's looking forward to returning to a sense of normality and routine. Sam Hayes loves her job and had seemed uncomfortable about turning up for work later and later each week as the training sessions intensified.

"Towards the end I was coming in[to work] at 3pm, which is really the last minute," she said. She was thankful to her bosses for giving her the odd day off and for being so understanding.

Today will be the first day Sam hasn't danced in 14 weeks and she's likely to feel a void, she mused. But after she's had a bit of a break she reckons she'll return to dancing.

Sam and Aaron share their disbelief with DWTS presenters Sharyn Casey and Dai Henwood.

At the press conference we all agreed we'd seen a new side to Sam on DWTS but Sam insisted she's still the "exact same person" she was when she started the show.

"The difference is that people have got to know me."

With "cameras rolling around us 24-7" the public was bound to see her more vulnerable side, she said.

"This has been a massive challenge. There were definitely tears and I hit a wall on many, many occasions and didn't think I could do it... and the fear of having to dance in front of the whole country every weekend!"

At last night's show, which almost 440,000 viewers tuned in to watch, there was a lot of love in the air. From my seat in the audience I saw rounds of hugs and high fives between the celebs and dancers after every performance. There is a strong sense of 'family' on the set of a show like this.

Sam revealed, "The fun was in coming together [each weekend] and seeing what everyone had come up with and their amazing outfits that everyone would wear... That was the bit that made it for me... I said earlier tonight I don't care what happens. Of course I do care but we had a moment backstage where I said 'if any of you guys win I will be happy... I just wanted everyone to smash it and be super happy with what they'd done."

"Something you may not have seen," Aaron divulged, "is when someone is eliminated we make a circle and we do that because we are all close... because unless you do this you don't understand how consuming it is. We're all close, we are all friends outside of this."

Sounds like there were some wins for everyone involved in the show.