Joining the role of honour alongside Norm Hewitt, Lorraine Downes, Suzanne Paul, Temepara George, Tamati Coffey, Simon Barnett and Samantha Hayes, the eighth winner of Dancing with the Stars, Manu Vatuvei, was crowned last night.
I picked it in week three. Manu Vatuvei has had an emotional journey through this competition and we thank Manu for being real, showing his emotion and sharing the struggle he has had with injury and sport and the joy he has found in dancing.
I am so excited that he has decided to keep it up, I'm sure they will have lots of requests for he and dance partner Loryn Reynolds to continue performing. Norm Hewitt and I continued for almost two years after our 2005 show win and Norm loved it just as much as Manu. In fact, he still shares his love of dance with his wife Arlene Thomas-Hewitt who is a former world aerobics champion. I'm sure Manu will have the time now and be able to teach his wife and share this with her and his family.
I felt for Laura Daniel, the judges' winner on the night by one mark with a perfect score in both dances, but this often happens with the way the voting goes in the final, or actually all the way through the competition.
Laura was outstanding all the way through the competition as was Randell and William. All four of them were completely worthy finalists and any one of them could have won last night. I personally really enjoyed the format this year with the elimination of two of the four couples, leaving just two couples to perform their show dance routine.
I've seen a lot of remarks over the season, and also previous seasons, about the way the competition is judged so let me just stand up for Three/Mediaworks here.
A show called Strictly Come Dancing began in the UK in May 2004. Later the same year Australia became the second country to air the show but with a different name (Dancing with the Stars), and New Zealand followed in 2005.
Since then the BBC has sold the concept to over 50 countries. It is licensed by BBC worldwide and the format is the same in all countries, from the viewer vote percentages and the final 100 per cent viewer-determined outcomes through to the dance offs.
The format has had many changes over the last 14 years and it's an entertainment show for viewers at home so it completely makes sense that the viewers have their say. Like it or not, blame the BBC not Three.
The great thing that comes out of this show is the joy and good wholesome family entertainment it provides New Zealanders.
It's what we talk about on Monday and Tuesday mornings. I get stopped at my local coffee shop and then when I arrive at the office, everyone's got their favourites and it's great fun to talk about. What we will do now?!
The dancers and stars on the show all become very, very good friends and these friendships become lifelong. Last year's team still keep in touch and right back as far as 2005 we still have friendships from that show, 14 years later.
What should you do now? Check out those dance studios you saw on the show; see what classes they have, have a go yourself.
There are so many different forms of dance to learn and enjoy, so look them up in your area and join the fun. It's great exercise, you'll meet lots of people and you might get a sneak peek at next year's stars as they come in to start their journey on the show.
Until next year, get healthy, get happy… get dancing!
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