Former Dancing With The Stars dancer Carol-Ann Hanna makes her top picks for who’s going to win this season

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Brad Coleman and Anna Wilcox Dancing With The Stars NZ

Wow! What an exciting start to this season of Dancing With The Stars! Lots of energy and confidence – this is going to be a thrilling series.

On Sunday night I was lucky enough to be there to see in person how the celebrities performed under the pressure of a live audience and TV cameras.

The evening was full of glam and excitement, and I took on some of the nerves for each of the celebs as they came out onto the floor, remembering how previous partners have felt anticipating that first outing!

I sat with Rog Farrelly, my partner from last year, and now-good-friend, Shavaughn Ruakere, and the other celebrities from last season’s show, which was a great catch-up for us all.

I definitely sensed FOMO from the celebrities as they watched their last year’s partners walk out with their new partners to perform – a bit like seeing your ex with their new love!

Laura Daniel kicked off this season with fun and energy.

You can definitely see who has been working hard, and those extra couple of weeks’ preparation have made a huge difference, not only to the dancing but to the confidence of the couples.

Sunday night picks for me were definitely Laura Daniel, what energy and fun she brought to the competition and she clearly enjoyed every step and so did we! This kind of performance very seldom comes in the initial weeks, I was blown away with this opener. I felt the judges were a little harsh on her; I would have given this performance a better score, I think they should bring in a .5 as part of the scoring.

I also thought Carolyn Taylor did an outstanding job. She is definitely a pick to go through to the end, and she has a great teacher in Jonny Williams.

William Wairua was another one who was both entertaining and also a pretty good dancer. If he keeps up working on the dancing as well as the entertainment value he will go from strength to strength. He and Amelia get on like a house on fire and his girlfriend Taylor is making sure he does his homework, so between the two of them he has a couple of taskmasters pushing him to succeed.

Carolyn Taylor is one to watch.

Anyone who is lucky enough to get Vanessa Cole as their partner is on their way to the final as well, and Glen Osborne didn’t disappoint. When I heard they were doing the tango to Poi E I was wondering if it was a good choice of music but it really worked! Of course it did – this little pocket rocket knows what she’s doing!

Monday night produced yet another an outstanding show, continuing to reinforce the incredible work these couples have put in.

Starting off with a bang, RANDELL!!!! Talk about the dark horse; who on earth expected that! He’s definitely one to watch going through the weeks. If this keeps up I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in the final group.

Anna Wilcox and her partner Brad Coleman already show a strong connection.

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The other top performance of the night was Anna Wilcox. She is well matched with Brad; they have a strong connection already. She looked as if she could easily take the floor in a real dance competition and be a force to be reckoned with.

How many people can I put in the final…. Umm, I think I’m at six already. Who on earth would want the judges’ job on this show!

Manu Vatuvei dances from the heart.

I enjoyed the contemporary spin on the rumba from Manu – some questionable timing in the routine, but he has a passion that comes from the heart, and he has rhythm. He also has the potential to go all the way so I’m looking forward to seeing his dance next week.

I enjoyed Mike McRoberts. He will be one that will improve each week, and New Zealand loves to see that. His partner Kristie Williams is just the lady for that.

KLee did a great performance and I think we will see her improve every week as well. Another Cole (Scott Cole, Vanessa’s brother) in charge should do the trick!

Mike McRoberts will be the one who steadily improves.

I’m heading to the studios this week to see how the practices are going. Some of them were already back in the studio on Sunday and Monday night straight after the shows!

They have a couple of days to get ready for the next dance as they are required to produce a ‘wide shot’ (which is a video of their finished routine) by Thursday morning.

Yep, they have two days to get this together so as the show progresses and they have less time to prepare this becomes a lot more challenging to produce.

The show has started and their most practiced dance is now over. They now have to start working on their next two or three.

The pressure is on and, my goodness, the competition is FIERCE!!

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