TV

Robert Rakete from DWTS admits the dance-off is terrifying

But I know if I was at home on the couch, I would be thinking, 'Gosh, this is great telly.'

By Ciara Pratt

The Weekly caught up with Robert Rakete just a few days before he and dance partner Nicole Harrington faced a dance-off and were then eliminated. Eerily, in his interview he talked about how scary a dance-off would be.

To catch Robert Rakete these days, you'd better be fast – quickstep fast.

When the alarm goes off just after 4am, he's up before the sun and off to The Breeze studio to co-host his morning radio show. Then, after 10am it's meetings and preparation for the next day before dashing off to dancing training – hours and hours of dancing training.

In fact, Robert (51) says he is often leaving the house when his family were asleep and getting home when they were asleep.

"It sure is turning life upside down," the Dancing with the Stars contestant chuckles as he chats with the Weekly in a rare, spare half hour in his day before he heads off to practice.

He may be tired and sore, but Robert is still smiling. DWTS is a show he's always wanted to be on.

"Elimination and the dance off are terrifying!" the former TV presenter says. "But I know if I was at home on the couch, I would be thinking, 'Gosh, this is great telly.'

I want to go right through to the end. After all, you raise more money for charity and get to keep experiencing this incredible ride we're on. All of us are in it to win it!" he declares.

Robert sure does have an impassioned reason to stay on that dance floor for as long as possible − he wants to make sure Kiwi kids are having the best chance to succeed at school, and his steps will help make that happen.

"There are times where Nicole will say to do a step one more time and we will have been going for hours and that's when I remember it's for KidsCan," he says of the charity he has chosen to support.

"They deliver things like food, shoes, raincoats, toiletries − things that so many families take for granted. I met a kid who told me they had conversations at home about whose turn it was to wear the shoes today. And that should not be the case! How can they possibly learn?

By KidsCan providing these things to children, they're giving kids the best shot in education. And that's why I do it."

Robert knows he's not the only one riding the dancing rollercoaster, revealing the "bubble" the whole cast is in, and also admitting that he is struggling most at not seeing his family, worrying he'll have to reintroduce himself when the show is over!

After a rousing tango (right), Robert and Nicole wait for the judges' critique. Ouch!
After a rousing tango (right), Robert and Nicole wait for the judges' critique. Ouch!

"There have been times when all of us are in tears because it is physically, emotionally and mentally demanding. Yes, tears!" Robert says. "After your dance is over, all of us amateurs have the same look of, 'Thank goodness it's over, what the heck just happened and how do we get through to next week?'" he laughs.

But amidst all the pain – "my knees are completely strapped up!" – and the heartbreak – "I was disappointed with the judges' scores, I felt like a dad wanting to send them back to their dressing rooms to think about what they've done" – Robert is relishing in the glamour.

"One of the things I said when I first met Nicole, before our first dance, was I will submit to this whole show. I will wear what you think I need to wear, I will dance how you think I need to dance and I completely trust you to get me through this in one piece, and hopefully we can do well for our charity."

This came back to haunt him slightly during his tango.

"I really wanted my moustache to pop but it wasn't doing that because I'm not very good at growing facial hair. So we had to colour it in with mascara to make it look more masculine!"

But with his devoted family, that includes five children and wife Nicky, behind him and the children of New Zealand to dance for, Robert knows this is an experience he'll never forget.

"My family is all incredibly proud of what I'm doing and that means more to me than a glittery paddle from the judges to be honest," he says.

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